How to Get the Reference in Research: Tips From Our Experts

Writing guide
Posted on October 30, 2023

Have you ever tried to write a research paper? If so, you know that writing a good research paper is almost impossible without analyzing scientific articles, books, and journals that will help you explore the topic being discussed from multiple perspectives and form your own opinion based on the knowledge you have gained. Relying on credible sources not only makes your content more profound but also demonstrates that you have conducted extensive research and may be recognized as an expert in the field you’re in the process of exploring. Let’s focus on some tips on how to get the reference in research to make your writing logical and relevant.

Practical Recommendations on How to Get the Reference in Research

What databases should I check first?

Writing research papers requires searching and analyzing multiple databases to understand the topic being explored properly. Modern science provides researchers with numerous resources to find relevant information about the issue they’re studying. Google Scholar, Google Books, JSTOR,, ResearchGate, and others are the most popular free resources students use to find credible references for their works.

Some resources, like Canvas, require users to sign up to access their library. Still, Canvas and similar tools provide relevant, peer-reviewed sources to help you write high-quality work. These free databases contain journals and articles created by authors worldwide. Your primary task is to formulate your search request precisely and correctly, while the search results will allow you to choose any journal or article you need to support your findings.

Getting the reference; A Practical Case Sample

For example, you must write a research paper on “Depression in adults: causes, symptoms, signs, risk factors.” Here are a few crucial points to consider:

  • The references should relate to your statements. It’s important to find the reference for each statement you make in your paper to support your ideas with credible articles. In other words, if you discuss depression’s causes, symptoms, signs, risk factors, and treatment, your cited references should include articles that provide detailed research on each of these topics.
  • One topic may have different sets of related keywords. Check all the databases you can access to find the most appropriate journals and articles for your research. Considering the previous example with depression, your search requests in Google Scholar may be “depression: causes, symptoms, and treatment,” “causes of depression,” “signs of depression,” “symptoms of depression,” “depression: symptoms and treatment,” “treatment of depression,” and others.
  • The search request must be clear, precise, and logical. You need to enter specific keywords since the search results will depend on your search request, necessitating that this request be clear, precise, and logical.

Are there any tools or tips that could simplify my research?

If you want to understand how to get the reference in research, you’ll enjoy using Reference Finder because this tool is easy to use and quickly provides the most relevant articles based on your search request. Here is a detailed guide on how to use this database:

  • Step one. Determine what content in your paper needs to be supported by credible references and identify specific keywords that will help you find those sources.
  • Step two. Remember how to find references quickly: Enter the keyword in the search section and thoroughly check each journal the database has provided to choose the most appropriate one for your paper.
  • Step three. Attentively read the content of these peer-reviewed articles and highlight the parts you may use in your research. Paraphrase or utilize direct quotations to implement the articles’ parts into your paper to support your ideas and demonstrate the relevance of your conclusions.
  • Step four. Remember how to cite related literature: All the sources you use should be cited. Don’t forget to add a References page to specify each author and work used in your paper and thereby prevent plagiarism.
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When you’re searching for references, use as many web resources as possible; your university library, Canvas, Google Scholar, JSTOR, and others can provide unique sources that will make your research more interesting. You never know where you’ll locate the article you need for your research. Nevertheless, remember that all borrowed ideas should be appropriately cited to prevent plagiarism.

What is Reference in Research? Its Role and Importance

  1. Searching for references deepens your research

Some students face difficulties when aiming to understand what is reference in research. Let’s dig deeper into this topic. You explore various databases when writing a research paper; this process allows you to find the references you will use in your writing. References are a list of credible scholarly sources you have used in your paper to demonstrate the findings of other experts and the current status of the issue you’ve analyzed. Each reference must be thoroughly investigated and logically used within the writing to support your ideas or extend your arguments.

  1. References strengthen your arguments and analysis

Reference in research shows that you have conducted extensive analysis of the topics discussed, proving your ability to express your arguments related to this issue. Most teachers require students to use their university library databases when writing research papers, so if your university has a library, be sure to use it when searching for references for your course works. Remember how to get reference in research: You need to enter keywords related to your topics into the search section, and the search results will give you a list of sources potentially useful for your research. Moreover, your university library will likely contain the references you need since it frequently includes sources related to your field of study.

  1. By referencing, you avoid all troubles with plagiarism

Each reference you add to your course paper helps you avoid plagiarism, which is strictly forbidden in most universities. All the information and ideas you borrow from another author’s article should be cited in your paper in accordance with the requirements of academic integrity. These measures show your teacher that you have examined your topics from different perspectives and respect the contribution of each author to the overall development of the field you’re exploring.

Importance of Citing Sources

If you have already found relevant and credible sources and used information from the articles or books in your paper, it’s time to cite this data. Cited references will help your reader understand where you have gained particular knowledge and why you refer to specific sources.

Nicholas Evans, a professional writer at, department of ESL, shares some rules to make your cited reference look correct.

