The Purdue Online Writing Lab (POW) is a valuable research tool for students as it allows you to research any topic in an independent and innovative environment. Although your tutor might be available to help you, rereading your assigned source material and searching for the required information yourself is beneficial in many ways.
If you’re writing your research paper and are struggling with finding the right information, consider using the Bibliography tool in POW. It will help you ensure that you cover all your bases and don’t miss any important details.
We can’t tell you how many times students have come to us asking for help with their research papers and wanting to know how to properly write a bibliography. Unfortunately, many of them don’t understand the importance of a bibliography in research and think that it’s just there to list the books they’ve used.
A bibliography is a list of books and other publications that you have used as sources of information. It should include information on the author, title, publisher, and year of publication for each source.
There are three basic steps to creating a bibliography:
1. Select the right sources
It’s important to ensure that you’ve chosen your sources wisely. There are several pitfalls that you need to avoid, such as plagiarism and over-reliance on a few sources. When picking your sources, look for publications that are highly relevant to your topic and have a lot of information available online. Also, make sure that the sources you’ve chosen are reliable. When in doubt, ask your tutor for help.
2. Organize the information
Organizing your bibliography is essential to making it easier for you to find the information you need when you need it. The best approach is to create a spreadsheet where you can list all your sources in one place. You can use a tool like Scruffy to help you manage your bibliography more effectively. By keeping track of all the information in one place, it will be much easier to ensure that you’ve got everything you need when it’s time to write.
3. Format the information
You must format your bibliography according to the required style. This includes using a uniform space between each source and presenting each source in the correct order. There are many different styles that you can use, but the most common are listed below.
- List of publications – This is a list of all the books and other publications that you have used as sources of information. It should include information on the author, title, publisher, and year of publication for each source.
- Bibliography – A bibliography is similar to a list of publications, but it is usually shorter and includes only the most important information. You should use this format if your tutor has requested that you use a bibliography.
- Reference page – A reference page is like a regular bibliography, but it is usually longer because it includes more details about the source.
- Chronological bibliography – A chronological bibliography is a list of sources ordered according to the date of publication. It should include a short summary about each source.
- Works cited page – A works cited page is a list of the publications and the sources from which you have quoted directly in your work. It is usually published at the end of a paper and includes only the most relevant information.
- Harvard style – The Harvard style is used to reference publications in the social sciences and humanities. It is often seen in scientific papers and is one of the most commonly used bibliography styles. The best part about this style is that it requires only a short piece of text to reference an entire publication. The first word, or sometimes even the first letter, of a publication is capitalized. This indicates that it is a reference to a specific work. For example, instead of saying “this book was mentioned in the paper”, you would write “The Gutenberg EBook: Volume 1, Melville’s Moby Dick, has been cited in the paper”.
- Chicago style – The Chicago style is used to reference articles in the natural sciences and some parts of the social sciences. It is also the preferred style for legal documents and some types of technical writing. The author’s last name, title, and sometimes even the first word, of the article are capitalized. The most unique aspect of this style is that it does not require you to list the author’s name at the end of the paper. The Chicago style also has some very specific rules regarding indentation that you should follow.
- American Psychological Association (APA) – The American Psychological Association (APA) established the Chicago Style for their Annual Meeting in 1914. This style is commonly used for papers in the social sciences and humanities, especially psychology and literature. It is also the preferred style for papers submitted to academic journals.
- The New York Times style – The New York Times style is the default setting of Microsoft Word because it is popular with journalists. It is a modified Chicago style that emphasizes the use of short declarative sentences, makes frequent use of alliteration, and places an emphasis on readability. In general, this means that you should use short sentences and avoid long paragraphs.
- The Vancouver Style – The Vancouver style is a combination of the Harvard and Chicago styles. It is named after the city of Vancouver, where it was developed as an accessible format for scholars from different disciplines to use.
- Thoughtful Style – The Thoughtful Style is a bit like the Vancouver style, but it was designed to be used as an easy-to-read narrative. It emphasizes the use of proper nouns and often places a greater emphasis on conciseness than readability.
- Vancouver-Ottawa Style – The Vancouver-Ottawa style is a combination of the Harvard, Chicago, and Thoroughbred styles. It was developed for the 1964 World’s Fair and has been influential in the publishing world ever since. It is named after the two cities that collaborated on the project: Vancouver and Ottawa.
- N.B. Style – The New Biography style is an easy-to-read format that was designed to give a history of a person’s life. It was developed for use by a single author working alone and was later adapted by multiple users for use in multi-author papers. The N.B. stood for “New Biography” and is used to reference the new wave of historical biographies that emerged in the twentieth century.
- The Oxford Style – The Oxford style is used for papers in the natural sciences and mathematical sciences. It takes its name from the English university and was first used there in the 17th century. The unique thing about this style is that it is the only one that allows the use of italicized words. For example, if you were writing about Keanu Reeves, you might use the Oxford style so that you could use all the words in italics that you need.
- The Dublin Style – The Dublin style is used for papers in the social sciences and humanities. Unlike the other styles listed here, the Dublin style does not take its name from an established publication, but from the city of Dublin, Ireland where all the research was done in the 1700s. This is because the Dublin style was developed by the famous “Longman Group” in order to make their published work more accessible to a wider readership. The key feature of this style is that it does not require you to follow any specific format for the citation of your sources. Any style that does not require you to follow a particular format is known as a “loose-typing” style.
How Do I Create These Bibliographies?
You can use many different tools to create a bibliography; however, the most effective ones are available on the web. Because we want to keep this post short and sweet, we are going to name a few of the most useful tools. If you want to create a bibliography for your research paper, try one of these out and let us know what you think.