Writing a Bibliography


One of the requirements of any research project is the bibliography. This makes sure you give credit to the authors of those works you used for your own research. 

A bibliography is a list of all the sources you used when researching an essay, research paper or assignment.  To avoid plagiarism, whenever you use other people’s ideas or words you need to credit the source of the information. 

General Guidelines

  • Cite all your sources to prevent plagiarism. For more about plagiarism see Plagiarism.org
  • Gather citation information as you are doing the research, while you have the source on hand
  • Alphabetize by author’s last name. If there is no author, alphabetize using the first main word of the title
  • If a specific style of bibliography (MLA vs. APA) has been specified by your school, make sure you use that style
  • Follow the punctuation carefully
  • Always start the bibliography on a new page at the end of your work

Information for your Citation

Different types of sources require different types of information. For example, if you are citing a book you will need:

  • Author(s) of book
  • Title of book
  • Edition
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Year of publication

You can use the library catalogue to find most of the information you need. Use the examples below to see the different types of information you need depending on the types of sources you used.


Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) are the two formats commonly required in high school and university.  Your teacher will tell you which format to use.  MLA guidelines are generally used for English, language and literature essays and papers.  APA format is typically used for social sciences, such as psychology or sociology essays and papers.


Author known, date given

MLA: Yadav, Sid.  “Facebook – The Complete Biography.” Mashable, www.mashable.com/2006/08/25/facebook-profile/. Accessed 10 April 2019.

APA: Yadav, S. (2006). Facebook – The complete biography. [Online]. Retrieved April 10, 2019, from http://mashable.com/2006/08/25/facebook-profile/


Author unknown

MLA: “Opioids”. OPP, www.opp.ca/index.php ?lng=en&id=115&entryid=5989b7f18f94acbc717ccb12. Accessed 10 April 2019.

APA: Opioids. (2017). Retrieved April 10, 2019, www.opp.ca/index.php ?lng=en&id=115&entryid=5989b7f18f94acbc717ccb12.


Basic Book Format

One author

MLA: Crook, Marion. Out of the Darkness: Teens and Suicide. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2003.

APA: Crook, M. (2003). Out of the darkness: teens and suicide.  Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press.


Two authors

MLA: Penna, Anthony N. and Rivers, Jennifer S. Natural Disasters in a Global Environment. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.

APA: Penna, A. and Rivers, J. (2013). Natural disasters in a global environment. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.


Three or more authors

MLA: Skeen, Michelle, et al. Communication Skills for Teens: How to Listen, Express & Connect for Success. Instant Help Books, 2016. 

(Alternatively you may list all of the authors or editors i.e. Skeen, Michelle and McKay, Matthew and Fanning, Patrick and Skeen, Kelly instead of using “et al”)

APA: Skeen, M., McKay, M., Fanning, P., & Skeen, K. (2016). Communication skills for teens: how to listen, express & connect for success. Oakland: Instant Help Books.  

(Always use the ampersand - & - before the last author in the list).


Author unknown

MLA: Go ask Alice. Simon & Schuster Children’s Pub, 2006.

APA: Go ask Alice. (2006). New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Pub.


Journal articles from a database

MLA: Wagner, Johannes. “Grid Investment and Support Schemes for Renewable Electricity Generation.” The Energy Journal, vol. 40, no. 2, 2019, p.195. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5547/01956574.40.2.jwag.

APA: Wagner, J. (2019). Grid Investment and Support Schemes for Renewable Electricity Generation. The Energy Journal, 40(2), 195. https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.40.2.jwag


Unsigned Encyclopedia

MLA: “Wounded Knee Massacre.” Encyclopedia of Native American Wars and Warfare. 2005.

APA: Wounded Knee Massacre. (2005). W. B. Kessel (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Native American wars and warfare (p.349). New York: Book Builders Incorporated. 



MLA: Edwards, Kyle. “The High Price of Buying In.” Maclean’s, Apr. 2019, pp. 111-113.

APA: Edwards, K. (2019, April).  The high price of buying in. Maclean’s,132(3), 111-113.



MLA: Ogilvie, Megan. “Melanoma rate soars among U.S. young women”. Toronto Star. 11 July 2008, p. A1.

APA: Ogilvie, M. (2008, July 11). Melanoma rate soars among U.S. young women.  Toronto Star, p. A1.


MLA: Fisher, Kimball. Leading Self-directed Work Teams : A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). EBSCO. Web. 9 Sept. 2011.

APA: Fisher, K. (2000). Leading Self-directed Work Teams : A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills. McGraw-Hill Professional. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

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If you need more examples you can borrow the following guides from the library:

MLA Handbook: 8th Edition

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 7th Edition (2020) 

If you need extra help, refer to the Purdue Online Writing Lab.