How To Organize A College Term Paper Bibliography In Three Steps


This short instructional article guides you on how to organize a college term paper bibliography in just three steps. It focuses on the main criteria of organizing a list of references in adherence with academic, peer review and non-fiction writing conventions and style/presentation guides. The rules and conventions are always flexible and should be utilized in line with its appropriateness to your dissertation and/or the laid-down guidelines of your faculty department.

Referencing methods

Before moving on to the suggested methods of organizing and arranging your bibliography take note of the following important tips when listing references at the end of your paper.

  • Printed references – Always list book references by listing authors alphabetically, beginning with the writer’s surname. Also, note the year of publication and name of the publisher (check rule guides on how this must be presented).
  • Noting editorial authorships – Where a book, journal or peer review paper has been written by more than one author, use the lead author and/or editor as your reference.
  • Internet resources – Annotate the full web address (URL) of the site that you have used during your research.

Also, note that where research material has been collated but not directly used in the body of your term paper, you are still required to list these sources. This will also be able to guide readers on the broad scope of your research process.

Organizational emphasis

The three suggested methods, tabulated below, encompass different aspects of the process of preparing college-level (undergraduate and/or senior/major) academic essays. Over and above these listed steps, make sure that you stay tuned to the emphasis on organization.

The organizing process

Here’s the suggested organizational process that you can follow.

  • Checklist – Divide work into sections and list research material accordingly.
  • Indexing – Index alphabetically to allow you to return to previously sourced material.
  • Placeholders – Particularly when working with large volumes of printed and/or online material, you can mark subject-related and/or relevant portions of the texts to enable you to return to them easily when necessary.

Productive and proactive research, reading and writing work will always lead towards a paper of high academic standards, provided all aspects of academic rules and conventions have been observed.

With the emphasis being placed on organizing your project work effectively, this short article has paved the way for you to begin preparing your bibliography correctly and in accordance with the referencing rules suited to your dissertation.

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