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A Complete Insight into How to Write Bibliography for Dissertation

“Learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere….”

Importance of bibliography can be gauged by this Chinese proverb. So, get guided here about the right way to write it.

Citing all the sources that you use throughout your research work at the end of dissertation is important. Bibliography incorporates the sources of all ideas, graphics, texts and data that you have used in your paper. This section may also include non-written information sources that you may have consulted while carrying out your project. Though this section may seem to be simple and straightforward to many but it can be a time-consuming process in reality if you do not know how to compile it.

There are different types of bibliography formats so it is good to ask your professor the format he/she desires.

The Basic Things to Do:

  • Compile a list to keep track of all the books, websites, magazines etc. that you have consulted for your background research.
  • Do not forget to cite any source that you have consulted. A thorough and extensive bibliography shows how well the research has been done.
  • You can make use of bibliography sheets if you are not supposed to adhere to a particular format.

Here is a complete insight into how the different types of bibliographies can be written. How to write a bibliography depends on the format you choose to follow. This section comes after the conclusion. Let us have a quick look at why bibliography is important for a well-written dissertation.  

Why Bibliography for Dissertations?

When you write a dissertation or any other form of academic writing, your ideas and thoughts are built on the ideas of other scholars, researchers and professors. It is important to acknowledge that source of data, research and ideas from which you have drawn references. This will distinguish your own ideas and thoughts from the others and your readers can follow the cited ideas in detail if they want.

What You Need to do before you write?

There are certain things to be taken care of while you read or research any material for writing; you need to make sure that you should include the full publication details of relevant text somewhere. Do not forget to take down these things:

  • Full name
  • Date of the publication
  • Title of the text
  • Volume number, title of the journal etc.
  • Place of publication, title of book and the chapter along with the page number from which reference is taken.

Do not get confused between the name of publisher and printer. The publisher name that needs to be cited will be on the spine of book and in its main title.

What are the different bibliography styles?

The source that you have consulted gets mentioned every time when you quote them or take their idea or thoughts. It helps you express a word of gratitude towards the source and avoid plagiarism also.

There are different referencing styles and different people use different formats. Some people use endnotes or footnotes, some people use “author-date system and some use numbering systems. Styles differ and so their writing patterns too.

Different Types of Bibliography Styles and How to Write Them

General Format:

The general format is the most commonly used format. Here bibliography goes at the end. Every possible outside source is listed in this section and the list is arranged in an alphabetical manner. Entries must contain author’s name, title of the work, publisher, year and the journal. Though different streams use different formats, the most commonly used styles are MLA style for humanities and APA style for Sciences.

How to Reference in MLA Style?

As per the version of Eighth Edition of Modern Associate Book, bibliography is nothing but a works cited page simply. The style is different from APA style and Chicago style because in this type you have to list the media of publication also like DVD, print and film etc. This is the style where writer’s last name is written followed by the first name and a period. Title of the book consulted is to be written in italics along with the period. After that, there are other things to be written like city of publication, a colon and then the publisher followed by a comma and year of publication. Finally, period is to be mentioned. This type of bibliography ends with the city of publication and a period.

How to Reference in APA Style?

The American Psychological Association is used typically in social science dissertations. According to APA introduced Seventh Edition, if you are asked to complete your bibliography in APA style, you have to consult a committee chair first to know more specific needs. In this style you use references instead of a bibliography. This is different as the writer needs to list the sources that he has referred in the text. The entry is done with authors’ last name followed by a comma, the first initial and period comes at last. The year of publication is to be put in parentheses along with the period. Finally, write the publisher’s location, a colon and the publisher’s name. End with a period.

How to Write Chicago Bibliography?

Chicago manual style includes a bibliography page for dissertations in a correctly formatted style. To format entries correctly, you need to list the author’s name followed by a comma and then the first name and a period. Title of the text here should be in italics and it is to be followed by a period. City of publication, followed by comma should be at the end.

Annotated Bibliography:

In this, students need to briefly describe the source of Research Paper and how that research paper, its advantages and disadvantages are associated with the source. This is done for the readers who want to read about that particular topic in detail to know further. This is less commonly seen because most of the dissertations do not need annotated bibliography.

Movies, articles and other sources:

When you cite the sources in bibliography from any article, the rule changes to suit the cited article and help the readers to check that source independently. If that article has an author, it has to be mentioned first exactly in an order mentioned in the books. Last name of the author should be followed by the first name with a comma.

For articles published in newspapers and magazines, the year of publication should be mentioned along with the page number from which reference is taken. There is no need to mention the place of publication in the visual media that you have consulted. In case of movies, title of the movie is to be referenced followed by name of director, year of its release and if possible media of that cinema and studio where it is produced.

Chapter-wise Bibliography:

If the chapters of your dissertations are prepared in separate .text files then you need to prepare chapter-wise separate bibliographic list. There are some departments that advise the students to prepare chapter-wise separate bibliography list instead of just one at the end.  So, here you do not need to write an additional bibliography at the end.

Divide the Bibliography into primary and secondary sources: A Different case!!

If you are writing a dissertation on a poet or a writer then your bibliography will be divided into secondary and primary sources. This is the case where compositions of the writer or a poet himself are the primary basis of text while the critical reference materials or books are the secondary sources.

In short, there are diversified forms and styles so writing them differ to a great extent. But, what you need to take care while writing a bibliography is the fact that you have all the relevant details of the cited source. There can be no format that is widely accepted and if you need to follow a certain pattern or style, it is good to get guided about the same beforehand. But, be prepared to incorporate these four elements in all types of bibliographies.

  • Who: Who produced the work (person, institution etc)
  • When-When was the written piece published?
  • What-What do you call this work?
  • Where-Where did you find the work (in a journal, newspaper, magazine, video clips or whatever).

Basically, bibliography is the list of all the consulted sources by the researchers and apart from their written work you can quote the references of videos, records, films, movie or music.  If non-written part is more than the written one it is good to prepare a separate list for it. If you have lot of visual materials do mention them in a separate section. Mention everything that has contributed significantly in carrying out your dissertation in the bibliography.

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