Introduction to the References List
Title: Purpose of References
Speaker: When you engage in academic writing, you are participating in an academic conversation that is already occurring. Your paper provides a perspective and a point of view on your topic, which shows you are directly participating in a conversation about that topic and adding to it. When others read your paper, they may be interested in a particular citation you include in your paper, wanting to know what others have said in this conversation. Thus, citations and the references list work together as a team: The reader sees the author’s last name and date of publication in the citation, then easily matches them with the first two components of the reference list. Then the rest of the information within the reference entry for the source provides the reader with the additional information needed to find the actual source you are citing.
Title: Elements of a Reference Entry
Speaker: Reference entries can be a little overwhelming at first because they can look so complicated and different. However, each reference entry is organized into a structural pattern or blueprint that generally consists of four main elements: The author(s) name(s), date of publication, title of source, and publication information. These four elements are separated by periods in the reference entry and look, at their most basic, as shown in this reference entry outline. Keep these foundational elements of a reference entry in mind as you review the rest of the module and think about reference entries for particular kinds of sources.
Reference Entry Elements
Title: Common Error #1
Speaker: The first common error students often make when creating references list is copying and pasting from sources like BlackBoard classrooms, Walden Library databases, and other research they are reading. While these sources may provide a good starting point for you in creating a reference entry, they often contain mistakes: potentially the entry was created using a previous APA edition or the person creating it made a mistake. If you do choose to copy and paste a reference entry from another source as a starting point, be sure you proof and check it carefully to catch mistakes. After all, any mistakes in your references list will be seen as your own, so it is in your best interest to proof your list carefully.
Title: Common Error #2
Speaker: The second common error students make is manually formatting their references list. Sometimes students aren’t familiar with Microsoft Word’s automatic formatting features for things like ensuring the references list starts on its own page by using a page break, double spacing the entire list, and adding a hanging indent to each reference entry. While writers can create this formatting manually, doing so takes extra time. Additionally, if a writer needs to go back and edit a reference entry, that formatting needs to be done over again. Instead, save yourself time and learn how to automatically format your references list. Remember, if you’re not sure how to use these automatic formatting features, visit the Academic Skills Center’s tutorials.
Creating a Reference Entry
Title: Process for Creating a Reference Entry
Speaker: The process for creating a reference entry requires a few steps before actually writing the reference entry. This is especially true at first when you are becoming familiar with reference entries. This process includes (1) understanding the reference elements, which you’ve already learned about in this module; (2) identifying the reference group for your source; and (3) using resources to create your reference entry.
Click each step to learn more about it. We will explore steps 2 and 3 in more detail in this tutorial.
Title: Step #2: Identifying the Reference Group
Speaker: Although all reference entries use the four elements we’ve already discussed, parts of those elements differ depending on the type of source you are using. APA refers to this as the reference group. Identifying the correct reference group for your source is integral to creating the correct reference entry, so we’ll practice identifying the three most common types of sources Walden students use: journal articles, books, and webpages. Click each plus symbol to learn about that type of source.
Title: Step #3: Use Resources to Create Your Reference Entry
Speaker: The final step in creating your reference entry is to use resources with models or examples to create the entry for your source. Because you will know the group for your source, you will be able to identify the appropriate example to model your entry after. Review the two resources listed below to learn how they can help provide you examples to create your reference entry.