How to do your reference list at one click?

by Will Martins / Updated February 22, 2019

When pursuing a degree, you’ll face a pile of essays, research and term papers. All of these works require a specific format to be followed. Otherwise, they won't be accepted by the university. I know that the formatting and referencing of your papers may seem like a real pain in the neck, especially when you're not familiar with a certain style of formatting. Of course, you can delve into the details to learn all the instructions and implement the requirements of the format manually. But:

  • it is time-consuming;
  • you might still make a mistake;
  • you will have to create in-text citations and a list of references separately.

And even if you take your time and learn a certain format, you will have to go through the same process once the paper formatting changes (which happens very-very often). So, what do we do in that case? Don't worry, I got you covered.

I’ll tell you a bit about every paper format for you to get to grips with all the nuances.

MLA

This is the most popular format for students completing assignments for class. Originally, it was developed for learners in the language and literature fields, but due to the clear and simple rules that need to be followed, it is used in various disciplines, especially in the humanities. The detailed guide is here.

APA

The style was developed by the American Psychological Association. As a rule, APA is used for research-focused assignments and requires following more specific rules compared to MLA. Check this guide to get to know all the details.

Chicago

You’ve probably come across the information that the Chicago style has a lot in common with the Turabian one. That’s true. They are nearly identical. It should be noted that Turabian is a student version of the Chicago style, aimed at those studying in high-schools and colleges. Students usually use it to create papers, theses and dissertations. You’ll find more about the Turabian style here.

The Chicago style is mainly used by publishers or professional scholars. Check this guide to delve deeper into the nuances of the Chicago style.

Harvard

This referencing style is used mainly in the humanities and social sciences. It is also known as an Author-Date Style because when applying it, you’ll need to emphasize the name of the author, who's created a piece of information and the publication date. Unlike the mentioned above citation styles, this one implies the difference in capitalization, abbreviations and punctuation. So, before completing a paper in this style, check with your instructor to make sure you are aware of all the rules needed. More about Harvard, you’ll read here.

ASA

ASA was designed for use by researchers and a community of writers preparing manuscripts that will be published in the American Sociological Association journals. Furthermore, it is used by students who need to use ASA style when completing research papers. For more details, check this link.

AMS

This citation format was established by the American Mathematical Society. Generally, it is used by mathematicians. If you are assigned a paper in AMS, you’ll have to keep in mind a lot of details and nuances. So, better use this guide to get to grips with all the peculiarities.

IEEE

IEEE style is used in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Electronic and other technological fields. It is a numeric one meaning all the citations are numbered in the order of adding. IEEE is mainly used by students when completing research assignments. The full guide to IEEE is here.

OSCOLA

Being a postgraduate law student, you’ll need to use this referencing system when citations are put in footnotes at the bottom of every page. To delve deeper into the details, check this link.

Vancouver

Vancouver referencing style is mainly used in science and medicine but can also be used in technology. Citations are numbered here in the order they appear in the assignment, and each one corresponds to a numbered reference. At the end of your paper, must be written a numbered list of references. More about Vancouver is here.

Word can do it for you

I'm not gonna lie, your text editing software is most probably capable of creating the in-text citations and bibliography page. Not sure if any software can do it, but Microsoft Word is capable of generating citations and a reference page for you. Here's how you do it:

If you’ve got an older version of Word or some other software, Googling will help a lot. However, there's an array of limitations demonstrated by Word in creating references:

  • It has only the most popular citation and formatting styles (for example, my version of Word cannot do AMA);
  • You have to know full information about the source you're trying to cite, and you must input it manually (it's not that convenient, I assure you + it takes time);
  • You will not be capable of transferring your references to another file, so you'll have to create another list of references once more;
  • There's still a chance that it might not format the source correctly (it happened to me once, never used the Word for citing since then);

So, all in all, you may use Word for this, but I won't recommend it.

Online generators are the best!

Once again, go to your favorite online search engine, type in "reference maker," and voila! You've got an array of online tools and services that will generate references for you. I won't recommend any particular of these generators (because they have not paid me for advertisement) but let me assure you that it makes almost no difference which one you choose. Basically, they do the same thing, and it's up to your preference, which one you choose.

What I like about these online tools:

  • You just need to include either an author of the source or its title, and the reference maker will find all required info in the blink of an eye and generate a reference according to your style.
  • They offer a really wide array of different styles (I mean, there are hundreds of formatting styles in certain reference makers).
  • Always accurate and correct (these tools are based on really great formatting algorithms, and they give you the correct references).
  • You can save your bibliography for future papers (which is handy, right?).
  • They are fast! (all it takes is just one or two clicks to format a source).

An optimal solution will be to use reliable citation generators like the Citation Machine, Easy Bib or Cite This For Me Tool. They will come in handy if you need to craft a paper in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, AMA, ASA or IEEE. You’ll stop having all-night battles with assignments, utilizing one of the helpful online tools that will ease your student life.

Summary

As you can see, you can really save your time and effort making correct citations and references for your papers. Moreover, you don't really have to know the citation styles backwards and forwards and keep in mind all the nuances for the rest of your life. All you have to do is to either use your MS Word to create and generate references and bibliography pages or to find a reliable online reference generator.

I highly recommend using the online tools because they will find you the source and format it accordingly, just using its title or an author. Moreover, these online tools can significantly help you if you're in need of sources for your paper. So, if you've got a voluminous and troublesome paper to write, you can look up the relevant sources according to the needed title. And then you'll cite them using the same tool.

It's fast, convenient, and does not require you to learn the formatting instructions. Therefore, go use it and save time for something more valuable!

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