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How to Write a Bibliography in 3 Steps

Updated on September 11, 2014
Bibliography Books
Bibliography Books | Source

Students are often confused with the fundamentals of writing a proper bibliography for a term paper in school or for a college assignment. There are many sources online that explain how to write a bibliography, but it is a fairly simple process that can be broken down into three simple steps. If you follow each step carefully, then writing a bibliography will certainly be the easiest section of your entire paper to complete.

1. Finish your paper and prepare your sources.

Usually we all breathe a sigh of relief after completing a long assignment. After all the time spent typing away at the computer, there is one more important dreadful thing we must do – know how to write a bibliography! Actually, if you have kept tabs on what you have referenced throughout your paper, the bibliography is probably the easiest task of all to complete. However simple, it is an essential step to credit your sources with well-formatted citations. Before doing so, you must gather up all the information from the books, magazines, Internet and other publications that you have referenced in your paper.

2. Format the author information.

Before you actually begin to write a bibliography, there are several rules you must follow when formatting your bibliography to make it acceptable. First, every source must begin with the author’s last name. If the publication doesn’t include an author’s name for whatever reason, then you can use the title to start it instead. Remember, all of the items in your bibliography should be arranged in alphabetical order -- and you should indent everything except the first line of each item. Formatting author names can be confusing, especially if there is more than one author per item. Basically, you include the author’s last name, followed by their given name and a period. Then, list the second author of the same source in a similar fashion after the first author.

3. Include the title, publisher and other details.

After typing the author information, you enter the title of the source in quotations followed by the name of the publication (or website) in italics. Next, you need to enter the publisher information, including the publication company’s name followed by the year of publication. For Internet or magazine sources, you can simply enter the date the article was written and include the pages it appears on if it is a magazine. The punctuation in your bibliography should also follow standard guidelines, so if you are unsure, have a look at some bibliography templates online to see the standard placement of all commas, periods and other specifics.

Remember to center “Bibliography” as your title (minus the quotations) and include your collection of references below. The bibliography should be attached at the end your paper and it is unnecessary to include a page number on it – as it is understood to be your last page. However, keep in mind that the literary powers that be tend to change the rules from time to time, so always double check with a professor or online to stay up-to-date with current guidelines. It is important to understand how to write a bibliography free of any small technical errors so it looks professional.

By following these three simple steps for writing a bibliography, soon you will be advising everyone else how to properly reference their sources in the future.

Video: How to write a bibliography

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    • RetailRich profile image

      RetailRich 5 years ago

      This was very helpful and easy to understand. Thanks!