How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

Do not try to “wow” your instructor with a long bibliography when your instructor requests only a works cited page. It is tempting, after doing a lot of work to research a paper, to try to include summaries on each source as you write your paper so that your instructor appreciates how much work you did. That is a trap you want to avoid. MLA style, the one that is most commonly followed in high schools and university writing courses, dictates that you include only the works you actually cited in your paper—not all those that you used.

Academic Writing, Editing, Proofreading, And Problem Solving Services

Get 10% off with 24start discount code, assembling bibliographies and works cited.

  • If your assignment calls for a bibliography, list all the sources you consulted in your research.
  • If your assignment calls for a works cited or references page, include only the sources you quote, summarize, paraphrase, or mention in your paper.
  • If your works cited page includes a source that you did not cite in your paper, delete it.
  • All in-text citations that you used at the end of quotations, summaries, and paraphrases to credit others for their ideas,words, and work must be accompanied by a cited reference in the bibliography or works cited. These references must include specific information about the source so that your readers can identify precisely where the information came from.The citation entries on a works cited page typically include the author’s name, the name of the article, the name of the publication, the name of the publisher (for books), where it was published (for books), and when it was published.

The good news is that you do not have to memorize all the many ways the works cited entries should be written. Numerous helpful style guides are available to show you the information that should be included, in what order it should appear, and how to format it. The format often differs according to the style guide you are using. The Modern Language Association (MLA) follows a particular style that is a bit different from APA (American Psychological Association) style, and both are somewhat different from the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Always ask your teacher which style you should use.

A bibliography usually appears at the end of a paper on its own separate page. All bibliography entries—books, periodicals, Web sites, and nontext sources such radio broadcasts—are listed together in alphabetical order. Books and articles are alphabetized by the author’s last name.

Most teachers suggest that you follow a standard style for listing different types of sources. If your teacher asks you to use a different form, however, follow his or her instructions. Take pride in your bibliography. It represents some of the most important work you’ve done for your research paper—and using proper form shows that you are a serious and careful researcher.

Bibliography Entry for a Book

A bibliography entry for a book begins with the author’s name, which is written in this order: last name, comma, first name, period. After the author’s name comes the title of the book. If you are handwriting your bibliography, underline each title. If you are working on a computer, put the book title in italicized type. Be sure to capitalize the words in the title correctly, exactly as they are written in the book itself. Following the title is the city where the book was published, followed by a colon, the name of the publisher, a comma, the date published, and a period. Here is an example:

Format : Author’s last name, first name. Book Title. Place of publication: publisher, date of publication.

  • A book with one author : Hartz, Paula.  Abortion: A Doctor’s Perspective, a Woman’s Dilemma . New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1992.
  • A book with two or more authors : Landis, Jean M. and Rita J. Simon.  Intelligence: Nature or Nurture?  New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Bibliography Entry for a Periodical

A bibliography entry for a periodical differs slightly in form from a bibliography entry for a book. For a magazine article, start with the author’s last name first, followed by a comma, then the first name and a period. Next, write the title of the article in quotation marks, and include a period (or other closing punctuation) inside the closing quotation mark. The title of the magazine is next, underlined or in italic type, depending on whether you are handwriting or using a computer, followed by a period. The date and year, followed by a colon and the pages on which the article appeared, come last. Here is an example:

Format:  Author’s last name, first name. “Title of the Article.” Magazine. Month and year of publication: page numbers.

  • Article in a monthly magazine : Crowley, J.E.,T.E. Levitan and R.P. Quinn.“Seven Deadly Half-Truths About Women.”  Psychology Today  March 1978: 94–106.
  • Article in a weekly magazine : Schwartz, Felice N.“Management,Women, and the New Facts of Life.”  Newsweek  20 July 2006: 21–22.
  • Signed newspaper article : Ferraro, Susan. “In-law and Order: Finding Relative Calm.”  The Daily News  30 June 1998: 73.
  • Unsigned newspaper article : “Beanie Babies May Be a Rotten Nest Egg.”  Chicago Tribune  21 June 2004: 12.

Bibliography Entry for a Web Site

For sources such as Web sites include the information a reader needs to find the source or to know where and when you found it. Always begin with the last name of the author, broadcaster, person you interviewed, and so on. Here is an example of a bibliography for a Web site:

Format : Author.“Document Title.” Publication or Web site title. Date of publication. Date of access.

Example : Dodman, Dr. Nicholas. “Dog-Human Communication.”  Pet Place . 10 November 2006.  23 January 2014 < http://www.petplace.com/dogs/dog-human-communication-2/page1.aspx >

After completing the bibliography you can breathe a huge sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back. You probably plan to turn in your work in printed or handwritten form, but you also may be making an oral presentation. However you plan to present your paper, do your best to show it in its best light. You’ve put a great deal of work and thought into this assignment, so you want your paper to look and sound its best. You’ve completed your research paper!

Back to  How To Write A Research Paper .

ORDER HIGH QUALITY CUSTOM PAPER

format of bibliography in research paper

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Therapy Center
  • When To See a Therapist
  • Types of Therapy
  • Best Online Therapy
  • Best Couples Therapy
  • Best Family Therapy
  • Managing Stress
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Understanding Emotions
  • Self-Improvement
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Student Resources
  • Personality Types
  • Guided Meditations
  • Verywell Mind Insights
  • 2024 Verywell Mind 25
  • Mental Health in the Classroom
  • Editorial Process
  • Meet Our Review Board
  • Crisis Support

How to Write a Bibliography in APA Format

  • APA Bibliography
  • How to Create One
  • Why You Need It

Sample Bibliography

An APA format bibliography lists all of the sources that might be used in a paper. A bibliography can be a great tool to help you keep track of information during the research and writing process. In some cases, your instructor may require you to include a bibliography as part of your assignment.

At a Glance

A well-written APA format bibliography can help you keep track of information and sources as you research and write your psychology paper. To create a bibliography, gather up all of the sources that you might use in your paper. Create an APA format reference for each source and then write a brief annotation. Your annotation should be a brief summary of what each reference is about. You can quickly refer to these annotations When writing your paper and determine which to include.

What Is an APA Format Bibliography?

An APA format bibliography is an alphabetical listing of all sources that might be used to write an academic paper, essay, article, or research paper—particularly work that is covering psychology or psychology-related topics. APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA). This format is used by many psychology professors, students, and researchers.

Even if it is not a required part of your assignment, writing a bibliography can help you keep track of your sources and make it much easier to create your final reference page in proper APA format.

Creating an APA Bibliography

A bibliography is similar in many ways to a reference section , but there are some important differences. While a reference section includes every source that was actually used in your paper, a bibliography may include sources that you considered using but may have dismissed because they were irrelevant or outdated.

Bibliographies can be a great way to keep track of information you might want to use in your paper and to organize the information that you find in different sources. The following are four steps you can follow to create your APA format bibliography.

Start on a New Page

Your working bibliography should be kept separate from the rest of your paper. Start it on a new page, with the title "Bibliography" centered at the top and in bold text. Some people use the title "References" instead, so it's best to check with your professor or instructor about which they prefer you to use.

Gather Your Sources

Compile all the sources you might possibly use in your paper. While you might not use all of these sources in your paper, having a complete list will make it easier later on when you prepare your reference section.

Gathering your sources can be particularly helpful when outlining and writing your paper.

By quickly glancing through your working bibliography, you will be able to get a better idea of which sources will be the most appropriate to support your thesis and main points.

Reference Each Source

Your references should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and they should be double-spaced. The first line of each reference should be flush left, while each additional line of a single reference should be a few spaces to the right of the left margin, which is known as a hanging indent.

The format of each source is as follows for academic journals:

  • Last name of first author (followed by their first initial)
  • The year the source was published in parentheses
  • The title of the source
  • The journal that published the source (in italics)
  • The volume number, if applicable (in italics)
  • The issue number, if applicable
  • Page numbers (in parentheses)
  • The URL or "doi" in lowercase letters followed by a colon and the doi number, if applicable

The following examples are scholarly articles in academic journals, cited in APA format:

  • Kulacaoglu, F., & Kose, S. (2018). Borderline personality disorder (BPD): In the midst of vulnerability, chaos, and awe.  Brain sciences ,  8 (11), 201. doi:10.3390/brainsci8110201
  • Cattane, N., Rossi, R., & Lanfredi, M. (2017). Borderline personality disorder and childhood trauma: exploring the affected biological systems and mechanisms.  BMC Psychiatry,   18 (221). doi:10.1186/s12888-017-1383-2

Visit the American Psychological Association's website for more information on citing other types of sources including online media, audiovisual media, and more.

