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A Guide to Referencing your Work
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How to Write a Bibliography, With Examples
You spent the past six hours grinding out your latest paper, but finally, it’s finished. It’s late, you’re exhausted, and all you want to do is click “Submit Assignment” and then get some sleep.
Not so fast. If your paper doesn’t have a properly formatted bibliography, it’s not finished.
A bibliography is a list of all the sources you consulted while writing your paper. Every book, article, and even video you used to gather information for your paper needs to be cited in your bibliography so your instructor (and any others reading your work) can trace the facts, statistics, and insights back to their original sources.
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What is the purpose of a bibliography?
A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work. It accompanies just about every type of academic writing , like essays , research papers , and reports . You might also find a brief, less formal bibliography at the end of a journalistic piece, presentation, or video when the author feels it’s necessary to cite their sources . In nearly all academic instances, a bibliography is required. Not including a bibliography (or including an incomplete, incorrect, or falsified bibliography) can be considered an act of plagiarism , which can lead to a failing grade, being dropped from your course or program, and even being suspended or expelled from your school.
A bibliography accomplishes a few things. These include:
- Showing your instructor that you conducted the necessary research for your assignment
- Crediting your sources’ authors for the research they conducted
- Making it easy for anybody who reads your work to find the sources you used and conduct their own research on the same or a similar topic
Additionally, future historians consulting your writing can use your bibliography to identify primary and secondary sources in your research field. Documenting the course information from its original source through later academic works can help researchers understand how that information has been cited and interpreted over time. It can also help them review the information in the face of competing—and possibly contradictory or revisionary—data.
In nearly all cases, a bibliography is found at the end of a book or paper.
What are the different kinds of bibliographies?
Different types of academic works call for different types of bibliographies. For example, your computer science professor might require you to submit an annotated bibliography along with your paper because this type of bibliography explains the why behind each source you chose to consult.
An analytical bibliography documents a work’s journey from manuscript to published book or article. This type of bibliography includes the physical characteristics of each cited source, like each work’s number of pages, type of binding used, and illustrations.
An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes annotations, which are short notes explaining why the author chose each of the sources. Generally a few sentences long, these notes might summarize or reflect on the source.
An annotated bibliography is not the same as a literature review . While a literature review discusses how you conducted your research and how your work fits into the overall body of established research in your field, an annotated bibliography simply explains how each source you used is relevant to your work.
An enumerative bibliography is the most basic type of bibliography. It’s a list of sources used to conduct research, often ordered according to specific characteristics, like alphabetically by authors’ last names or grouped according to topic or language.
Specific types of enumerative bibliographies used for research works include:
A national bibliography groups sources published in a specific region or nation. In many cases, these bibliographies also group works according to the time period during which they were published.
A personal bibliography lists multiple works by the same individual author or group of authors. Often, personal bibliographies include works that would be difficult to find elsewhere, like unpublished works.
In a corporate bibliography, the sources are grouped according to their relation to a specific organization. The sources can be about an organization, published by that organization, or owned by that organization.
Subject bibliographies group works according to the subjects they cover. Generally, these bibliographies list primary and secondary sources, whereas other types of enumerative bibliographies, like personal bibliographies, might not.
Other types of bibliographies
In some cases, it makes sense to use a bibliography format other than those listed here. These include:
This type of bibliography lists works by a single author. With certain assignments, like an essay comparing two of an author’s books, your bibliography is a single-author bibliography by default. In this case, you can choose how to order the sources, such as by publication date or alphabetically by title.
A selected bibliography is a bibliography that only lists some of the sources you consulted. Usually, these are the most important sources for your work. You might write a selected bibliography if you consulted a variety of minor sources that you didn’t end up citing directly in your work. A selected bibliography may also be an annotated bibliography.
How is a bibliography structured?
Although each style guide has its own formatting rules for bibliographies, all bibliographies follow a similar structure. Key points to keep in mind when you’re structuring a bibliography include:
- Every bibliography page has a header. Format this header according to the style guide you’re using.
- Every bibliography has a title, such as “Works Cited,” “References,” or simply “Bibliography.”
- Bibliographies are lists. List your sources alphabetically according to their authors’ last names or their titles—whichever is applicable according to the style guide you’re using. The exception is a single-author bibliography or one that groups sources according to a shared characteristic.
- Bibliographies are double-spaced.
