Essay writing – evidence and references

Evidence is important in essay writing as it helps support the writer’s main idea or argument.

Evidence can include quotations taken directly from the text(s), or references to parts of the text which support your point of view.

It is important that the reader knows why the quotation or reference is significant to the writer’s argument. It must be explained how the quote or reference supports the writer’s position.

Tips for putting direct quotes into essays:

  • Use quotation marks to enclose the quoted passage.
  • Use an ellipsis (3 full stops … ) to show that words have been omitted within the text being quoted.
  • Use a diagonal slash to indicate a line break, as occurs in poetry.
  • Longer quotes, such as a whole sentence or paragraph, or several lines of poetry, should be presented on a new line and indented.

A quotation might look like this in your essay:

  • Much of the written text of The Kraken is the language of opposites, which cleverly reinforces the theme of the book. Moreover, mottos such as “Where there is light, there must also be darkness” also heighten the anticipation of danger in the reader.

If you use quotes, you need to reference them in your bibliography at the end of your essay.

A bibliography is a list of references in alphabetical order of the authors’ names and the titles of their work.

A bibliography may look like this:

  • Crew, Gary and McBride, Marc, 'The Kraken', Melbourne, Lothian, 2001.
  • Coen, Joel and Coen, Ethan, 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Film, 2000.


  • External engagement


  • Learning

Business Unit:

  • Communication and Engagement
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