When writing a research paper, you will be expected to use materials written by experts on that topic. Using other’s works demonstrates that you have read what the experts have written on the topic, and adds credibility to your project.
You are expected to cite your sources, i.e., give these authors credit when you use their materials. This list of resources will allow others to look at the sources you used if they want to find more information on your topic. Another very important reason to cite your sources is that it will protect you from accusations of plagiarism.
A bibliography is not the same as a Works Cited or References list. In your Works Cited or References you only list items you have actually cited in your paper. In a bibliography you list all of the material you may have consulted in preparing your essay, whether or not you have actually cited the work. A bibliography may include any sources related to the topic of the research paper.
Both a bibliography and a list of works cited come at the end of your paper, and are usually arranged by the author’s last name in a single alphabetical list. It is necessary to use a uniform, consistent, and acceptable style when writing a bibliography.
MLA is one of the more common citation styles. Follow that citation style exactly when citing every source for your research paper.
Some disciplines will require you to use the Chicago Manual of Style, or APA, AMA style or some other citation style. Before writing a research paper, ask your instructor what citation style you should use. Whichever style your instructor asks you to use, all will include enough information for the reader to find the book, article or website.
All citations will include the author’s name, the title of the book or periodical, the title of the periodical article and the publication date.
Examples of MLA style may be found at these websites:
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 7th edition, was most recently updated in 2009. It gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of writing papers, from selecting a topic to submitting the completed paper. It provides an authoritative presentation of MLA documentation style for use in student writing.