- Bibliographies should be in legible fonts, typically the same font as the papers they accompany.
As noted above, different kinds of assignments require different kinds of bibliographies. For example, you might write an analytical bibliography for your art history paper because this type of bibliography gives you space to discuss how the construction methods used for your sources inform their content and vice-versa. If you aren’t sure which kind of bibliography to write, ask your instructor.
How do you write a bibliography?
The term “bibliography” is a catch-all for any list of sources cited at the end of an academic work. Certain style guides use different terminology to refer to bibliographies. For example, MLA format refers to a paper’s bibliography as its Works Cited page. APA refers to it as the References page. No matter which style guide you’re using, the process for writing a bibliography is generally the same. The primary difference between the different style guides is how the bibliography is formatted.
The first step in writing a bibliography is organizing all the relevant information about the sources you used in your research. Relevant information about a source can vary according to the type of media it is, the type of bibliography you’re writing, and your style guide. Determine which information you need to include about each source by consulting the style guide you’re using. If you aren’t sure what to include, or if you’re not sure which style guide to use, ask your instructor.
The next step is to format your sources according to the style guide you’re using. MLA , APA , and the Chicago Manual of Style are three of the most commonly used style guides in academic writing.
MLA Works Cited page
In MLA format , the bibliography is known as the Works Cited page. MLA is typically used for writing in the humanities, like English and History. Because of this, it includes guidelines for citing sources like plays, videos , and works of visual art —sources you’d find yourself consulting for these courses, but probably not in your science and business courses.
In MLA format, books are cited like this:
If the cited book was published prior to 1900, is from a publisher with offices in multiple countries, or is from a publisher that is largely unknown in the US, include the book’s city of publication. Otherwise, this can be left out.
Scholarly articles are cited in this format:
- Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, pages.
APA References page
In APA format —the format typically used in psychology, nursing, business, and the social sciences—the bibliography page is titled References. This format includes citation instructions for technical papers and data-heavy research, the types of sources you’re likely to consult for academic writing in these fields.
In APA format, books are cited like this:
Digital object identifier (DOI).
(issue number) , article’s page range (i.e., 10-15). URL.
Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) permits authors to format bibliographies in two different ways: the notes and bibliography system and the author-date system. The former is generally used in the humanities, whereas the latter is usually used in the sciences and social sciences.
Both systems include guidelines for citations on a paper’s body pages as well as a bibliographic list that follows the paper. This list is titled Bibliography.
In CMoS, books are cited like this:
number (year published): page numbers of the article (i.e., 10-15).
What is a bibliography.
A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work.
What are the different kinds of bibliographies?
There are many different kinds of bibliographies. These include:
- Enumerative bibliographies
- Annotated bibliographies
- Analytical bibliographies
How do you write a bibliography for different style guides?
Each style guide publishes its bibliography guidelines online. Locate the guidelines for the style guide you’re following ( Chicago Manual of Style , MLA , APA ), and using the examples provided, format and list the sources for your work.
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Bibliography Examples, Definition and Types Made Simple
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A bibliography is an alphabetized list of all the sources used in an academic paper. You should compile a bibliography when writing an essay, article or research paper that relies heavily on source material. Learning how to write a bibliography with different types of sources may seem tricky, but when you see examples of each type, it’s easier than you think.
How To Write a Bibliography
So what is a bibliography — and what do you need to include? There are nine core elements to create bibliography entries, each with specific punctuation. They include (with their punctuation):
- “Title of source.” (piece of work)
- Title of container or main work,
- Other contributors,
- Publication date,
When written in a bibliography, it looks like this:
Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, edited by Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.
If you don’t have every element in your source, choose the ones you have and include them in the citation. For example:
Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Container, Publisher, Publication date, Location.
Bibliography Examples for Books
When quoting a book, the book itself is the title of the container. For example:
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance, Springer, 2003.
Should the source have more than one author, your citation should appear as follows:
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer, and Cindy Lu. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance, Springer, 2003.
If there are more than two authors for your source, add et al. (a Latin abbreviation meaning “and others.”)
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer et al. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance , Springer, 2003.
Bibliography Examples for Newspaper and Magazine Articles
For newspapers and magazines, you should include the author, the article title (in quotation marks), the title of the newspaper or publication (in italics), the date of publication, and the page numbers from which the information was gathered.
