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Grace Fleming

Bibliography, Reference List or Works Cited?

By January 28, 2009

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You may wonder whether to use a bibliography, reference list, or a works cited page in your paper--and you may even have wondered whether there is really a difference.

Although your professor may have his or her own ideas (and you should use your professor's preferences as your first guide) "Works Cited" pages are generally used when citing sources in an MLA paper, though you may call it a "Works Consulted" list if you are required to name the things you cited and the sources you used as background information.

You should use the "References" title of your source list when using APA (American Psychological Association) style. Turabian/Chicago style traditionally calls for a bibliography, though some professors ask for a works cited page.

The term "bibliography" can mean a few things. In a single paper, it is all of the sources you have consulted to become informed about your topic (in contrast to listing only the sources you actually cite). As a generic term, bibliography can also refer to a very big list of recommended sources on a particular topic. Bibliographies might even be required as an additional page of information, after the reference list.


August 9, 2012 at 2:15 am
(1) Antony says:

I found this very helpful, and quick & easy to understand.

Thanks for the help!

September 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm
(2) Stephen says:

OMG thank you! I didn’t know the differences between the terms.

November 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm
(3) Jamie says:

Very useful and concise. Thank you!

December 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm
(4) Bea says:

so appreciate this information, thank you.

May 1, 2013 at 9:22 am
(5) 58brad says:

thnks for the very clear and easy to understand answer!

May 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm
(6) Shawna says:

Exactly what I needed, thank you!

June 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm
(7) Molly says:

Yeah, I just lost two points on a paper….148/150….for using “Works Cited” as my heading on the “References” page. Grr.

February 10, 2014 at 7:29 am
(8) Danielle says:

Thank you so much for these simple and to the point explanations. After years upon years of using MLA, I am suddenly required to only use APA. Although PurdueOwl and other sites are helpful, I very much appreciated not having to troll though a ton of information just to see if I should use references or works cited.

February 16, 2014 at 5:17 am

Trying to decide if I should use works cited or Bibliography as the title of the page. If cited some works and some I just consulted for back-up.

February 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm
(10) homeworktips says:

Works Consulted is also an option.

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