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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Further Readings


Further readings provide references to sources that the author has deemed useful to a reader seeking additional information about the research problem but that is not essential to understanding the overall paper. The list of further readings contains sources that have not been cited in the research paper.

Structure and Writing Style

Depending on the writing style you are asked to use [e.g., APA], a list of further readings should be located at the end of your paper after the endnotes or references but before any appendices. The list should begin under the heading "Further Readings." Items are generally arranged alphabetically by the author's last name but can be categorized under sub-headings by material type [e.g., books, articles, websites, etc.] or content type [e.g., theory, methods,etc.].

If you choose to include a list of further readings, keep in mind the following:

  1. The references to further readings are not critcal to understanding the central research problem. In other words, if further readings were not included, the citations in the paper would be sufficent for the reader to evaluate the credibility of your literature review and analysis of the existing research on the topic.
  2. Although further readings represent additional or suggested sources, they still must be viewed as relevant to the research problem. Don't include further readings simply to show off your search skills. Even though they may not be central to understanding the research problem, each item must relate in some way to helping the reader locate additional information or obtaining a broader understanding of the topic.
  3. Do not include basic survey texts or reference books like encyclopedias and dictionaries. Including these types of sources in a list of further readings implies reference to either very general or very specific information that likely should have been integrated into the text of your paper.

To identify possible titles to include in a list of further readings, review the sources you found while researching your paper but that you ended up not citing. Review these sources and, playing the role of reader, think about which of these items may provide additional insight or background information about the research problem you have investigated.

Soles, Derek. The Essentials of Academic Writing. 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning Houghton Mifflin, 2010; "Further Reading" and "Wikipedia Talk: Further Reading." Wikipedia.