Create an Annotation for Each Source

Normally a bibliography contains only references' information, but in some cases you might decide to create an annotated bibliography. An annotation is a summary or evaluation of the source.

An annotation is a brief description of approximately 150 words describing the information in the source, your evaluation of its credibility, and how it pertains to your topic. Writing one of these for each piece of research will make your writing process faster and easier.

This step helpful in determining which sources to ultimately use in your paper. Your instructor may also require it as part of the assignment so they can assess your thought process and understanding of your topic.

Reasons to Write a Bibliography

One of the biggest reasons to create an APA format bibliography is simply to make the research and writing process easier.

If you do not have a comprehensive list of all of your references, you might find yourself scrambling to figure out where you found certain bits of information that you included in your paper.

A bibliography is also an important tool that your readers can use to access your sources.

While writing an annotated bibliography might not be required for your assignment, it can be a very useful step. The process of writing an annotation helps you learn more about your topic, develop a deeper understanding of the subject, and become better at evaluating various sources of information.

The following is an example of an APA format bibliography by the website EasyBib:

There are many online resources that demonstrate different formats of bibliographies, including the American Psychological Association website . Purdue University's Online Writing Lab also has examples of formatting an APA format bibliography.

Check out this video on their YouTube channel which provides detailed instructions on formatting an APA style bibliography in Microsoft Word.

You can check out the Purdue site for more information on writing an annotated APA bibliography as well.

Creating an MLA Bibliography

If you write a research paper in MLA format, then you will need to include a Works Cited page according to the current 9th edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines. Along with citing your sources within the body of your paper, you also need to include full citations of all sources at the end of your paper. The references in a bibliography are formatted in the same way as they would be in a Works Cited page. However, a bibliography refers to all works that you have consulted in your research, even if you did not use their information directly in your paper.

When you use the correct MLA bibliography format, it shows the reader what sources you consulted, makes finding your sources easier for the reader, and gives credibility to your work as a researcher and writer. This MLA sample paper will show you how the bibliography is incorporated into the rest of your paper. We also have a guide on APA reference pages , if you are following APA style in your paper.

Works cited or bibliography?

You may be wondering, what is a bibliography, and how is it different from a Works Cited page? The difference between the two is that while a bibliography refers to any source you consulted to write your research paper, a Works Cited page only includes full citations of the sources you quoted or paraphrased within your paper.

Typically, when someone says, “MLA bibliography” they really mean a Works Cited page, since the MLA format usually uses a Works Cited page instead of a bibliography.

A bibliography in MLA format may also refer to a Works Consulted page. If you used other sources that you did not directly quote or paraphrase within the paper, you will need to create a Works Consulted/Additional Resources page. A Works Consulted page starts on a separate page and follows the Works Cited page. It follows the same formatting guidelines as a Works Cited page, but you will use Works Consulted (or Additional Resources) as the title.

If you’re unsure of what to include in your citations list (works cited, works consulted, or both), ask your instructor. For the rest of this article, we will refer to this page as the MLA bibliography.

MLA bibliography formatting guidelines

These are the formatting rules you need to follow to create your bibliography according to MLA’s current edition guidelines. Your first page(s) will be your Works Cited page(s) and include the references that you directly refer to in your paper. Usually, this is all that is needed. If your instructor wants you to also include the works you consulted but did not include in your paper (more like a bibliography), then add Works Consulted or Additional Resources page for these sources.

  • Your MLA Works Cited (and Works Consulted or Additional Resources pages) should begin on a separate page or pages at the end of your essay.
  • Your essay should have a header on every page that includes your last name and the page number.
  • The last name/page number header should be on the top right of each page with a ½ inch margin from the top of the page.
  • One-inch margins.
  • Title the page Works Cited (no italicization or quotation marks) unless otherwise instructed. Center the title. The top should look like this:

format of bibliography in research paper

  • Only center the Works Cited title; all citations should be left-justified.
  • Double-space citations.
  • Do not add an additional space between citations.
  • After the first line, use a hanging indent of ½ inch on all additional lines of a citation. The hanging indent should look like this:

MLA works cited indent

  • Typically, this is the author’s last name, but sometimes it could be the title of the source if the author’s name is not available.

MLA bibliography works cited page

If you have a Works Consulted or Additional Resources page after your Works Cited page, format it in the same way, but with the title of Works Consulted or Additional Resources instead of Works Cited. Alternatively, your instructor may require a bibliography. If this is the case, all your sources, whether they are cited in your paper are not, are listed on the same page.

MLA citation guidelines

These are the rules you need to follow to create citations for an MLA bibliography. This section contains information on how to correctly use author names, punctuation, capitalization, fonts, page numbers, DOIs, and URLS in the citations on your MLA bibliography.

Author names

After the title Works Cited, the last name of the author of a source should be the first thing to appear on your page.

List the author’s last name followed by a comma, then the first name followed by the middle name or middle initial if applicable, without a comma separating the first and middle names. Add a period after the name.

Rowling, J.K.

Smith, Alexander McCall.

  • Do not include titles such as Dr., Mrs., etc. or professional qualifications such as PhD, M.S., etc. with author names.
  • Include suffixes such as Jr. or III after the author’s first name. Separate the first name and the suffix by a comma unless the suffix is a numeral. For example, to cite an author named John Smith, Jr., you would type Smith, John, Jr.

Sources with two authors

For a source with two authors, list the author names in your citation in the order they appear on the source, not alphabetically.

Type the last name of the first author listed on the source followed by a comma, then the first author’s first name followed by a comma. Then type the word “and” then list the second author’s first name and last name in the standard order. Follow the second name with a period.

Include middle names or initials and suffixes when applicable according to the guidelines for one author as listed above.

1st Author’s Last Name, First Name, and 2nd Author’s First Name Last Name.

Lutz, Lisa, and David Hayward.

Clark, Mary Higgins, and Alafair Burke.

Sources with three or more authors

For a source with three or more authors, only type the last and first name of the first author listed in the source, followed by a comma and the phrase et al., which is Latin for “and others.” Be sure to always place a period after the al in et al. but never after the et.

1st Author’s Last Name, First Name, et al.

Charaipotra, Sona, et al.

Williams, Beatriz, et al. All the Ways We Said Goodbye . HarperLuxe, 2020.

Organizations and corporations as authors

For sources with organizations or corporations listed as the author, type the name of the corporation in place of an author’s name. If the organization begins with an article like a, an, or the, it should be excluded in the Works Cited entry.

Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook . 2016.

*Note: If the organization is listed as both the author and the publisher, begin the citation with the title and include the organization’s name within the publisher field instead. 

For a source with no author listed, simply omit the author’s name and begin the citation with the title of the source. Use the first letter of the title when considering alphabetical order in your MLA bibliography.

Capitalization

Use MLA title case when citing titles of sources.

  • Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and subordinating conjunctions should be capitalized.
  • Articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions should not be capitalized.

Font formatting

  • Italicize the titles of larger works such as magazines and books. Also, italicize database and website names.
  • Instead of italicization, use quotation marks around titles of shorter works such as poems, short stories, and articles.
  • End all bibliography citations with a period.

Page numbers

Include page numbers in your full citations whenever possible. This helps the reader find the information you cited more quickly than if you just cited the entire source and lends more credibility to your argument. If you cite different pages from the same source within your paper, you should cite the entire source on your MLA bibliography instead of listing all of the page numbers you used.

When including page numbers in a citation, use the abbreviation p. to cite one page and the abbreviation pp. to cite multiple pages with a hyphen between the page numbers.

p. 25 or pp. 16-37

When citing page numbers in MLA, omit the first set of repeated digits.

pp. 365-69, not pp. 365-369

DOIs and URLs

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is used to locate and identify an online source. While URLs may change or web pages might be edited or updated, a DOI is permanent and therefore more useful in a source citation.

  • Use a DOI (digital object identifier) whenever possible. Otherwise use a permalink or URL.
  • DOIs should be formatted with “https://doi.org/” before the DOI number.
  • Do not include “http://” or “https://” in your URLs.
  • As either one will be the last part of your citation, place a period after the DOI or URL. (Note that this period is not part of the DOI or URL.)

Butarbutar, R, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , vol. 343, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208.

Accessed dates

Since the previous 8th edition of the MLA Handbook was published, you do NOT need to list an accessed date for a stable source (e.g., online newspaper article, journal article, photograph, etc.). However, including an access date is good to include when a source does not have a publishing date, and some instructors will request that accessed dates be included for all sources.

