There are few people who can avoid writing a research paper at some point in their lives. While you might not grow up to be someone working as a scholar at a top university and unraveling the meanings of old texts or studying the Ancient World, there is a good chance that you had to take an English class or two on the road to becoming an doctor, teacher, or accountant. So, you probably know a little about what it means to write a bibliography. But, if you don't than this should tell you all about what it is and why it is necessary at the end of any research document that you might create.
The simple definition of a bibliography is that it is a list of all of the sources that a person used when creating the content for any type of paper. This might be something written on the history of amusement parks or could be about an Oscar Wilde play. This document is usually at the end of the paper and can also be called a Works Cited list or Works Consulted. The bibliography is written in a specific way and always includes the title of the source that you used, the author of that work, and information about its publication including the date first published. If you're writing a report on how to open your own shop and consult business books, for example, this is a way for the person reading your work to trace which ideas are yours and which really belong to someone else.
The most common time when you will be using a bibliography is when you're in school. There are several different formats to creating the entries for this document and your teacher will usually tell you which they prefer. If you're in high school then you might be expected to use the MLA system and then when you go off to university you could need to switch to Turabian Style. Professional writers usually know how to write bibliographies in all three of the major forms, which are these two as well as APA. You will find that all of these forms have relatively the same information in them but it is presented in a slightly different way.
Whether you're writing a paper on how to succeed or on public policy in America, you should make sure that you understand when something needs to be quoted and when it just needs to be mentioned in the bibliography. There are issues with plagiarism in schools across the nation and there is a good chance that some of these problems could be resolved by simply knowing the rules around bibliographies better. A bibliography can also be accompanied by footnotes and other information to help distinguish what is an original thought and what comes from somewhere else in a paper.