When it comes to edit or format any document, many people have a major misconception regarding it. They used to think that one who has prepared that draft can actually edit/format it in the right manner. Therefore, they come up with becoming the self-editors of written assignments. How to format a bibliography, or cite scientific article? Well, the story is a bit different here. The bibliography is a way of adding references to sources used for conducting the entire research. This is the complex procedure in terms of following the templates. However, the regular practice would not make it more difficult.

annotated bibliography citing help

Writing bibliography is a focus-seeking task indeed. The order of adding elements in it actually make the procedure complicated. There is not any shortcut or quick way of writing a bibliography. Once you complete it, the same time is required by its formatting. Therefore, it takes almost two to three weeks to prepare three to four pages of bibliography including the formatting section. Therefore, it can be said that bibliography writing and editing requires ample time. If you are unsure about doing it well, then try to get some assistance from an expert.

The Significances of Bibliography Formatting

The formatting of bibliography must be started when you are not in a hurry or left many tasks pending for it. It is something that you should do with the relaxed mind and in the spare time. There are a lot of significances of bibliography formatting. Experts recommend using Harvard bibliography generator if you can’t cope with the time to do it properly. Have a look at these purposes of doing bibliography formatting:

  1. sample of what is a preliminary bibliography

    Image credit: help.library.ubc.ca

    The purpose of adding references is quite obvious. It is simply to show the sources that have been used for conducting a research or writing the entire content of the document. This gives the right method of showing sources so that you can find each source without making a lot of effort. The well-formatted bibliography can actually help in finding the right sources quickly.

  2. The formatting of a bibliography makes the document free from all types of errors. The improperly added references can actually become a reason of your document’s rejection.
  3. It helps the editors to be familiar with the right methods to format bibliography. They can use those right ways to avoid any mistakes in the bibliography writing process.

These steps are quite helpful in knowing the actual ways of formatting bibliographies. You should also consult to experts for avoiding any major blunder. The use of punctuation symbols has equal importance as the order of adding sources. Therefore, it is always better to pay attention to both factors. A few decades ago, it was not a common use of punctuation marks in the research papers. But modern era has made it mandatory for sure. Everyone must be aware of this fact before beginning to write a research paper.

What Is a Preliminary Bibliography?

The references or sources that one could probably be used to conduct the research is known as a preliminary bibliography. This kind of bibliography is not mandatory to be added in all types of research studies. However, this is useful to show the effort one has put for collecting data. In actual, the annotated bibliography citing is enough to share at the end of your paper. Some types of academic papers actually require you to write a preliminary bibliography.

For example, the papers based on more technical subjects i.e. Computer languages, Mathematics or statistics. You will be supposed to add the preliminary references in such research studies so that readers find more related information from such sources as well. The most common kind of bibliography is annotated. However, annotated references can be preliminary citing. The research studies that also require a large number of references to be shown must have both annotated and preliminary bibliographies. It seems better that you specify each type so that readers get it easily.

How to Format Bibliography? How Long Is an Annotated Bibliography?

The annotated bibliography length can be different and varies according to the work that you have written. It is true that content added in a paragraph can be taken from one or ten different sources. So, the word limit of annotated bibliography wholly depends on it. For instance, a 60-page research document can have the bibliography section of either five or twenty pages. The experts say that standard length of annotated bibliography is 300 to 500 words. But, this is not right in all terms. Here are some important facts you need to know about knowing the length of your research paper’s bibliography.

  • When you collect the data based on more than one hundred sources, then the best way is to make this figure less by extracting the important sources.
  • Write in chronological order. This is the right way that can help you out in making the list worth to read.
  • Don’t try to exceed the actual limit of your annotated bibliography. Try to keep it short because most of the best-published papers are based in bibliographies with the shortest possible length.
  • Check any useful annotated bibliography template to have an idea.

This is all about how long is an annotated bibliography. This information can guide you to share all the helpful sources under the title of bibliography. Follow the guide to format bibliography with some quick tips.

how to format bibliography correctly

How to List Sources in the Beginning of Paper Writing?

When you start using the gathered data for your to-be-conducted research paper, make it sure that all such info is being enlisted in an appropriate manner. It is better to collect data of sources for bibliographic during the process of writing the paper. There are numerous ways to write sources in an ideal manner by avoiding any mistakes. However, the correct way is based on a set of steps which is important to be followed.

Have a look at these steps:

  • The name of an author is required to be added in the beginning.
  • Publication names either one or more have the second slot to add sources in a bibliography.
  • Publication date can’t be forgotten. This is important to let others know about when the paper has been published.
  • The publishing place or source where it will be shared with readers for the first time.
  • The company that sponsored publishing can be shared. If it has not happened, then skip this step.
  • The paper’s volume number is required to be included.
  • Don’t forget to add numbers of pages.

Rules for Different Citation Styles

The various styles of citing references in bibliographies are MLA, APA, and Chicago or Turabian. These styles are quite important and commonly used by the researchers. You need to know about some major rules regarding these styles. Here are some rules no one should miss about each of these citation styles.


One of the generally used style to cite scientific article in a perfect manner is American Psychological Association. This style is only best for citing references in bibliographies of the papers related to subjects of social sciences.


The conducted papers in subjects or fields related to humanities rely on Modern Language Association style. This style is best for showing the referenced sources in the papers of such subjects.


There is a rule of using Chicago or Turabian style of citation if you are writing a research paper based on subjects related to arts, business or history. This is the most suitable style for such kind of papers.

It is better to learn about all of these styles for the better understanding. Things you may not know about bibliographic formatting styles are feasible to learn more about adding citations and references.

Tips for How to Cite Sources in a Paper

Anyone who starts citing the paper, it is suggested to read some major tips to make the process ideal. Here are some important tips for it.

  • Don’t add any irrelevant info rather than the required ones in each source.
  • Use of punctuation marks in a proper manner is important. So, check the symbols in the end.
  • Avoid writing preliminary references if there is no need of that section.
  • Never try to make any personal modifications in the content.
  • Follow the related template based on the suitable citation style.
  • Try not to exceed the limit of cited references. Keep it short and add the most used sources first.

Some Helpful Suggestions to Remember

The word formatting has different meanings. For bibliographies, it is remembered in a quite distinguished context. The research papers conducted for final year university project don’t require to focus on much details in bibliography formatting. However, experienced and professional researchers have to follow all rules to write error-free references.

How to format bibliography? Use colon with space to separate headings with subheadings. Separate publication info, title and author as well.