If you do include an access date, here’s how to format it:

  • Place it at the end of the citation without “http://” or “https://”.
  • Write “Accessed” first, followed by the date accessed.
  • The date accessed should be formatted as Day Month (abbreviated) Year.

Butarbutar, R, et al. “IOPscience.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , IOP Publishing, 1 Oct. 2019, iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208/meta. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020.

Note: If you choose to list an accessed date after a DOI, the accessed date part of the citation will follow the period after the DOI and will end with a period at the end of the citation

Butarbutar, R, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , vol. 343, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020.

MLA 8 th edition vs MLA 9 th edition

The 9 th edition of the MLA handbook re-introduces guidelines regarding paper formatting (which were not present in the 8 th edition). The guidance in the 9 th addition is consistent with the guidance in previous editions and expands on the formatting of tables, figures/illustrations, and lists. The 9 th edition also offers new guidance in areas like annotated bibliographies, inclusive language, and footnotes/endnotes.

Many of the differences between the 8 th edition and 9 th edition have to do with the formatting of the core elements in reference list entries. Some of the main changes include:

DOI format: doi:10.1353/aeh.2021.0012 DOI format: https://doi.org/10.1353/aeh.2021.0012
Seasons for publications capitalized: Winter 2021 Seasons for publications not capitalized: winter 2021
Publisher format: Use “U” for University and “P” for Press in publisher names (i.e., MIT P) Publisher format: Use “U” for University and “P” for Press in publisher names unless the word “university” is not present (in any language) (e.g., MIT Press)
Organization authors: full name should be used Organization authors: if the organization has a long name, it should be shortened in the in-text citation (i.e., American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals = American Society)
Social media: author’s username should be used Social media: author’s real name or account name (if available) should be used
URLs: include full URL URLs: Shorten URL if longer than 3 lines (include at least the host) and always eliminate the https:// except in DOIs
Pseudonyms: include in parentheses Pseudonyms: include in square brackets

Written by Grace Turney , freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology. 

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

Annotated Bibliography

Bibliography

  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

An MLA bibliography is similar to the Works Cited list that you include at the end of your paper. The only difference between a Works Cited list and a bibliography is that for the former, you need to include the entries for only the sources you cited in the text, whereas for the latter you can also include the sources you consulted to write your paper but didn’t directly cite in your writing. MLA generally prefers Works Cited lists to bibliographies.

If your instructor advises you to create an MLA bibliography, follow the same guidelines you would follow for creating an MLA Works Cited list.

The bibliography list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

The font should be clear enough to read. Use Times New Roman font of size 12 points.

Entries should be double-spaced. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines of the entry 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Bibliographic entries are arranged alphabetically according to the first item in each entry.

Title your bibliography as “Bibliography.”

Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman . Polity, 2013.

Brisini, Travis. “Phytomorphizing Performance: Plant Performance in an Expanded Field.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 39, 2019,            pp. 1–2.

Riccio, Thomas. “Reimagining Yup’ik and Inupiat Performance.” Northwest Theatre Review , vol. 12, no. 1, 1999, pp. 1–30.

General rules for creating an annotated bibliography

The annotation is given after the source entry and is generally about 100-150 words in length. The annotation should be indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the hanging indent within the citation entry.

The annotation, in general, should be written as short phrases. However, you may use full sentences as well.

The annotation for each source is usually no longer than one paragraph. However, if multiple paragraphs are included, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs without any extra line space between them.

The annotation provides basic information about the source, but does not include details about the source, quotes from the author, etc. The information can be descriptive (by generally describing what the source covers) or evaluative (by evaluating the source’s usefulness to the argument in your paper).

Example annotated bibliography

The below is an example of an annotated bibliography:

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America . Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

MLA Citation Examples

Writing Tools

Citation Generators

Other Citation Styles

Plagiarism Checker

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Research paper
  • Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates

Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates

Published on November 19, 2022 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on January 20, 2023.

The formatting of a research paper is different depending on which style guide you’re following. In addition to citations , APA, MLA, and Chicago provide format guidelines for things like font choices, page layout, format of headings and the format of the reference page.

Scribbr offers free Microsoft Word templates for the most common formats. Simply download and get started on your paper.

APA |  MLA | Chicago author-date | Chicago notes & bibliography

  • Generate an automatic table of contents
  • Generate a list of tables and figures
  • Ensure consistent paragraph formatting
  • Insert page numbering

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Formatting an apa paper, formatting an mla paper, formatting a chicago paper, frequently asked questions about research paper formatting.

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in APA Style are as follows:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial.
  • Set 1 inch page margins.
  • Apply double line spacing.
  • If submitting for publication, insert a APA running head on every page.
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch.

Watch the video below for a quick guide to setting up the format in Google Docs.

The image below shows how to format an APA Style title page for a student paper.

APA title page - student version (7th edition)

Running head

If you are submitting a paper for publication, APA requires you to include a running head on each page. The image below shows you how this should be formatted.

APA running head (7th edition)

For student papers, no running head is required unless you have been instructed to include one.

APA provides guidelines for formatting up to five levels of heading within your paper. Level 1 headings are the most general, level 5 the most specific.

APA headings (7th edition)

Reference page

APA Style citation requires (author-date) APA in-text citations throughout the text and an APA Style reference page at the end. The image below shows how the reference page should be formatted.

APA reference page (7th edition)

Note that the format of reference entries is different depending on the source type. You can easily create your citations and reference list using the free APA Citation Generator.

Generate APA citations for free

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

The main guidelines for writing an MLA style paper are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
  • Use title case capitalization for headings .

Check out the video below to see how to set up the format in Google Docs.

On the first page of an MLA paper, a heading appears above your title, featuring some key information:

  • Your full name
  • Your instructor’s or supervisor’s name
  • The course name or number
  • The due date of the assignment

MLA heading

Page header

A header appears at the top of each page in your paper, including your surname and the page number.

MLA page header

Works Cited page

MLA in-text citations appear wherever you refer to a source in your text. The MLA Works Cited page appears at the end of your text, listing all the sources used. It is formatted as shown below.

The format of the MLA Works Cited page

You can easily create your MLA citations and save your Works Cited list with the free MLA Citation Generator.

Generate MLA citations for free

The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman.
  • Use 1 inch margins or larger.
  • Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.

Format of a Chicago Style paper

Chicago doesn’t require a title page , but if you want to include one, Turabian (based on Chicago) presents some guidelines. Lay out the title page as shown below.

Example of a Chicago Style title page

Bibliography or reference list

Chicago offers two citation styles : author-date citations plus a reference list, or footnote citations plus a bibliography. Choose one style or the other and use it consistently.

The reference list or bibliography appears at the end of the paper. Both styles present this page similarly in terms of formatting, as shown below.

Chicago bibliography

To format a paper in APA Style , follow these guidelines:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman or 11 pt Arial
  • Set 1 inch page margins
  • Apply double line spacing
  • Include a title page
  • If submitting for publication, insert a running head on every page
  • Indent every new paragraph ½ inch
  • Apply APA heading styles
  • Cite your sources with APA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a reference page at the end

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style are as follows:

  • Use an easily readable font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Include a four-line MLA heading on the first page
  • Center the paper’s title
  • Use title case capitalization for headings
  • Cite your sources with MLA in-text citations
  • List all sources cited on a Works Cited page at the end

The main guidelines for formatting a paper in Chicago style are to:

  • Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Use 1 inch margins or larger
  • Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center
  • Cite your sources with author-date citations or Chicago footnotes
  • Include a bibliography or reference list

To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .

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 Citation Generator.

Caulfield, J. (2023, January 20). Research Paper Format | APA, MLA, & Chicago Templates. Scribbr. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/research-paper/research-paper-format/

Is this article helpful?

Jack Caulfield

Jack Caulfield

Other students also liked, apa format for academic papers and essays, mla format for academic papers and essays, chicago style format for papers | requirements & examples, "i thought ai proofreading was useless but..".

I've been using Scribbr for years now and I know it's a service that won't disappoint. It does a good job spotting mistakes”

How to Write a Bibliography (MLA, APA Examples)

TeacherVision Staff

Learn how to easily write a bibliography by following the format outlined in this article.

This resource will help your students properly cite different resources in the bibliography of a research paper, and how to format those citations, for books, encyclopedias, films, websites, and people.

Add to Folder
creative writing
children's book
activities
classroom tools
language arts and writing
vocabulary

What is a bibliography?

According to Infoplease.com, A bibliography is a list of the types of sources you used to get information for your report. It is included at the end of your report, on the last page (or last few pages).

