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When writing an essay, thesis, or dissertation, it is not at all uncommon for the bibliography, or the page in which you cite all the sources used to complete your paper, to receive little attention. However, this is a very important aspect to any research essay. The bibliography page is where you not only give credit to those whose work you have used to complete your essay, it is also a place where those who wish to look into your topic further can find sources for their own use. It is also helpful for fact checking – that is, to make sure that the sources you credit actually say what you say they said. While that is a bit of a mouthful, it is a way in which professors can ensure the integrity of your research papers.

Research Paper Bibliography

Research Paper Bibliography

When you choose to obtain a custom essay from, you are guaranteed to get a top notch paper, as well as one that is in proper research paper format, including a properly cited bibliography page.

Bibliography Styles and Formats

There are many different types of research papers and most are formatted according to a prescribed set of standards. Depending on the course you are writing your research paper for, you will be asked to format said paper in a certain style such as APA, MLA, Chicago Style, or Harvard Style. All of these formats have different requirements, and not just with regard to the bibliography citations. There are standards for margins, the cover page, as well as the way in which sources are cited within the paper and the way they are cited in the required references section.

MLA Format Title Page

MLA Format Title Page

Therefore, it is vital that one know the format they are expected to write their essay in. For the social sciences, an APA style research paper is generally what is required. For literature, English, and art -related disciplines, MLA format is the standard. For journalism and other related disciplines, Chicago Style is the most oft used format. Harvard is often used for graduate course, as well as scholarly or basic academic writing. While these rules of thumb generally hold true, it is advised to check with your instructor to ensure you are writing in the appropriate format.

Once you know what format is required, you can look for guidance via the style manuals published for each format which lay out the particular guidelines required of said format. If you need help at any point in the writing process, or in creating your APA bibliography, MLA bibliography, or the bibliography citations page required for your particular type of research paper, you can always contact the trained professionals – day or night – at for any assistance you might need.

Guidelines on How to Write a Bibliography in MLA Style

MLA format is most often used in literature, English, and the arts. The format defines how the paper should look, but most importantly, the format addresses how sources should be cited. As with all research paper formats, the most important aspect of the formatting is how you give credit to those who’s work you used to compile the data for your paper. This helps to keep academic integrity, reduces accusations of plagiarism, and helps to keep a standard format for writing within these disciplines. In MLA, sources are cited both in a references page at the end of the paper referred to as a Works Cited page, and within the paper itself via parenthetical citations, which will be explained in further detail below.

Note. MLA 2011 formatting rules differ slightly from the requirements included in the previous edition of the MLA manual. The new MLA 2011 requirements are available here.

Basic MLA Bibliography Page Format

The bibliography page, in MLA format, is referred to as a Works Cited page. It is a separate page at the end of your research paper, but is still formatted with the same 1-inch margins, page numbers, and headers that are maintained throughout the rest of the document. You are likely to be using a variety of different sources within your research paper, so it is helpful to understand how each type of source is cited, and as always, examples certainly help too. It should be noted that all references pages are done in alphabetical order. If your citation is more than one line long, subsequent lines need to be tab indented.

Research Paper Bibliography

Research Paper Bibliography

When citing a physical book with a single author, you start your citation with the authors last name, then first. This is followed by the title of the book, italicized and properly capitalized. After that, you list where the book was published, by what publishing company, when, and finally, the form in which you used the material. An example follows:

Berk, Laura. Development Across the Lifespan. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2007. Print.

The format you use when citing a book or any work with more than one author is as follows.

Cohen, Ronald Jay, and Mark E. Swerdlik.

The rest of the citation is as it is when citing a traditional book. The biggest difference is that when citing a book with two or more authors, the subsequent authors are listed first name, then last, as opposed to last, then first, as with the first author.

Periodicals are often used as sources in research papers. A periodical is any regularly published source of content such as newspapers and magazines. When citing a periodical, you first start with the authors last name, cited in the same manner as you would for a physical book. The name of the article follows, and it is demarcated by quotation marks; this is followed by the name of the publication, in italics, as well as the month, date, and year the article was published. This is then followed by the page number(s) the article can be found on, as well as the medium by which the article was accessed (print, web, etc.).

