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Mastering the Art of Crafting a Comprehensive Bibliography (with 3 Examples)

Aug 5, 2023

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Aug 5, 2023 | Blog

How to Write a Bibliography

Writing a bibliography at the end of a work is difficult for most high school and college students when they are first required to do it. This can happen when handling a master’s or undergraduate dissertation or formal essay. However, writing a bibliography is not as complicated as many people might think.

This guide can help you write one easily since it has essential pointers for you to remember when writing it. Read on to discover how to write your best dissertation bibliography yet. A sample of bibliographies has also been provided.


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What is Bibliography

Though the name does not sound like it, a bibliography is quite a simple thing. It is a list of sources you have used or referred to in writing an essay. It is written at the end of your master’s or undergraduate dissertation. The list of sources will include all the that you had quoted and referred to in the essay and further materials you read when researching the piece, even when you did not quite cite them.


What are primary and secondary sources?


Primary sources

Primary sources are first-hand accounts. They are the documents or objects used by people at the time. They are the original materials or evidence to be analyzed, evaluated, contextualized, or synthesized in the research process. Primary sources may include diary entries, interviews, oral histories, photographs, newspaper articles, government documents, poems, novels, plays, and music.

For example, if you were studying what life was like for a Roman soldier, you would look for documents written by soldiers at the time, such as diaries, letters, or reports. An archaeologist may use items such as weapons, pots, and coins to learn more about how people lived in the past. This would also be classed as a primary source.


Secondary sources

Secondary sources are accounts of events written after they happened by someone who was not involved with them. This means they are written based on interviews, photographs, and videos of an event rather than first-hand experiences. They are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources. Secondary sources may have pictures, words, or graphics of primary sources in them. Secondary sources may include textbooks, articles from academic journals examining research reports (not research reports), and literature reviews that place the research in a historical context.

For example, if you were researching the Battle of Hastings, you might read a book about it that has been written by someone else based on their research into original documents and artifacts. A secondary source could also be a photograph taken during an event, which is later shown in a book.


What should you include in a bibliography?

  1. Include all the documents you consulted, even if you did not cite them – i.e., not just the ones that helped you make your argument, but also those that helped you find the sources that helped you make your argument. The reader will be able to tell what sources you consulted but will not tell which sources might have helped you shape your argument if only you had read them. If a source was especially helpful but did not make it into your final list of references, consider mentioning it in a footnote.
  2. If there are multiple authors, list them in order as they appear on the source. If there are more than three authors, list only the first author followed by the abbreviation “et al.”
  3. Include both author and title of the article, but may also include editor, publication date, publisher and city, volume number, and page number if it is a journal or magazine article.


Information required for referencing printed sources

  1. The name of the publishing company.
  2. Record the volume number if you’re referencing a magazine or printed encyclopedia.
  3. The date of publication.
  4. The page number in the book where the citation can be found.
  5. The title of the article or publication
  6. The name of the author.


Information required for referencing web sources/Internet Citations

  1. The full title of the webpage (the webpage can also be the online versions of print publications, a journal article, note card).
  2. The company that created the webpage.
  3. The URL of the piece.
  4. The name of the author or editor.
  5. The last date you visited the webpage.


Where to find this information

  1. The header or footer of the webpage.
  2. The contents page (for magazine or journal articles).
  3. The contact or about page of the website.
  4. The first, second, or editorial page (for newspapers).


What are the different bibliography styles? 

Multiple accepted bibliography writing styles affect which information is included and its order of presentation. These include Harvard, American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago, and Modern Language Association (MLA). However, make sure that you find the exact requirements on the type of citation and the bibliography format you are to use, given by the course provider or your university.

Remember that one useful thing you can do for your bibliography is to keep it consistent. For your chosen style, stick to it in the entire bibliography. The simpler author-date style bibliography, one of the writing styles in scientific papers, is significant. Check the sample of bibliographies below, applicable to an academic paper.


MLA reference order

  1. Full name of the author (Authors’ last names first).
  2. The title of the book.
  3. Publication place.
  4. The name of the book publisher.
  5. The publication date.

Bibliography Example in MLA:

Tabish, S. A. “Lifestyle diseases: Consequences, characteristics, causes, and control.” Journal of Cardiology & Current Research, 9. 3 (2017): 1- 4.


APA/Harvard reference order 

  1. If using Harvard referencing, title your bibliography as ‘References.’
  2. Author’s last name.
  3. Author’s first initial.
  4. The publication date (in brackets).
  5. The book title.
  6. The publication place.
  7. The name of the book publisher.

Bibliography Example in APA:

Meiner, S. E. (1999). Nursing documentation: Legal focus across practice settings. Thousand Oaks: Sage.


MHRA reference order

  1. Author’s first and last name
  2. The title of the book
  3. Publication place.
  4. The name of the book publisher.
  5. The publication date

Points three to five should all be included in the same bracket.


How to write a bibliography 

  1. The bibliography should include all the sources used for reference. It does not matter how many sources you have used. You must include them all in the bibliography on the last page.
  2. You must cite your works in different formats such as APA, MLA, Harvard, or any other basic format required by your professor.
  3. Use a hanging indent of 0.5 inches for every new citation line.
  4. It would be best to note the authors’ names, the publication’s title, publisher, date of publication, and page numbers.
  5. The last names of the authors should alphabetize entries in the bibliography. If a book has more than one author, use the author’s first name listed in alphabetical order.
  6. When an author appears as a sole author and, in another citation, as the first author of a group, list the one-author entries first.
  7. Each source should begin on a new line.
  8. Bibliographies should be placed at the end of your assignment.
  9. Collect citation information as you go.


The sample of bibliographies


APA Reference Example

APA Reference List Example



Chicago or Turabian Bibliography Example

Chicago or Turabian Bibliography Example



Annotated Bibliography Example

Annotated Bibliography Example




How do you write a bibliography example?


To write a bibliography example, list all sources used in your work, following a specific citation style (e.g., APA, MLA). Include author names, publication titles, dates, and other relevant information.

What is a bibliography example?


A bibliography example is a list of sources cited or consulted in a research project, paper, or article. It provides readers with information to locate the referenced works.

How do you write a bibliography for a project?


To write a bibliography for a project, compile a list of all sources you used or referred to in your project. Organize them according to the chosen citation style and include essential details like authors, titles, publication dates, and page numbers.

What is the style of bibliography writing?


The bibliography writing style refers to the specific format, and rules followed when listing and formatting sources in a bibliography. Common styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and more.



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