What are the types of bibliography styles (MLA, APA, etc.)?

The 3 most common bibliography/citation styles are:

  • MLA Style: The Modern Language Association works cited page style
  • APA Style: The American Psychological Association style
  • Chicago Style: The bibliography style defined by the Chicago Manual of Style

We’ll give examples of how to create bibliography entries in various styles further down in this article. 

What sources do you put in a bibliography?

An annotated bibliography should include a reference list of any sources you use in writing a research paper. Any printed sources from which you use a text citation, including books, websites, newspaper articles, journal articles, academic writing, online sources (such as PDFs), and magazines should be included in a reference list. In some cases, you may need or want to cite conversations or interviews, works of art, visual works such as movies, television shows, or documentaries - these (and many others) can also be included in a reference list.

How to get started writing your bibliography

You will find it easier to prepare your MLA, APA, or Chicago annotated bibliography if you keep track of each book, encyclopedia, journal article, webpage or online source you use as you are reading and taking notes. Start a preliminary, or draft, bibliography by listing on a separate sheet of paper all your sources. Note down the full title, author’s last name, place of publication, web address, publisher, and date of publication for each source.

Haven't started your paper yet and need an outline? These sample essay outlines include a research paper outline from an actual student paper.

How to write a bibliography step-by-step (with examples)

General Format: Author (last name first). Title of the book. Publisher, Date of publication.

MLA Style: Sibley, David Allen. What It’s Like to Be a Bird. From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing, What Birds Are Doing, and Why. Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.

APA Style: Sibley, D.A. (2020). What It’s Like to Be a Bird. From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing, What Birds Are Doing, and Why . Alfred A. Knopf.

Notes: Use periods, not commas, to separate the data in the entry. Use a hanging indent if the entry is longer than one line. For APA style, do not use the full author’s first name.

Websites or webpages:

  MLA Style: The SB Nation Family of Sites. Pension Plan Puppets: A Toronto Maple Leafs Blog, 2022, www.pensionplanpuppets.com. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.

APA Style: American Heart Association. (2022, April 11). How to keep your dog’s heart healthy. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/04/11/how-to-keep-your-dogs-heart-healthy

Online news article from a newspaper site:

APA Style: Duehren, A. (2022, April 9). Janet Yellen faces challenge to keep pressure on Russia. Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/janet-yellen-faces-challenge-to-keep-pressure-on-russia-while-addressing-global-consequences-11650366000

Print journal articles:

MLA Style: Booch, Grady. "Patterns in Object-Oriented Design." IEEE Software Engineering, vol. 6, no. 6, 2006, pp. 31-50.

APA Style: Booch, G. (2006). Patterns in object-oriented design. IEEE Software Engineering, 6(6), 31–50.

Note: It is suggested that you include a DOI and a webpage address when referencing either a printed journal article, and electronic journal article, or an journal article that appears in both formats. 

MLA Style: Gamma, Eric, and Peter A. Coad. “Exceptions to the Unified Modeling Language in Python Patterns.” IEEE Software Engineering, vol. 2, no. 6, 8 Mar. 2006, pp. 190-194. O’Reilly Software Engineering Library, https://doi.org/10.1006/se.20061. Accessed 26 May 2009.

APA Style: Masters, H., Barron, J., & Chanda, L. (2017). Motivational interviewing techniques for adolescent populations in substance abuse counseling. NAADAC Notes, 7(8), 7–13. https://www.naadac.com/notes/adolescent-techniques

ML:A Style: @Grady_Booch. “That’s a bold leap over plain old battery power cars.” Twitter, 13 Mar. 2013, 12:06 p.m., https://twitter.com/Grady_Booch/status/1516379006727188483.

APA Style: Westborough Library [@WestboroughLib]. (2022, April 12). Calling all 3rd through 5th grade kids! Join us for the Epic Writing Showdown! Winner receives a prize! Space is limited so register, today. loom.ly/ypaTG9Q [Tweet; thumbnail link to article]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/WestboroughLib/status/1516373550415896588.

Print magazine articles:

General format: Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of magazine. Volume number, (Date): page numbers.

MLA Style: Stiteler, Sharon. "Tracking Red-Breasted Grosbeak Migration." Minnesota Bird Journal, 7 Sept. 2019, pp. 7-11.

APA Style: Jordan, Jennifer, "Filming at the Top of the World." Museum of Science Magazine. Volume 47, No. 1, (Winter 1998): p. 11.

Print newspaper articles:

General format: Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of newspaper, city, state of publication. (date): edition if available, section, page number(s).

MLA Style: Adelman, Martin. "Augustus Announces Departure from City Manager Post." New York Times, late ed., 15 February 2020, p. A1

APA Style: Adelman, M. (2020, February 15). Augustus announced departure from city manager post. New York Times, A1.

Encyclopedias:

General Format: Encyclopedia Title, Edition Date. Volume Number, "Article Title," page numbers.

MLA Style: “Gorillas.” The Encyclopedia Brittanica. 15th ed. 2010.

APA Style: Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc. (1997.) Gorillas. In The Encyclopedia Brittanica (15th ed., pp. 50-51). Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc.

Personal interviews:

General format: Full name (last name first). Personal Interview. (Occupation.) Date of interview.

MLA Style: Smithfield, Joseph. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.

APA Style: APA does not require a formal citation for a personal interview. Published interviews from other sources should be cited accordingly.

Films and movies:

General format: Title, Director, Distributor, Year.

MLA Style: Fury. Directed by David Ayer, performances by Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Sony Pictures, 2014.

APA Style: Ayer, D. (Director). (2014). Fury [Film]. Sony Pictures.

Featured High School Resources

Poetry Packet for High School

Related Resources

Writing an essay outline - with examples

About the author

TeacherVision Staff

TeacherVision Editorial Staff

The TeacherVision editorial team is comprised of teachers, experts, and content professionals dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and relevant information in the teaching space.

sandbox logo

University of North Florida

  • Become Involved |
  • Give to the Library |
  • Staff Directory |
  • UNF Library
  • Thomas G. Carpenter Library

Citation Styles: A Brief Guide to APA, MLA and Turabian

Sample bibliography: apa.

  • Journal Articles
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Government Publications
  • Other Materials
  • In Text Citations
  • Sample Bibliography: MLA
  • Sample Bibliography: Turabian
  • Creating an Annotated Bibliography This link opens in a new window

The basic format for a book citation requires listing the author's name, the title of the book, the publisher's name, and the date of publication. Edited books, when cited in full, will list the editor's name instead of an author’s name. 

Becsey, L., Wachsberger, P., Samuels, S., et al (Directors). (2008). In the valley of Elah . [DVD]. Warner Home Video.

Ginsberg, J. P., Ayers, E., Burriss, L., & Powell, D. A. (2008). Discriminative delay Pavlovian eye-blink conditioning in veterans with and without post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders , 22 , 809-823. https://doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2007.08.009

Glantz, A. (2009). The war comes home: Washington's battle against America's veterans . University of California Press.

Jakupcak, M., Luterek, J., Hunt, S., Conybeare, D., & McFall, M. (2008). Post-traumatic stress and its relationship to physical health functioning in a sample of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking post-deployment VA health care. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease , 196 , 425-428.

Jensen, G. & Wiest, A. A. (2001). War in the age of technology myriad faces of modern armed conflict . New York University Press.

Killgore, W. D. S., Cotting, D. I., Thomas, J. L., Cox, A. L., McGurk, D., Vo, A. H., et al. (2008). Post-combat invincibility: Violent combat experiences are associated with increased risk-taking propensity following deployment. Journal of Psychiatric Research , 42 (13), 1112-1121. https://doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.01.001

Monson, C. M., Fredman, S. J., & Adair, K. C. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder: Application to operation enduring and Iraqi freedom veterans. Journal of Clinical Psychology , 64 , 958-971. https://doi:10.1002/jclp.20511

Paulson, D. S., & Krippner, S. (2007). Haunted by combat : Understanding PTSD in war veterans including women, reservists, and those coming back from Iraq . Praeger Security International.

Tanielian, T. L., Jaycox, L., & Rand Corporation. (2008). Invisible wounds of war: Psychological and cognitive injuries, their consequences, and services to assist recovery . Rand.

United States. Congress. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. (2007). Working in a war zone: Post traumatic stress disorder in civilians returning from Iraq . G.P.O.

Van Winkle, C. (2009). Soft spots: A marine's memoir of combat and post-traumatic stress disorder . St. Martin's Press.

