Automated Bibliography Formatting
If your sources are relatively standard types, you can try using an automated bibliography formatting website, in which you enter the information for each of your sources and the website formats citations for you. If you want to try using one of these sites, we recommend:
Although these automated formatting sites can help you create basic citations, the citations they create are not always completely accurate and we strongly recommend that you check that your citations are correct based on verified format examples.
Works Cited vs References vs Bibliography
The most common way to cite sources is to use a "Works Cited" or "References" list at the end of your research paper. "Works Cited" is the title of your list of citations when using the MLA (Modern Language Association) format; the title "References" is used when citing sources using APA (American Psychological Association) style.
The list includes a citation for each of the sources you used to write your paper. The citations are formatted in a consistent style according to whichever citation format is used. Many instructors specify which format they prefer; some leave it up to the students as long as they maintain one consistent format.
A "Bibliography" is not the same as a "Works Cited" or "References" list. In your "Works Cited" or "References" you only list items you have actually cited in your paper. In a "Bibliography" you list all of the material you may have consulted in preparing your essay, whether or not you have actually cited the work. A "Bibliography" may include any sources related to the topic of the research paper.
The list of all citations is commonly organized in a single alphabetical list. Each different type of source--book, magazine article, journal article, newspaper article, article from a reference book, webpage--has a precise format that is specified by the given format (MLA, APA or other).
Check with your instructor to find out if a specific citation format is required.
Specific Format Information
MLA Format (commonly used for English and other humanities papers)
APA Format (commonly used for psychology and other social science papers)
Chicago Style (commonly used for history papers):
- Chicago Style format from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) website
- Sample research paper in Chicago Style format