Tips on How to Write a Bibliography in MLA & APA Style


Tips on How to Write a Bibliography in MLA & APA Style

A bibliography is the part of an academic paper that makes some students puzzled and confused. Not everyone has a clear understanding of how to write bibliography. It should be present at the end of any academic paper. However, sometimes, students are assigned to write it as an independent task. So, before writing a bibliography, it is important to define its meaning.

Unlike a typical essay or research paper, a bibliography involves only the list of sources that student used to study a particular subject. It may be assigned as a separate assignment or as a part of the research paper. Learn about the distinctive features and peculiarities of this type of academic assignment. Here are tips for writing a bibliography, you will find all the necessary examples that will be helpful when creating your own list of references, including citation tips.

Bibliography Definition and Its Key Features

To make it clearer, it’s like a more detailed reference (works cited) page. The bibliography also goes at the end of your regular academic paper you are assigned to write almost every day. It covers the last one or few pages. Here are some hints you should know to write a complete paper of this type. It is much easier to prepare a full bibliography if you write down every title, name, publication date, the publisher location,  (city, country), and author when inserting any direct or indirect quotes. When you finish the essay, you won’t be searching for sources that you have used in order to look for such details.

Mind these factors that you have to include in each category:

  • Author’s name or the name of the publisher
  • The title of the book, articles, etc.
  • The day and/or the year of publication
  • The place of the publication (if the city is mentioned, it is also included, however, it is not obligatory to write the city where the publisher is if you can’t find it). For  sources on the World Wide Web, the publisher location means the url of the web source)
  • Pages (add a page if any direct quote was used)

In fact, these elements depend on the required writing style. While you don’t have to write full author name in APA, you have to do it in MLA (Modern Language Association ) American format. So, students are recommended to check guidelines for the proper formatting before getting started. Formatting is one of the basics. That’s what makes any academic paper stand out.

Stick to the chosen format. It is impossible to have the first part of the paper in Chicago, and the second part of your academic assignment (bibliography) in APA.

When you have an opportunity to choose the paper format being a publisher, we recommend choosing MLA (Modern Language Association). It is the simplest format which requires minimum efforts. You can use New York Times MLA American citation as a guide because there are many examples, which show how to format information sources the right way taking into account the peculiarities of MLA York American style.

It’s to leave some space for the bibliography examples:

  • Anderson, Alison, ”Fire Destroys Namatjira Ghost Gums” (Namatjira, MLA, 3 January 2013), 1-2.
  • White, Judith, Namatjira, Albert “Wanderer No More (Australian Art Collector, Issue 13, July- September 2000), 111-113.
  • National Gallery of Australia, Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014).
  • Lamar, Alexander, “Going to College Should Not Be a Financial Albatross”, New York Times, Feb. 7, 2019,  3- 4.
  • Brown, John, “ The Importance of the Education Today”, New York Times, Jan. 9 2018.
  • Roberts, Mary, “Three Ways to Make College Education Affordable”,New York Times, Dec. 25 2018.
  • Lin, Fay, “ How to Fight Racism?”, New York Times, Sept. 17 2018.
  • Stevenson, John, “Why Girls Beat Boys at School?”, New York Times, Jan. 13 2019.
  • Bouie, Jamelle, “ The Biden Fallacy”, New York Times, Dec. 25 2019.

As you can see from the above-listed examples of articles, the date when articles were published is also mentioned in such types of citation style. However, in other styles, the day may be omitted. Then, the date is limited to the year of the publication. Will it be a mistake to miss the day of the publication of articles? Although, it is not a very serious mistake but whether you write the day and the year or not will show your knowledge of style differences.

The Role Of References

You may wonder why it is important to include references and cite sources properly. Authors are publishing their materials to be recognized, and no one wants his/her ideas to be stolen. The bibliography is a way to reward creative people for their unique language, breaking news, hard times they went through, and more. In case, you liked someone’s idea and used it in your paper without following citation rules it means you have stolen these ideas.

Believe, that your tutor won’t evaluate such papers positively. Moreover, it is a serious violation of a person’s rights. Every time you are going to use the thoughts of other authors in your own paper, keep in mind the following tips and have the well-formatted examples in front of you:

  • The need to add all sources (even electronic sources from the web) is explained by intellectual property. According to any international intellectual property law, citing one’s thoughts is obligatory. If you agree with someone’s point of view, mention his/her saying in accordance with the rules.
  • You should respect the ability to access any sources that you want. For this, you’d better include the http and url in the address where your sources are retrieved from. Take into account that the link where the information can be retrieved from is the last piece of information about the source. Mention the retrieved link address with http and url after the page number. Be attentive when copying the link because if you miss http, the reader won’t be able to access your source. Such a minor detail like http may play a huge role for the person who will need to check the source, which you have included. So, check whether you have included each new site address with http, paying attention to each word.
  • Any failure to add full citation could be regarded as plagiarism. If you have used the idea from the related sources, just use http link where you got it from. So, better have good examples to look at when doing your assignment. You may find more details here.
  • Another goal is to make it possible to find the same sources easily in case someone is interested enough to read the story/book/articles to the end.
  • Finally, it’s in your interest to cite a web source or any other source in order to support your argument with valuable evidence. After all, if you got it wrong, you may still prove to your teacher that the idea was taken from another author. It might save your bibliography.