  • << Previous: In Text Citations
  • Next: Sample Bibliography: MLA >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 22, 2024 9:44 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.unf.edu/citationguide

format of bibliography in research paper

authorsafterdark.org

research paper writing tips from the top experts

format of bibliography in research paper

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper: Guide & Samples

A bibliography is undoubtedly one of the most essential parts of every research paper. A research paper without a bibliography equals poorly conducted research. As such, the importance of a bibliography in a research paper cannot be overemphasized.

To produce well-constructed research, you must consult other authors and use their materials to support your argument. This is the only way to give these authors their credit; by listing them out in your bibliography.

Acknowledging the sources used in writing the topic is an effective approach to avoiding plagiarism in your research. It is also a great way to provide and inform other scholars with sources they may not be aware of. This article seeks to provide the format of bibliography and how to write a good bibliography for your research paper.

What Is a Bibliography in a Research Paper?

Simply put, a bibliography is a list of works used in writing a research paper. Every research paper must contain a list of sources the author used in preparing the research paper. Your source can range from books to scholarly papers, speeches, private records, interviews, letters, websites, and other sources.

Your research paper was not created in a vacuum; you must have consulted other authors or sourced to create enriched content. Therefore, at the end of your research, you must attach a list of all the sources used.

How to Write Bibliography for Research Paper

Writing a bibliography isn’t so hard; all you need is a list of sources used and a format for documenting them. To make things easier for you, prepare a draft comprising all of the sources you must have used. Ensure you include the book’s full title, the author, place of publication, publication date, and publisher. All sources must be listed out alphabetically using the authors’ names.

It is also important to note that there are different formats for writing a bibliography. As such, you must decide which format to employ in your research paper. You can format your work in Modern Language Association (MLA) format, American Psychological Association (APA), or Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Regardless of which you choose, ensure that it is done correctly.

How to Format a Bibliography

Once you have an idea of how to format a bibliography, most of the work is completed. However, when writing it you need to pay close attention to each format and its content to avoid mixing them up. For printed sources, the bibliography of a research paper should provide the following:

  • Author’s name
  • Title of publication (provide the title of the article if it’s a journal, magazine, or encyclopedia)
  • Date of publication
  • Place of Publication of a book
  • The publishing house of a book
  • Volume number of magazine or encyclopedia
  • The page numbers

To document sources from a website, you need to document the following:

  • The author or editor’s name if there’s any
  • Title of the page
  • The organization of the webpage
  • The URL of the website
  • The date the information was gotten from the website

The common formats for writing a bibliography in a research paper are MLA and APA style. A bibliography is known as “Works Cited” in MLA and on the other hand, it is called “References List” in APA. Though both formats contain similar information about the sources used, there are still slight differences in formatting style. Here’s  what MLA and APA bibliography styles should look like.

How to Write a Bibliography APA

Your research paper’s bibliography must be attached at the end of it with the tag “References” at the center. In addition to this, you need to pay attention to the basics of APA style, such as capitalization, abbreviation, punctuation, underlining or italics, hanging indentation, and others. Here’s a research paper bibliography example in APA style:

Author’s last name, first initial. (Publication date). Book title . City of Publication: Publishing company.

  • For encyclopedia:

Author’s last name, first initial. (Date). Title of Article. Title of Encyclopedia (Volumes, pages). City of Publication: Publishing Company.

  • For magazine and newspaper articles:

Author’s last name, first initial. (Publication Date). Article title. Periodical title, Volume number (issue number if there’s any), page numbers.

How to Write a Bibliography MLA

Bibliography in MLA format is called “Works cited” and must be arranged in alphabetical order according to the author’s name. Here’s the required format for MLA style for varying sources:

“Author’s last name, first name. Book title. Publication City: Publishing company, publication date.”

  • Encyclopedia & dictionary:

“Author’s last name, first name. “Title of Article.” Encyclopedia’s Title. Date.”

  • Magazine & newspaper:

“Author’s last name, first name. “Article title.” Periodical title volume Date: inclusive pages.”

format of bibliography in research paper

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

American Psychological Association

This page has been archived and is no longer being updated regularly.

How do you format a bibliography in APA Style ® ?

format of bibliography in research paper

Go to 7th edition guidelines

APA Style ® calls for a list of references instead of a bibliography.

The requirements of a reference list are that all references cited in the text of a paper must be listed alphabetically by first author's last name in the list of references and that all references listed must be cited within the text.

A bibliography, however, typically includes resources in addition to those cited in the text and may include annotated descriptions of the items listed.

In general, the list of references is double-spaced and listed alphabetically by first author's last name. For each reference, the first line is typed flush with the left margin, and any additional lines are indented as a group a few spaces to the right of the left margin (this is called a hanging indent ).

For example:

APA Publications and Communications Board Working Group on Journal Article Reporting Standards. (2009). Reporting standards for research in psychology: Why do we need them? What might they be? American Psychologist, 63 , 839–851. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.63.9.839

APA Style Contacts

format of bibliography in research paper

Verify originality of an essay

Get ideas for your paper

Find top study documents

How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper: Guidelines for MLA and APA formats

Updated 27 Jun 2024

Research paper writing go through several clear steps and one of them is to explain where your sources come from. Each research culminates in a citation page or bibliography, with the chosen format contingent upon your study area. Completing this part of academic writing may be challenging for most students. We’ll gladly assist you with this task if you're one of them.

This informative guide is designed to answer your question about how to write a bibliography for a research paper. You’ll gain an understanding of this section’s purpose and importance, its essential components, and its structure. We’ll delve into popular citation styles and provide a sample bibliography page to help you. 

What is a bibliography? 

Before making a bibliography, it's important to understand what it is. A bibliography is a list of all the sources you used or mentioned in your work. How you format it depends on your style, like MLA, APA, or Chicago. These three styles are the most widely used.

A research paper bibliography is a big list that includes books, journals, websites, and other sources you use for your research. It's like a record of all the things you looked at while working on your assignment. It's important to remember that it's not just the things you mention directly in your paper, but everything you used to gather information.

Creating a correct bibliography involves including these components:

  • Author(s)’ names, a pivotal element within the bibliography;
  • The full title of the referenced source material;
  • Publisher’s name;
  • Publication date of the work;
  • Page numbers, DOI, or ISBN associated with the source material.

Step-by-step guidelines to complete a bibliography 

Constructing a citation page may be straightforward if following the correct procedures. Discover three steps to understand how to write a bibliography for a research paper.

Step 1. Develop an initial reference page.

While accumulating data for research papers, establishing an initial bibliography can be advantageous. It simplifies the final stages of your work and aids in the organization of your ideas. When composing an initial draft, ensure to compile details:

  • Author(s) and editor(s);
  • Date of publication;
  • Page numbers (if needed).

Upon collecting this information, generate a bibliographic citation following your specific style.

Step 2. Provide a heading for your document.

The bibliography should commence on the final page, following any utilized endnotes. The heading’s format will differ depending on your style (Bibliography, Works Cited, or References), and it should be centered in the page’s upper part. It should maintain the same one-inch margins and titles as the rest of the text.

Step 3. Craft your citations.

The subsequent task involves arranging entries in alphabetical order. The sorting depends on the author’s surname, the corporation's name, or the respective work's title. Regardless of the chosen style, applying a half-inch hanging indent after the first line of each bibliographic citation is essential. As for spacing requirements, they diverge between Reference, Works Cited, and a Bibliography page.

How to write a bibliography in MLA

According to the MLA style guide, the reference section should be titled “Works Cited” and located at the paper's end. MLA style is especially user-friendly for high school students and philosophers, offering clear guidelines for citing various communication sources such as blogs, web pages, and music. In MLA’s in-text citations, the format follows the author-page structure. Additionally, footnotes can be utilized to offer supplementary information. 

Here are the key requirements for correct formatting in MLA style:

The page should be titled “Works Cited” and centered at the top.

  • Font and spacing;

Use a legible font such as Times New Roman, size 12. Double-space the entire page, including both within and between entries.

  • Arrangement;

List entries alphabetically based on the authors’ last names. If there is no author, use the title for alphabetization.

  • Hanging indent;

Create a hanging indent for each entry. The first line of each entry should be flush left, while subsequent lines are indented by 0.5 inches (one tab space). You can adjust this indentation using the paragraph settings in your word processor.

  • Author names;

List authors' names with the last name followed by their first name, separated by a comma. If multiple authors exist, use “and” to separate the last two names. If there is no author, start with the title.

  • Title formatting;

Italicize the titles of larger works (books, films, websites) and use quotation marks for titles of shorter works (articles, poems, short stories).