Iyer, Vinne. “The Apple of Their Eye.” The Sporting News 09 May 2011: 16-17. Print.

MLA Works Cited Page

MLA Works Cited Page

As the web becomes a better and better tool from which to get information from, many of us look towards the internet as a prime source of information for our research papers. Citing a web source is a bit different than citing physical sources. As with other citations, you start with the author or editors name, followed by the name of the site, the version number if necessary (such as the number of updates the piece has seen), name of the publisher or institution (if the article or publication was provided by an educational institution), original date published, publication media, as well as the date you accessed said information.

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 23     Apr. 2008.

In Text Citations

In MLA format, when you use a quotation or direct source of information from another person, you must cite that source directly within the paper. This is what is referred to as an in text citation, and in MLA format, one uses what is called a parenthetical citation. This is, essentially, short hand of what will be found in your Works Cited page. All parenthetically cited sources must appear in your Works Cited page. An example of a parenthetical in text citation is as follows:

Some say that the personality is affected by heredity in that “temperament implies a genetic foundation for individual differences in personality” (Berk 192).

Endnotes and Footnotes

Sometimes when we cite a particular source of information, there is more explanation that needs to be included but would detract from the paper and is not entirely necessary to be included directly within the body of the paper. This is when you would use a endnote or a footnote. Both are numbered and corresponding with each number is a more detailed explanation of information. Endnotes all occur at the end of the document, but before the Works Cited page. Footnotes are placed at the end of the page of the note. A sample of the format of an endnote and footnote are as follows.

1. See Berk, page 193 for more information on biology and environment.

Our video guide will help you format your footnotes properly


In MLA format, there are allowances for abbreviations such as USA, short hand versions for states such as NY, and more. Web URL’s such as .edu, .gov, .biz, etc., are other notable abbreviations allowed when writing in MLA format. When citing sources and writing in MLA format, it is acceptable to use the abbreviations of states, months (for example, Jan.), and things like “for example” with the abbreviation i.e.


How to format your paper in APA style

APA Format Tiltle Page

APA Format Tiltle Page

APA format is the set of standards for writing research papers set forth by the American Psychological Association. This format is most commonly used in both the social and hard sciences. This is a more technical manner of formatting a paper, so obtaining the most recent APA Publication Manual is recommended for any student who is looking to obtain a degree in these areas. There are special requirements for margins, the cover page, in text citations, page numbers, headers, and more, which are explained in detail in the Publication Manual. In APA format, your bibliography page is referred to as a References list.

APA 2011 Formatting

The American Psychological Association will update their publication guide just about every 10 years. They have a c out which was published in the summer of 2009. Most of the APA guidelines in the 6th edition are close to the previous guide version, there are only minor changes. Students who look for APA 2011 guidelines should address the APA Publication Manual 6th Edition to be familiar with all the correct and updated regulations.

APA Reference page

When citing a book with a single author in APA format, you include all the basic and necessary information such as author, title of the book, publishing location, company, and year. The manner in which this is cited is easiest when shown as an example.

Reserach Paper Bibliography

Reserach Paper Bibliography

Berk, L.E. (2007). Development across the lifespan. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Notice that when citing a source in APA format, the authors first name is abbreviated, and only the first word of the book’s title is capitalized.

When the book has more than one author, the work would be cited as follows:

Cohen, R.J., & Swerdlik, M.E. (2004). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests      and measurement. Boston: McGraw Hill.

When citing a book that has more than one author, the last author is demarcated by the ampersand. If there were to have been three authors for the above listed example, the authors names would have appeared as follows.

Cohen, R.J., Swerdlik, M.E., & Doe, J.

Also notice that when citing a title that has a sub-title that the first word of the subtitle, after the colon, is also capitalized.

When citing a periodical, such as a newspaper, magazine, or journal, the form of citation is actually quite similar to that for citing a book.

