Monday, July 2, 2012


          One important distinction between bibliography and referencing is necessary to explain. I have observed that many young researchers are applying these two terms side by side without understanding the difference between them. Referencing is the part of bibliography and both are located at the end of thesis or article. Bibliography is a list of sources which were consulted by the author to produce current document. It is a general list without specifying where any particular source was employed.
          On the other hand, reference is a list of sources which are covered through citation. It is alphabetically ordered list of all citations produced in the document. Whether it is reference or bibliography they maintain a specific standard like APA or MLA format. Understanding of formats is important as they provide detail solution to compile the document. These formats or styles tell authors about fount sizes, page margins, line spacing, page numbering, listings, quotations etc. One should not be afraid about these formats. Nowadays number of online sources is available which guide writers to set the specific format. Microsoft Word has built in function which allows word document into the specific formats. Wikipedia is a good source to see for different styles. Researchers can also use online reference management solutions. One can easily take advantage from the GPL open source free solutions.

          The citation or referencing styles are also known as “Parenthetical Referencing” or Harvard Referencing System. They are brief citation methods to reference any particular source. The most popular styles are American Psychological Association (APA), and the Modern Language Association (MLA). APA referencing style is also known as Author-Date method. The MLA referencing style is also known as Author-Title or Author-Page method. Following two examples are showing referencing of Journal in MLA and APA formats.
  • MLA STYLE (Author-Title Method or Author-Page Method) First Name, Second Name. Title of an Article." Title of a Journal 12 Aug. 1999: 23.
  • APA STYLE  (Author-Date Method) First Name, Second Name. (1999, 12 August). Title of an article. Title of a Journal, 212, 23.

          These citations are used while writing research thesis or an article. The necessary information required to use citation includes; authors’ name, book or article title, book/journal/newspaper title, publisher, date of publication, page number etc. or books we may include ISBN numbers also. These formats differs mostly in title styles, headings and sub-headings, margins, in-text citations, online in-text citations, block quotes, etc. Besides researchers should also take care of the standardization in fount size, page numbering, page margins, line spacing etc. I advise that researchers must go through these formats before they sit for compiling final document. Google search engine can produce excellent resources in this regards. Wikipedia has a good article on “Citation”
(Author: Muhammad Azeem)

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