Organizing your research bibliography can be easier than it sounds


The bibliography is a set of studies you should use to make the theoretical basis of your academic paper.

Table of contents

  1. What is a bibliography?
  2. Why do we need to use bibliography in academic research?
  3. How to compose a bibliography for your paper
  4. Where to search for reliable bibliography?
  5. Scientific websites to find bibliography
  6. Format your bibliography in APA style with Mettzer

Do you need to find bibliographies for your academic paper and don’t know how to begin?

Well, then, you have come to the right place 😉

This article will explain to you what a bibliography is and how to find it. In addition we also show you how to format your research bibliography in APA style.

The good news is that you can count on technology tools to help you along the way.

Check it out!

What is a bibliography?

To begin with, the first step is to understand the concept of bibliography.

In general, bibliography is the set of research sources that people should use to develop the theoretical foundation of their academic paper.

You may already know, but the theoretical foundation – which can also be called bibliographic review, theoretical references or literature review – is the review of research and discussions by other authors on a theme.

In other words: it is the contribution of other authors’ theories to your research.

Therefore, the bibliography is the set of these research sources about a particular theme on which the discussion of a new research begins.

So, the bibliography includes the product of research sources, which can be books, scientific journals and scientific papers, for example.

For this reason, the bibliography refers to the list of bibliographical references of an academic paper, which is the identification list of each research source that constitutes your bibliography.

Let me put it this way, the list of bibliographical references is the place where you must identify all the bibliographies you have used, based on elements such as author, title, edition, publisher and date of publication.

Why do we need to use bibliography in academic research?

But, do you know why is it necessary to organize a bibliography in your academic paper?

Well, the answer is simple. The best way to develop a theoretical basis for your ideas in a paper is to seek references from other researchers who have already written about that subject.

And it all starts with a good literature search. It consists of collecting reliable research sources and analyzing each content.

That is, from writing through renowned theories and scientific research of other people you can show your academic paper has theoretical support.

This is where citations and references come into the picture. After all, to use concepts and theories from other authors, you need to reference them to give due credit. Right?

We call citations the direct or indirect quotes developed along the paper and references the list of research sources that appears at the end of the paper.

Only by using bibliographic references properly can your research be seen as reliable according to scientific standards.

If you don’t do that you are using someone else’s work without giving them proper credit that characterizes plagiarism.

Because of this, bibliography is a mandatory requirement for academic papers.

APA style paper format

How to compose a bibliography for your academic paper

Now that you know what a bibliography is and its importance, let’s move to another doubt: how to make the bibliography of a paper?

I tried to systematize it into two main steps to help you in this process.

Let ‘s begin 🙂

Search for the main scientific literature on the theme

The first step is to conduct a literature search. It is from this research that you will collect scientific data necessary to develop your paper.

To begin searching for this literature, you should have already defined your research scope: topic, objectives, methodology and research problem. This scope is the lens through which you will be able to organize your paper and conduct your bibliography research.

After all, before you start searching, you need to know what you are looking for, right? 🙂

You should also look for reliable and relevant research sources.

Build the theoretical framework of your paper

Searching for literature and building a theoretical framework are done almost at the same time. That’s because, as you find research sources about that specific topic, you are also learning about those authors’ theories.

From this, you need to select the theories that will be the basis for your research and discuss them, connecting the bibliography. This process will result in your framework theoretical building.

Where to search for reliable bibliography?

First of all, to start looking for a bibliography you should have your research scope defined – topic, objectives, methodology, and research problem. These elements direct the focus of your research and this is important.

You need to know what you are looking for to find the best literature for your paper.

This may sound a bit confusing. But there is an objective way to do it: by defining the keywords of your resesearch.

For example, if your research problem is how covid-19 pandemic affected Europe, you can start your bibliography research with ‘pandemic’ and then refine it to literature about ‘covid-19’ and ‘Europe context’.

The better your delimitation, the more you will find specific sources on your topic.

Be careful with research sources from the Internet

Direct your search to reputable sites, such as those of educational and research institutions.

Avoid searching on websites with questionable credibility, they may present wrong information. The veracity and quality control of content must be rigorous in scientific research. So, be careful. 

Diversify your research sources

Finding reliable scientific literature requires different sources, such as scientific journals, books, periodicals and academic websites. Some examples of reliable scientific websites are DOAJ, Latindex, Redalyc, Scopus, Ulrichs Web.

Moreover, dissertations and theses can also provide reliable and important contributions on your research topic. You may find them on universities’ websites or libraries.

By bringing all this material together, you will be able to present the core concepts of your research from the perspective of what was already being researched by other authors.

Scientific websites to find bibliography

To do your research, especially online, you can start at the following places:

Online libraries

We often forget to use online university libraries, but they are great places to find research sources such as dissertations, theses, and reviews.

Harvard University, for example, has a digital library with free and public access to 6 million digitized materials. It’s amazing!

Google Scholar

Imagine a version of Google that only considers results collections of academic journals, professional organizations, university repositories, and other academic institutions.

This is how Google Scholar works. That is, there is a filter on the results that only scientific knowledge appears as results.


The website of the publisher Elsevier concentrates the largest database of scientific articles, journals, and books.

In addition, Scopus has a search engine with a series of filters that help the student when looking for relevant documents.

Format your bibliography in APA style with Mettzer

Correctly formatting references ensures your paper is respecting academic standards. 

In fact, formatting is not a very simple step. But Mettzer can help you with it 🙂

Mettzer is the first and only digital platform that integrates – in one place the entire cycle of academic work. From planning your research, formatting in APA style to plagiarism checking.

Mettzer’s text editor formats any academic work in APA style. It automatically generates citations and bibliographical references for you.

Besides automatically citations and references, Mettzer’s text editor has a Plagiarism Checker to ensure the originality of your academic works.

You can even start your academic paper from a pre-ready template!

With Mettzer’s technology you save time to focus exclusively on what matters, which is the content of your research.

Check out this powerful tool!

You can take a free trial for 7 days 🙂


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