Doe, John. "How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?" The Sun Times . 2 July 2010: 1-3.
Occasionally, you will come across a source without a listed author. This is especially common when citing newspaper articles and online articles. When this happens, you should simply move to the next step of your citation.
"Review: Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance." Arts Review. 8 October 2003.
Bibliography Examples for Online Resources
When you are citing an online source, do your best to include the following: the author, the title of the article or page, the name of the website, the website publisher (if available), the date of publication, and the specific web address or URL.
Johnson, Mary Anne. "How to Bake the Perfect Souffle." Food Network , Television Food Network, 20 February 2013, www.foodnetwork.com/article/perfect_souffle.
Bibliography Examples for Interviews
If you are citing a personal interview that you conducted yourself, include the name of the interviewee, last name first. Then add “Personal interview,” who conducted the interview, and the date the interview was conducted. For example:
Johnson, Anne. Personal interview with Mary Smith. Aug 22 2019.
If you are citing an interview performed by someone else, your citation should begin with the interviewee’s name, last name first, just like the personal interview. What follows depends on the format of the interview. If it appears in a printed publication like a book or magazine, the title of the publication in italics comes next, followed by any volume or issue numbers in plain text, followed by the year, followed by the page numbers in which the interview appears. For example:
Johnson, Anne. Interview with Mary Smith. Amazing Interviews Magazine , vol. 4, no. 2, 2019, pp. 100-105.
If the interview has a title of its own, independent of the work it’s published in, be sure to include it in quotations in place of “Interview with Mary Smith.” For example:
Johnson, Anne. “Reflections on Being an Interview Subject.” Amazing Interviews Magazine , vol. 4, no. 2, 2019, pp. 100-105.
If the interview is one part of a television program or other broadcast medium, follow the same pattern above, but omit reference to volume, issue and page number. Instead, include the interviewer’s name as “By [name]” after the show’s title, along with year of broadcast.
Johnson, Anne. “Reflections on Being an Interview Subject.” TV’s Most Amazing Interviews , By Mary Smith, 2019.
Bibliography Examples for Films
When citing a film, the format starts with the film title in italics, followed by “Directed by [name of director or directors],” then the film studio and release year. You can include noteworthy performances just after the directors if you choose. Here’s one without performers:
A Citable Film . Directed by John Smith and Jane Doe, Moviemaking Studios, 2019.
And here’s one with performers:
A Citable Film II . Directed by John Smith and Jane Doe, performances by Anne Johnson and Mark Smith, Moviemaking Studios, 2019.
Bibliography Examples for Television
Citing a television show follows the same format as films, but includes the episode title and ideally a specific airing date. The format should be: title of episode in quotation marks; title of show in italics; any season or episode information that would help readers locate the episode; “written by” and “directed by” with names for each; production company; date of broadcast. For example:
“Episode Name.” Show Name season 1, episode 1, written by John Smith and Jane Doe, directed by Mark Johnson, Distribution Distributors, 1 Aug 2019.
If you watched the episode through a streaming service, you should include the service name in italics and a link after the date:
“Episode Name.” Show Name season 1, episode 2, written by John Smith and Jane Doe, directed by Mark Johnson, Distribution Distributors, 7 Aug 2019. TVFlix , www.notareallink.com/watch/67584974.
Bibliography for Speeches, Presentations, and Conferences
Citing speeches, lectures, conferences, and other spoken material is only slightly different from citing interviews and print material. The entry should follow this pattern: name of speaker, last name first; title of speech in quotation marks; name of event at which speech was given; date in day-month-year order; location. For example:
Smith, Anne. “The Many Wonders of Speaking at Conferences.” Conference on Speaking Conferences, 1 Aug 2019, Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash, KY.
If you want to cite conference proceedings rather than a specific speech or event, your citation should follow the pattern of: proceedings editor, last name first; conference title in italics; conference date and location, publisher, date of publication. Note that the date will often be in the title of the proceedings; if that is the case, there’s no need to include it at the end. Here’s an example:
Smith, Anne. Conference on Speaking Conferences Proceedings, August 2019 . Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash KY: Publication Publishing.
And an example without the date in the title:
Smith, Anne. Conference on Speaking Conferences Proceedings . 1 Aug 2019, Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash, KY: Publication Publishing, 22 Aug 2019.
