Help with Bibliographies and References

What’s the point of a bibliography?

An important part of doing a great research project is showing where you got your information from.  You do this by writing a bibliography at the end – a list of all the different resources you used.  These might be in many different formats – books, websites, blogs, magazines, newspapers, or apps.  It’s also really important to list where you got any images, music and video from – unless you created them yourself!

Here are some of the reasons why teachers want to see a bibliography in your work;

  • Teachers can see what resources a student has used in their creation of a report, and whether they are well-balanced and appropriately chosen
  • Students give credit where it is due, and gain an increased understanding of how and why to reference correctly to show they are not plagiarising
  • Students understand that it is important to choose resources wisely
  • Students are well prepared for independent study after transition to university

Students should write a bibliography in a sub-section at the end of the report/essay/project

Students should write a bibliography for any report, essay, or project where they have taken and used information from other resources.

All students in KS3-KS5 should be writing bibliographies where appropriate.
All teachers with reports/projects/essays in their curriculum should specify this same approach, and where appropriate should also reference images/resources they use themselves.

What do we need to include?

Here’s the crucial information to include, and the order to put it in;

Author’s surname, Author’s firstname, Date published.  Title in italics.  Place published: Publisher name.

Obviously this is a bit different for each format, so here are some examples.

A specific article in a book

(No author), 2010.  ‘Introducing Bangkok’ in Lonely Planet, , accessed 08.06.10.  [N.p.]: Lonely Planet.

Magazine articles

Bushfield, Elle, 2010.  ‘Natural beauty in photography; saving this beautiful planet’ in Asian Geographic, no. 73, iss. 4, p. 34-37.  Singapore: Asian Geographic Magazines.

Palser Havely, Cicely, 2010.  ‘Fact or fiction?  Wolf Hall and the historical novel’ in The English Review, vol. 20 no. 4, p. 28-31.  Deddington: Philip Allan Updates


Cole, Babette, 1999.  Hair in funny places.  London: Jonathan Cape.

Macfarlane, Aidan and McPherson, Ann, 2000.  Teenagers; the agony, the ecstasy, the answers.  London: Warner Books.

Pym, John (ed.), 2002.  Time Out film guide.  London: Penguin Books.

Online resources and websites

Reznicek, Anton, 2010.  ‘Mariposa Lily’ in World Book Student,, accessed 08.06.10.  [N.p.]: World Book.

Talbot, Michael, 2009.  ‘Vivaldi, Anton’ in Grove Music Online,, accessed 11.06.10.  [n.p.]: Oxford University Press.

Tuckman, Jo, 2010.  ‘Mexican-US tensions rise as video emerges of boy just before being shot’ in,, accessed 11.06.10.  [N.p.]: Guardian News and Media Limited.


Wipatayotin, Apinya, 2010.  ‘Panel finalises harmful industrial activities list’ in Bangkok Post, 07.06.10, p. 2.  [n.p.]: [].


  1. Baby crying – .   Accessed 08.06.10.
  2. JK Rowling – .  Accessed 08.06.10
  3. Hydrogen molecule – own work


Useful tips

  • Resources are put in alphabetical order of the author’s surname; images are listed separately in the order they were used in the report.
  • Titles of published works are put in italics.  Titles of articles within a published work are placed ‘within single quotation marks’.
  • Each part of the bibliographic reference should be given capitals as it would in a normal sentence – the first word in each section and any proper nouns should be the only ones with capital letters.

Trouble shooting;

What if there’s more than 1 author?
If there are 2 or 3 authors, you use all of them in the order they are written in the book, each surname then first name.  If there are more than 3 just use the first person and add et al in italics.  This is short for the Latin et alii, meaning “and others”

What if I can’t find a piece of information?
Insert someting like one of the phrases below into where that inforamtion would have gone, and use all other punctuation as normal.  If there is no author but there is an editor, use this name instead but put (ed.) after their name.

  • No author/editor                    [no author]
  • No date published                  [n.d.]
  • No place of publishing            [n.p.]
  • No publisher                           []

What year should I use?
For a book, on the reverse of the title page you will find publication information.  Find either the publication date of “this edition” – or if it doesn’t say this then the latest edition’s publishing dates.  Dates of reprinting should not be used.  For a website, if it is for a newspaper, you will be able to see the date the article was published.  Otherwise, scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the date by the copyright details.

Should I specify which part of the book I used?
If you skimmed over lots of different parts of the book, just give a reference for the whole book.  If you used just one chapter within the book, give the title of the chapter in the reference (see example of book by De Bono above), and include the page numbers you used after the title of the resource.

The computer spell-check is underlining parts of my bibliography in green as if it’s incorrect – is it?
Don’t worry if the computer is trying to tell you your bibliography is wrong.  This is just because it isn’t written in full sentences – ignore it.

Where do I find the publisher of a website?
Scroll down to the very bottom of the page, and there will usually be the copyright symbol © followed by the name of the publisher in a small font.

I have another question but there’s no answer here.
It is always a good idea to check with your teacher or speak to Mrs. Toner , the librarian.    It may be unwise to look for the answer on the internet, as every university has a slightly different style guide, and it gets a bit confusing!

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