How to Write a Great Bibliography: Writing Tips and 16 Patterns

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Details matter. Even a greatly written dissertation is nothing without an annotated bibliography. That’s our custom writing essay service team decided to post guidelines for writing a bibliography. There are many different citation styles, the most popular are MLA, APA, Harvard, Turabian, Chicago. In this post we are presenting a general view of the bibliography for you to get the main idea.

1. How to Write a Bibliography. Basic Information

Let’s take a closer look at what the bibliography is.

According to Cambridge English Dictionary, a bibliography is the organized listing of sources used in the work preparation or cited in the text. Your professor may ask you to write an annotated bibliography as an assignment or include it in a research paper.

You may ask:

What is the annotated bibliography?

Well, an annotated bibliography contains a summary of the source and evaluation of its relevance, as well as a bibliographic data. In other words, you have to write a short paragraph containing the description and argument of the cited source.

There are three simple general rules for writing a bibliography:

  • List sources in alphabetical order.
  • Sources that don’t have authors should be alphabetized by title.
  • The book or magazine title is always underlined in a bibliography.

2. How to Write a Bibliography. 5 tips for writing a bibliography

So, now you know what a bibliography is, and the next question is: how to write a biography? We assure you: there is nothing complicated. Follow these seven steps:

  1. Select the sources

First and foremost you have to do when writing any paper is to find the proper sources for your research assignment. When selecting the sources, you should consider the following questions:

  • What is the primary purpose of my research? What problem should I explore?
  • What kind of sources am I looking? Will it be government records or policies or scientific books and articles? Or you should study through the press articles? Maybe, historical sources?

Woman reading books near old bookcase

  • Should I find primary sources on my topic? Look through the footnotes in articles you found appropriate for what sources used and why. Look through the studies cited by few selected sources.
  1. Assess the value and relevance of the chosen reference

The next step of writing a bibliography is a brief assessment of the importance of the source to your research issue.
In case you need a bibliography as part of an assignment, you should identify why you want to use the source and how. If you’re assigned to write an annotated bibliography as an independent project, examine the source’s contribution to the research.

Students reading books and preparing to exam

By the way,
You may want to use the following questions for sources assessment:

  • Why you want to use the source: does the chosen reference attract you by the way it frames the research issue or it’s about the method it goes about investigating it?
  • Does the source explore new connections or ways of understanding a research topic?
  • How does the chosen cause use a research topic’s initial concept and theoretical framework?
  • How does the selected source analyze a part of evidence you intend to use in your project?
  • Why is the chosen source value and how deep it analyses the research problem?
  • Does its methods of investigation valuable?
  • Is there enough good evidence?

Smiling man with notepads in library

  1. Assess the background and credentials of the author

When writing an annotated bibliography, you may need to examine the author’s credentials and experience. Here are some questions to help you:

  • Does the author have rich expertise related to your research issue?
  • Are there any author’s credentials as both critical and academic reviews related to the research topic?
  • What are the intellectual inclination the school of thought and author?
  1. Write a summary for each source

Writing a bibliography outline, you should give the quick view of the topic covered. For an annotated bibliography, you should briefly identify primary argument of an academic source, its thesis, research methods and conclusions.

Girls in the library

You may be wondering…

How should I identify those arguments? Simple! Look through the following questions:

  • What is the central claim or purpose, author’s thesis or research question? Look through the introduction and the conclusion for an answer.
  • What are the key ideas and terms? How the key terms occur in the research question of the source?
  • How the source’s text is organized? What are the main sections?
  • How does an author use theory for interpretation of data and evidence? What investigation methods does an author use to explore the research problem?

And don’t forget to search for paragraphs summarizing the argument. You may find them at the beginning or conclusion of the section.

Your annotation will comprise

  1. Make a Proper Bibliography

Well, you’re almost there. You’ve evaluated your sources, took short notes, wrote an outline for each reference.

Use your notes and write your bibliography. How?

Keep reading!

3. How to Write a Bibliography. Patterns of Writing

You will have to use different writing patterns for different sources. Check these guidelines for bibliography writing:

  • Book with one author:

Author’s last name, first name. Title of the book. City: Publisher, Date of Publication.
Example: Jones, Edward. The Toy. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Book with two authors:

Author’s last name, first name, and second author’s full name. Title of the book. Place of publication: Publisher, date of publication.
Example: Jones, Edward and Amelia Smith. Strangers. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Book without an author:

Title of the book. City: Publisher, Date of Publication.
Example: Old Lake. New York: Random House, 1987.

Annotated bibliographies tip

  • Article in a book without an author:

Name of the article. Title of the book. City: Publisher, Date of Publication.
Example: Swans. Flora and Fauna. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Book with an editor:

Editor’s last name, first name, ed. Title of the book. Place of publication: Publisher, date of publication.
Jones, Edward. 100 Recipes for You. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Short story or chapter of a book:

Author’s last name, first name. “Title.” Title of the book that the source comes from. Editor (ed.) of the book’s full name. Place of publication: Publisher, date of publication. Pages of the source.
Example: Jones, Edward. “Learning to communicate.” The Toy. Ed. Helen Stevenson. New York: Random House, 1987.

