The very last page of an essay or a research paper is the reference page. It’s simply a list of all the sources you had used in your written document. A reference page template is typically made so that the readers of your paper can find everything you have cited easily. If you have a chance to see a sample reference list, you will see that the format is quite formal.

It cannot be written casually, especially since it includes relevant information about your essay, research paper or written document. It should contain specific elements so that it’s effective. Otherwise, the readers might not be able to understand what the information is and how to use it. The format used for making such a page is extremely useful so that all the information is organized and standardized. Then students and professionals can have an easier time writing it.

Typically these pages are included to:

  • Avoid claims of plagiarism.
  • Complete your essays, assignments and research papers
  • Demonstrate the fact that you had made use of different sources while writing your document.
  • Inform the reader/s regarding where to find the useful information.

Whenever you make use of an outside source to add to, support or make your ideas more significant, it’s important and necessary to give credit to the source, usually through an in-text citation.

Each and every source which you make use of in your document must appear in your final page. The source can be a book, a published periodical or journal, a website, or any other media which you used in your document. They can be referred to either as citations or references.

Reference Sheet Templates

The Importance of Making a Reference Sheet Template 

When you are making use of relevant resources in your written document, adding a list of references template at the end will give you a chance to give credit to them. Referencing is a way to acknowledge all the sources you had made use of. It’s actually a must to do this, so that you won’t get into trouble when making use of words, ideas, facts, images and other data and media in your written work. There are other important reasons why you have to include this page:

It Shows Everything You Have Read and Used

As the reader is going through the list of references, he/she will have an idea of everything that you have read and used to be able to come up with your written document.

It Shows the Depth and Extent of Your Research or Readings

When you are making a list of all your references, it shows how much reading or research you’ve done throughout the whole writing process. No matter what document you are writing, it’s important to show that you had done enough research to support what’s written in your paper.

It Allows the Reader to Find the Sources You Referred to

When your paper is being read by someone, chances are he/she will look into all the information on it. The reference page template is important so that the reader/s will easily find where the sources of everything you had cited in your paper.

It Aids in the Work of Researchers

It’s a fact that researchers rely on this page to locate the sources you had used. This is especially true when your paper will be used as a reference for similar studies and research papers. So having such a page is very useful to researchers.

It Supports and Adds Credibility to Your Arguments

When you make any kind of document which needs to be referenced, it means that you have made a study and you’re putting in your own thoughts and ideas. Adding citations and their references would support your arguments and add credibility to them. Without this, your paper and all the information on it might not seem as substantial or accurate.

Typically a document written for academic purposes contains arguments where you’re supporting one side of an issue. Your support is based on evidence and facts gathered from different sources. So referencing your sources will really help strengthen your arguments.

It Shows Academic Honesty

Properly referencing all your sources shows that you are honest about your work and everything that’s written on your paper. It demonstrates how you give credit where it’s due and you’ve done all you can to avoid charges of plagiarism. When you make use of other people’s ideas, words, facts or other such media, whether intentional or not, you can be charged with plagiarism.

This is a serious offense and it shows that you don’t have any academic integrity. This in turn can reduce the impact of your paper and render all the information on it useless and just duplicated.

As you can see, this page, even if it’s found at the very end of your paper, is really important. It’s mainly to show that you respect all the information you had used in your paper which isn’t yours. Creating this page is especially important especially if you’re planning to have your document published or shown to the general public. Now let’s take a look at the different elements which must be included in such a template.

Reference Page Templates

Basic Elements of a Reference Page Template

The Reference Sheet Template is simply a list of all the sources which you had used and cited in your paper. It’s placed right after the last page of your paper on a separate page with its own number. All the sources which you have listed on this page as well as the ones you have cited within the text must be exactly aligned. Here are most basic elements of such a template:

The Names of the Authors

When you have used books, journals and other media which have an author, you must include the name. The names of authors are written in such a way – last name, comma, first initial then a period.

In the case when there is more than one author, make sure to add in a comma as well as an ampersand (&) in between the names.