Note that the italics end with the title. That helps separate a date that is part of the title from a date you have included yourself. Also, note that when citing the published proceedings of a conference, two dates are called for: the date of the conference itself and the date the proceedings were published.
Other Types of Bibliographies
The above examples follow MLA citation format , but you may need more specific instructions if you’re using a different style guide. These guides include the APA style (for social sciences) and the Chicago Manual of Style (for fine arts and business). If you’re writing a journalistic article, you may want to use the AP Stylebook for your citations.
Bibliography, Annotated Bibliography or Works Cited?
Despite the varying terms, the difference between a bibliography, an annotated bibliography and a works cited page is simple.
- A works cited page is a list of every work cited in the text of your paper.
- A bibliography is a list of every work you used while writing your paper, whether or not it was specifically cited.
- An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with a short note by the author explaining the significance of the source.
A Bibliography Doesn’t Need to Be Hard Work
Regardless of the format used, every bibliography citation has to have a minimum amount of identifying information. Write down the citation information for each source as you review it, whether or not you think you will actually use it; it will keep your notes more organized and help you find information quickly when you're actually writing. The more you practice citations, the less of a chore they will be at the end of a lengthy paper.
For further help with formatting and style, refer to these resources:
- How to Write a Bibliography for a School Project
- APA Citation and Formats
- Bibliography Examples for Students
- Copyright and Fair Use for Students
- Avoiding Plagiarism With Simple Tips and Techniques
- Science Projects
- Project Guides
- STEM Activities
- Lesson Plans
- Video Lessons
How to Write a Bibliography in APA and MLA styles With Examples
What is a bibliography.
Your bibliography should include a minimum of three written sources of information about your topic from books, encyclopedias, and periodicals. You may have additional information from the Web if appropriate.
But, you develop a bibliography only after first preparing a background research plan — a road map of the research questions you need to answer. Before you compose your bibliography, you will need to develop your background research plan.
With your background research plan in hand, you will find sources of information that will help you with your science fair project. As you find this information it will be important for you to write down where the sources are from. You can use the Bibliography Worksheet to help you, just print out a few copies and take them with you to the library. As you find a source, write in all of the necessary information. This way, when you are typing your bibliography you won't need to go back to the library and find any missing information. The more information you write down about your source, the easier it will be for you to find if you want to read it again.
When you are writing your report, you will use the sources in your bibliography to remind you of different facts and background information you used for your science fair project. Each time you use some information from a source, you will need to cite the source that it came from. To cite a source, simply put the author's name and the date of the publication in parentheses (Author, date) in your text. If the person reading your report wants to find the information and read more about it, they can look up the reference in your bibliography for more detail about the source. That is why each source you use must be listed in a detailed bibliography with enough information for someone to go and find it by themselves.
How to Write a Bibliography
- Make a list to keep track of ALL the books, magazines, and websites you read as you follow your background research plan . Later this list of sources will become your bibliography .
- Most teachers want you to have at least three written sources of information.
- Write down, photocopy, or print the following information for each source you find. You can use the Science Buddies Bibliography Worksheet to help you.
- the title page of a book, encyclopedia or dictionary
- the heading of an article
- the front, second, or editorial page of the newspaper
- the contents page of a journal or magazine
- the header (at the top) or footer (at the bottom) of a Web site
- the About or the Contact page of a Web site
- When it is time to turn in your Bibliography, type all of your sources into a list. Use the examples in MLA Format Examples or APA Format Examples as a template to insure that each source is formatted correctly.
- List the sources in alphabetical order using the author's last name. If a source has more than one author, alphabetize using the first one. If an author is unknown, alphabetize that source using the title instead.
Examples of Bibliography Format
Examples of bibliography formats.
There are standards for documenting sources of information in research papers. Even though different journals may use a slightly different format for the bibliography, they all contain the same basic information. The most basic information that each reference should have is the author's name, the title, the date, and the source.
Different types of sources have different formatting in the bibliography. In American schools, the two most commonly used guidelines for this formatting are published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association).
The MLA guidelines call for the bibliography to be called Works Cited. Science Buddies has summarized some of the most common MLA formats for your use: MLA Format Examples .
The APA guidelines call for the bibliography to be called the Reference List. Science Buddies has summarized some of the most common APA formats for your use: APA Format Examples .
Your teacher will probably tell you which set of guidelines to use.
