Essay Writing: References and Bibliography


When writing a longer essay for A-level which deals with multiple texts it is important to reference your quotations. This will help with the fluidity of your writing as you will not need to consistently re-introduce texts as you move between your sources and primary material. To do so in Microsoft Word, select the ‘References’ tab and select ‘Insert Footnote’. This will automatically trigger a numerical list of your sources at the bottom of the page.

In your footnote you should include the author, title of the text and the page number. The formatting of this should follow the expectations in your Bibliography in that titles of texts should be italicised whilst titles of articles should have a single apostrophe. When referencing a drama text, instead of page references use the scene references. When referencing the same text in quick succession you do not need to write the name of the author and text out repeatedly. Instead in this case, use ‘Ibid.’ if your quotations all stem from the same text directly succeeding the full reference. If you have also made a full reference, see the example of Othello, and wish to footnote quotations again later in your essay from this source then you should use ‘Opcit.’ as this indicates the full reference has already been used but not immediately before the subsequent footnotes.


At the end of an extensive essay where you have used wider critical reading or theory, you will need to indicate the material you have used to formulate these views. It is an important process in both demonstrating the depth of your research and avoiding potential issues of plagiarism by accurately attributing sources. It is important to reference wider critical reading as it pertains to your topic if you comment directly on how these ideas have shaped your own responses. As a rule, ensure that you offer a personal and assured engagement with your primary texts as your main focus. Secondary reading is an excellent way to bolster your critical response.

If you have quoted from an article or essay in a magazine or periodical:

Author, ‘Name of the Article of Essay’, Name of Journal or Periodical, Vol. 1, No.1, (2021) p.1

If you have quoted from a novel or whole critical text by one author:

Author, Title of Book, (Publisher: Year of publication), p.1

When referring to the title of an article or an essay, these should always have a single apostrophe and the titles should be capitalised. Only the name of the academic journal or the title of the book is expected to be italicised, make sure you make this distinction in your formatting.

It is also important that the Bibliography is presented in alphabetic order by the surname of the author.

Here is an example of the beginning of a Bibliography:

Aldridge Alexandra, ‘The Origins of Dystopia’, Clockwork Worlds: Mechanized Environments in SF eds. Richard D. Erlich and Thomas P. Dunn (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983),  

Ashcroft Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts second ed. (London: Routledge, 2000),  

Atwood Margaret, ‘Haunted by the Handmaid’s Tale’, The Guardian Friday 20th January 2012, 

Atwood Margaret, The Handmaid’s Tale (London: Vintage Books, [1985] 1996),  

Atwood Margaret, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake ‘In Context’, PMLA Vol. 119 No. 3 (May 2004), pp.513-517. 

Atwood Margaret, In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination (London: Virago, 2011),  

Atwood Margaret, Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (London: Virago Press, 2003),  

Atwood Margaret, ‘Using What You Are Given: An Interview with Jo Brans’, Margaret Atwood: Conversations ed. Earl G. Ingersoll (London: Virago, 1992),  

Audrain Charles F. And David E. Apter, Political Protest and Social Change: Analyzing Politics (London: Macmillan Press, 1995),  

Baccolini Raffaella and Tom Moylan, Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and Dystopian Imagination ed. Raffaella Bacconlini and Tom Moylan (London: Routledge, 2003),  

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