Useful Advice On How To Reference A Website In An Essay

Referencing a website in an essay can be an incredibly challenging thing to do if you have never done it before. The last thing that you want to do is be accused of is copying someone else’s work, or plagiarism. However, the world has moved on considerably since the days of encyclopedias. While reference books are still very much part and parcel of academic life the internet now has a tremendously important role to play. So, in case you were curious, here is my useful advice on how to reference a website in an essay:

Make sure you have actually used the website

This might seem like somewhat of a moot point. However, there is no point simply referencing a website for reference sake. (A lot of students for some reason seem to think that this will make them seem more knowledgeable, when in fact the opposite is true) The contents of the website need to have actually be relevant to your paper in order for you to reference it.

Ask the web owners permission

While this may not always be possible, it is good manners to ask for the permission of the website owner before referencing them in the paper. By doing this, not only will you be protecting yourself from any allegations of impropriety BUT they may also have something of additional value to bring to the table.

Referencing in the bibliography

This will of course, depend upon how long your paper is, as to whether or not it warrants a bibliography. If it is appropriate then you may reference the name of the website as well as a link to it.

Make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow

If you decide that it is more appropriate to include your reference in the main body, then you must ensure that it in no way disrupts the flow. The last thing that you want is for it to seem clunky, or awkward. Essays are notoriously convoluted without making the process any harder!

Don’t use shortened versions of URLS

I don’t know why anyone would think that it was appropriate to use a URL shortening tool. However, apparently a lot of students do. Not only does this look incredibly tacky and is not at all worthy of an academic paper, it also fails miserably to give proper credit. It also makes you look cheap.

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