How to Write a Bibliography for a Dissertation

••• Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Properly acknowledging the outside research that you used within your dissertation is crucial. Your bibliography is a list of all the ideas, texts, graphics and data used in your paper. It may include works cited in your paper or information you simply consulted. Compiling your bibliography may take longer to write and organize than you expect, so work on compiling your bibliography on days where you are not in a writing mood. There are several different formats for bibliographies, so consult with your dissertation committee for its desired style.

General Format

Your bibliography goes at the end of your dissertation. List every outside source individually on your bibliography. The list is arranged alphabetically. Every entry must contain the author’s name, the title of the work, the journal, publisher and year. Different disciplines use different formats. The most frequently used styles are APA style for sciences and MLA style or Chicago style for humanities.

MLA Bibliography

According to the Seventh Edition of the Modern Language Association handbook, include a Works Cited page as your bibliography. This style is different from Chicago and APA style because it requires you to list your medium of publication, such as print, film or DVD. The basic form for MLA style is author’s last name, comma, first name and a period. Then list the title of the book in italics followed by a period. Next, type the city of publication, a colon, the publisher, a comma, the year of publication and a period. End with the medium of publication and a period.

APA Bibliography

The American Psychological Association is typically used in social science dissertations. According to the Sixth Edition, if you are asked to complete your bibliography in APA style, consult with your committee chair about more specific requirements. With APA style, you use a reference list instead of a bibliography. This is different because you only list sources that you referenced in your text. The basic rules for your entry are the author’s last name, comma, first initial and then a period. Then place the year of publication in parentheses followed by a period. Put the title of the work in italics followed by a period. Finally, write the publisher’s location, a colon and the publisher’s name. End with a period.

Chicago Bibliography

In the 16th Edition of the Chicago Manual Style, include a bibliography page for your dissertation. To correctly format entries, list the author’s last name, a comma, the first name and a period. Next, type the title of the text in italics followed by a period. End with the city of publication, a comma, the publisher’s name, a comma, the year of publication and a period.


About the Author

Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images