Bibliography: 9 tips + 7 examples of correct sources

If you want a flawless bibliography, we have nine valuable tips for you that can help you. With additional examples for correct sources, you can round off your scientific work perfectly – so nothing stands in the way of the good grade.

The bibliography

A bibliography is right at the end of a scientific paper. At universities, only the appendix and the affidavit follow the list. This implies that everything was written by oneself and the parts that were not written by oneself can be found in the bibliography with the correct sources. For this reason, it is very important that you do not forget the source. Otherwise, there is a risk that you will fail because of a plagiarism attempt.

Content and structure of your bibliography

The bibliography contains all sources that you have identified in the text. These include both direct quotations in quotes as well as indirect quotations that you have provided with a comparison. There are two different types of citation: the German and the American / Harvard system. Inform yourself in the guideline of your university or ask a fellow student which citation method is usual with you.

List your references in primary and secondary literature. Other sources such as video material (films, series, interviews, etc.) or Internet sources you should provide your own headings within your bibliography, as they are in the true sense of yes no literature.

The basic elements for a reference in the bibliography

The basic elements of a bibliography are always the same. All important information must be present in order to understand your source of literature. Incomplete statements are not accepted in scientific papers. As a rule, the individual sources differ depending on the medium. For example, journals are listed differently than monographs. But more about that in our examples.

For a complete statement must be included in principle: name and first name, title including all subtitles, edition, if not first edition, if necessary, the issue number, place of publication: publisher, year of publication. The sources in a directory always end with a dot. The bibliography is listed in the table of contents of your scientific work, but unlike the chapters, it is not numbered.

The bibliography is not a bibliography

There is often confusion when it comes to naming the bibliography. For example, the bibliography can be used synonymously, but not the bibliography. The difference: A bibliography or source list only includes the sources that were actually (directly or indirectly) cited in the bachelor thesis, master thesis, seminar paper or dissertation. A bibliography, on the other hand, gives an overview of literature on a specific topic.

9 tips for a perfect bibliography

You are satisfied with your scientific work, but the bibliography still lacks? Here are some important tips for a flawless bibliography. So your scientific work, in which you have put so much diligence, perfectly rounded off.

Make reading easier

To make it easier to read the bibliography and provide a well structured overview for your instructor, you should format your directory accordingly. Follow the guidelines of your university or university. The first line of your source may follow the preformatted page margins. The second line is indented so that the author’s last name stands out. You can do this either manually for each bibliography or create a style in Word, which you can use for any of your scientific work.

Another option is to italicize the title of your source. This is not a duty, but it also makes reading easier. Take a look at our examples in the corresponding chapter. Make sure that the line spacing is not set too low. Otherwise, your directory looks bruised and is less attractive to look at.

Write out first name

In some universities it has been customary to abbreviate the first names of authors or editors with their first letters. However, it is more convenient and modern to write out the names completely. So nothing can be confused. Also, include any authors or publishers involved in your source.

Check your bibliography for completeness

It is indispensable for a perfect bibliography that you list all the sources that you have referenced in the text in the bibliography. So at the end of your scientific work, be sure to spend a few hours time watching all your quotes and comparisons. Check each one to see if the cited work is also in your bibliography and make sure not to add works that you did not use in your work. Literature that you have only used to read in or as a guide, but have not cited, does not belong in the directory.

Always stay consistent

Depending on your field of study, university or university, there are different guidelines for quoting and preparing a bibliography. Some guides require a publisher name, some do not. But the most important thing is always to stay consistent. When unity is granted, many faculty sometimes overlook it if the guide is not one-to-one. If your guide does not give you enough information, borrow a guide to doing academic work from the library.

Division into primary literature and secondary literature

Many students face the same problem year after year: what was primary and secondary literature again? The exact distinction is sometimes not so easy and must be taken from any source. We summarize the essential difference for you so that you never have to deal with this annoying question again.

primary Sources

Primary literature refers to the own work of an author. Thus, literary works (epic, drama, poetry and Co.), legal texts, historical or religious texts in the sense of their respective science are primary texts. One example is Goethe’s “Faust” as primary literature and a scholarly work on his motivations as secondary literature.

secondary literature

Secondary literature is technical or non-fiction, which treats primary literature and scientifically illuminated. But sometimes secondary literature can also become a primary literature. For example, when the work on the motifs in Goethe’s Faust is scientifically critical.

