Why a bibliography page?


You need a bibliography page when . . .

When you look up stuff in preparation for writing something, you should acknowledge and report the use of those sources even if you do not use any direct quotes from them.

I do not like getting papers without a bibliography page. Such papers make me wonder if the author has concocted something out of thin air or, even worse, has copied from an Internet or printed source and does not want me to know the source of the copied material. [ SNU’s statement on plagiarism ]

A bibliography page enhances and strengthens your writing (That means it can improve your grade!).

Use a bibliography page to tell me . . .

1. You actually did some research.
A bibliography page helps your work pass the “baloney detector” test. It says that you did not make up key facts and supporting quotes.
2. You checked more than one source.
Can what you wrote be corroborated? That is, did you consult more than one source? Confirmability is an important test of truth. The number of entries is not the only test of a good bibliography. However, a bibliography listing several sources usually indicates that you have “triangulated“ your information. That means you found at least two other sources that support the data you originally found.
3. You know who wrote your sources.
What about the authors' credentials? Are they trustworthy names? Will I see the names of people known for engaging the subject thoughtfully? Will I recognize them as people concerned with truth?
4. You know who published your sources.
Is the publisher a more believable source than supermarket tabloids (as exciting as those can be)?
5. You know when your sources were published.
How old is your information? Copyright dates in bibliography entries have a certain importance. Is it likely to be considered correct today? Old is not bad. Old does not mean it is not valuable. Original source documents can be very important. However, a classic text on Biblical archeology written in 1895 will not have information on discoveries of the last 120 years. Balance the use of older sources with some new ones. This will also give you that confirming "triangulation."

You can tell me all these things by including a proper bibliography page at the end of what you've written. On the other hand, a paper lacking a bibliography page may lead me to think one of two things (neither of which would be good for your grade):

  1. You made up everything
  2. You copied from one source and do not want me to know that.

Want to know how to make a bibliography page?

If you did any research at all, give me a listing of your sources on a separate bibliography page. Use MLA format for those listings. [ sample bibliography entries ]

Additional writing help

Want to see some sample bibliography entries?

Click hereDo your bibliography page right. Follow some models of the proper style. [ read more ]

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Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132  |  Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax: 405-491-6658

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