On the Science Buddies website we use the following guidelines:
- APA format for online sources
- MLA format for all other sources
- APA (author, date, page) format for citations in our articles
Download and print the Science Buddies Bibliography Worksheet . Keep several copies with you and fill in the information as you do your research. When you are finished, type the information from the worksheet into a formatted bibliography using the examples listed above.
Bibliography checklist, explore our science videos.
How to write a bibliography
How to write a bibiliography.
A bibliography is not just “works cited.” It is all the relevant material you drew upon to write the paper the reader holds.
Do I need a bibliography?
If you read any articles or books in preparing your paper, you need a bibliography or footnotes.
- If you cite the arguments of “critics” and “supporters,” even if you don’t name them or quote them directly, you are likely referring to information you read in books or articles as opposed to information you’ve gathered firsthand, like a news reporter, and so you need a bibliography.
- If you quote sources and put some of the reference information in the text, you still need a bibliography, so that readers can track down the source material for themselves.
- If you use footnotes to identify the source of your material or the authors of every quote, you DO NOT need a bibliography, UNLESS there are materials to which you do not refer directly (or if you refer to additional sections of the materials you already referenced) that also helped you reach your conclusions. In any event, your footnotes need to follow the formatting guidelines below.
These guidelines follow those of the American Psychological Association and may be slightly different than what you’re used to, but we will stick with them for the sake of consistency.
Notice the use of punctuation. Publication titles may be either italicized or underlined, but not both.
Books are the bibliography format with which you’re probably most familiar. Books follow this pattern:
Author Last Name, Author First Name. (Publication Year) Title . Publisher’s City: Publisher. Page numbers.
Alexander, Carol. (2001) Market Models: A Guide to Financial Data Analysis. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 200-220.
Periodicals remove the publisher city and name and add the title of the article and the volume or issue number of the periodical. Notice article titles are put in quotation marks and only the publication title is italicized or underlined.
Author Last Name, Author First Name. (Publication Date—could be more than a year) “Article Title.” Publication Title, Vol. # . (Issue #), Page numbers.
Salman, William A. (July-August 1997) “How to Write a Great Business Plan.” Harvard Business Review 74. pp. 98-108.
Web versions of printed material
Because web sources are time-sensitive, meaning that web content can change day by day, it is important to include the day of retrieval and the URL from which you quoted the material. You include this in a retrieval statement.
The format for online versions of print publications should basically follow the same format as above, meaning if you’re referencing an online book, you should follow the book format with the addition of the retrieval statement. If you’re referencing an online periodical, you should follow the periodical format with the addition of the retrieval statement.
Note that you should not break the Internet address of the link, even if it requires its own line. Very long URLs, such as those that occur when using an online database, can be shortened by removing the retrieval code. (The retrieval code usually consists of a long string of unintelligible letters and numbers following the end point “htm” or “html.” Remove everything that occurs after that point to shorten.)
Author. (Date of Internet Publication—could be more than a year) “Document Title.” Title of Publication . Retrieved on: Date from Full Web Address, starting with http://
Grant, Linda. (January 13, 1997) “Can Fisher Focus Kodak?” Fortune . Retrieved on August 22, 2020 from (insert full web address here)
The above is just one example of citing online sources. There are more extensive bibliographic guidelines at www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/cite6.html .
How to cite sources in the text
In-text citations alert readers to cited material and tell them exactly where to go and look. These citations work in conjunction with a bibliography.
- Usually, an in-text citation is a combination of a name (usually the author’s) and a number (either a year, a page number, or both).
- For Internet sources, use the original publication date, not your retrieval date.
- Internet sources also do not have page numbers, so use your discretion in the format that will direct the reader closest to the relevant section. You can number the paragraphs (abbreviate “par.”) or chapters (abbreviate “chap.”) or sections (abbreviate “sec.”).
- If there is no author listed, the document’s title should be used in place of the author’s name. Use the entire title but not the subtitle. Subtitles are anything appearing after a colon (:).
Use a signal phrase
A signal phrase alerts the reader to the fact that you are citing another source for the information he or she is about to read.
Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”)
Note that the date goes with the author, directions within the document go with the quote.
