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Research Paper Bibliography


A bibliography is a list of sources (books, articles, etc) that you have consulted during the process of developing a research paper. The bibliography will appear at the end of your paper, and it usually appears as a separate page unless the style that you are using requires endnotes. You may also hear this called the “Works Cited” or “Works consulted” page, depending on the style that you are using.

A bibliography serves one primary purpose and it is very important to understand this purpose when you are using a bibliography in a research paper. Basically, the citations act as a way to prevent people from stealing others’ work. The purposes listed below make it very important for you to cite properly; so make sure to check them over before you submit your final paper.

The first purpose is that we live in a world that information is found in a number of different places, most of which are on the internet. You want to make sure that you attribute information to those who wrote it. By doing this, we prevent plagiarism and ensure that we are not claiming the ideas of others as ideas of our own design. The bibliography has to give all of the information that someone needs in order to find the particular article that you are talking about. This information usually includes title of the journal that the article is found in, volume or number, and/or the date of the journal or conference where the article was featured. If you can find a page number, that is also helpful, but it is more difficult to find a page number if you are using a net resource.

The order that these are placed in depends on which style you are using. Your professor or instructor will tell you what style manual that you should be using for your bibliography, or, if you are in a particular field of study, you will know what style you should use. For example, social sciences usually use APA format; History uses Chicago style, Communications fields frequently use Turbian Style, and everything else usually uses MLA. If you aren’t sure what style you should be using, consult with the instructor that assigned your paper. Before you start your bibliography, look at a style book and/or website that have the most up-to-date information available.

No matter which style you use, the first line of each citation is not indented, but every line that follows in the citation is indented; this is usually referred to as a hanging indent. When you write the bibliography, it will be in alphabetical order by the first word of the citation (usually the author’s last name).


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