How to Write Bibliography for Assignment: Best Tips for Students

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Bibliographies are generally not the easiest or most fun writing tasks, but they are necessary, so it’s important to get them right!  Read on, to find out ‘how to make bibliography’!

What Is A Bibliography?

A bibliography is an alphabetized list of resources (e.g., books, journals, articles, websites, images, movies, newspapers, videos) used in the creation of an academic assignment. A bibliography will include resources you have cited within the assignment as well as resources that you used to help your general understanding of the assignment topic (background sources). A bibliography differs from a reference page for an assignment as a reference page (or reference list) only includes cited resources.

Most bibliographies appear on a separate numbered page, use double line spacing, a clear, traditional font, such as times new roman  (font size 11-12), and include the following:

  • A centred heading ‘Bibliography’.
  • The creators’ names
  • The titles of the resources
  • The publishers’ names
  • The publication years/dates
  • The date accessed (for online documents and websites)

Bibliographies do not necessarily list the resource information in this order and different citation styles may have different requirements as regards line spacing and whether a hanging indent* is required Furthermore, additional information such as page numbers, the location of publication, issue numbers, and volume numbers may be required.

*Text in the bibliography entry is indented (excluding the first line). 

Why Are Bibliographies Needed?

The purpose of a bibliography is to enable a reader to locate the resources used, to find out more information on the topic if they desire, and to acknowledge the work of others. If you fail to accurately acknowledge the work of others in your bibliography or reference list, you are claiming it to be yours and you can face the consequences of plagiarism investigations. Thus, although a bibliography may be boring and seem unimportant, they are an essential part of your assignment.

How To Write A Bibliography For An Assignment

There are five main styles of bibliography that also have different editions e.g., APA 5th, APA 6th, and APA 7th.  Referencing in an assignment is tricky, and you will need to ensure you have included an in-text citation (citation in the assignment) for any resources you directly copied or paraphrased information from.  Your educational instructor can tell you which type of citation style and edition you are required to use if you are unsure but provided below are the most up-to-date editions for each main citation style. The following recommendations are intended as a basic guide only:

APA 7th edition requires the creator’s name, date of publication, title, then publisher. Do not forget about the hanging indent if there is more than one line:

Hamilton, S. (2001). Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford Paperbacks.

Website entry in APA 7th:

Ruhl, C. (2021, June 29). Montessori Method of Education | Simply Psychology. Www.simplypsychology.org. https://www.simplypsychology.org/montessori-method-of-education.html

MLA 9th edition needs the creator’s name, title, publisher, then date of publication and a hanging indent:

Katz, Mark. Groove Music. The Art And Culture Of The Hip-Hip DJ. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Website entry in MLA 9th:

Ruhl, Charlotte. “Montessori Method of Education | Simply Psychology.” Www.simplypsychology.org, 29 June 2021, www.simplypsychology.org/montessori-method-of-education.html.

Harvard Citation style includes the creator’s name, date of publication, title, then publisher:

Burg, D., 2005. Encyclopedia of student and youth movements. New York: Facts on File.

Website entry in Harvard citation style:

Ruhl, C. (2021). Montessori Method of Education | Simply Psychology. [online] www.simplypsychology.org. Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/montessori-method-of-education.html [Accessed 28 Nov. 2021].

Turabian citation style lists the author, title, publisher, then date of publication and a hanging indent:

Footnote:

Dianne Berkell Zager, Autism Spectrum Disorders Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

Your Bibliography: 

Berkell Zager, Dianne. Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 2005.

Website entry in Turabian citation style:

Ruhl, Charlotte. 2021. “Montessori Method of Education | Simply Psychology.” Www.simplypsychology.org. June 29, 2021. https://www.simplypsychology.org/montessori-method-of-education.html.

Chicago citation style begins each entry with the author’s name, date of publication , then the title of the resource, followed by the publisher and a hanging indent:

Symons, Michael. 2021. “A History Of Cooks And Cooking (The Food Series)”.
 Abebooks.Com.
        https://www.abebooks.com/9780252071928/History-Cooks-Cooking-Food-Series
-0252071921/plp.

Website entry in Chicago citation style:

Ruhl, Charlotte. 2021. “Montessori Method of Education | Simply Psychology.” Www.simplypsychology.org. June 29, 2021. https://www.simplypsychology.org/montessori-method-of-education.html.

You can write bibliographies manually, but you may find it easier to use an online citation generator, many of which are free.  However, these are not failproof and none are 100% accurate all the time so be sure to enter the information accurately and skim read over each entry after it has been generated.

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Example Of A Bibliography For An Assignment

To help you gain a better idea of what a completed bibliography may look like, here’s one of the most common types in the most recent edition (APA 7th):

Example Of A Bibliography For An Assignment

Annotated Bibliographies

If you are requested to provide an annotated bibliography, then you will need to include a descriptive summary of each resource (around 150 words) under each bibliography entry.

Conclusion

Bibliographies are complex but are often a requirement in academic writing. Ensure you know exactly which style and edition are used by your educational establishment, then find an online citation generator to help you. Be sure to double-check each generated entry and don’t forget the in-text citation (reference in an assignment) for each bibliography entry you have copied or paraphrased.

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