Later on, same source, different section:
According to one study (Myers, 1997), inexperienced auditors from a structured firm will demonstrate higher audit effectiveness in the typical audit situation than inexperienced auditors from an unstructured firm. (sec. 2, “Structure and Audit Effectiveness”)
Full parenthetical citation after the material cited
Another method is to end the quote with the full citation:
The primary controversies surrounding the issue of accounting for stock-based compensation include whether these instruments represent an expense that should be recognized in the income statement and, if so, when they should be recognized and how they should be measured. (Martin and Duchac, 1997, Sec. 3, “Theoretical Justification for Expense Recognition”)
For long quotes, use a previewing sentence and a parenthetical citation
Long quotes are 40 words or longer and should be single-spaced even in double-spaced papers. The previewing sentence tells the reader what to look for in the quotes (and helps the reader change gears from you to another author).
Martin and Duchac (1997) reiterate the problems with stock-based compensation and accounting issues:
While it is true these estimates generate uncertainties about value and the costs to be recognized, cost recognition should be the fundamental objective and information based on estimates can be useful just as it is with defined benefit pension plans. Given the similarities between stock based compensation and defined benefit pension costs, an expense should be recognized for employee stock options just as pension costs are recognized for defined benefit pension plans. The FASB agreed with this assessment in their exposure draft on stock based compensation, noting that nonrecognition of employee stock option costs produces financial statements that are neither credible nor representationally faithful. (sec. 2.1, “Recognition of Compensation Cost”)
Note the consistent indentation and the paragraph break inside the quote. Also note that the parenthetical citation falls outside the closing period.
Sometimes, summarizing arguments from your sources can leave the reader in doubt as to whose opinion he or she is seeing. If the language is too close to the original source’s, you can leave yourself open to charges of low-level plagiarism or “word borrowing.” Using a source-reflective statement can clarify this problem, allowing you the freedom to assert your voice and opinion without causing confusion. For example:
Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”) Thus, audit pricing by firms with a structured audit approach is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit approach.
Is the observation in the last sentence Myers’s or the author’s? We aren’t sure. So insert a source-reflective statement to avoid confusion.
Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”) Myers’s observation suggests that audit pricing by firms with a structured audit approach is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit approach.
When and how to use footnotes
You may decide to substitute footnotes for in-text citations and a bibliography. Footnotes are thorough, like entries in the bibliography, and yet specific, like in-text citations. However, depending on the thoroughness of your use of footnotes, you may also need a bibliography.
If you decide to use footnotes, you should follow the format outlined above for the information to include in your entries and should number each footnote separately (1, 2, 3, etc.). You should NOT use the same number twice, even when referencing the same document. Check out guidelines such as those in the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook for more information about how to number your footnote entries.
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Annotated Bibliography Samples
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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.
As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.
Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.
Sample MLA Annotation
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.
In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .
Sample APA Annotation
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.
For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .
Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation
Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.
Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.
This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.
For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.
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- 1 Definition: Bibliography
- 4 In a Nutshell
Bibliography is a term used to describe the study of books and cultural objects with the intent of achieving an academic purpose. It is also described as a discipline that entails the listing of books in an organized manner, also known as enumerative bibliography, or the systematic manner of describing books similar to objects, a descriptive bibliography that forms the literature of a subject under study.
What is bibliography?
A bibliography (not to be confused with the works cited ) generally entails the listing of books, articles, journals, cultural objects and other study materials used to compose a piece of academic writing or literary work. It is essentially a list of sources used (both referenced in-text and otherwise) in writing a research paper.
What is the difference between bibliographies and a works cited page?
The two may seem similar since they share characteristics, such as the basic structure and the alphabetical arrangement of entries. All of the cited works of authors and all other works consulted by the author, despite not being directly mentioned in the text, are required in a bibliography. On the other hand, only the sources that you referred to have to be included in the works cited . This means that if the author did some selective reading, then all of the source information needs to be included in the bibliography, but not the works cited.
What information should be included in a bibliography?
Good bibliographies should include the following: • The authors’ names • Title of the books, works or objects referred to in the research paper or thesis. • Date of publication • Names of publishers and their locations • If there were multiple volumes in a given source volume, then page number(s) must be included
The exact method and formatting required, will depend on the referencing style that your institution uses.
What are the different types of bibliographies?
There are three main types of bibliographies. Check with your institution which method you’re required to use. This may depend on the referencing and citation style you’re using, as well as your field of research.
Analytical: Includes any information and new insights that come to light as the book or research paper progresses.
