What are reference lists and bibliographies?

Both are a list of the sources which contributed to the creation of an academic work. If you’re writing one, it should be arranged alphabetically by author’s surname, and should be located at the end of your work.

What is the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

The main difference is that a reference list includes all the sources that are directly cited in the text. Whereas a bibliography should reference all sources which contributed to the work, even if not cited in the text.

This includes those consulted for background reading, but which have either directly or indirectly influenced the work.

Bibliographies are therefore theoretically broader than reference lists but both terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Students should automatically include their reference lists in their bibliographies, and should provide bibliographies to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

In either case, both reference lists and bibliographies follow the same format and include the author(s), year of publication, title, edition, city published and publisher.

It is important to keep in mind that the place of publication and publisher name is only required for printed books, reports and similar sources. Additionally, ISBNs and DOIs aren’t a formal requirement and aren’t generally included in reference lists.

👈 You can find out how to create references for different types of sources in the menu.