1. Writing a Bibliography

Not only as part of your extended essay will you be required to write a bibliography, but nearly for every piece of written work from now until you leave school or if you enter into further or higher education.

  1. What is a Bibliography?

A bibliography is an alphabetical list of items used or intended for use in research for an assignment.  It can consist of printed material such as books, encyclopedias, magazine or newspaper articles or non-print material such as websites, database articles, e-mails, DVDs and live interviews.

  1. Why produce a Bibliography?

It is important in any piece of work you write to acknowledge your sources of information.  This is so that the reader can:

  • Identify and consult your sources
  • Ensure your information is accurate

Acknowledging your sources also helps you avoid plagiarism.

  1. What does a Bibliography look like?

The items listed in your bibliography consist of different pieces of bibliographic information, such as author, title, publisher, date of publication, and place of publication.  In books this information can usually be found on the title page (not the cover) of the book and on the reverse of the title page.  Sometimes this information is also found at the back of the book.

Bibliographies can be completed in many different formats.  At ISS you will be required to choose one of two formats.

  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Important is that when you have chosen one format for a piece of work that you stick to using that format throughout.  Do not change midway through a piece of work.  At ISS APA is used in science and MLA for all other subjects.

A bibliography usually appears at the end of a piece of work.  However, you may be requested to produce a bibliography prior to starting an assignment so those assessing your work can see that you have thought carefully about your sources of information, or they may wish to guide you if you are having research difficulties.

  1. What are Annotated Bibliographies?

Annotated bibliographies are the same as standard bibliographies but with additional information.  In addition to the bibliographic information, an annotated bibliography requires you to summarise each research source, with a brief description of its content and why you consider it to be relevant to your assignment.

  1. Tips on Writing Annotations

In order to help you with your summary you may wish to evaluate your sources using the evaluation checklist RADCAB.  In addition the following tips may also help.

  • Read the summary on the back of the item.
  • Read the contents page and pay particular attention to the way the book organises its information.
  • Reading the introduction and conclusion of the text will help you identify the author’s main aim.
  • Look for the investigative methods the author may have used to prove his/her point.
  • Avoid reading reviews, as they are often not objective.

What should be avoided is simply describing and listing the contents of an information source and nothing else.  In addition to describing the contents you need to make a case for using a particular source of information.  Always ask yourself – WHY.