  • Publication information;

For books, include the title in italics, publisher's name, publication year, and medium (print or eBook). For articles, include the title in quotation marks, the title of the periodical (in italics), volume number, issue number (if applicable), publication year, and page range. For online sources, include the URL.

  • URL and DOI;

Include the URL for online materials. If the source has a Digital Object Identifier, include it after publication.

  • Containers;

For sources within larger containers (like articles within journals), include the name of the larger container (the journal’s title), which is italicized. For materials that are part of a larger work (like an article in an anthology), provide the title of the larger work in italics.

Bibliography in APA style

This style is employed for research papers to simplify citing sources such as manuals, journals, and other technical materials, utilizing an author-date in-text citation approach. Similar to MLA, footnotes can also be employed in APA to provide additional context or convey copyright information.

Creating a research paper bibliography in APA format requires adherence to the following specific guidelines:

The page should be titled “References” and centered at the top of the page.

Use a clear and legible font such as Times New Roman, size 12. Double-space the entire page, including both within and between entries.

Enumerate entries alphabetically based on the authors’ last names. If there is no author, use the first significant word of the title for alphabetization.

Create a hanging indent for each entry. The first line of each entry should be flush left, while subsequent lines are indented by 0.5 inches. This can be achieved through the paragraph settings in your word processor.

List the author’s last name followed by the initials, separated by a comma and an ampersand (&) before the last author's name. If there is no author, start with the title.

  • Publication date;

Include the publication year in parentheses, followed by a period. If a source has no publication date, use “n.d.” (no date) instead.

Italicize the titles of books, journals, and other standalone works. Use sentence case capitalization for titles (only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized). Titles of articles, chapters, and web pages are not italicized.

Provide the necessary publication information based on the source type. As for books, include their titles, publisher’s names, and locations (cities and states or countries). When referring to the journal articles, including their titles, the journal’s titles in italics, volume numbers, issue numbers (in parentheses), page ranges, and DOI (if available). When using information from online sources, include the URL for websites.

Include the DOI if journal articles and online materials are available. It should be preceded by “doi:” and the full DOI number.

APA and MLA comparison

The nature of your bibliography format for a research paper hinges largely on the citation styles you intend to employ. When constructing this section, the initial step involves meticulously reviewing formatting requirements. In this regard, we’ll compare the MLA Works Cited format with the APA References page. While this guide won’t delve into intricate details, it aims to elucidate the connections and distinctions between these two widely utilized styles.

MLA specifics

  • This format is commonly found in disciplines about the Humanities, Arts, and their associated fields. 
  • Typically situated at the paper's conclusion, the “Works Cited” page encompasses citations for all the sources employed in a document. 
  • In MLA citations, the author’s name is consistently incorporated within the same sentence, accompanied by the respective page number in parentheses. For instance, “James emphasizes that many students have expressed satisfaction (58).” 
  • When compiling a bibliography and the primary author’s name isn’t explicitly referenced, their last name is placed in parentheses at the sentence’s end.

APA specifics

  • This style is predominantly employed in Social Sciences, Political Studies, and Environmental Sciences. 
  • A “References” page is appended at the paper’s conclusion, encompassing citations for all the materials referenced during the research journey. 
  • The author’s last name is paired with the publication year in APA citations when citing a source. For instance, “James (2017) asserts that social media platforms facilitate the success of political campaigns.” 
  • In cases where the author isn’t explicitly mentioned, the last name and publication year are enclosed in parentheses at the sentence's conclusion.

Similarities

  • Both categories of research papers require double spacing throughout. This extends to including “Works Cited” and “References” pages. 
  • Every line following the initial line in an entry necessitates a hanging indent. 
  • Inclusion in the “References” or “Works Cited” pages is mandatory for all cited information within the research paper. 
  • Formatting a bibliography mandates the use of parenthetical citations within the main text. 
  • In both MLA and APA bibliography styles, citations and sources are arranged in alphabetical order. This practice is significant for both the “Works Cited” and “References” pages.

3 types of bibliography and their differences: Bibliography, Works Cited, and Annotated Bibliography

The reference section necessitates the inclusion of all materials consulted or referenced by the author during the research paper creation. This stipulation holds irrespective of whether the source has been directly cited. It must find a place in this section if it has served as a reference for a particular idea. This contrasts with the protocol for a conventional Works Cited page. In contrast to a standard bibliography in a research paper, a Works Cited page should encompass solely those sources explicitly mentioned within the in-text citations.

There is also another subtype of the reference page as an Annotated Bibliography. The key distinction lies in the requirement to elucidate the intended use, determine the purpose, and indicate bibliographic particulars about the author. In addition to the customary entry containing the author and publisher, resembling a bibliographic listing, an Annotated Bibliography necessitates the crafting of a succinct source description. This entails providing a concise overview and highlighting the significance of the source.

How to structure a bibliography?

First, it’s imperative to verify the presence of the appropriate title for your page: “References” (in APA style), “Works Cited” (in MLA), or simply “Bibliography,” depending on the circumstances and the kinds of sources referenced and consulted. Below is a fundamental checklist for this section, ensuring the inclusion of all vital information. 

  • Have you incorporated 3-5 credible sources that furnish authenticated and dependable information on your topic?
  • Have you provided the necessary details for each source, including the title, author’s name, and publisher, to facilitate identification?
  • Have you meticulously reviewed your grading rubric to ensure the accurate application of citations in the prescribed style?
  • Is your reference page meticulously organized alphabetically?
  • Do your selected sources directly correlate with your thesis's subject and central questions?

Let's now delve into the essential rules of writing a bibliography for a research paper:

  • Each entry in this section should be double-spaced.
  • Verify if a different format requires single-spaced entries, such as formats other than MLA.
  • Arrange all entries alphabetically by the author's last name.
  • In sources without an author, alphabetical sorting should be based on the title or the organization’s name.
  • Personal communications, interviews, letters, and similar materials are excluded from the Works Cited, References, or Bibliography pages.
  • Utilize a single space after any punctuation mark, following the MLA format for most bibliography types.
  • Consider using a slash or hyphen if a long word or an extended URL needs to be split across multiple lines.
  • Refrain from adding hyphens to URLs if the original link does not employ them.
  • Avoid initiating the first line of bibliography details with any punctuation mark, except when referencing the source’s title.
  • All lines following the first in a bibliography entry should exhibit a hanging indent from the left margin ( 1.25 cm or 1/2 inches).
  • When crafting an Annotated Bibliography, any descriptive additions should also employ the hanging indent for all lines following the main citation.

When you don’t feel confident about a specific source type or its validity, consulting your academic advisor or omitting it entirely is recommended. This approach will contribute to the authoritative tone of your bibliography. Creating a comprehensive bibliography for a research paper can be time-consuming, so if you're short on time, you might consider hiring professionals who write essays for money to ensure your bibliography is accurate and complete.

Bibliography examples in MLA and APA

Here is a sample MLA bibliography page with five different sources. Remember to begin this section on the next page after the final paragraph.

Works Cited

Smith, John A. The Art of Writing. Academic Press, 2020.

Journal article:

Johnson, Lisa M. “Writing Techniques in Modern Literature.” Literary Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, 2018, pp. 45-60.

Brown, Maria. “Effective Writing Tips.” WritingHub, 2022, www.writinghub.com/tips.

Magazine article:

Carter, David. “The Power of Storytelling.” Creative Insights, vol. 5, no. 2, 2019, pp. 20-25.

The Language of Cinema: A Visual Journey. Directed by Sarah Parker, 2021.

The titles of larger works like books and films are italicized, while titles of shorter works like articles and website pages are in quotation marks. Always ensure your sources are accurate and complete based on the source type.

Here's a research paper bibliography example in APA with five different sources:

Smith, J. A. (2020). The Art of Writing. Academic Press.

Johnson, L. M., & Martinez, R. K. (2018). Writing Techniques in Modern Literature. Literary Studies, 12(3), 45-60. doi:10.1016/800651.

Brown, M. (2022, January 15). Tips for Effective Writing. WritingHub. https://www.writinghub.com/tips.

Carter, D. (2019). The Power of Storytelling. Creative Insights, 5(2), 20-25.

Parker, S. (Director). (2021). The Language of Cinema: A Visual Journey.

Apply the hanging indent for each entry, with the first line flush left and subsequent lines indented by 0.5 inches. Based on the source type, ensure the accuracy and completeness of your source details.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback.

Article author picture

Written by Elizabeth Miller

Seasoned academic writer, nurturing students' writing skills. Expert in citation and plagiarism. Contributing to EduBirdie since 2019. Aspiring author and dedicated volunteer. You will never have to worry about plagiarism as I write essays 100% from scratch. Vast experience in English, History, Ethics, and more.

