Should I Make a Reference List, Works Cited Page or Bibliography?

We all know that it’s important to cite the sources that we use to write papers, but should they be cited on a reference list, a works cited page or a bibliography?

This basically comes down to the format that you’re required to use. MLA, APA and Chicago are three of the most commonly used academic formatting styles, with each being popular within different subject areas. For example, MLA (Modern Language Association) format is most commonly used within the liberal arts and humanities, while APA (American Psychological Association) format is most commonly used within the social sciences. Chicago style is also associated with humanities subjects. Your professor or TA will be able to advise you on which style you should use.

Let’s take a look at the difference between a works cited page, a reference list and a bibliography:

Works Cited Page

A works cited page usually goes with MLA format citations. It’s basically a list detailing all the sources that you have either quoted or paraphrased within your work. Sources are usually listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. A works cited page is required in addition to parenthetical citations, which are shorter versions of the citation (often just the author’s name and a page number, if relevant) placed within the paper, after the quoted or paraphrased text.

Example of an MLA citation in a works cited page:

Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. Cornerstone, 1989.

Reference List

A reference list usually goes with APA style citations. It’s essentially the same as a works cited page, just with a different name. Again, sources are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and should be marked in the text by an APA in text citation.

Example of an APA citation in a reference list:

Lee, H. (1989). To Kill A Mockingbird. London, Eng: Cornerstone.

Bibliography

A bibliography may be required when using Chicago or Turabian format citations. It differs in that it requires you to list all sources used during the course of your work, whether you have referred to them specifically in your paper or not. This means that even a source that you used just for background reading needs to be detailed. With Chicago style format, you must include a bibliography (in alphabetical order) in addition to footnotes/endnotes, which often detail the same information.

Example of a Chicago citation in a bibliography:

Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. London, Eng: Cornerstone, 1989.

While your tutor can advise you on which style of citation to use, Citation Machine can help you to create them. Choose between thousands of different styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian and Harvard, and create your citations for free! It makes putting together that reference list, works cited page or bibliography really quick and easy.