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How To Write Reference in Assignment – Ultimate Guide for 2024

how to write reference for assignment
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You’ve put in a lot of hard work to write a detailed assignment, and suddenly, you realize there’s another bigger challenge: writing the references. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? For many students, the question “how to write reference in an assignment” is more challenging than writing the assignment itself. However, with a strong basic knowledge of what references are and how to approach them, you can tackle it effectively. This blog serves as a detailed guide for students in 2024 who are trying to figure out how to write assignment references.

What Is Reference in Assignments?

Reference for an assignment is the list of sources you have relied on for reading, researching and supporting your arguments in an assignment. A typical reference or citation would consist of the name of the author, title of the book or work, page number and year of publishing.

Why Is Reference Needed in Assignments?

Failing to reference the sources in an assignment while you have borrowed ideas from someone’s work can be considered an act of plagiarism. But that is not the only reason for needing references in assignments. Let’s find out the importance of reference in the below points. 

  • References save you from being expelled from the program due to committing plagiarism.
  • References are needed in assignments to prove students’ academic integrity.
  • Using references for assignments improves your ability to build on existing literature.
  • References allow your readers to verify your claims by referring to the sources you mention.
  • References add weight and authority to a work that could otherwise be easily ignored.

Different Styles of Reference in A Written Assignment

When you get an assignment to write on, one of the instructions you will get to follow is the referencing style. Knowing the style is necessary to have a fair idea of how to put references in an assignment. Oftentimes, the choices of these styles are associated with the subject. For instance, APA (American Psychological Association) Style is commonly subjects like education, psychology and sociology. Let’s explore the different styles of references below.

APA (American Psychological Association)

APA (American Psychological Association) style is a highly popular referencing and citation style used in the writing of subjects like psychology, education and sociology. When you choose this style for your reference, you must include an in-text citation with the name of the author and year followed by a complete reference list at last.

In-text citation: McClain, 2024

Reference: McClain, John (2024). Title of the Book. Publisher.


Harvard Style

Harvard is a citation style known for its simplicity and therefore widely preferred in academic writings. Its notable features include in-text citations with author and year, more or less identical to APA style. For reference, a comprehensive list of every source used in the research with publication details is to be given. Popular subjects that follow this citation style include business and social science. 

In-text citation: Francis, 2024

Reference: Francis, Jude, 2024. *Title of the Book*. Publisher.

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

If you are a language or literature student, MLA (Modern Language Association) is the most suitable referencing style to use. In addition, students of humanities and sometimes sociology are also encouraged to use this in their academic writing projects. The author is given priority in this citation. Its in-text citation would contain the last name of the author followed by the page number of the book.

In-text citation: (McClain 68)

McClain, John. *Title of the Book*. Publisher, 2024.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS)

What gives the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) a special place among citation styles is that it doesn’t limit its use to specific disciplines although students of history and sociology tend to prefer it mostly. You can use it without boundaries of discipline. If you are struggling to decide how to write online reference in assignment, go with this style for its flexibility. Unlike APA or MLM, CMOS offers two separate systems for referencing and citation which students can opt for based on their subject requirements. For instance, Notes and Bibliography for Humanities and author-date style for social and natural science programs.

Notes and Bibliography:

In-Text Citation (Footnote/Endnote): John McClain, *Title of the Book* (New York: Alpha Books, 2024), 105.

Bibliography: McClain, John. *Title of the Book*. New York: Alpha Books, 2025.


In-Text Citation: (McClain 2024, 135)

Reference List: McClain, John. 2025. *Title of the Book*. New York: Alpha Books.

How to Write References in Assignment?

When writing an assignment, providing proper referencing and citation is important. The question “How to write a reference for assignment?” needs to be addressed based on the specific citation style you are using, as there are slight differences in each style. Here, our team of PhD experts provide an example of citing a reference source in different citation styles, including both in-text citations and references. 

