Essay Guide

Our comprehensive guide to the stages of the essay development process. Back to Student Resources

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Using the web

Online material and websites

If the online material or website you are referencing has an author or a title then it should be treated according to the system you are using. However, you must indicate that you are referencing an online resource and include the URL or web address and the date when you accessed it. For example, here’s an online article referenced according to the APA system:

Girardi, Judith S., (2002) ‘Lorine Niedecker: Poetry in the Classroom’ [online article]. Available: http://grad.cgu.edu/~girardij/webpage/lorineclassroom.html. (4 December 2002)

If the online material or website you are referencing has no author then it should be included in your bibliography in alphabetical order according to the title.

And, finally… 1: if you are really stuck, be consistent

If you really can’t find out what referencing system to use, then try to be consistent. Don’t have footnotes on page one and the Harvard system on pages two and three. Don’t reference an author like this (Smith, 2003) on page one and like this (John Smith, 2003) on page two.

Check that all the items in your bibliography or reference list are in alphabetical order and that they all follow the same format. Make sure that all the authors you have quoted from in the essay appear in your bibliography or reference list.

Similarly, make sure there are no authors in your bibliography or reference list who don’t appear in your essay. Some students do this to make it look as if they’ve been doing more work than they actually have.

And finally…2: learn from the books you read

Look at how the authors you read for your studies use other peoples’ words. Pay attention to how they use quotations to support their argument and to how they use evidence to support claims. Learn from how they develop a balanced discussion of several points of view on the same subject. Look at the bibliographies of the books and articles you read to see how they are organised and what referencing system they follow.