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A bibliography is always required at the end of a piece of work by an institution or supervisor, often students and sometimes researchers find it a bit difficult to develop.


A bibliography is a list of the books and articles that have been used by someone when writing a particular book or article. A bibliography is said to have all the works cited in a paper, but it may also include other works that the author consulted, even if they are not mentioned in the text. Some bibliographies contain only the sources that the author feels are most significant or useful to readers.

Many a time, you may be required by your supervisor or institution to provide a bibliography at the end of a piece of work, in addition to a reference list. What is the difference?

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Before answering that question you need to know that there’s no such thing as a bibliography in APA Style? It’s a fact! APA Style uses text citations and a reference list, rather than footnotes and a bibliography, to document sources.

A reference list and a bibliography look a lot alike: They’re both composed of entries arranged alphabetically by author, for example, and they include the same basic information. The difference lies not so much in how they look or their content.

  1. Author name
  2. Title of the publication (and the title of the article if it’s a magazine or encyclopedia)
  3. Date of publication
  4. The place of a book publication
  5. The publishing company of a book
  6. The volume number of a magazine or printed encyclopedia
    the page number(s)

When it is time to document/write your Bibliography, type all of your sources into a list. Use the examples in MLA Format/samples or APA Format/samples as a template to ensure that each source is formatted correctly.

List the sources in alphabetical order using the author’s last name. If a source has more than one author, alphabetize using the first one. If an author is unknown, alphabetize that source using the title instead.

Important Note: You need not manually arrange your references in alphabetical order. There is a shortcut for doing that without wasting time you should have used for other business or academic work:

  1. Highlight the entire reference text.
  2. HOLD and PRESS Alt+A+S key. This brings out the SORT TEXT automatically.
  3. PRESS the ENTER Key or OK on the SORT TEXT Dialogue Box.

READ MORE on how to arrange references in alphabetical order HERE.


It is very important to know that there is a difference between a bibliography and a reference list. This, most students and researchers do not know. Below are.the two major differences between the two.

  • Reference list, generally, contains only sources you have cited in-text in your assignment.
  • A bibliography, generally, is a list of all the sources you have used; those cited in-text as well as those you referred to generate your ideas about the topic.

What this simply means is that a reference list contains only those authors cited in the body of your work. If you sited only three authors in your work, it then means that you will have only three references in your reference list even though you consulted other books and articles but you did not sit or quote them.

But in a bibliography, all the sources you consulted must be in your bibliography. Assuming you consulted 50 authors but ended up citing only 30, in your bibliography, you will include both the 20 you did not cite, all the 50 authors most appear in your bibliography.

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