Iyer, Vinnie. (2011). The apple of their eye. The Sporting News, 09 May 2011, 16-17.

APA Format Reference List

APA Format Reference List

As noted above with reference to MLA format, the internet has fast become a prime source of information for students writing research papers. While it would take far too long to parse through the slight differences of citing electronic sources of all stripes, we can easily show the most common example, which would be the citation of an article that is found via the web.

Jaffe, A. (17 July 2011). Changing your life and livelihood is hard but worth it. [weblog]. Retrieved from    livelihood-is-hard-worth-it.

In Text Citations

As with MLA format, APA format also requires you to cite your sources within the text body of your paper. As opposed to the author/page format used in MLA, in APA you use the author/year format to cite the source within the text. This can correctly be done one of two ways, such as the examples that follow.

When discussing the attributes that lead to personality development, Berk (2007), believes that temperament is of a largely genetic basis.

Temperament is seen as a largely genetic phenomena, even when one takes into account the many attributes that lead to the development of personality (Berk, 2007).

Endnotes and Footnotes

For a number of reasons, both endnotes and footnotes are not used very often in APA format. Some say it is because of the cost of publishing, but there are times that even when writing in APA format, an explanation or further piece of information is necessary for the paper. When this is the case, footnotes are used and they are denoted in the same manner as one would use a footnote in MLA format.

APA Headings

In APA format, there are different styles of headings that help to demarcate the different sections of the APA style research paper. These are easy, “at-a-glance” ways for the reader to know what section they are reading in your paper. In APA format, there are 5 acceptable and appropriate headings used within the research paper. Whether you have two headings or five, one must always start at heading one and use the different headings chronologically. What follows is a brief rundown of the ways in which the five tiers of headings need to be formatted.

  1. Heading must be centered and demarcated in bold. Upper and lowercase heading titles are used as when you reference a book in APA format.
  2. Heading should be aligned to the left, still in bold; upper and lowercase heading titles should be used.
  3. The third heading should be tab indented and still in bold, however, only lowercase      heading titles should be used and the heading should end with a period.
  4. The forth heading will also be tab indented, bold, and have only lowercase heading titles that end with a period, however the entire forth heading should be italicized.
  5. The final heading is indented, NOT bold, italicized, and has a lowercase heading with a period at the end.


Chicago Style Bibliography Tips

The Chicago Style format is yet another type of formatting used for research papers. This is a very widely used formatting style and is most commonly used in the arts, as well as humanities such as literature, and other non-linguistic language-related disciplines. Less often, but still worth mentioning is that, while sources are cited in a different manner, some areas within the social sciences will also use the Chicago Style format.

Research Paper Bibliography

Research Paper Bibliography

There are two key differences between citing sources while using Chicago Style for the humanities or the arts, as opposed to using this style to cite sources in the social sciences. When using Chicago Style for arts and humanities sources are cited predominately through what is called a “notes and bibliography” citation system; with social sciences, Chicago Style dictates that sources are cited via the “author-date” system. When using the author-date manner of citing sources, the sources are generally briefly cited in text, using parenthetical citations, as well as at the end of the document in the references section.

Notes and Bibliography Citations

As noted above, this is the manner of citing sources that is typically used by students and scholars of the arts and humanities (which includes the study of literature, as well as things like romance languages). In Chicago Style format, the bibliography page is found at the end of the paper, as with MLA and APA formats. The list of sources found in the bibliography should include all sources that you used to collect the facts and bits of information needed to put forward your ideas. These sources need to be listed in alphabetical order, as with the other formats. And like the other formats, Chicago Style has certain details in the formatting and technicalities of citations that set it apart from the other formatting styles.

When citing a book with a single author in Chicago Style, the citation is pretty simple and straightforward. There are now acceptable ways to shorten your citations, however, those details can be found in the Chicago Style Manual of Style. The traditional way of citing a single authored book is as follows.

Berk, Laura E. Development Across the Lifespan (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2007), 17-20.

