List of references

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It is conventional to have a list of references of some sort at the end of each piece of academic work. This is for the convenience of the reader who may want to follow up the research. (In the case of students, teachers may want to check the information that the student is using, or even to learn something new from what the student has found out.)

There are many ways of presenting a list of references. These will depend on the referencing system you are using. Check your Department's preferences, or, if you are writing for publication, read your editorial guidelines with great care.

One warning should be given. Be aware that some Departments require a strong distinction between a List of References and a Bibliography. Not all Departments do: in some subjects, the terms are interchangeable. But where they are not regarded as synonyms, you must observe the distinction rigorously. Usually, a List of References is a catalogue of all the sources that you have annotated in the piece of work. When it is different, a Bibliography is a list of all the works that you have used in writing the piece, whether or not you have actually quoted them.

This seems a questionable idea. The writer of the current article, for example, has used words looked up in dictionaries from the time he was at school some 50 years ago; and all knowledge has been influenced by many colleagues and teachers. But if all sources from which knowledge of the English language has been obtained, there would be no time to write the article. And do you want to see my citing of my parents as my first, and strongest, source?

For one problem that non-native speakers find more often than native speakers, see Names - Bibliographies.