How to Create & Organize a Bibliography Page
A bibliography page is a key component of any research paper. It gives your reader the opportunity to see exactly where you found your information, thus not only providing them with the ability to further research your points, but also adding credibility to your work. It is important to include every source you have used in preparing your paper, even if you do not directly reference it in your paper. This assures the reader that you have not plagiarized your findings, thus cementing your integrity.
Choose your sources for your research paper. Sources are the backbone of the entire research paper, and writing cannot begin without them. Most forms of media can be used, ranging from books and scientific journals to websites, videos, lecture notes and even a Facebook page.
Identify the preferred writing style for your paper. The look and structure of a bibliography page differs depending on the style guide you must follow for your paper. It is important to identify and understand the assigned style guide before you begin the entire writing process, including the bibliography, as different information is required depending on the style. The three most common style guides are "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" (6th edition), "Modern Language Association" (7th edition), and "The Chicago Manual of Style" (16th edition).
Record pertinent source information. Generally speaking, all style guides require you to include author or speaker names, as well as article titles and/or corresponding publication titles, publication dates, page numbers and Web addresses, where applicable. Consider this list to be the rough draft of your bibliography page.
Write, format and organize the bibliography page. Regardless of the style, all of your sources should be listed alphabetically by the first listed author. This allows the reader to easily find more information on the source you are referencing within the body of your paper. Remember to consult your style manual for each reference medium. The format for each reference, such as books, websites, and journals, will vary from one another.
Pay close attention to your style guides, as some parts of a reference need to be underlined, italicized, or indented.
While items such as author are required, there are ways to cite your source if such points are missing or unknown. Be sure to refer to your style guide when such situations arise.
- Science Buddies: Writing a Bibliography
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online: Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition); Modern Language Association; 2009
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; American Psychological Association; 2010
- Pay close attention to your style guides, as some parts of a reference need to be underlined, italicized, or indented.
- While items such as author are required, there are ways to cite your source if such points are missing or unknown. Be sure to refer to your style guide when such situations arise.
Jen has been a professional writer since 2002 in the education nonprofit industry. Her work has been featured in the New Jersey SEEDS Annual Report, as well as several Centenary College publications, including "Centenary in the News" and the "Trustee Times." In 2009, Jen earned a Master of Arts degree in leadership and public administration from Centenary College.