How to compile the bibliography for a term paper

A Bibliography is always found at the end of a paper. It gives credit to the author whose work you have cited, and it avoids plagiarism.

Find out the minimum number of sources needed.

Before you start your term paper read through any instructions that you have been given. Then read them through again. Make a note of how many, or rather what is the minimum number of sources that you have to cite in your term paper.


Next, start a diary/notebook in which you will put all your planning for the term paper and also start making a record of the sources you will use for your paper. ‘So‘, you say ‘I only have to use 6-7 sources, why do I need to keep track of them?’ Its not just the title of the sources that you will need to make a note of, you also need to make note to the content of those sources, especially the bits that are relative to your paper. Using this tool will be good practice for when you write a thesis or dissertation.

What Format do you need to use?

Basically there are two types of formats for a Bibliography.

  • Modern Language Association (MLA). This type of format focuses on placing the author in their correct chronological and theoretical situation.
  • American Psychological Association (APA). This type of context is mainly used by the Social Sciences,. The focus for this format is not so much on the authors but on the research and when it was released.

Bibliography of Books

  • Must be alphabetical
  • Must include authors name, book title, publisher and date and place of publication (use of a full stop between each section).
  • If you have more than one author - you ca use the term ‘et al’.
  • Sometimes you may have a source that does not show its author. If this is the case you should go to the next piece of information, i.e. book title etc.

Bibliography for Newspaper & Magazine Articles

As with the Books, you need to start with the author, title, name of the newspaper, or magazine, pages on which the article was found and when the magazine or newspaper was published.

Bibliography for Online Resources

This can sometimes be very difficult as the information may not be easily found, but get as much information as you can - starting with the author, title of article, web address and date the source was added to the web site.