How to prepare reference pages for research papers

Out of the various structural components of a research paper, the reference page is the one which comes last, even though it is among the most important parts of the paper. The reference section lists out the details regarding the sources which were used for research. The reference pages for research papers are to be prepared as per the specifications of the documentation format used for the project. A research paper without a perfectly formatted reference page is considered incomplete. Worse still, the author would stand the risk of being accused of plagiarism if the reference section is not included in a research paper.

Understanding the concept of referencing

Reference Page for Research PaperNo research can be conducted without the help of sources. The sources are sometimes used to guide the research to a conclusion and, some other times, to support the argument. The audiences need to know the sources used for research, in order to evaluate the level of credibility of the compiled data and also for further references. This is the purpose served by the reference section. The section, even though it is a separate section attached to the last page of the research paper, is linked to the cited information using in-text citations. The in-text citations lead the reader to the relevant source listed in the reference page. Hence, while preparing a reference page for research paper, it must be ensured that the in-text citations tally with the details given in the reference section.

The details to be included in the reference list

The in-text citations include only just enough information to direct the reader to the details given in the reference list. In MLA format, the in-text citations contain only the author’s surname and the page number and in APA format, the in-text citations only give out the author’s surname and the date of publishing. The rest of the details are to be included in the reference list. Each documentation format has a unique way of arranging information on the reference page. But the details to be included are, more or less, the same. The commonly listed details on a reference page are:

1. The full name of the author.
2. The title of the source.
3. The year of publication.
4. The place of publication.
5. The name of the publisher.
6. The number of the page on which the cited information can be found. (only applicable to MLA style papers)

Plagiarism and its consequences

There are very effective methods, in today’s world, of detecting plagiarism of all levels. But, unfortunately, there is no way of differentiating between accidental and deliberate plagiarism. Whether the author is aware, of the presence of information which is not properly referenced in his paper, or not, he would have to bear the charges of plagiarism. And when it comes to a student, plagiarism charges can mar his academic record permanently. Hence, you must ensure that you have cited all the sources, primary or secondary, as per the prescribed format, while preparing a reference page for research paper.

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