What Is the Importance of Referencing in Academic Writing?

26 Jun 2020 2660
Importance of Referencing in Writing

Spent ages in academic writing?

But, got all your pain just in vain?

Found plagiarism in your writing work?

You didn’t copy anything, but left in shock?

Maybe you missed the referencing part of writing!

Yes! Maybe you underestimated the importance of referencing!

APA, MLA, Chicago! It sounds like some interesting terms, right? These are some of the very popular referencing styles that can make the lives of students easier! Wondering how? Read this blog to find out more about them.

What Is Referencing and Its Importance?

When you are working on any academic writing, you conduct in-depth research to collect information about the topic. This is something we all are aware of. But, while doing so, sometimes, you include other people’s ideas or work in your document. There might be two main reasons behind you doing so:

  1. You liked the work and wanted to use it as an inspiration.
  2. You are lazy to work and thought of copying the work.

If you are from the first category, then you can avoid plagiarism in your work by referencing the work. That means you can give credits to the owner of the work that you’ve got inspiration from.

But, if you belong to the second category, then alas! You may get into huge trouble, as plagiarism is a punishable crime. So, try to avoid doing this to save yourself from the penalty and your work from rejection. 

“What does a reference look like? How to reference my work? Where to include my references?” 

Wait, wait, wait! Before you shoot more questions like these, read the below-section to get your queries regarding ‘what are the components of referencing?’ solved by Assignment Desk experts.

What Are the Elements in a Reference?

Whenever you write any assignment, you have a dedicated section where you include details of referencing. In this section, you list down the sources you have referred for data collection and write all the information related to them. If you are wondering, ‘what are those citation elements?’ or ‘what is the order of bibliographic elements?’, then here are they:

1. Author

Here, you include both the first and last name of the author of the book or articles. 

2. Title

This is the title of the article, journal, or book.

3. Volume/issue

It is the number of the edition of the published book or journal.

4. Place of publication

Here, you present the publication name and place where it is located.

5. Publisher

Name of the publisher or the publishing company of the referenced work.

6. Editor

If the referenced work belongs to a writer but was compiled by an editor, then include both writer’s and editor’s names with their role.

7. Date of publication

The date on which the article or book was published should be here.

8. URL/DOI/Provider

At last, the document object identifier or URL is included for further reference. 

These are the elements that are included while referencing in your document. But, the way they are presented completely depends on the referencing style you choose. Let’s now look at the different referencing styles.

Also Read: Know the Difference Between Bibliography and Reference List

What Are the Different Types of Referencing?

Are you confused about the referencing styles or perplexed about what to choose? There are three main types of referencing styles among which you can choose one for your work. Sometimes, your university might also mention one in the guidelines provided, so look for it again. If not, then based on your academic discipline, you can choose one from the below:

1. APA

APA stands for American Psychological Association. This 1929 originated style was introduced by a group of psychologists, anthropologists, and business managers.

When you are using this for in-text citation, “author’s last name,” “date of publication” and “page number” are the mandatory elements. This is mainly used for disciplines related to education, psychology, and sciences.

2. MLA

MLA stands for Modern Language Association. This is mainly used in a humanities discipline, especially for focusing on language and literature related genres.

This includes a brief of elements such as author, the title of the source, title of container, other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location. An alphabetical list of the works cited is included at the end of the work.

3. Chicago

Chicago is a 1906 established documentation style that was introduced by the Chicago University Press. This focuses on grammar and punctuation of common American English. 

This style again presents two documentation systems that are depended on the subject matter related to which the work is cited: 

  1. Notes and Bibliography Style for subjects related to humanities such as literature, arts, and history.
  2. Author-Date Style for subjects that are related to natural, physical and social sciences. 

These are the three most commonly used referencing styles for academic writing. You can either choose one of these or, if in doubt of any confusion, ask from your professor to make sure you do not use the wrong one.

To know how to format an assignment in Chicago Style quickly, read this blog.

Difference Between APA, MLA & Chicago Referencing Styles

Though you might have already got an insight into the three main referencing styles, can you tell them apart? Can you explain, ‘What is the difference between APA, MLA, and Chicago referencing styles? If not, here it is; read carefully to understand them better.






It uses past or present perfect tense.

It uses the present tense.

It uses the present tense.


At least 1 inch on top, bottom, and sides.

Exactly 1 inch on top, bottom, and sides.

At least 1 inch on top, bottom, and sides.


Double-space everything except special items like tables, figures, etc.

Double-space everything.

Double-space the text, including any intended quotations.

 Page Numbers

Put them in the upper right corner.

Put them one-half inch below the top of the page at the upper right corner.

Put them in the upper right corner using Arabic numerals.

Title Page


Not Required

Full Title Required

List of References

 Start on a new page with heading ‘References’ just below the top margin.

Start on a new page with heading ‘Works Cited’ just below the top margin.

Start on a new page with heading ‘Bibliography’ just below the top margin.


Here's a detailed comaprison of APA and Harvard Referencing styles if you wish to understand the nuances.

How to Use Free Reference Generator Tool of Assignment Desk?

Many times, in a hurry to complete the work, you forget to take a note of the sources that you have referred to, for collecting information for your academic writing. At such times, going backward and finding the references from browsing history is not an appreciable approach. Then, what should you do? Try Assignment Desk’s reference generator for free!

Wondering what it is? Assignment Desk is providing a free reference generator tool for students to help them find the sources of their work. All you need to do is:

  1. Go to our website
  2. Click on ‘Referencing tools.’
  3. Fill in the details.
  4. Click on ‘Create Reference.’
  5. Add details of the work.
  6. Click on ‘Generate Reference.’

That’s it! You will get your reference all done in just a span of minutes. Seems easy, right! Yes, it is! However, if you are bothered about your academic writing work, you can turn to us. Our experts have years of experience in assisting students with their homework, essays, assignments, theses, research papers, doctoral dissertations, etc. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us right away for the best help.

You may also like: Difference Between Footnote and Endnote

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