Compare Between Bibliography And References Difference

Bibliography vs References

People most of the time do not think that there is any difference between bibliography and references. They often mistake the two to be the same. However, they are different and used in different contexts with each essay or article or book.

Bibliography is listing all the materials that have been consulted while writing an essay or a book. References, on the other hand, are those that have been referenced in your article or book.

You might have consulted a lot of books, essays and websites for writing something. Though you might have referred to these while preparing a write up, the content of these might not have been included in the actual text. This is what refers to bibliography. References are those that are directly included in your actual text.

While references are cited directly in the text, bibliography is not cited directly in the text. While references can be used to support your statement or argument, a bibliography does not have such roles. As such references are used for establishing something in a more authoritative way. Readers could refer your references and evaluate the correctness of your statement. Meanwhile, bibliography does not support your argument but you only refer them in a personal way.

A bibliography will contain all research materials, including books, magazines, periodicals, websites and scientific papers, which you have referred. References contain source of material like quotes or texts, which has been actually used when writing an essay or book.

Both bibliography and references appear at the end of a document. But bibliography comes after the reference list. A bibliography may contain all those that have appeared in the reference list but it may also contain additional works.

Both bibliography and references are arranged alphabetically. But a Reference list can also be arranged in Numeric style, which means arranging the references according to the numbers in the text.

While writing a bibliography, you should have to include the authors last and first name, year of publication, name of the book, publication place and name of publishers. Well, a reference page can be called as a footnote where your just write the book or website and the year of publication or the date when you looked at the website.

1.Bibliography is listing all the materials that have been consulted while writing an essay or a book. References, on the other hand, are those that have been referenced in your article or book.
2.Bibliography is not directly included in the text. References are those that are directly included in your actual text.
3.Both bibliography and references are arranged alphabetically. But a Reference list can also be arranged in Numeric style,

Prabhat S. "Difference Between Bibliography and References." June 8, 2016 < >.

While writing an assignment, article or book, the writer often looks for the sources to generate an idea or data. In this context, students usually misconstrue bibliography for reference, but they are different, in the sense that you give reference to the sources, that you have quoted in-text, in the research report or assignment. But on the other hand, in the bibliography, you create a list of all the sources you have gone through to conceive the idea.

Reference and Bibliography is an important part of any project under study because it helps in acknowledging other’s work and also help the readers in finding the original sources of information. It not only prevents plagiarism but also indicates that the writer has done good research on the subject by using a variety of sources to gain information.

Read out the article to know the differences between reference and bibliography.

Content: Reference Vs Bibliography

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Key Differences
  4. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

Basis for ComparisonReferenceBibliography
MeaningReference implies the list of sources, that has been referred in the research work.Bibliography is about listing out all the materials which has been consulted during the research work.
ArrangementAlphabetically and numericallyAlphabetically
IncludesOnly in-text citations, that have been used in the assignment or project.Both in-text citations and other sources, that are used to generate the idea.
Supporting argumentA reference can be used to support an argument.A bibliography cannot be used to support an argument.

Definition of Reference

Reference can be understood as the act of giving credit to or mentioning the name of, someone or something. In research methodology, it denotes the items which you have reviewed and referred to, in the text, in your research work. It is nothing but a way to acknowledge or indirectly showing gratitude, towards the sources from where the information is gathered.

While using references, one thing is to be noted that you go for reliable sources only, because it increases credence and also supports your arguments. It may include, books, research papers, or articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., interview transcripts, internet sources such as websites, blogs, videos watched, and so forth.

These are used to inform the reader about the sources of direct quotations, tables, statistics, photos etc. that are included in the research work.

Definition of Bibliography

At the end of the research report, bibliography is added, which contains a list of books, magazines, journals, websites or other publications which are in some way relevant to the topic under study, that has been consulted by the researcher during the research. In finer terms, it comprises of all the references cited in the form of footnotes and other important works that the author has studied.

The bibliography is helpful to the reader in gaining information regarding the literature available on the topic and what influenced the author. For better presentation and convenient reading, the bibliography can be grouped into two parts, wherein the first part lists out the names of books and pamphlets consulted, and the other contains the names of magazines and newspapers considered.

Types of Bibliography

  • Bibliography of works cited: It contains the name of those books whose content has been cited in the text of the research report.
  • Selected Bibliography: As it is evident from the name itself, selected bibliography covers only those works which the author assumes that are of major interest to the reader.
  • Annotated Bibliography: In this type of bibliography, a small description of the items covered is given by the author to ensure readability and also improve the usefulness of the book.

Key Differences Between Reference and Bibliography

The difference between reference and bibliography can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:

  1. Reference implies referring to someone or something, that means it provides the list of sources, whose text is used in the assignment or research work. Conversely, bibliography represents the list of all the sources, from which the research has gained some information about the topic, irrespective of the work cited or not.
  2. References used in the assignment can be arranged alphabetically or numerically. On the contrary, list of sources used in the bibliography is arranged numerically.
  3. The bibliography is used to list out everything you go through to obtain the information relating to the assignment, no matter if you specifically cite it in your assignment or not. Now coming to references, it only takes into account those sources which have been cited in the assignment.
  4. The main objective of adding a reference at the end of the document is to improve credence or support an idea or argument. As against, the bibliography is not used for supporting an argument.


To sum up, references and bibliography are almost same, but there are only subtle differences between the two, which lies in the items which are included in them. The primary use of references is to get recognition and authentication of the research work, whereas bibliography is appended with the aim of giving the reader the information on the sources relating to the topic.

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