When citing a source from a periodical, roughly the same information required of the other two formats already described is required, it is just displayed a little differently in the Chicago Style.

Vinnie Iyer, “The Apple of Their Eye. The Sporting News (09 May 2011): 16-17.

When citing a source that was obtained electronically, there are too, a number of different ways  in which to properly cite the source, depending on exactly what kind of document you are using. The most commonly cited document is an article that is retrieved via a simple URL such as a blog post. The way in which to properly cite a blog, or other basic URL, is as follows.

Adi Jaffe. “Changing Your Life and Livelihood is Hard but Worth It,” last modified July 17, 2011,

Author-Date Citations

As discussed above, some of the social sciences will also use Chicago Style formatting for research papers. Though most in the social sciences write in APA format, it is not unheard of for Chicago Style to still be the preferred method of some instructors. While most social sciences majors are likely to find themselves under the “APA umbrella”, it is helpful to briefly discuss the basics of citing sources in the author-date manner using Chicago Style, as it is something one might run into during the course of their education.

Citing sources in the author-date format is most like MLA style formatting. An example of a properly cited book with a single author, in Chicago Style author-date format is as follows.

Berk, Laura E. 2007. Development Through the Lifespan. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Citing a book with two authors in the author-date Chicago Style format is too, much like citing a book with multiple authors in MLA format. An example of a multi-authored book, cited in Chicago Style is as follows.

Cohen, Ronald Jay, and Mark E. Swerdlik. 2007. Psychological Testing and Assessment: An Introduction to Tests and Measurement. Boston: McGraw Hill.

When using the author-date Chicago Style citation style for citing a periodical, or journal, magazine, or newspaper article, the information required in the citation is again, much like that of MLA and APA format. An example of a properly cited magazine article used as a source is as follows.

Iyer, Vinnie. 2011. “The Apple of Their Eye.” The Sporting News, May 09.

As with writing all types of research papers these days, the use of electronic sources for those in classes requiring the use of Chicago Style formatting is a huge bulk of many students’ bodies of research used to compile modern day research papers. Blogs, often written by professionals and even academic organizations, have become a prime source of online information. To properly source a blog article, see the example below.

Jaffe, Adi. 2011. “Changing Your Life and Livelihood is Hard but Worth It.” All About Addiction, July 17.


What You Should Know About Harvard Style

Harvard Style Bibliography

Harvard Style Bibliography

Harvard Style would most appropriately be referred to as the Harvard Referencing System. This is quite similar to the author-date formatting style used by those in the social sciences that choose to use Chicago Style as opposed to APA format. The Harvard Referencing System is not widely used, but there are many schools – particularly graduate programs – that use this method of citation and referencing, as opposed to one of the other, more stringent formats. Harvard Style is an author-date referencing style, just as in the author-date documentation method of Chicago Style. Sources are cited in text, using parenthetical citations, using the author-date methodology, and a references page, where all sources are listed alphabetically, is included at the end of one’s Harvard Style research paper.

What is a Proper Bibliography?

Research Paper Bibiography

Research Paper Bibiography

To put it briefly, a proper bibliography is a list that consists of all the different sources that you used to complete your research paper. This would be every piece of material, fact, or bit of information that was obtained somewhere outside of your own knowledge, logic, and head. When writing an in depth research paper, one often uses a large number of different sources of information to put their ideas together into a coherent argument that has other sources of information outside of one’s own head to back it up. Not only does this show the reader that you have researched and used credible and appropriate resources from which to base your argument, it is also a way to give credit to those whose work has helped you in writing your own papers.

Especially within the field of academia, intellectual property and the appropriate crediting of knowledge and ideas is vitally important to academic integrity. So when creating a proper bibliography, one must ensure that all sources of information, ideas, direct quotations, and facts are credited in the bibliography of the paper. This will help to ensure that one is not accused of plagiarism or taking academic integrity for granted. A bibliography can also serve as a starting point for one to fact check your work, as well as a resource for those who would like to delve further into the subject you wrote your paper on.


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