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Difference Between a Bibliography and a Reference List?
  •   Admin
  •   16 February 2024
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Being a college student is all about writing and submitting written assessments like assignments, dissertations and thesis. With that, you have to keep up with university guidelines and properly cite all the resources you used for taking information from. To do that there are two different methodologies including a bibliography and a reference list.

Although they are very similar, it is important to understand the difference between these two and use them according to your content requirements. Remember, both of these are also taken into account when your content is being assessed, so do not take them for granted and write wisely. First, let’s understand what exactly they mean and how they should be written to match the given guidelines.


What is a referencing List?

A referencing list is a collection of all the exact references you used in your content. It is mostly used in academic research papers where you need to let the readers know which sources inspired you to conduct research and helped in forming the foundation for your research.

A referencing list matches point to point-with citations that you mentioned inside your content. Through a referencing list, all the citations can be easily located throughout the content. A referencing list is majorly used in academic writing which helps track every detail related to a particular citation.

A referencing list is very important especially when you are writing assignments as a university student and using information from certain publications. It allows the provision of proper credit to the authors and creates a map to reach the original articles. A referencing list helps in maintaining students’ and authors' academic integrity with the usage of rightful practices.

If you are wondering what is the actual format of creating a reference list. Well, there is no fixed way as there are different referencing styles used, which are as follows:

  • MLA - In this citation, you should include the author's surname and the page number.
  • APA - The format of APA referencing includes the author's surname, date of publication and page number.
  • Harward - Author’s surname and year of publication.
  • MHRA - In this, a superscript number is attached with notes mentioned at the foot of the page. For this type of referencing you need to mention complete details of the source you used.


What is a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a more descriptive version of a referencing list. All the sources which inspire the research are mentioned. Even if the sources do not You don't have to include content from all the sources that you mention in the bibliography.

  • Analytical: In this type of bibliography, new information related to sources is included in the writing of any book that is yet to be published. It can be further divided into textual, descriptive and historical types of bibliographies.
  • Annotated: This kind of bibliography serves the purpose of creating an overview of what type of research was done while adding comments for each source used. It entails the value a particular source helped in answering the research question.
  • Numerative: This type of bibliography is arranged in any specific order. Attributes like year and topic subject are used for deciding the position of the source in the list. The purpose of this type of bibliography is to help readers find any reference easily from a list of all the references.

In a bibliography, you need to mention the following things

  • Author name
  • Title of the publication
  • Date of publication
  • The place of publication of a book
  • The publishing company of the book
  • The volume number of the book
  • The page number/s


Difference between Bibliography and Reference List

Although the bibliography and referencing list are very similar to each other, there are still many differences that make them different which are mentioned in the table given below:

Referencing List


All the references that were used in the text are mentioned to direct readers to the sources.

Includes citations and even works which do not appear in the text are mentioned

Only Primary sources are used 

Primary and secondary sources are used 

It is very simple and short 

It is more complex and longer than the reference list.

Citations are mentioned to credit authors and direct readers to the source used for our research.

Citations are mentioned to hint at further reading or provide a background overview

APA style is there in the referencing list.

In a bibliography, there is no APA-style

A referencing list is seen in every academic/nonacademic document

Bibliography most appears in scientific journals, long history books and other scholarly documents.


Are there any similarities between a Bibliography and a Reference List

Yes, there are certain similarities between a bibliography and a referencing list which are as follows-

  • Both appear at the end of the book or research paper
  • Both contain almost similar kinds of information
  • Both include alphabetically arranged citations.

Bibliography and Referencing list are an important part of writing any academic document. If you are a student, you must include both of them in any type of written assessment you submit. To students, it is difficult to make separate sections for these, as they both have the same objectives. But even the slight difference between these two is important to acknowledge while writing a professional document if you want to portray authenticity.


Learn Best Formating Including Bibliography and Referencing List By Native Experts

Are you still confused between bibliography and referencing list, but don't want to lose marks over this confusion. Then let writers on Native Assignment Help support your academic papers including assignment help, dissertations help, coursework help, homework and many more. They will help you understand and submit the accurate formatting style of these two types of citations. Don't miss this opportunity to submit an error-less and properly formatted assignment.

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