How to Write a Bibliography for a Research Paper

by | Nov 6, 2018 | Writing | 0 comments

I don’t know about you, but I used to dread writing bibliographies as a student. It was so tedious to get everything written correctly! I had to check and double check to make sure the citations were correct.

The good news is now it is much easier to teach students how to write a bibliography for a research paper. There are many websites that students can reference and find examples. Also, some sites will create the citations in the correct style! I believe that is a helpful resource because honestly, no one memorizes the citation formats – and they occasionally change slightly.

Although students have these online resources, students still need to be taught the essential parts of a bibliography or works cited page.

The Purpose of a Bibliography

Students often don’t understand the purpose of a bibliography. As always, teachers will get a higher buy-in from students if they explain why it is important and how it is used.

  1. Bibliographies give credit to the authors of the resources used in your paper.
  2. A works cited list allows readers to find other resources on the same topic.
  3. Credible resources also increase the credibility of your research.

Using the Correct Format

There are different formats for creating a bibliography. The most common styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago.

  • MLA is used mainly in humanities.
  • APA is the format commonly used for education, psychology, and the sciences.
  • Chicago is generally used in history, business, and the fine arts.

However, school departments often have a specific format they prefer. Teachers should defer to the style selected by their department or school.

Parts of a Citation

Although the formatting varies slightly in the different styles, a bibliographic citation has a few key elements:

  • Author or Editor
  • Title of the Source
  • Edition, Volume, or Book Title if the source is part of a larger work or series
  • Publication Information, including city, state, name of publisher, and date published
  • Page Numbers referenced (if only specific pages in the work were used)
  • Website URL for online resources
  • Access date for online resources (as online articles are often updated or removed)

Students should record this information when they begin using the source. It is much easier to write the bibliography later if they already have the information needed. (I have had students who returned all of the resources and then had to find them all again to write the bibliography.)

Writing the Bibliography

Although the formatting varies slightly in the different styles, a bibliographic citation has a few key elements:

  • Author or Editor
  • Title of the Source
  • Edition, Volume, or Book Title if the source is part of a larger work or series
  • Publication Information, including city, state, name of publisher, and date published
  • Page Numbers referenced (if only specific pages in the work were used)
  • Website URL for online resources
  • Access date for online resources (as online articles are often updated or removed)

Students should record this information when they begin using the source. It is much easier to write the bibliography later if they already have the information needed. (I have had students who returned all of the resources and then had to find them all again to write the bibliography.)

In addition, bibliographies are usually written with a hanging indent. In other words, the first line of each citation is not indented, but any following lines are.

If students are writing the citations longhand, I also ask that they skip a line between citations. It is just easier for me to read and make notes if there is white space between entries.

EasyBib

Hopefully, you have access to devices, because EasyBib will make the citations process infinitely faster! Easybib is an online resource that will automatically create citations in whichever format you select.

If students use online resources, it is easier to make the citation right away. EasyBib uses the website URL to pull the information. If students are already on the site, it only takes a few seconds to generate the citation.

One drawback to EasyBib is that it is only free for MLA formatting. Users have to upgrade to EasyBib Plus to access the other citation styles. As of October 2018, the Plus accounts are $9.95/month with no contract. EasyBib is also available as an app for both IOS and Android. The apps had mixed reviews, and I have only used the website so I cannot offer any personal feedback on them.

[pinterest_image]

Tools for Teaching Research Skills

Are you looking for print and go research units for your classroom?

Over twenty plus years, my educational career has spanned four continents and two states, as well as eight grade levels!

Read More

Join my monthly email list and get this Reading Comprehension FREEBIETeaching-Ideas-4U-Amy-Mezni-Reading-Comprehension-Questions-cover
preloader