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 (worse) has copied from a 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. Length is not the only test of a good bibliography. Still, a bibliography listing several sources likely indicates that you have “triangulated“ your information (at least two other sources that support your data).
3. 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. Who published your sources.
Is the publisher a more believable source than supermarket tabloids (as exciting as those can be)?
5. When your sources were published.
How old is your information? Information changes. So, those copyright dates in bibliography entries have a certain importance. Is it likely to be 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 the discoveries of the last 100 years. Balance the use of older sources with some new ones.

You can tell me all these things by giving me a proper bibliography page. A paper lacking a bibliography page may lead me to think one of two things (neither of which is good for your grade):

  1. You made up everything
  2. You copied from one source and do not want to tell me what it was.

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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