It is one of the major concerns for most students regarding how to reference sources in an essay. This is because referencing is the way to avoid plagiarism in your paper. Providing a list of sources gives credit to your paper’s scholarly contribution and allows the reader to locate sources. It highlights your in-depth understanding of the topic by providing supporting evidence of your ideas.

Various referencing styles can be used to refer to sources. These may include MLA, APA, Harvard, MHRA, etc. All of these styles are equally popular and unique. However, each institution has its criteria, and students are asked to follow the referencing format accordingly. Learners must be aware of these different styles so they can use them in academic projects as their tutor asks.

Moreover, you don’t need always to cite a source from a book or journal. Any relevant song, video, website, database, quote, movie, etc., can be referred to in your literary work. The referencing style of each source is different which we are going to explore in this article. Here, we will be focusing on referencing essays and addressing students’ various queries. So, without further delay, let’s talk about it.

What Is a Reference Page in An Essay?

Before we discuss how to reference sources in an essay, we need to understand the referencing page. The reference page provides information to the reader who wants to locate the sources you have used throughout your paper. It is placed at the end of your essay. On the new page, write the heading “References” and provide a list of sources used in alphabetic order. All of these sources will add credibility to your paper.

How to Reference Sources in An Essay?

Every referencing style has two parts in academic writing: an in-text citation and a bibliography list to provide at the end of the paper. Just as each referencing style has its unique way of citing the sources in the bibliography, the style for in-text citation is also different. Moreover, there are details like referring to an essay in an article, book, website, etc.

Find below the details about how to reference sources in an essay so that you do not miss adding any important essay sources in your academic or other write-ups. However, if the referencing style is difficult to comprehend even after this comprehensive guide, then contacting essay writing services can be a better alternative. These experts will provide you with hassle-free documents that will highlight you specifically among all our competitors.

How to Reference an Article in An Essay?

In addressing students’ queries about how to reference sources in an essay, the first step is article citation. To refer to an article in an essay from an academic journal, the format depends on the citation style your professor asked to follow.

Here are the general guidelines about various referencing styles.

  • Write the name of the writer which must be followed by the publication year, i.e. (Adam, 2008).
  • If there are multiple authors, then each name is separated by commas, i.e. (Adam, Smith, Jones & David, 2008).
  • The article title will be written in quotation marks: “The cause of gender discrimination in terms of cultural differences” (2007).
  • The journal name is written in italics, followed by the volume number and page number if available, i.e. (Adam 2009, Journal of Botany, 25(6), 18-25).
  • If you are citing a website source, then mention its URL. For example, (Adam 2009, Journal of Botany, 25(6), 18-25. doi: 11.1434/123456).

Double-check the requirements for referencing sources in an essay as provided by your tutor. This will ensure consistency throughout your paper.

How to Reference a Book in An Essay?

If you are wondering how to reference sources in an essay, then you must know how to refer to a book source in it. Find below the basic guidelines for such referencing.

  • If a book has one author, the first name is followed by the year of publication. For example, it’s time to see gender as a spectrum (Emma Watson, 2021) instead of two opposing ideas.
  • If there are two authors, both names will be mentioned each time if they quote a line from the same book. For example, Mooney and Brabant (2004) used comic strips to analyse stereotyping of sex roles. OR you can write it as “The comic strips have been used to evident the gender discrimination in society. (Smith & John, 1986).
  • If there are more than two authors, then use “et al.” to mention multiple authors of the book. For example, The tales from “The Metamorphosis” (Franz Kafka et al., 2007)
  • If you are using multiple sources and there are multiple authors, then the last name of each contributor must be followed by the year of publication. Each source will be separated from the other by a semi-colon (Adam, 2001; Jones, 2005; Johns & James, 2009; Miller, 2010).

How to Reference a Website in An Essay?

For many learners wondering about how to reference sources in an essay, referring to a website can be tricky. Any electronic source encompasses details like newspapers, company names, dictionaries, economic data, industry profiles, encyclopedias, market research, etc. All of these website details can be referred to in your essay in the following way.

  • Name of the site owner
  • The publication year, when the article was published on their site.
  • The site name must be in italics.
  • Mention the name of the site’s sponsor if available.
  • Mention the URL or internet address in pointed brackets.


All of the above details can be understood well via this example:

Department of Political Sciences 2021, Department of Sociology website, UK government, accessed 22 February 2021, <>.

How Do You Reference a Website in an Essay in APA Format?

The basic format for referencing a webpage or website is given below. Use the framework mentioned below to build up your knowledge about how to reference sources in an essay.

  • The initials of the last name follow up the writer’s name.
  • Write the year of publication in the round brackets.
  • Write the title in italics.
  • Mention website name.
  • Mention the URL of the website.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. However, all other subsequent lines are placed after indented 7 spaces.


Smith, A. (2019, May 28). “You are not supposed to do it this way”: The advent of new interventions in psychosis services. IEPA. URL.

