Types of Documentation

Bibliographies and Source Lists

A bibliography is a list of books and other references that an author has used in preparing a research paper. This list may be titled Bibliography, Selected Bibliography, or Works Consulted, depending on the style manual the author used. In 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 are the most commonly used titles.

Bibliographies are usually placed at the end of a paper. If your research paper has chapters, you would include a list of references at the end of each 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 instructor 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 is an example of an annotated bibliographic entry in 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 variations to
       teach students how to write effective sentences by imitating good style.

Here is an example of an annotated bibliography for this chapter, using APA style. Note that in these bibliographies, not all of the items have to be annotated.

Examples of Annotated Bibliography in APA Style

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication manual of the American
       Psychological Association
 (6th ed.). 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.

Modern Language Association. (2009). MLA handbook for writers of research
       papers (7th ed.). New York: Author.
       MLA style is used in languages, literature, and some sciences.

UMUC Information and Library Services. (2010). Citation resources. Retrieved
       June 16, 2011, from http://www.umuc.edu/library/citationguides.shtml.
       Contains information about citing web and Internet sources from proprietary
       and subscription web databases, public-access journals, and other web sources.

Your bibliography may be on note cards that you can rearrange as your priorities change or on the computer so you can print out the entire list to use when you do your 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.

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