Why a bibliography page?

You need a bibliography page when . . .

When you want to demonstrate that you did "due diligence" in terms of research even if you do not use any direct quotes from sources you consulted.

When you want me to know you did not concot your paper out of thin air or copy and paste it from the Internet. [ SNU’s statement on plagiarism ]

When you want your work to look professional. A bibliography page enhances and strengthens your writing (That means it can improve your grade!).

drawing of books

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

Use these actual student entries as a pattern for constructing your bibliography.

Taken from a student paper for Introduction to Biblical Literature at Southern Nazarene University

Broadman & Holman Reference. Holman Concise Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Illinois: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.

Mayfield, Joseph H. and Ralph Earle, eds. Beacon Bible Commentary. Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 1965.

McGee, Vernon J. Thru the Bible. Volume IV. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1976.

Nelson's Pocket Reference. Nelson's Pocket Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999

Tenney, Merrill C., ed. The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1967.

Documenting quotations and information

Many of your courses in school require you to submit written research reports. With oral reports [ read more ] in Introduction to Biblical Literature at Southern Nazarene University, for example, stuidents must still turn in a two- to three-page paper.

In these research papers, you must document your sources for quotes as well as for factual material. Rather than a traditional Turabian-style footnote at the bottom of a page, you may use a format like the APA (American Psychological Association) style in which a brief reference with the author's name and a page number is placed within the text of your paper.

APA reference sources circled on a page
of a student paper

Citing the Bible

English Bible versions vary in wording. Therefore you need to make clear in your first parenthetical citation which Bible version you're using (italicize or underline the version title), followed by book (do not italicize or underline the book name), chapter and verse.

For example: Ezekiel saw what seemed to be four living creatures,"each with faces of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle" (New Jerusalem Bible, Ezekiel 1:5-10).

In all future references, only give the Bible book and chapter and verse numbers, since you've established which edition of the Bible you will be using.

Bibliography entries for the Bible (be sure to indent the second and following lines):

The Jerusalem Bible. A. Jones, ed. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966.

Judges. Holy Bible: New international version. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1978.

The Bible: A new translation, James Moffatt, translator. New York: Harper and Row, 1954.

arrow   Using MLA style formats: How to write papers following Modern Language Association guidelines

Additional writing help

     -- Howard Culbertson


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