Let’s assume that the book title is “The Future of Bitcoin in eCommerce,” published by Omega Books in New Delhi in 2024, and the author is Ashok Chauhan. You want to cite page 254 from this book as your reference. How do we do it across different citation styles for your assignment? Let’s find out with the help of this ‘how to write reference in assignment example.’

APA Style

In-text citation:

(Chauhan, 2024, p. 254)

Reference list:

Chauhan, A. (2024). The future of Bitcoin in eCommerce. Omega Books.

Harvard Style

In-text citation:

(Chauhan, 2024, p. 254)

Reference list:

Chauhan, A., 2024. The Future of Bitcoin in eCommerce. New Delhi: Omega Books.

MLA Style

In-text citation:

(Chauhan 254)

Reference list:

Chauhan, Ashok. The Future of Bitcoin in eCommerce. Omega Books, 2024.

Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS)

In-text citation (author-date):

(Chauhan 2024, 254)

In-text citation (notes and bibliography):

Ashok Chauhan, The Future of Bitcoin in eCommerce (New Delhi: Omega Books, 2024), 254.


Chauhan, Ashok. The Future of Bitcoin in eCommerce. New Delhi: Omega Books, 2024.

How to Handle Special Cases When Citing Sources in Assignments?

There won’t always be the ideal scenario where you have a book by a single author with the exact page number for in-text or reference citations for your assignment. There are a number of special circumstances, such as multiple authors, no authors at all, or using video footage or interviews as sources instead of books. How do you add references in such situations? Here, we find out.

Multiple Writers:

In-text citation: (McClain, & Williams, 2024)

Reference list: McClain, A. & Williams, B. (2024). Title of the Book. Publisher.

No Author:

In-text citation: (“Title of the Book/Article,” 2024)

Reference list: Title of the Book/Article. (2024). Name of the Journal, volume(issue), and page numbers. If it is an online publication, mention the URL

No Date:

In-text citation: (Anonymous, n.d.)

Reference list: Anonymous. (n.d.). Title of the Document. Publisher.

Using Video Interview as Reference:

In-text citation: (Interviewee’s Last Name, year)

Reference list: Interviewee’s Last Name, First Initial. (Year, Month and Day). Title of the Interview [Interview]. Name of the Website. URL

Secondary Source:

In-text citation: (cited in Author 1, Year (E.g., McClain, 2024)

Reference: Author 1, Year, Title of the Source, Publisher (E.g., McClain, J. (2023) Future of Renewable Energy Sources. Omega Books 

Author2. (year). Title of the Source, Publisher. [Authored by Author1]. E.g. Micheal, H. (2024). Upcoming Trends in Recyclable Energy [Authored by McClain]. Alpha Books

Importance of Reference in An Assignment

In formal academic writing like assignments, including references is inevitable. It demonstrates that your paper is not a superfluous one with random thought but rather a seriously researched one. Here are a few reasons highlighting the importance of knowing how to write assignment references.

To acknowledge the original work:

When you borrow ideas from someone and use them in your assignment, it is important to give credit to the original creator. This shows you are relying on honest practices. 

To prove your research scope:

References are a great way to show that you have done ample research on the topic covering maximum existing literature on the topic. It adds more credibility to your work. 

To substantiate the authenticity of the thought:

When discussing a topic and presenting findings without providing references, even if the points are impressive, their authenticity may be compromised due to the lack of proper citations.

To stay clear of plagiarism charges:

Universities carefully scan every assignment sentence for plagiarism. Advanced plagiarism checks are now standard practice everywhere. So, if your work contains any uncredited ideas from elsewhere, they can easily be flagged.

To establish your academic integrity:

Giving citations or references in assignments is the best chance to reiterate your academic integrity. It verifies that your assignment is credible and trustworthy. 


References are an essential requirement in academic writing. Even the stalwarts in specific subjects make sure that their work is built on existing literature by properly citing their reference sources. 

We hope you had a great learning experience from reading our blog on How to write reference in assignment. If you have any specific questions still, feel free to ask our experts by writing them in the comments below.


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