The reference page is one of the essential parts of an academic paper. This is where you put all your citations for sources, such as books, articles, websites, and interviews.
Ideally, it shows readers how well-researched your paper is and whether or not you have plagiarized anything from other sources.
With such importance, it is often confusing whether you should count it as a page or not. More so, if the topic you are writing is hectic or there is insufficient material. And in most instances, the answers can be contradicting.
So, does the reference page count as a page? This post answers this question, plus whether it counts towards the word limit.
Does the Reference Page Count as a Page
Generally, the reference page does not count as a page because it is really not part of your content. However, if it is about page numbers, it counts as a page.
This means it will have its page number when numbering your essay. Nevertheless, when it comes to page limits, it does not count as a page because it does not contain any written content apart from the sources.
This page lists all of the sources you used in your paper, and it looks different from other pages in your project because it contains only information about the sources you used, not any writing from your own essay.
You should write them as if they were standard text, but instead of using them in the body of your paper, put them in the bibliography at the end. But despite this general rule, if your instructor directs otherwise from the norm, it is paramount to follow their instructions.
This is because universities and instructors may have specific guidelines for several reasons. So, if your professor directs you to count the reference page as a page or not to count it, follow what they direct you.
Do the References Page Count Towards Word Limit?
Depending on your referencing and formatting style, the reference page may or may not count toward the word limit. Additionally, it will depend on instructions given by your professor on whether to use the reference page to get the total word count.
The American Psychology Association (APA) rule is to count every word from the tile page to the reference page to get the total word count. Therefore, footnotes, references, figures, captions, headings, tables, and quotations will be counted.
But as mentioned, sometimes your instructor may advise you to exclude the words in the reference page in the word count. This may be mainly because they are interested in your actual content and not the sources, which are generally not hard to get.
The reference page does not count towards the word limit in other styles like MLA. This means footnotes, endnotes, and other similar parts do not matter. Furthermore, the most crucial part of an academic paper is the prose part consisting of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Does the Title Page and Reference Page Count for Page Limit
The reference and title page do not count for page limits for most academic papers. This is because they only contain identifying information and sources, respectively. Thus, they do not contain content for your document or explain your topic.
The purpose of the reference list is to provide readers with an alphabetized list of all sources cited in your paper. On the other hand, the title page is more like an identifying page as it contains your name, course, paper title, and professor’s name.
Nevertheless, your college and professor can specify whether the title and reference page will count for the page limit. Some colleges require these two pages to count as part of the page limits, while others do not.
Thus, there is no one-fit-all rule; it depends on your college’s rules. But generally, for assignment purposes, the page limit includes your article made up of the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Can a Reference Page Be Two Pages?
A reference page can be two pages if the list of sources is too many to fit on one page. This is common if you are writing a relatively long paper or the instructions require using a specific minimum number of sources.
However, you must not retype the word references if the reference list spills over to the next page. All you need to do is continue typing your sources generally as you would when typing the body of the paper.
Further, keeping references to one page is a good idea if possible. If the reference list goes onto the second page, ensure to follow the same style and separate each citation with a line so that there is a clear distinction between one reference and another.