How to Reference a Quote in An Essay?

Quoting direct quotes is important to learning how to reference sources in an essay. It can improve the quality of your work. Here, explore how to cite different quotes in your essay.

  • If you are citing a direct quote, use double quotation marks at the start and end of the line. For example, According to Nelson Mandela, “Freedom can’t be achieved unless women are free from all kinds of oppressions”. (2006, p.316).
  • Use an ellipsis or three dots to skip an irrelevant part of the quote. Remember, the meaning should not be changed. For example, Gross (1998, p, 136) highlights that language “not only in vocabulary…but also grammar…” influences what we understand from the context.

How to Reference a Movie in An Essay?

Do you know you can also refer to an informative movie in your essay? For many students learning how to reference sources in an essay, this seems unnatural. But yes, you can refer to it, too. For instance, if you are following the Harvard referencing style, then cite the details in the following manner.

  • Mention the initials of the title of the film.
  • Write the year of its release in round brackets.
  • Write medium in square brackets.
  • Mention the name of the director.
  • Write about the place where the movie was produced.
  • Write the name of the production company. 


The Elica. (2015). [XYZ]. Directed by Adam Johns. United Kingdom: Screen UK and Causeway Films.

How to Reference a Song in An Essay?

Music is a form of art. Just as you feel like citing a painting or a poem in literary work to build strong arguments, music can also play a similar role. Although such citations may be unfamiliar but you don’t need to be worried. Here, we have covered all of the ways to reference sources in an essay. To cite an audio recording, you need the following pieces of information.

  • Name of the singer.
  • Name of the songwriter.
  • The title of the song.
  • Name of the album.
  • The track numbers.
  • Name of the publisher.
  • Publication year.
  • The URL of the website.
  • Naming all other contributors.


Fontana, Wayne. “Song Name.” Title of the Album, album’s ed., Publisher, 2010, 1890. Database Name, URL (http:// or https://).

As we discussed above, most students need to familiarise themselves with this referencing format. If you have never cited a song in your academic projects, then hire an essay writer who can do the job professionally for you.

How To Reference Different Types of Articles in An Essay?

Do you want to know how to reference sources in an essay? Referencing a journal article is the most crucial source of citation that must be understood. The journal articles are mostly used to summarise the findings of the study conducted by the researcher. How to cite article references depends on where the article was published and who the author was. Keep reading to break down the rules for citing article references in an essay.

Referring Journal Articles

  • Mention the author’s last name and initials of first name.
  • Write the year of publication in brackets.
  • Write the title of the article.
  • Write the journal name or periodical in parentheses.
  • The issue number in parentheses must follow it up.
  • Write the page number where the article can be found.


Adam, L. V. (2001). Referencing articles in MLA format. APA Format Weekly, 37(2), 8-10

Referring Magazine Article

The structure will be similar to that of the general article. However, remember to add the day and month of publication when citing the publication year.

Adam, S. A. (2007, June 8). Magazine articles in APA format. Newsweek, 28, 49-55.

Referring Newspaper Article

The basic format is similar but you will mention each page rather than mentioning a page range.

Smith, J. A. (2005, January 9). How to refer a newspaper article. The BBC News, 5D, 9D.

How Do You Reference a Video in An Essay?

When you cite an online video from YouTube, Dailymotion, or Vimeo, you adhere to the conventions of APA or MLA style when referencing sources in an essay. Be sure to check your essay criteria first before following any citation style. Generally, you will follow the following referencing guidelines for effective implementation.

  • In MLA style, mention the title of the video on YouTube, who uploaded it, the date or month of the year and the URL of the video. For example, Fantone. “Apologise.” YouTube, uploaded by AdamJams126, 18 December 2018,
  • In APA style, you will write the last name, name of the screen, year or month, and title of the video. For example, Smith, A.F. [Screen name]. (2007, June 7). Why am I the way I am? [Video file]. YouTube. http://xxxx

Example of Reference in Essay

In the above guide, we have addressed each query by referring to the examples. However, even if any query is still left behind then the essay referring to examples given by the University of Northampton can be considered. These examples are displayed below.



It might be one of your major concerns when writing your essays how to reference sources in an essay correctly. It must be, as it is the only way to avoid plagiarism. Copying another author’s work without giving him credit is a big crime in academic writing. First, you have to rephrase it in your own words and then refer to the source information. For many students who are looking for referencing guidelines, the above highlights are helpful.

Here, we have addressed how you can refer to an article, book, website, quote, song, video or movie in essays. All of these formatting components differ from each other with minor differences. However, if these keen details are skipped, the whole formatting will be disturbed. The outcome is that your marks will be deducted from the essay for not writing it up to the standards. Furthermore, if you fear making a mistake when implementing it on your own, then buy essay online to eliminate this fear. Work provided by an expert is less likely to be caught for mistakes than written by inexperienced students.


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