Criminal Justice Scholar: Referencing

keep-calm-and-reference-everything-2Referencing in academic writing is the way to acknowledge the scholarly literature used within the essay. Referencing allows the audience to determine the quality and relevance of the scholarly literature used to help form the writer’s positions or argument. Referencing allows the reader to find the original source used. Referencing is a critical part of acknowledging the scholars/researchers who produced the article. For an academic paper to be credible the analysis must be based on the academic evidence within the scholarly literature that is referenced.

What Do I Need to Cite?

Referencing demonstrates to the audience the wide range of scholarly literature used to support the paper main ideas.ref-logo-

Referencing in academic writing is a two-part process.

  1. The first part of referencing is the in-text citation which is included in the body of the work.
  2. The second part is adding the scholarly source used to your reference list according to APA Style 7th edition standards.

Reference-list_300x300pxIn-text citations go in or after the sentence in which the scholarly literature was used.


Smith and Jones (2016) stated that using reference adds credibility to the academic essays.

Referencing is critical part of academic writing (Smith & Jones, 2016).

Example of a reference formatted in APA Style.

Smith, J. A., & Jones, C. T. (2016). The importance of using references in                       criminal justice essays. Criminal Justice Quarterly, 1(2), 112-115.                    

How Many References Should I Use?

This will depend on the topic and assignment instructions. Criminal justice students should use and stay within is the assignment instructions and expectations to the required length of the paper. Shorter papers will have less references and longer academic written projects will have additional references.

A good recommendation is that for every 1000 words you should have approximately 10 references. This is just a suggestion and not a requirement. Remember the key to writing a quality criminal justice essay is to is demonstrate critical thinking on the content, and frame your analysis from the current scholarly literature.


About the Author

Mark Bond

Mark Bond has worked in law enforcement and has been a firearms instructor for more than 33 years. His law enforcement experience includes the military, local, state and federal levels as a police officer and criminal investigator. Mark obtained a BS and MS in criminal justice, and M.Ed in educational leadership with Summa Cum Laude honors. Mark has a doctoral degree in education (EdD) with a concentration in college teaching and learning. Mark is currently an associate professor of criminal justice at a university and adjunct professor of administration of justice studies at a community college.