Young people reading in library

  • Encyclopedia article with an author/a signed article:

Author’s last name, first name. “Title”. Encyclopedia Title. Volume Number. Place of publication: Publisher, date of publication.
Example: Jones, Edward. “The Wild Swans.” World Book Encyclopedia. Volume 13. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Encyclopedia article without an author/an unsigned article:

“Title”. Encyclopedia Title. Volume number. Place of publication: Publisher, date of publication.
Example: “The Wild Swans.” World Book Encyclopedia. Volume 13. New York: Random House, 1987.

  • Journal article:

Author’s last name, first name “Article Title.” Name of magazine volume number: issue number (year of publication): page numbers.
Example: Jones, Edward, “The Wild Swans.” Flora and Fauna Magazine 15:1, (2007): 8-11.

Cite a paper in a journal fact

  • Magazine article:

Author’s last name, first name. “Article title.” Magazine title date of publication: page numbers.
Example: Jones, Edward. “Never been kissed” Us Sept 23, 2002: 221-2.

  • Newspaper article:

Author’s last name, first name. “Article title.” Newspaper title [city of publication, if not in title] date of publication, edition if necessary: section if necessary: page numbers.
Example: Jones, Edward. “Handbags are Health Hazard.” Daily News [New York] Oct 31 2002: 26.

  • Interview:

Full name (last name first). Occupation. Date of interview.
Example: Jones, Edward. Writer. February 10, 2006.

  • Film:

Title, Director, Distributor, Year.
Example: Titanic, Dir. James Cameron, 20th Century Fox, 1998

  • Email message:

Author of message, (Date). Subject of message. Electronic conference or bulletin board (Online). Available e-mail: LISTSERV@ e-mail address
Example: Edward Jones, (May 23, 2006). New Winners. Teen Booklist (Online). Edward Jones@yahoo.com

  • Web:

URL (Uniform Resource Locator or WWW address). Author (or item’s name, if mentioned), date.
Example: (Boston Globe’s www address) http://www.boston.com. Today’s News, May 23, 2006.

4. How to Write a Bibliography. Reference Generator

Nobody wants to do routine work. So you may want to use a citation builder for your assignment.

So why don’t you try one of source generator apps or websites below:

1. Cite This For Me

Cite this for me

Cite This For Me is a great citation generator that allows you to make a reference in Harvard, APA, MLA, and other styles. All you have to do is scan a book's barcode. Moreover, you may download your completed bibliography into MS Word format!

2. Cite

Cite beta

Cite generator is another excellent online tool for your papers. It supports various citation styles and offers templates to create a citation manually. Moreover, if you sign up, you can edit and save bibliography pages for future use.

3. Bibme

Bibme the online writing center

Bibme is a reference generator that is completely free. You may create citations in various styles within just a few clicks and save your precious time.

4. Citefast

Cite fast website

Citefast is online reference maker and bibliography generator. It supports APA, MLA and Chicago styles. By the way, you can use its feature and create a title page for your paper.

5. Citation Machine

Citation machine

Citation Machine is a powerful student app. Make a citation in various styles less than in a minute. All you have to do is to select the citation style, search for a source in auto or manual mode and make a reference for your assignment!

By the way,
Have you checked our citation guidelines already?

So, this is it about the bibliography writing tips! You have come to the right place, received the knowledge and now you feel comfortable with this type of assignment! We are really glad to help you!

And don’t forget to share your bibliography writing lifehacks in comments below!

Comments (6)

  • Chloe Chloe Posted:

    Thanx a lot for this website. Many of the other websites that come up on google don’t give ou a clear enough understanding of how to write it; they’ll just give you a model and expect you to comprehend what all the examples stand for.

  • Wali Wali Posted:

    Nice guidelines how to write a Bibliography, i really need it.
    Thanks a lot for such a helping web.

  • Lena Lena Posted:

    I had to write a current event with a bibliography. This website really helped.
    Thanks,
    Lena

  • Mary Ashly Priestly Mary Ashly Priestly Posted:

    Hi! I want to thank you for this information! I read some articles on writing a bibliography correctly, but the articles provided only concise info without patterns. In contrast, your bibliography writing guidelines are what every student needs to write this section successfully!

  • Liz Winter Liz Winter Posted:

    Your post on writing a bibliography boosted me up! I had no idea how to cope with this assignment before but now after reading your how-to bibliography writing post, I’m sure to complete it without any problems! THX!))

  • Mickey Mickey Posted:

    Thanks! I’m a part-time student who has no time to go deep into the peculiarities of various types of academic papers. Your blog posts are succinct and informative enough to write all these papers fast and effectively.