ENGL 102
Writing and Research
Home Page >> Information Sheet >>Working Bibliography

The term bibliography simply means a list of books. When used in a research situation, it often means a list of books on a common topic.

For this assignment, you will create a WORKING bibliography: a bibliography that lists all the sources that you have found in your preliminary research about your research paper topic.

This is NOT expected to be your actual list of sources that you use for your paper. You most likely will use some of these, but you will also most likely ignore some of them.

In order to do a proper Working Bibliography, the researcher has to use the proper tools. At a minimum, you will be expected to show that you have looked for (and hopefully found) possible sources for your paper using the following research tools:

Research for an academic/professional level paper needs to be sure to use academic level/quality sources. That means that YOU, as the researcher, need to filter the materials and determine which ones qualify as being appropriate and which ones are inappropriate. You can’t just do a search on Google and call it good. The quality of your sources will reflect specifically on the final quality of your paper. Be picky.

Your instructor will expect to see a working bibliography that indicate that you have taken the assignment seriously and done the necessary work.

If the instructor finds any holes or weak areas in your research, you will be expected to do more research to fill in those areas before proceeding to the next step.

The librarians at the College Park library will be happy to help you with this assignment. You should not expect to find adequate college level sources at a public library. Find the time to go to a college or university library to do at least part of your research.

This is a graded assignment. You will be graded on how well your listed sources meet the expectations listed on this page. Be sure to use credible, academic level sources.

Note Cards:

As your texts indicate, there are numerous ways to use notecards to help organize your information. There really is no one best way to use them, but regular use of notecards to at least organize your sources’ citation information is vital to a successful research project.

Different ways that writers use notecards to organize information:

• To write our the proper APA or MLA citation for each usable source to be better able to alphabetize the list of sources when the need arises

• To summarize each source

• To write a quick critique of each source’s strong and weak points

• To keep a “quote bank” of good quotes from the source to quote or paraphrase

• To write out each paragraph of information for the essay, to be organized and then rewritten as a finished paper

As you can see, there’s a wide variety of possibilities available for using note cards. You should determine, through trial and error, which method works best for you.

At the very least, you will be well served to have a note card containing a properly formatted APA and/or MLA citation for each source that you KNOW you will cite in your paper. This is necessary to ensure that you have all the information needed when you need to compile your list of sources at the end of your paper.

If you can, you should show your instructor what you are doing with your notecards, so they may make sure you are on the right track. However, there is no actual assignment for turning in your notecards.