How To Reference a Book

When you write a term or research paper, you are required to provide a detailed bibliography or reference list where all the sources you've cited or referred to in the paper are required to be documented. Sources can include any material from books, articles, newspapers, magazines, journals, encyclopedias, films, CD-ROMs, etc.

There are many styles of listing a bibliography at the end of any academic paper, and you should choose the appropriate style depending on the subject. The different methods of referencing books under these for styles are described below.

Step 1

APA format. The APA or American Psychological Association style is used when writing on education, psychology, sociology, etc. The bibliography is termed as a reference list and provides the origin and details of the various material quoted or referred to in your paper. When providing a reference to books used in your writing, the author's name - last name first and first name next - should be listed first, followed by year, title, place of publication and publisher. If there is more than one author to be cited, use an ampersand sign before listing the last author in the sequence. The title of the book should be either underlined or highlighted in italics.

Step 2

MLA format. MLA stands for the Modern Language Association of America; this style is used mostly in works relating to humanities' subjects. In this style, book references are sequenced in the following order: author's last name, first name, title of the book (underlined), edition (if available), place of publication, name of the publisher and year of publication.

Step 3

Harvard style. In this style, book referencing is done in the following sequence: author last name, first name or initials, year of publication, title of book (in italics), sub-title (if available and in italics), edition (if more than one exists), name of publisher and place of publication.

Step 4

ACS style. ACS stands for American Chemical Society, and provides guidelines for writing and referencing academic or research work related to chemistry.

Step 5

CMS style. CMS stands for Chicago Manual of Style. Sequence of referencing followed is: author's surname, title, edition, etc (separated by full stops), and publication details.

Step 6

CBE format. CBE or Council for Science Editors was known previously as the Council for Biology Editors; hence the abbreviation CBE still continues to be used. As is apparent from the title, this format is used primarily for scientific works. The format used is: citations begin on the same page as the original text, and follows a sequence similar to the APA style.

Step 7

Other styles. There are several other styles which are in use, depending upon what is required to be used for a specific type of work. These include the Vancouver style, Law, Physics, Turabian, documentary-notes, etc.

When you write an academic or research paper, it is important to adopt the recommended style for the entire work, including formatting, language, use of syntax, table of contents, footnotes and endnotes and of course, the bibliography or the reference section. What is described above are the formats for referencing books, there can be minor variations in how other sources such as journals, articles, etc can be referenced.


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