References Cited (or References)

A Reference Cited section lists only those references cited in the paper. A References section (bibliography), on the other hand, is a more inclusive list of all references used in producing the paper, including those books and papers used to obtain background knowledge that may not be cited in the paper. Your choice will depend on how you use your references. You will probably cite all the references you read as you prepare to write your paper and therefore should have a References Cited section. Use the format at the end of this appendix as an example. In the text of the paper, cite the references using the author's name and year. For example:

The innate agonistic behavior of the male Siamese fighting fish has been widely studied (Simpson, 1968).

Simpson (1968) has described the agonistic behavior of the male Siamese fighting fish.

Here are two examples of journal references as would appear at the end of a published article:

Forsman, E. D., E. C. Meslow, and H. M. Wight. 1984. Distribution and biology of the spotted owl in Oregon. Wildlife Monographs, 87: 1-64.

Lande, R. 1988. Dempgraphic models of the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Oecologia, 75: 601-607.

Here is an example of a book reference as would appear at the end of a published article:

Lande, R., and G. F. Barrowlough. 1987. Effective population size, genetic variation, and their use in population management. In, Viable Populations for Conservation (M. E. Soule, ed.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

* There is no single, universally accepted way to list a reference; formats vary within the biological literature. Convince yourself by finding articles in Science, Nature, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, etc. You’ll find that the referencing format varies slightly for each of these top journals. I recommend the above format for your I.R.P.

The following sources are recommended to give additional help and examples in scientific writing:

Gray, L.S., J. Dickey, and R. Kosinski. Writing Guide. Clemson, SC: Clemson University, 1988.

(This unpublished writing guide was used in the preparation of this appendix.)

McMillan, V.E. Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Moore, R. Writing to Learn Biology. New York: Saunders College Publishing, 1992.

Pechenik, J.A. A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Dunski, J.F., N.A. Durso, J.M. Hay and R.J. Cyr (1995) Writing in the Biology Curriculum, 1995.


As you begin writing your paper, refer to the following list for hints on how to make your writing stronger:

  1. Write clearly in short, logical, but not choppy sentences.
  2. Use past tense in the Abstract, Materials and Methods, and Results sections. Also use past tense in the Introduction and Discussion sections when referring to your experiment.
  3. Write in grammatically correct English.
  4. When referring to the scientific name of an organism, the genus and species should be in italics or underlined. The first letter of the genus is capitalized, but the species is written in all lowercase letters; for example, Drosophila melanogaster.
  5. Use metric units.

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