How to Write a Bibliography for an Essay

A bibliography or list of works cited enables readers of your essay or research paper to find your sources for quotes and facts, thus providing your arguments and conclusions greater validity. A bibliography also gives your readers a place to begin their own research. With a little practice, you will have no trouble writing the entries to your bibliographies.

Write the bibliographic entries for books by beginning with the author's name, last name first, and follow it with the book's title. Then you write the city the book was published in, the name of the publisher and the year the book was published. For example: Doe, John. My Life. Capital City. Number One Publishing. 2010.

Write a newspaper article bibliography entry starting with the name of the writer, last name first, and followed by the article's title. Then write the newspaper's name and the day, month and year of the issue. Finally, you write the page number of the article. For example: Doe, John. My Newspaper Article. Capital City Daily. 1 January 2010. A1.

Write a bibliographic entry for a magazine article by stating with the writer's name, last name first. You follow it with the article title, the publication name, the date of publication and the page or pages the article is on. For example: Doe, John. My Magazine Article. Capital City Weekly. 1 January 2010. 1-5.

Write website citations by listing the a writer, if identified. The bibliographic entry begins with his name, last name first. If your source is a specific page or article on the website, write its title. Then write the name of the website and the site's sponsor. If available, write the date the page or article was uploaded and the date you accessed it. This is important as it is so easy for things to change on the Internet. Finally, write the complete URL address. For example: Doe, John. My Blog Post. John Doe's Blog. Major Internet Corporation. 1 January 2010. 2 January 2010.

  • Once you have written all of the entries for your bibliography, you must arrange them in alphabetical order.
  • Determine whether you must follow a particular style. Depending upon your subject and course, a format such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), may be required but you should never assume that you need to use a particular one. The differences among styles are important. Check with your professor or teacher which style she prefers before you begin writing your bibliography.
About the Author

Chris Heinrich began writing professionally in 2001. As a journalism student at Gonzaga University, he worked as an editor and contributor to the student newspaper, "The Gonzaga Bulletin" and the school's opinion and arts journals, "Charter" and "Reflection." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Gonzaga.

Photo Credits
  • shelves of library books image by nextrecord from