How to Write a Bibliography

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bibliography is a list of sources that were referenced to write an academic paper, a journal article, a book, a critique, an essay or any other type of academic writing. A bibliography differs from a works cited page because a bibliography includes any works that were referenced to write the paper, not merely the works that were cited in the paper. Bibliographies differ depending what style of writing you are using. Some of the different styles of writing include: the Modern Language Association style of writing (also known as MLA), Chicago Style, and American Psychological Association (also known as APA) style.

Bibliography Styles

Each of these different styles has a different format for writing a bibliography. Make sure that the bibliography style matches the format of your paper.

MLA Format

The MLA format is primarily used for English Literature and other disciplines of the humanities. If you are using the MLA format, then you should keep a track of all the papers, books, films, Internet articles, and any other source that you consulted while writing the paper.

Make sure that you know the author, the title, the place of publication, the publisher, the date of publication, and the page numbers that you consulted for each of your sources.

When you include these sources in your bibliography, the sources should be in alphabetical order. Include the author name first (the last name goes first, then a comma, then the first name of the author). Place a period after that. Then include the title of the work you are referencing, and underline this title. Place a period after that. Then include the city or town where the work is published, and then place a colon after that. Then include the name of the publisher, insert a comma, and the year it was published. Place a period after that.


If you are using an article, the article name goes in front of the name of the title of the magazine, the title of the journal, or the title of the newspaper. You do not have to include where the journal or magazine was published, but after you write the year of publication, include a colon and write the pages that you referenced. Place a period after that.

If the article does not have an author, the title of the author goes first, and then followed by everything discussed above. If you are citing a film, write the title of the movie first, and then follow it with the director, the year of the movie, the medium of the movie (DVD or VHS), and the studio that produced it.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Style format is primarily used for History. The major difference in this style is that the year of publication goes after the author’s name. Then you write the title and underline it. Then include the city in which the book was published, followed by a colon, and the publisher of the book.

This same format is followed for journal articles, magazine articles, or newspaper articles. The year of publication followed the author’s name, then the title of the article, then the name of the journal, then the journal issue number and volume (if there is one), and then the page numbers.

APA Style

The American Psychological style of writing is used for Psychology and other sciences and social sciences. For APA style, the format is similar to Chicago style. The year follows the name of the author. However, place the year in parenthesis after the author. Then include the name of the book (or article), the name of the magazine or journal (this does not apply if it’s a book), and the page numbers.

Always consult a handbook for any of these styles if you have any questions that weren’t answered in this very broad overview.

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