Annotated: Provides an outline of the research that was conducted and comments on individual sources.
Enumerative: A list of sources in a specific order.
Areas of Application for Bibliographies
Bibliographies are commonly used in a sentence. They are also used in projects and for answering the research question . While citing this bibliography, the writer needs to give all the references.
Different Kinds of Bibliographies
Bibliographies are classified according to the style or the way of listing the sources. There are three common types of bibliography:
- Analytical bibliography
- Enumerative bibliography
- Annotated bibliography
Analytical bibliographies include information concerning the booksellers and printers, paper and binding descriptions, and any insights that unfold as a book evolved from a manuscript to a published book. This can be further subdivided into a descriptive bibliography concerned with the physical appearance and nature of a book, a textual bibliography which compares the already published work to the author’s original manuscript, and lastly, a historical bibliography that shows the context of the production of the book.
Annotated bibliographies show the source of writer’s creation, in alphabetical order. This type of bibliography lists a series of tasks that were done by the author of the paper. They provide an outline of what kind of research was done on a given chapter, the addition of notes about the source, comments on and a summary of the source, an assessment of the source whereby the usefulness of the source is evaluated, and reflections on the source which provide a perspective on the usefulness of the text with respect to the research question .
Students writing research papers commonly use enumerative bibliography. Here, the writer lists all the references considering some specific arrangements. For example, an author starts with the subject then lastly dates items listed. They share common characteristics such as language, topic or period of time. Information concerning the source is then given by the writer so as to provide directions to the readers towards the source. An example of this bibliography is a card catalogue.
GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about referencing & citation styles to find out how to write a perfect bibliography!
Monographs are books that address a particular topic. An example of a bibliography citing such books is as follows:
Danny Irvings, E.U. (2016). Diet and body control. Amsterdam: Mindset publishers.
When writing bibliographies of edited books, the writer should note that when highlighting a chapter, the word ‘in’ must be placed before the editor’s name. For example: In Heisten D.Y. & Thompson G.E. (Eds.), (2014). Human biology of physical existence. Hurlingham, GN: University Of California Press.
When tackling bibliography citations of internet sources and scientific journals, the writer has to consider the steps highlighted earlier when listing the contents of a bibliography: John Saynard, Psychology for The Need, retrieved from http://www.sharing.com/online sources/news and livelihood/psychology/words/2007/.
APA Bibliography Format
In writing bibliographies using APA format ( APA Citation ), the following steps need to be observed:
- It should be done at the end of the paper on a new page, entitled ‘References’ with center-alignment
- The author’s name must be listed; if there is more than one author, the names are separated with an ampersand.
- Show the publication date, the title of the source, the publisher’s location, and their name. For example: Peterson, D. (1992). The creators: A history of the heroes of imagination. New York: Random House.
- For online sources, start with the author’s name, followed by the publication date, the title of the article or journal, volume number, month, day, year of retrieval, and lastly the full URL. For example: Raids, g. (2007, July 3). Lightning injures at music festivals. The why? Files. Retrieved February 23, 2007, 2006 from http://whyfiles.org/137lighting/index.html.
MLA Bibliography Format
- When writing monographs using MLA, the bibliography appears in this format: Litfin, Karen. “Introduction to Political Economy.” Political Science 203. The University of Washington. Seattle, 16 October 2000.
- The following is an example of citing edited books, especially those with more than one author: Druin, Allison, and Solomon, Cynthia. Designing Multimedia Environments for Children. J. Wiley & Sons, 1996.
- Online sources or scientific articles using the MLA bibliography citation format are cited as follows: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, http://www.weather.gov/.
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In a Nutshell
- A bibliography is a series of activities involving the listing of books, sources, journals, or articles, with the primary objective of providing a concise literature review.
- The main areas in which a bibliography is used include academic works such as research papers, proposals, reflection or even sentences.
- Bibliographies may be divided into two categories: the APA citation and MLA citations, which in turn contain the different bibliography types. These include analytical bibliographies, enumerative bibliographies, and lastly, annotated bibliographies.
It is therefore advisable for both college and university students to be clear on what bibliographies entail and be able to apply the skills gained from this discipline so as to help avoid plagiarism.
