How to Write a Bibliography: Formats, Examples & Steps to Follow

Write a Bibliography

A bibliography, or a list of works cited, is an essential part of any research paper. It is a compilation of every source you used to write your paper, listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name. This article will talk about how to write a bibliography,  formats to follow and examples.

There are different ways to format a bibliography, but the most common is to list the author’s last name, first initial, the title of the work, place of publication, and year of publication.

What is Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of all sources used in writing a research paper, articles, or any other document. Here, the writer must mention the author’s name, name of work, and title of the publication on which he has cited information. This list will be present at the end section of an article or research project so that it becomes easy for readers to know about the source from where certain facts have been taken.

What is Bibliography Format?

The most common bibliography format is to list the author’s last name, first initial, the title of the work, place of publication, and year of publication. However, there are different formats you can follow. Check with your professor or teacher to see which format they prefer.

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The main objective behind any bibliography format is to provide the data in an accurate and systematic way so that other researchers can easily trace the original resource using only these references.

There are basically two types of bibliography formats viz., author-date style or footnote style.

Author-Date Style:

This type of citation is used when you need to cite more than one work from a single author/editor within one sentence. Details like the author’s surname and the year of publication are provided in parentheses with the full stop after each individual piece of information. This type of citation is generally used in scientific articles by students or researchers who are citing various sources within one sentence.

Footnote Style:

This style is mostly used in essays, term papers, journals, magazines, etc. when you have to refer to a source multiple times. Each bibliographical entry is given at the end of the paper along with its corresponding page number if it is directly referred to in your essay. It is followed by a footnote symbol which makes it easier for researchers to find out original references without bothering about any extra information.

General Entry Format

The most commonly accepted format for book bibliography is as follows:

Author’s Surname, Initial(s). Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Eg.: Smith, J. The Catcher in the Rye. London: Penguin Books, 1991.

If there are multiple authors/editors, list them all in the same order as they appear on the book cover.

If you are citing a particular part or chapter of a book, include the relevant information after the title of the book.

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Eg.: Tan, E. “The Use of Colour in Asian Decoration.” In The Nature of Colour: A Review by East and Asian Authors, edited by Eva Tan and Alex Ball, 38-49. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet.

What Should be Included in a Bibliography?

When writing a book bibliography, you should always include the following information:

  • The authors’ names.
  • Title of the book.
  • Place of publication and the Publisher.
  • Year of publication.
  • The page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)

How to Write a Bibliography: Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a book bibliography:

Step 1. Choose the Type of Citation Method

There are basically two types of citations – in-text and reference list format.

In-Text Citation: You can include your bibliographical information in the text (not at the end) when you refer to it in your work like, “According to Jones (2010)”, or “As identified by Smith (2011)” etc.

Reference List Entry: This type of citation appears at the end section after compiling all research materials, and must be listed in alphabetical order according to authors’ surnames. Here, there should not be any such phrases mentioning year which would lead to confusion regarding the publication date.

Step 2: Create a Bibliography List

Start by creating a new document in your word processing software and save it as “Bibliography” or any other similar name. Then, type the following information for each source you have used in your project:

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Author’s Surname, Initial(s). Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Eg.: Tan, E. The Nature of Colour: A Review by East and Asian Authors. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2010.

If there are multiple authors/editors, list them all in the same order as they appear on the book cover.

If you are citing a particular part or chapter of a book, include the relevant information after the title of the book.

Eg.: Tan, E. “The Use of Colour in Asian Decoration.” In The Nature of Colour: A Review by East and Asian Authors, edited by Eva Tan and Alex Ball, 38-49. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2010.

Step 3: Arrange Your Sources in Alphabetical Order

Once you have entered all your information, arrange them in alphabetical order according to the authors’ surnames. This will make it easier for your readers to find the sources they need.

Step 4: Check Your Formatting

Make sure that your bibliography list is correctly formatted with hanging indents (where each line after the first starts at the left margin of the paper) and double-spaced text.

Step 5: Print and Proofread

Print out a copy of your bibliography list and proofread it carefully for any errors.

Step 6: Save as a PDF File

If you are going to submit your work electronically, save your bibliography list as a PDF file.

So How Is a Bibliography Different from a “Works Cited” or “References” List?

A bibliography is a list of sources used in the preparation of an academic paper or another formal document, while a “works cited” or “references” list refers to the actual resources themselves. For example, a one-page essay may have a bibliography that lists several books and articles to help readers locate full versions of information or further reading about a subject.

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A longer work such as a thesis may include footnotes referring to source material integral to the text itself. In this case, no separate reference works are created, because any citations appear within the main body of writing itself. In contrast, the materials listed in a references section contain full bibliographic information for each source used in preparing the manuscript. This includes all details necessary to locate the work, including author, title, publisher location, and date of publication.

What is the Difference Between an Appendix and a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of sources used in the preparation of an academic paper or another formal document, while an appendix contains supplementary material that could be useful to readers but was not large enough to include within the main text. For example, a long paper may include an appendix containing additional details such as tables and graphs for statistical analysis. However, only the most essential information about each source would appear in the bibliography itself.

For example, “Appendix I: Methodology” might contain more intricate detail on research methods if this information had already been introduced into the main body of work prior to being mentioned in Appendix I. Readers who are interested in more details concerning how data was collected and analyzed can refer to Appendix I instead of flipping through the entire paper to try and find this information. In contrast, a bibliography would simply list the author’s name, the title of the book or article, and other key publication details.

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Final Thoughts

When creating a bibliography, it is important to be as accurate and complete as possible. Double-check all information against the sources themselves, and make sure that the formatting is correct. Also, remember to alphabetize your sources by author surname. By following these simple steps, you can create a professional and polished bibliography that will help to enhance the quality of your work.

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