Likewise, you don't need to add in a gratuitous number of references from different people saying the same thing.
The exception to the latter rule is if you're trying to demonstrate the multiplicity of work in an area.
Because it's unlikely to be common knowledge, you should have some kind of source that you're drawing upon.
That means that someone who came along and read your work and wanted to scrutinise the argument that you were making could then go to that source and find out if it says what you claim it does.
For example, you might make the claim that there are a thousand chickens stolen from farms around the world every day.
It would have to be common knowledge for you to be able to say that without a citation.With that said, let's say that you spend 10 hours reading in order to write a 2500 word essay. You could probably read a couple of books, maybe 10 articles in depth, or you could read 10-20 if you skimmed some and close-read others.In addition, you're probably going to supplement that peer-reviewed material with some newspaper articles and grey literature, especially if you're trying to make a lot of fact-based claims or your essay has contemporary relevance.Fundamentally, references are a way of acknowledging work that has been done before yours, as well as a way of showing where your evidence for a particular claim is coming from.A lot of students worry that citations are mainly a way of catching them out: that their lecturers or tutors or examiners are looking for places in which they've failed to read the things that they to read, but it's not always your fault if you don't know that it exists and therefore haven't cited it.That means you should have references where you've used someone else's work to inform your own ideas.In addition, you should have references when you're making an empirical claim (one that is based on observations about the world) and you need to back that claim up.You shouldn't just be dropping references into your work if they're not anything.You don't need to reference the Oxford English Dictionary in order to define every single word (or indeed any word - seeing a dictionary reference actually activates the gag reflex in most lecturers).Given that all the references are likely to come in the body of your essay, and that takes about 75% of the word count, then you're probably looking at one peer-reviewed reference for roughly every 200 words, based on a 2500 word essay.I'm pretty comfortable with that as a figure, but I'm going to caveat it in the next paragraph. You should be critically engaging with the works that you cite.