Related Blog Posts

Delimitations in research: meaning, types, and examples.

Working on academic papers can make it easy to feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of available data and information. One of the most crucial consi...

150 Fascinating Astronomy Research Topics: Explore the Wonders of the Universe

The Significance of Astronomy Research Topics Astronomy research topics hold a significant place in the academic curriculum due to their profoun...

150+ Medical research paper topics for students

Med Research Topics: What Makes a Good One? Several essential attributes characterize an excellent medical research topic. First and foremost, i...

Join our 150K of happy users

  • Get original papers written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
  • Utility Menu

University Logo

fa3d988da6f218669ec27d6b6019a0cd

A publication of the harvard college writing program.

Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

  • The Honor Code
  • Sample Bibliography

Below you’ll find a Bibliography adapted from a research paper written by Aishani Aatresh for her Technology, Environment, and Society course.

 

Bibliography

Barnard, Anne, and Grace Ashford. “Can New York Really Get to 100% Clean Energy by 2040?” , November 29, 2021, sec. New York. .

Berman, Bradley. “Fuel Cells at Center Stage.” , November 22, 2013, sec. Automobiles. .

Boudette, Neal E. “First Came the Hydrogen Cars. Now, the Refilling Stations.” , May 18, 2017, sec. Automobiles. .

Coen, Deborah R. “Big Is a Thing of the Past: Climate Change and Methodology in the History of Ideas.” 77, no. 2 (2016): 305–21. .

The White House. “FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Steps to Drive American Leadership Forward on Clean Cars and Trucks,” August 5, 2021. .

Jasanoff, Sheila. “A New Climate for Society.” 27, no. 2–3 (March 2010): 233–53. .

Jasanoff, Sheila, and Sang-Hyun Kim. “Containing the Atom: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and Nuclear Power in the United States and South Korea.” 47, no. 2 (2009): 119–46.

Motavalli, Jim. “Cheap Natural Gas Prompts Energy Department to Soften Its Line on Fuel Cells.” (blog), May 29, 2012. .

Tabuchi, Hiroko. “Toyota Led on Clean Cars. Now Critics Say It Works to Delay Them.” , July 25, 2021, sec. Climate. .

 

  • Citation Management Tools
  • In-Text Citations
  • Bibliography
  • Examples of Commonly Cited Sources
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in Chicago Format

PDFs for This Section

  • Citing Sources
  • Online Library and Citation Tools

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA Sample Paper

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This resource contains a sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2016 updates. To download the MLA sample paper, click this link .

  • Free Tools for Students
  • APA Citation Generator

Free APA Citation Generator

Generate citations in APA format quickly and automatically, with MyBib!

APA 7 guide book cover

🤔 What is an APA Citation Generator?

An APA citation generator is a software tool that will automatically format academic citations in the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

It will usually request vital details about a source -- like the authors, title, and publish date -- and will output these details with the correct punctuation and layout required by the official APA style guide.

Formatted citations created by a generator can be copied into the bibliography of an academic paper as a way to give credit to the sources referenced in the main body of the paper.

👩‍🎓 Who uses an APA Citation Generator?

College-level and post-graduate students are most likely to use an APA citation generator, because APA style is the most favored style at these learning levels. Before college, in middle and high school, MLA style is more likely to be used. In other parts of the world styles such as Harvard (UK and Australia) and DIN 1505 (Europe) are used more often.

🙌 Why should I use a Citation Generator?

Like almost every other citation style, APA style can be cryptic and hard to understand when formatting citations. Citations can take an unreasonable amount of time to format manually, and it is easy to accidentally include errors. By using a citation generator to do this work you will:

  • Save a considerable amount of time
  • Ensure that your citations are consistent and formatted correctly
  • Be rewarded with a higher grade

In academia, bibliographies are graded on their accuracy against the official APA rulebook, so it is important for students to ensure their citations are formatted correctly. Special attention should also be given to ensure the entire document (including main body) is structured according to the APA guidelines. Our complete APA format guide has everything you need know to make sure you get it right (including examples and diagrams).

⚙️ How do I use MyBib's APA Citation Generator?

Our APA generator was built with a focus on simplicity and speed. To generate a formatted reference list or bibliography just follow these steps:

  • Start by searching for the source you want to cite in the search box at the top of the page.
  • MyBib will automatically locate all the required information. If any is missing you can add it yourself.
  • Your citation will be generated correctly with the information provided and added to your bibliography.
  • Repeat for each citation, then download the formatted list and append it to the end of your paper.

MyBib supports the following for APA style:

⚙️ StylesAPA 6 & APA 7
📚 SourcesWebsites, books, journals, newspapers
🔎 AutociteYes
📥 Download toMicrosoft Word, Google Docs

Image of daniel-elias

Daniel is a qualified librarian, former teacher, and citation expert. He has been contributing to MyBib since 2018.

  • Writing Center

Annotated Bibliography Handout

Click here to download a .pdf copy of our Annotated Bibliography Handout !

Last updated : July 18, 2024

Consider keeping a printed copy to have when writing and revising your resume!  If you have any additional questions, make an appointment or email us at [email protected] !

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a collection of citations (a bibliography), like a References or Works Cited page, with written annotations for each entry that summarizes and then critically evaluates the source. Annotated bibliographies are a process tool, particularly useful for larger projects, that allow you to break down a source into its main parts and tie it back to your paper. Annotations make you read more critically instead of just collecting information. Most annotations are 1 paragraph in length, about 150-200 words, including (1) the citation, (2) a summary of the main findings, and (3) an evaluation of the article’s application to your paper. Sample annotations for APA and MLA are provided in the next section. Boise State professors frequently use a 3 paragraph format, which is detailed in the final part of this guide. Basic annotations, however, will be comprised of three parts:

Provide the citation as it would appear in your bibliography page.

What is the primary argument, and what main points support the argument? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what the source is about, what would you say?

Evaluation:

Why is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? If so, what demonstrates its reliability? If not, what undermines the source’s credibility? What is the goal of this source? How can you use this source in your paper?

Sample Annotations for APA and MLA

Indent by 0.5″ margin, similar to a block quote. Do not indent the first line of the annotation. For multiple paragraphs, indent the first line of any paragraph after the first. Title as “Annotated Bibliography” (or simply “References”).

An example of an APA annotation. At the top is the Reference entry, formatted with a hanging indent (0.5" after the first line). Below, without any extra space, is the annotation, which is flush with the 0.5" indent.

Indent the whole annotation by 1″ margin. Do not indent the first line. If there are multiple paragraphs, indent each one, but do not add an extra space between them. Title the list as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.”

An example of an MLA annotation. At the top is the Works Cited entry, formatted with a hanging indent (0.5" after the first line). Below, without any extra space, is the annotation. The entire annotation is indented by 1".

Quick Guide to Annotations

1. use specific quotes from the article..

  • Including quotes in your annotation lets you point to where the author(s) identify the main argument. Quotes also let you evaluate specific parts of the text and put your interpretation in conversation with the work itself. Moreover, these quotes can be helpful when you go to write your paper!
  • In general, you won’t need to use in-text citations within the annotation itself, as the origin of information is clear in context (for both APA and MLA). However, you’ll want to include page numbers for direct quotes, and cite any (other) sources referenced in the annotation.

2. Put the article in conversation with your work.

  • Annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been written in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. Writing an annotated bibliography is a way to develop your own point of view: How does the source change or challenge your perspective?
  • When evaluating an article, ask yourself: What does it add to your topic? What are some key pieces to include in your own project? Compare and contrast your annotations with each other, too: What patterns do you see? How do ideas in one source build on ideas in another? How do they build on your topic?

3. Identify the appropriate annotation length.

  • Common length is 1 paragraph (about 150-200) words. Sometimes, the summary and evaluation will be split between 2 paragraphs (and may be closer to 200-300 words).
  • Professors will usually set specific requirements for the amount, length, and scope of annotations. English classes (like ENGL 102) at Boise State regularly use 3 paragraph annotations, partitioned into three paragraphs wherein you: (1) summarize the topic and main argument[s], (2) assess the authors and context, and (3) reflect on how the source adds to your project.

4. Researching articles for your bibliography.

  • Quotation marks can be used in databases like Academic Search Premier or Google Scholar to limit search results to those containing specific keywords or phrases, like “writing center” or “transfer theory.”
  • Academic journals (or “periodicals”) are an excellent way to find peer reviewed or scholarly articles. An easy way to see if a source is from an academic journal is to see if it has a volume or issue number. Many databases have options to filter for peer reviewed articles and will identify source types for you!
  • If you’d like to learn more about researching, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Research !