In the case when there is no author listed on the publication, you can use the name of the group or organization in place of the author’s name. However, if there is no author at all, you have to use the title in place of the author’s name.

The Date/s of Publication

The date/s of publication must be placed in a parenthesis right after the name of the author. Typically, for most kinds of sources, just the year of publication is enough.

However, in the case of magazine and newspaper articles, the days and the months should be included, right after a comma following the year of publication.

The Titles

The titles must be formatted using either plain text or italics. The use of capital letters varies, depending on the rules of formatting which need to be followed.

The Editors

If there are editor/s listed aside from the author of the publication, make use of the appropriate abbreviation – either Ed. or Eds., placed in a parenthesis after the last name of the editor.

The Volume and Issue Numbers

The volume and the issue numbers are a requirement for journal articles. When typing them, list them using numbers only and not abbreviations. Volume numbers must be italicized while issue numbers must be placed in parentheses.

The Page Numbers

The page numbers are written only using numbers, and not abbreviations, on the list.

The Places

The places of publication for books and other media are listed – city, then state, making use of the 2-letter state abbreviation. When listing the place, use the first place which is provided on the title page.

The Publishers

Write the names of the publisher which is written on the title page. You can either write the whole name or a shortened version of it.

The Retrieval Dates

When you have sources taken from the web, the retrieval date is a must. Write down the word “Retrieved” then followed by the date – month day, year.

The Web Addresses

When referencing web addresses, make sure to include the http:// with the web address. If in the case when you need to break up the address to be able to fit it into more than a single line, do so following a punctuation mark. Don’t paste the web address as a hyperlink.

These are the most basic elements, which must be included in your list of references. If some don’t apply, you don’t have to add them but if they do, include them. To help you out further, the next section deals with what needs to be included and what doesn’t need to be included in such a list.

Reference List Templates

What Needs to be Included in a List of References Template 

When making a paper or any kind of written academic document, you will be doing research on a topic and using different sources as support. So  any and everything you take and use which isn’t originally yours requires a reference. Here are the things you need to reference. When you are taking anything from:

  • Published books and journals
  • Newspapers, magazines or marketing media;
  • Videos, documentaries or any related media;
  • Websites and other online sources;
  • Interviews from tutors, lecturers and such;
  • Or when you use images or graphics..

However, in these cases, you don’t have to reference:

  • When writing your own experiences, results and observations;
  • When writing your own comments, ideas, thoughts and conclusions;
  • When you are making your own evaluations or assessments;
  • Or when you are using common or general facts.

As you can see, as long as the words, ideas and content come straight from you, you don’t need to reference them. However if you’ve taken from a source, it needs to be referenced. Let’s move on to some helpful tips for you.


Helpful Tips in Writing a Reference List Template 

Before we move on to actually writing your reference list template, let’s first discuss some helpful tips. With these tips in mind, writing the actual template will be a lot easier for you, especially if this it’s your first time making such a page.

  • The placement of this page is important. Remember, it should be placed right at the end of your paper, on a new numbered page.
  • The title of the page must be placed on top, centered with a bigger font.
  • You should use double spacing throughout the whole page.
  • List all your sources alphabetically, using the authors’ last names.
  • When using indentation, don’t use it for the first line. Only indent the lines following the first line of your reference. This is known as a hanging indent.
  • The lines which follow the first line in each reference must be indented a half inch from the left margin to make it correct.
  • All authors’ names must be written inverted. This means that the last name comes first then the first name. You can write up to seven authors in a given source. However, if the source has more than that, list all the first 6 authors then starting from the seventh author, use ellipses. After the ellipses, then you can add the last author’s name of the source.
  • If a single author made different articles and you need to reference them, list the articles in chronological order. When doing this, enter the earliest article first, going all the way to the most recent one.
  • Make sure you type in the full titles of journals, books, articles and such.
  • Make sure to use all punctuation marks and capitalizations which are used in the title of a journal.
  • Also, make sure to capitalize all the most important words in the titles of journals.
  • When making a reference to chapters, books, articles or even web pages, only capitalize the first letter of the first word in a title and subtitle, the first word right after a dash or a colon in the title and any proper nouns.
  • You don’t have to capitalize the first letter of the second word in the case of a compound word which is hyphenated.
  • Titles of longer and more significant work such as books and journals must be italicized.
  • However, for shorter and simpler work like essays or journal articles, you don’t need to underline, italicize or put quotes on the titles.

