A bibliography serves as a crucial component of any research endeavour or essay, providing a comprehensive list of all consulted sources used in the document's composition. When it comes to compiling bibliographies in languages other than your own, understanding the specific rules and conventions is imperative to ensure you write an accurate bibliography in English. In this article, we delve into the fundamental steps required to create and format an English bibliography correctly.
Conducting bibliographic research in English
Bibliographies are important for various reasons. Firstly, they serve as evidence that comprehensive research has been conducted in the creation of a document, whether it is an article, essay, or any other text. Additionally, bibliographies serve as an expression of gratitude towards the authors of the sources referenced in the research. Furthermore, they enable readers to conveniently locate and explore the sources used, facilitating their own in-depth investigations into the subject matter.
The initial phase of writing an accurate bibliography involves research, which essentially entails compiling a list of sources used by the author when creating the work. When conducting bibliographic research in English, it is imperative to rely on dependable databases and resources. University libraries, Google Scholar, and JSTOR are among the valuable resources at your disposal for finding articles, books, and various publications in the English language.
Throughout your research, take note of critical details such as the authors, the title of the work, the publication year, the publisher, and any other pertinent information. This data forms the essential components for constructing a comprehensive bibliography.
Information for your bibliography can be sourced from various locations. When conducting bibliographic research in English, you typically encounter the necessary details in the following ways:
- in the table of contents, particular for magazine articles;
- on the first, second, or editorial page when dealing with newspapers;
- in the header or footer of a web page;
- on the “Contact Us” or “About Us” page of a website.
Creating an English bibliography
Writing an English bibliography demands attention to detail and a grasp of the conventions associated with your chosen referencing style. This decision often hinges on the field of study, the publication, or the institution's preferences. Some of the most common referencing styles include:
- American Psychological Association;
- Modern Language Association (MLA);
Each style adheres to specific guidelines for citation formatting. For instance, the APA style incorporates the publication year in parentheses after the author's name, whereas the MLA style puts it at the end of the citation. Let's explore the referencing order you need to adhere to when formatting an English bibliography for each style:
- LMR - Author’s full name (first and last name), book title, place of publication, publisher’s name, publication date;
- MLA - Author, title, edition number, publisher, year of printing, URL;
- APA/Harvard - When using the Harvard referencing style, title the bibliography as
“References”: author’s last name, first name (bulleted), publication date (in brackets), book title, place of publication, publisher’s name;
- MHRA - Author’s first and last name, book title, place of publication (in brackets), publisher’s name (in brackets), publication date (in brackets);
- Chicago - Last name, first name, publication year, book title, place of publication, publisher;
- Electronic sources - For online sources, it is essential to include the full URL.
Putting together an English bibliography
Let's delve into the process of putting together an accurate English bibliography step by step. As previously mentioned, it all begins with gathering essential information for each source. To construct a comprehensive bibliography, it is essential to incorporate all pertinent details, such as:
- Author(s) name
- Book title
- Year of publication
- Place of publication
- Number of pages (for articles or book chapters)
- URL or DOI (for online sources)
As mentioned earlier, it is crucial to select an appropriate referencing style that aligns with the field of the work in question. Following this, you should arrange the sources in alphabetical order based on the author's last name.
If a source lacks a known author, it can be included in the bibliography under its title. In cases of multiple works by the same author, arrange them chronologically by their year of publication. The formatting of citations should adhere to the selected referencing style mentioned in the previous section.
Before concluding your bibliography, a thorough review is necessary to verify the completeness and accurate formatting of all citations. This process involves making necessary corrections, removing any duplicates, and confirming that every source cited within the text is included in the bibliography.
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