The Writing Center

Logo

  • Turnitin Guides
  • Administrator hub
  • Release notes and known issues
  • Welcome to Turnitin Guides

Welcome to Turnitin’s new website for guidance!

In 2024, we migrated our comprehensive library of guidance from https://help.turnitin.com to this site, guides.turnitin.com. During this process we have taken the opportunity to take a holistic look at our content and how we structure our guides.

This page is here to help you orientate yourself with these changes and update your resources

What's new?

We have restructured the content to help you navigate it more efficiently.

We are consolidating numerous pages to make our individual guides more valuable as well as removing duplicated content.

For example, our Similarity Report guidance on help.turnitin is repeated in numerous places to cater for each individual integration and license type. On guides.turnitin this content will exist in a single place to allow for users of all integrations and licenses to find it easily. We have made slight modifications to these guides to help you understand which guides are pertinent to you and your institution.

Our guidance search has greatly improved

As a result of our content restructure, the search functionality for guides.turnitin has improved. Use the search bar at the top of any page to locate the guidance you’re searching for.

Dedicated student and administrator guidance hubs

Visit the Student hub area to locate student guidance. For students who access Turnitin via an LMS or VLE, check out the subsection Submitting to Turnitin .

Visiting the Administrator hub area to locate administrator guidance and release notes. 

iThenticate and Crossref Similarity Check guidance is now located on a separate site

To improve the experience for our iThenticate and Crossref Similiarity Check customers we have move their help content onto a separate help site, guides.ithenticate.com . This will improve the search for all users.

We have also created an orientation page for this site to help users become acclimatised.

Some guidance is no longer grouped within the LMS umbrella

Some guidance which was previously provided under each LMS has been moved to sections that reflect those workflows’ outcomes. Use the table below as a cheatsheet to quickly locate guidance.

Student guidance
LMS guidance for administrators and instructors
Similarity Report and AI Writing guidance
Creating PeerMark assignments guidance
Creating and managing QuickMarks, rubrics and grading PeerMark assignments guidance
User profile guidance for administrators and instructors

Administrator account settings and migration help
Release notes and known issues

Articles in this section

  • Turnitin release notes
  • Integrations release notes
  • Integrations Known issues

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

    Bibliography Entry for a Book. A bibliography entry for a book begins with the author's name, which is written in this order: last name, comma, first name, period. After the author's name comes the title of the book. If you are handwriting your bibliography, underline each title. If you are working on a computer, put the book title in ...

  2. How to Write a Bibliography, With Examples

    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.

  3. Common Research Paper Bibliography Formats

    Research papers take a lot of different steps to format your outline and discuss where your sources came from. Every paper ends with a citation page or bibliography. ... Now that you understand the styles to use, it's time to create your research paper citation page. This can be a piece of cake if you follow the correct steps. Step 1: Create ...

  4. How to Write an APA Format Bibliography

    A well-written APA format bibliography can help you keep track of information and sources as you research and write your psychology paper. To create a bibliography, gather up all of the sources that you might use in your paper. Create an APA format reference for each source and then write a brief annotation.

  5. How to Write a Bibliography in APA and MLA styles With Examples

    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 ...

  6. Creating an MLA Bibliography

    However, a bibliography refers to all works that you have consulted in your research, even if you did not use their information directly in your paper. When you use the correct MLA bibliography format, it shows the reader what sources you consulted, makes finding your sources easier for the reader, and gives credibility to your work as a ...

  7. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper. Author/Authors. Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.)

  8. Citation Styles Guide

    There are three main approaches: Parenthetical citations: You include identifying details of the source in parentheses in the text—usually the author's last name and the publication date, plus a page number if relevant ( author-date ). Sometimes the publication date is omitted ( author-page ). Numerical citations: You include a number in ...

  9. How to Cite in APA Format (7th edition)

    APA Style is widely used by students, researchers, and professionals in the social and behavioral sciences. Scribbr's APA Citation Generator automatically generates accurate references and in-text citations for free.. This citation guide outlines the most important citation guidelines from the 7th edition APA Publication Manual (2020). Scribbr also offers free guides for the older APA 6th ...

  10. How to Write an APA Bibliography

    Follow these steps to write the perfect APA bibliography. Step One: Gather your sources together in a preliminary bibliography. Step Two: Format each citation entry by following these rules: List authors by last name, first name initial, and middle name initial (e.g., Doe, J. J.). Do not spell out first or middle name (s).

  11. Research Paper Format

    Formatting a Chicago paper. The main guidelines for writing a paper in Chicago style (also known as Turabian style) are: Use a standard font like 12 pt Times New Roman. Use 1 inch margins or larger. Apply double line spacing. Indent every new paragraph ½ inch. Place page numbers in the top right or bottom center.

  12. The Complete Guide to APA Format in 2020

    There are several steps you must take to prepare a new document for APA style before you start writing your paper: Make sure the paper size is 8.5" x 11" (known as 'Letter' in most word processors). Set the margin size to 1" on all sides (2.54cm). Change the line spacing to double-spaced. Add page numbers to the top-right corner of every page.

  13. How to Write a Bibliography (MLA, APA Examples)

    An annotated bibliography should include a reference list of any sources you use in writing a research paper. Any printed sources from which you use a text citation, including books, websites, newspaper articles, journal articles, academic writing, online sources (such as PDFs), and magazines should be included in a reference list.

  14. How to Write a Bibliography

    The list is known as a bibliography and is placed at the end of a research paper or writing project. This article features a comprehensive guide to writing a bibliography, complete with all the information one must include in it as well as formats and examples based on the style guide being followed. Information Included in a Bibliography

  15. Sample Bibliography: APA

    The basic format for a book citation requires listing the author's name, the title of the book, the publisher's name, and the date of publication. Edited books, when cited in full, will list the editor's name instead of an author's name. References. Becsey, L., Wachsberger, P., Samuels, S., et al (Directors). (2008). In the valley of Elah. [DVD].

  16. Guide & Samples for Writing a Bibliography of a Research Paper

    The common formats for writing a bibliography in a research paper are MLA and APA style. A bibliography is known as "Works Cited" in MLA and on the other hand, it is called "References List" in APA. Though both formats contain similar information about the sources used, there are still slight differences in formatting style.

  17. Bibliography Examples for Students

    A bibliography page example provides you with an overview of what bibliographies should look like in MLA, APA, and Chicago format. Bibliographies are found at the end of a paper and include an alphabetical list of the sources used to compose your research, statements, arguments, etc.

  18. How do you format a bibliography in APA Style? (6th edition)

    For each reference, the first line is typed flush with the left margin, and any additional lines are indented as a group a few spaces to the right of the left margin (this is called a hanging indent ). For example: APA Publications and Communications Board Working Group on Journal Article Reporting Standards. (2009).

  19. How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper: Guidelines

    Creating a research paper bibliography in APA format requires adherence to the following specific guidelines: Title; The page should be titled "References" and centered at the top of the page. Font and spacing; Use a clear and legible font such as Times New Roman, size 12. Double-space the entire page, including both within and between entries.

  20. Sample Bibliography

    Below you'll find a Bibliography adapted from a research paper written by Aishani Aatresh for her Technology, Environment, and Society course. Barnard, Anne, and Grace Ashford. "Can New York Really Get to 100% Clean Energy by 2040?". New York Times, November 29, 2021, sec.

  21. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    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

  22. MLA Sample Paper

    MLA Sample Paper. This resource contains a sample MLA paper that adheres to the 2016 updates. To download the MLA sample paper, click this link.

  23. Free APA Citation Generator [Updated for 2024]

    An APA citation generator is a software tool that will automatically format academic citations in the American Psychological Association (APA) style. ... Formatted citations created by a generator can be copied into the bibliography of an academic paper as a way to give credit to the sources referenced in the main body of the paper ...

  24. Annotated Bibliography Handout

    Annotations make you read more critically instead of just collecting information. Most annotations are 1 paragraph in length, about 150-200 words, including (1) the citation, (2) a summary of the main findings, and (3) an evaluation of the article's application to your paper. Sample annotations for APA and MLA are provided in the next section.

  25. Welcome to Turnitin Guides

    Welcome to Turnitin's new website for guidance! In 2024, we migrated our comprehensive library of guidance from https://help.turnitin.com to this site, guides.turnitin.com. During this process we have taken the opportunity to take a holistic look at our content and how we structure our guides.