Nicholas: “Firstly, read the instructions your teacher has provided attentively. Have they specified the format for your research or course paper? If so, you should follow this format to get the highest grade for your work. APA and MLA are the most widespread formats students use today. The selected format will help you understand how to create reference in research and how to cite all the sources.

If you use APA format when writing your paper, specify the author’s last name and the year of publication in parentheses near the part you have paraphrased or added to your writing as a direct quotation to show cited references. The following example shows a cited reference in APA format:

  • The increase in the number of power plants, the widespread use of vehicles, deforestation, and landfills are the primary reasons for global warming (Smith, 2021).

You have conducted extensive searching, and the search results have demonstrated that the factors discussed above cause climate change and global warming, so you need to show that this part is cited since this information cannot be recognized as your conclusion. Citation allows you to specify the article and author you are referring to and prevents plagiarism. If your reference has 3 or more authors, you need to specify all of them on the “References” page, while your content should be cited in the following way:

  • The increase in the number of power plants, the widespread use of vehicles, deforestation, and landfills are the primary reasons for global warming (Smith et al., 2021).

In this case, “et al.” shows that the cited reference has 3 or more authors. MLA format requires students to specify the author’s last name and the page number where they found a particular piece of information to show that this part is cited. In MLA format, cited references will be written in the following way:

  • Economic, social, and political factors are the primary factors causing human rights violations (White 81).
  • Particular families avoid giving their children an opportunity to get an education due to cultural traditions, a lack of money, and the belief that education is unnecessary for them (Blake et al., 127).

These cited references show examples of sources with 1 author and 3 or more sources, respectively, while the numbers specify the pages where you found the information you’ve cited.”

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You can search for articles and journals in any free databases and web pages you have access to, but remember that it’s better to use information from indexed journals. Indexed journals are recognized as being of higher scientific quality, explaining why they are more reliable.

How to Create Reference in Research? Samples for the Main Formats

Each research paper should contain a “References” or “Works Cited” page where you indicate all the sources you have found and used throughout your searching process. Remember that your references should include information about each citation you’ve cited.

References should provide the following data: authors’ names, publication year, article title, journal title, volume number, issue number, page numbers of the article you have used, and DOI (digital object identifier).
Have a look at some examples of references in APA and MLA formats:

  • APA: Baker, E., Finks, S., & Brown M. (2023). Climate change as a global issue. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 10(4), 27-35.
  • MLA: Baker, Edward. Et al. “Climate change as a global issue.” Journal of Environmental Sciences, vol. 10, no. 4, 2023, pp. 27-35,

This citation list shows some differences between the references in MLA and APA format. For example, MLA format enables the writer to specify only one author, while APA format requires mentioning all the authors. The year of publication has different locations in these formats. MLA requires writing “vol.” and “no.” while APA allows students to write only numbers.

Notably, it’s essential to specify DOI in your references, since this information makes cited reference searching easier. Your reader may be interested in checking the article you’re referring to, and the absence of a DOI can make cited reference searching more difficult. Remember that all references should be placed in alphabetical order regardless of the paper format you use.

How to Create Reference in Research

All Questions Answered in a Nutshell: The Basics of Using References in Research

How to find references to support the arguments in a research paper?

Entering keywords related to the topics you’re exploring in the search section will locate the articles you can use in your research paper. Read these sources before writing your essay to understand what arguments you’ll discuss and what references you’ll use. Save the links to all the references that should be cited in your paper on the last page of your file to avoid losing them. You can also specify the authors’ names near the parts that will be cited to remember the articles you have used in this section and avoid missing some references.

How to get reference in research to make the paper sound logical?

Develop your arguments based on the sources that should be cited. Check whether your thoughts and ideas from the articles focus on the same topics and opinions to make your sources support your arguments. Use as many resources as possible to find credible journals you can use in your paper.

How to create reference in research paper?

Remember that all the information you borrow from other sources should be cited in your paper. Consider the format required by your instructions and create the “References” page to indicate all the sources you have used. In this section, provide all the details, such as the authors’ names, the article’s title, the publication year, the journal’s title, the volume and issue numbers, the pages where the article is located, and the DOI, and your references will be complete.

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Always try to add the DOI (digital object identifier) to your references since this information will make cited reference searching easier for your readers if they want to find the article you’ve cited in your paper. It’s always a good idea to care about your readers and make sure that they enjoy your research paper.

Getting a reference for research isn’t as tricky as it looks. Practice and hard work will make this process easier for you. Good luck!

About authors
James Snyder A Top-10 writer at
James is one of the most prominent authors on our team with more than 7 years of experience. He specializes in writing essays and coursework. James loves to work from home with a cup of hot chocolate and his cat Archibald.
Kate Roth A Top-10 writer at
Kate likes to read long stories and write essays. She’s experienced in both academic writing and marketing activities, so she can tell everything about a writer’s job in a few simple words. You can use our website to request the help of our experts anytime.
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