These are very simple tips but as long as you keep them in mind, you will be able to efficiently make your reference page at the end of your paper. It’s important to remember that while you are doing research, you have to be taking note of each and every source and resource you are using.

As you are doing this, you are working in an organized manner so when it’s time for you to do referencing, the whole process will be much easier. Now let’s go to the final section of this article, which is actually learning how to make such a template for your paper or written academic document. Read on and be guided by the useful steps listed below.

List of References Templates

How to Write a Reference Page Template

Once you are done writing your document, it’s important to add in a reference page template, a list of all the sources you had used. Anything significant which you had used has to go into this page so that the readers will be able to find all the sources easily. Here are some useful steps to guide you in writing this essential page:

  • While writing your paper, it’s important to take note of each and every source you used while researching. Aside from the source, also remember to include all the relevant details related to the source. The titles, the names, the dates, page numbers and all other relevant data regarding the source.
  • Keep all your notes regarding your sources organized. While you are making your notes, make sure you make a mark on the information and its source. As much as you can, keep the materials for your references all in one place so when you start writing the page, all you have to do is refer to your notes.
  • You can make source cards for all your reference sources. These are just small cards which contain all the relevant information about a source. Once written on a card, keep the cards in a safe place, preferably in alphabetical order for easier reference.
  • Keep track of all the sources you use. Usually, you will only have to include the sources which have cited or paraphrased in your document on the page. So when you’re tracking your sources, make a note of those which you actually cite and which of the references you just used as background reading.
  • There are cases though when you will have to include sources which were important to your argument even if you didn’t cite them in your writing. They don’t have to be on the actual page, but on a separate page dedicated to background references.
  • Your reference list template will be placed at the end of your written document, typically right before any glossary or appendices. Place the separate page right after the last page of your paper.
  • When typing your reference them, format them accordingly. There are specific formats and standards as set by schools so make sure to follow them. Before you type up your page, make sure to do research on formats so you know which one to use. This is important so the formatting of your references is accurate and you don’t have to change it just because the format is wrong.
  • All the names of the authors must be written down alphabetically. As soon as you’ve typed in all the included references, make sure to organize the list in alphabetical order, making use of the last names of the authors.
  • In cases where the source doesn’t have an author, make use of the first part of the title when alphabetizing it. When you have different works from the same author, you can also use the titles to determine the order in which the references will be listed.
  • Again, make sure you include each and every resource you had used in your document. This page is a compilation of all the sources you had cited. If you forget to give the reference for a source which you had cited, you might risk charges of plagiarism, even if it was totally unintentional.
  • When typing all the information on this page, make sure you use proper spacing and indentation. After you have written the references, revise it as much as you need to until you’re sure that the formatting is correct. Some formatting tips are:
  • If you use double spacing for your paper, do the same for your reference sheet template.
  • Make use of a hanging indention. This is when the very first line of each reference is situated all the way to the left while all other following lines are indented.
  • It’s important to learn how to reference books accordingly, following the correct style guide. It’s important to note that there are 2 common styles which are most often used when referencing books. Both these styles put more focus on the date of the book, making sure it’s close to the beginning of the reference.
  • It’s also important to learn how to reference journal article following the correct style guide.
  • Make use of other resources to when you are learning how to format more complex sources. If you’re curious to know all the formatting styles for sources, all you have to do is search online for sample reference lists which have different sources. Then you will see how the resources are listed and how they are formatted.
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TemplateLab August 18th, 2023