A bibliography is a list of books and other references an author has used in a research paper. This list may be titled Bibliography, Selected Bibliography, or Works Consulted, depending on the style manual you are using. For these lists, the author includes references not specifically cited in the text but consulted for general information. If the list includes only the works cited in the text, it is called Works Cited, Literature Cited, or References. Although there are others, these titles are the most commonly used.
Bibliographies are usually placed at the ends of papers. If your research paper has chapters, you would include a list of references at the end of the chapter for the works cited in that chapter.
A special kind of bibliography, the annotated bibliography, is often used to direct your readers to other books and resources on your topic. Such bibliographies offer a few lines of information about each source. Your teacher may ask you to write an informal literature review or a bibliographical essay using an annotated bibliography. By surveying the literature broadly, you can begin to narrow down a topic for your research assignment.
Here's an example of an annotated bibliographic entry, using MLA style:
Example of Annotated Bibliographic Entry in MLA Style
Waddell, Marie L., Robert M. Esch, and Roberta R. Walker. The Art of Styling Sentences: 20 Patterns for Success. 3rd ed. New York: Barron's, 1993. A comprehensive look at 20 sentence patterns and their ations to teach students how to write effective sentences by imitating good style.
Here's an example of an annotated bibliography for this chapter, using APA style. In these bibliographies, not all items have to be annotated.
Examples of Annotated Bibliography in APA Style
Gibaldi, J. (1999). MLA handbook for writers of research papers (5th ed.). New York: The Modern Language Association. MLA style is used in languages, literature, and some sciences.
American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). (1994). Washington, DC: Author APA style is used for research in linguistics; human, behavioral, social, and political sciences; education; computer science and information management; business and management; and environmental and physical sciences.
UMUC Library Services. [No date] "Citing Internet Resources: APA Style" [Online]. Available: http://www.umuc.edu/library/guides/apa.html [1998, March 17]. Contains information for citing Internet sources from proprietary and subscription Web databases, public access journals, and other Web sources using APA style.
Your bibliography may be on note cards that can be rearranged as your priorities change or on the computer so you can print out the entire list when you are doing research. As you compile your notes for your research and narrow down your ideas, your bibliography will evolve until you have the final bibliography for your research.