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Bibliography of a Research Paper: Comprehensive Writing Guide

Worried about how to write a bibliography in a research paper? Our detailed guide on research paper bibliography will help you learn how to cite and keep track of various sources used in preparing your paper.

What is a bibliography in a research paper?

A bibliography is a detailed list of all sources consulted regardless of whether or not they are cited within the paper. Professors often use the bibliography to gauge how much research you performed in preparing your paper.

Usually, this part occupies the last page of your paper.

Why do I need a bibliography?

A bibliography is a crucial part of papers in various institutions. This section helps readers gauge the breadth of your research and acknowledges various resources used to structure your argument.

How to write a bibliography for a research paper

The style used when writing a bibliography for your research paper depends on the referencing method for your paper. Some general rules for presenting your bibliographies are:

  • Bibliographies should be sorted in alphabetic order.
  • When recording online materials, indicate the publication date as the date you accessed the material.
  • Bibliographies should appear at the end of the paper after the ‘works cited’ section. However, they should appear before the appendix is included.
  • When writing bibliographies by hand, ensure that you underline the book’s name.
  • When gauging your final word count, do not calculate the word count for the bibliographies. As such, deduct the word count for this section and test if you have hit the target as prescribed by your tutor.
  • When presenting a ‘works cited’ section, be keen only to list resources you used with an in-text citation.

When writing a bibliography in a research paper, you should follow this format:

Bibliography entry for books

When writing your bibliography entry for your book, you should start with the author’s last name, followed by their last name. Next comes the book’s title, publishing place, the publisher, and the publication date.

When writing your bibliography, the book name should be underlined. Similarly, put the book title in italics and properly capitalize each word in the book’s title.

Format: Author’s last name, first name. Title of the book. Place of publication. Publisher’s name. Publication Date.


Quoting a book with one author: McArthur, Kelvin. The Theory of Sustainability. Manchester: Long brook, 1997.

Quoting a book with multiple authors: Kelvin, Mark.G. Henry. A Guide to Economic Stability. New York: Madeley publisher, 2002.

Bibliography for a periodical

Unlike a bibliography from a book, a periodical bibliography starts with the last name, followed by a comma, the first name, then a period. A title then follows this in quotation marks and a period in the closing quotation mark.

You should highlight the magazine’s title within your bibliography, like the book.

Format: Author’s surname, author’s first name. “Title of article.” Month and Year of Publication: Page numbers.

Example: McArthur, Kelvin. “The role of the modern woman.” January 2014: 22-34.

Bibliography for a website

Unlike books and periodicals, the bibliographies for websites include lesser information. These bibliographies should include the URL, the author’s name, and publication date.

Format: URL. Author’s name. Date of publication.

Examplewww.lifetoday.com. John Henry. 16th May 2008.

Writing an annotated bibliography for a research paper

An annotated bibliography is a critical evaluation of a source used to structure your paper. This helps your readers determine the relevance of your paper and best analyze the quality of used resources.

You should add the annotation for a bibliography under the listed bibliography. Some of the information included in the research paper includes:

  • It should be limited to 150 words with a maximum of six sentences.
  • The main focus of your paper.
  • Your intended audience.
  • Relevance of your topic to your field.
  • What conclusions did you reach after your research?

Final take

Writing biography for a research paper is a fairly easy task. The tips covered in this paper should direct you to properly write your bibliography and make it easy for readers to follow your references.

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