As you can see, the proper Modern Language York citation can save you from many problems. Of course, you can use ideas from other people because not always it is possible to think of something new in a certain field. However, every time you need to use an idea that another author generated, follow the citation rules and tips below.

Step-by-step Instructions

Have you been assigned to write bibliography but you haven’t done this before? No worries! Here is the ultimate guide on how to write such types of task successfully. You will pass your assignment with flying colors if you follow these detailed tips when writing a bibliography.

Step #1 - Conduct research when writing a bibliography

Just like any other academic paper, bibliography requires qualitative and quantitative research. You need to go to your preferred search engine (Google, etc.) and find all sources related to your topics.

Step #2 - Use both primary & secondary sources

First, you are recommended to look for all possible primary sources. They include such sources as:

  • Book
  • Scientific magazine
  • Academic magazine
  • Textbooks
  • Study guides
  • Official reports
  • Government documents

Secondary sources include:

  • Interviews
  • Polls
  • Surveys in the form of questions

Mind that secondary sources are not included in the bibliography.

Step #3 - Watch after volume

The bibliography is usually limited to a certain amount of word limit. The entire essay might be 1000 word limit. Thus, your works cited should not be longer than the 100-150 word limit. Right, it takes no more than 10% of the whole paper. When a bibliography is assigned separately, you need to pay attention to the number of the requested word limit. After all, your teacher rules this party.

Step #4 - Write down your findings

Develop works cited draft where you put down all discovered, relevant, and up-to-date sources. Please remember that sources older than 5 years do not work. Give preference to new sources because they are more dependable. New source contains up-to-date information. You can compare old and new tendencies when discussing your findings, if you are writing a paper but the bibliography list should contain online a new book, a new magazine, new articles, etc. Include even those sources which you are not sure about. Later, you may consult your teacher to find out which sources you may use for the citation.

Step #5 - Start a preliminary

In other words, begin your bibliography draft. Once you pick the most suitable sources, write the sources one by one carefully. You may use an online example of bibliography received from the internet to get some help. MLA citation New York Times may be chosen as such.

Step #6 - Every detail counts

There is no student who forgets to write an article title when creating a bibliography list but an article title isn’t the only thing you need to include. Don’t miss a thing as a date of publication or volume if the source has one. Usually, a newspaper and a magazine have more information than books. Also, pay attention to pages. Not always, you can find page numbers in the publication. However, you should keep in mind that page can also be included in different ways depending on a certain style.

Step #7 - Follow sample note cards

References might be prepared based on the so-called sample note card. Once you’re done with your assignment, turn to the information on your note cards to revise the paper on your own. Pay attention to all the numbers used.

Step #8 - Revision

When you decide to proofread and edit the final bibliography, note whether all of the sources are included, placed in the alphabetical word order, and are no older than five years. Check whether all numbers are correct because if you mentioned the wrong pages, for example, it will be difficult to find the information you used. As for those sources that do not include authors names (e.g., encyclopedias, films), they should be alphabetized by title. In the end, check the formatting by using the MLA York Writing Guide, where you will find the citation rules for a newspaper and a magazine. New York Times newspaper is the best example of using this writing style.

How to Write Bibliography in APA: Check Citation Examples

As has already been mentioned, MLA is considered easier in use. Almost everyone knows it by the New York Times newspaper. However, APA is also a style that is often used for writing academic papers. So, students should be aware of the differences between New York MLA style and APA.

Here is another example of bibliography, written in APA style this time:

  1. Berg, J.H., & Archer, R.L. (1982). Responses to self-disclosure and interaction goals.  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 18, 501-512.
  2. Huang, Li-Ning. (1999). Family Communication Patters and Personality Characteristics. Communication Quarterly, 47, 230-243.
  3. LePoire, B.A., Haynes, J., Driscoll, J., Driver, B.N., Wheelis, T.F., Hyde, M.K., Prochaska, M., & Ramos, L. (1997). Attachment as a function of parental and partner approach-avoidance tendencies.  Human Communication Research, 23, 413-441.
  4. Wingfield, M.C. (2000). Changes in Family Dynamics: The Impact on Young Adults and Their Relationships.  The Angora?, 31-44.

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