Use the usual abbreviations for your bibliography

In a perfect bibliography even the abbreviations must be correct. If everything were written out, your sources would be very long and confusing. Always remember to abbreviate consistently, even if there are several options. We have compiled and listed all common abbreviations for you. In our example chapter you will find some of them.

Editor (ed.) Or (ed.), For the plural can also be used (eds.)

Edition: Aufl.

Edition: issue / completely revised edition: completely revised. Excl.

without location: o.O

without year: o.J.

without author: o.V.

Page: S.

Issue: H.

Year: Jg.

If you need to name the same author / publisher in a source, use in the same: in that.

If there are three or more publishing locations, use and others: [ua].

Volume: Vol., Volumes: Bde.

Use only reputable internet sources

Reputable sources should always be understandable. Internet sources are therefore still causing skepticism among many old-school teachers. Some even cite a certain amount of printed literature as a criterion for housework. Others now accept Wikipedia, as long as the exact source can be understood. If you are unsure about how your lecturer is on Internet sources, just ask him before you break your head over it during your work and valuable time is lost. Here are some tips for a successful time management.

Generally, Internet sources should not predominate in your bibliography. Finally, there is enough current literature. But if you’re referring to your information from reputed newspapers or certified online encyclopaedias, or your housework topic deals with online phenomena, it’s unlikely that a lecturer will be annoyed if you have some Internet resources in your directory.

Create bibliography at Word

Microsoft Word offers a feature that allows you to automatically create your bibliography. To do this, click References at the top of the Word bar and then Manage Sources. In the Source Manager, you can then enter all your sources by simply clicking on “New …” and entering all information about your source.

Once the source has been entered, you can insert it as a reference within your text as often as you like using the appropriate citation method (for example, APA or Harvard). To do this, click on “Insert quote” in the reference bar and select the corresponding source.

To create your bibliography at the end, simply click on “Bibliography” in the reference bar and select your desired format. If you prefer to format your directory yourself, click on “Add bibliography” instead of selecting a format.

Pay attention to accuracy

Your sources should always be specified exactly as you found them. If quotes or dashes are in your title, or something is in italics or bold, then you should include it in your bibliography. Also, do not leave out subtitles or subtitles.

8 examples of correct references in the bibliography

In this chapter you will find brief definitions of the different types of source references (for example monograph, anthology) and examples. We refrain from specifying the name of the publisher in the examples. However, you should make sure in the guide to writing scientific papers from your university, whether you can also omit the statement or if you are recommended to specify the publisher. If a publisher is required, the colon is usually followed by a colon after the publication location, then you name the publisher’s name and the year and close your entry with a dot.


Monographs are independent publications (from the Greek: “Einzelschriften”). They are complete in themselves and deal with a specific problem or problem that should be answered by theses of one or more authors. In addition, they go beyond the current state of research. Thus, they differ from anthologies or manuals. Monographs are given in the bibliography as follows:

Elias, Norbert: About the Process of Civilization. Sociogenetic and phylogenetic investigations. 8th edition Frankfurt / Main 1982.


Collections and anthologies are often confused. The compilation is designed as a complete work and consists of several individual contributions, which are coordinated. However, the anthology does not claim to be complete. He only fits in with a rough main topic.

The following example shows how to specify multiple publishers or authors in your bibliography. Important is the slash between the authors’ names and the order of first and last names.

Grimm, Gunter E. / Werner Faulstich / Peter Kuon (ed.): Apocalypse. Doomsday visions in the literature of the 20th century. Frankfurt / Main 1986.

Contributions in anthologies

An anthology, as the term suggests, is a collection of texts in a single cover. In contrast to the anthology (collection of passages, quotes or phrases) the term is used primarily for scientific publications. The collected texts do not always have to be coordinated. They are only collected and published for a specific main topic.

Below is an example of how to correctly specify an anthology in the bibliography. If theoretically you had to specify the same author or publisher twice, just use the abbreviation “in: so.”. For two publishers use a slash, for three or more use the abbreviation [ua].

Kluxen, Wolfgang: Philosophical perspectives in the work of Thomas Aquinas, in: ders. (Hg.): Thomas Aquinas in the philosophical conversation, Freiburg / Munich 1975, 15-37.

Articles in magazines

Articles in magazines (also called periodicals) can be found both in print and online in the bibliography. The example shown here refers to printed magazines. The place does not have to be specified here. An example of specifying Internet sources can be found later in this chapter.