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James B McMillan, Michael B Montgomery. Annotated Bibliography of Southern American English University of Alabama Press, 2018 Marjorie Powell, Joseph W Beard. An annotated bibliography and guide to research Routledge, 2018
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- Knowledge Base
- Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples
Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples
Published on 1 May 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 7 November 2022.
In Harvard style , the bibliography or reference list provides full references for the sources you used in your writing.
- A reference list consists of entries corresponding to your in-text citations .
- A bibliography sometimes also lists sources that you consulted for background research, but did not cite in your text.
The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. If in doubt about which to include, check with your instructor or department.
The information you include in a reference varies depending on the type of source, but it usually includes the author, date, and title of the work, followed by details of where it was published. You can automatically generate accurate references using our free reference generator:
Harvard Reference Generator
Table of contents
Formatting a harvard style bibliography, harvard reference examples, referencing sources with multiple authors, referencing sources with missing information, frequently asked questions about harvard bibliographies.
Sources are alphabetised by author last name. The heading ‘Reference list’ or ‘Bibliography’ appears at the top.
Each new source appears on a new line, and when an entry for a single source extends onto a second line, a hanging indent is used:
Reference list or bibliography entries always start with the author’s last name and initial, the publication date and the title of the source. The other information required varies depending on the source type. Formats and examples for the most common source types are given below.
- Entire book
- Book chapter
- Translated book
- Edition of a book
- Print journal
- Online-only journal with DOI
- Online-only journal without DOI
- General web page
- Online article or blog
- Social media post
Newspapers and magazines
- Newspaper article
- Magazine article
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When a source has up to three authors, list all of them in the order their names appear on the source. If there are four or more, give only the first name followed by ‘ et al. ’:
Sometimes a source won’t list all the information you need for your reference. Here’s what to do when you don’t know the publication date or author of a source.
Some online sources, as well as historical documents, may lack a clear publication date. In these cases, you can replace the date in the reference list entry with the words ‘no date’. With online sources, you still include an access date at the end:
When a source doesn’t list an author, you can often list a corporate source as an author instead, as with ‘Scribbr’ in the above example. When that’s not possible, begin the entry with the title instead of the author:
Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in meaning:
- A reference list only includes sources cited in the text – every entry corresponds to an in-text citation .
- A bibliography also includes other sources which were consulted during the research but not cited.
In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘ et al. ’
In Harvard style referencing , to distinguish between two sources by the same author that were published in the same year, you add a different letter after the year for each source:
- (Smith, 2019a)
- (Smith, 2019b)
Add ‘a’ to the first one you cite, ‘b’ to the second, and so on. Do the same in your bibliography or reference list .
To create a hanging indent for your bibliography or reference list :
- Highlight all the entries
- Click on the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the ‘Paragraph’ tab in the top menu.
- In the pop-up window, under ‘Special’ in the ‘Indentation’ section, use the drop-down menu to select ‘Hanging’.
- Then close the window with ‘OK’.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, November 07). Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 15 March 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/harvard-bibliography/
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An academic interest is a particular field of study about a certain subject matter, such as history, mathematics or nursing. Common areas of academic interest include business, English, criminal justice, science and social studies.
Preparing bibliographies helps researchers keep track of the sources they consulted or cited for their written material and gives readers a framework of how the writers’ arguments were formed.
A good example of centralization is the establishment of the Common Core State Standards Initiative in the United States. Centralization is a process by which planning and decision-making of an organization are concentrated in one group or ...
Bibliography Examples In MLA, APA and Chicago · A bibliography lists all the references used to create a piece of writing. · A reference list only contains the
A bibliography is a complete list of the references used in a piece of academic writing. The sources should be listed in alphabetical order by the surname of
A bibliography is the list of sources a work's author used to create the work. It accompanies just about every type of academic writing
Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, edited by Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location
The AMA handbook of business writing: The ... How to write a lot: A practical guide to productive academic writing.
Your bibliography should include a minimum of three written sources of information about your topic from books, encyclopedias, and periodicals.
Writing a bibliography provides a list of sources for a longer paper, and each entry includes the author or editor's name, the title of the
Books are the bibliography format with which you're probably most familiar. Books follow this pattern: Author Last Name, Author First Name.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your
Examples · When writing monographs using MLA, the bibliography appears in this format: Litfin, Karen. · The following is an example of citing edited books
Author surname, initial. (Year) 'Article title', Journal Name, Volume(Issue), pp. page range. Example, Maceachen, D. B. (1950)