Literature Cited Guidelines

24/7 Homework Help

Stuck on a homework question? Our verified tutors can answer all questions, from basic math to advanced rocket science!

(from our General Biology I Lab on Writing a Lab Report)

This section lists all articles or books cited in your report.  It is not the same as a bibliography, which simply lists references regardless of whether they were cited in the paper.

Note that any statement of fact in your paper that is not common knowledge to a typical reader must be cited after the statement in the body of the paper.  When citing references in the text, do not use footnotes; instead, refer to articles by the author’s name and the date the paper was published. For example:

  1. Fox in 1988 investigated the hormones on the nest-building behavior of catbirds.
  2. Hormones are known to influence the nest-building behavior of catbirds (Fox, 1988).

When citing papers that have two authors, both names must be listed. When three or more authors are involved, the Latin et al. (et alia) meaning “and others” may be used. A paper by Smith, Lynch, Merrill, and Beam published in 1989 would be cited in the text as:

Smith et al. (1989) have shown that…

Note that only the Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and Discussion sections will have cited references.  Because the Title and Abstract are stand-alone components that are often displayed in the absence of the rest of the paper, they will not have cited references.

In the Literature Cited section at the end of the report, all references cited in the main body of the paper will be fully documented in a list.

The listing should be alphabetized by the last names of the authors (all authors on the paper with both first and middle initials will be included). Different journals require different formats for citing literature. The format that includes the most information is given in the following examples:

For articles:
Fox, J.W. 1988. Nest-building behavior of the catbird, Dumetella carolinensis. Journal of Ecology 47: 113-17.

Stevens, M.E., Ronan, A.K., Sourkes, T.S., & Boyd, E.M (1943) On the expectorant action of creosote and the guaiacols. Can. Med. Assoc. J. 48:124-127.

For Books:
Bird, W.Z. 1990. Ecological aspects of fox reproduction. Berlin: Guttenberg Press.

For chapters in books:
Smith, C.J. 1989. Basal cell carcinomas. In Histological aspects of cancer, ed. C.D. Wilfred, pp. 278-91. Boston: Medical Press.

Specific References for this course:

Link to a list of BLAST-related references:


Altschul, S.F., Gish, W., Miller, W., Myers, E.W. & Lipman, D.J. (1990) Basic local alignment search tool. J. Mol. Biol. 215:403-410.


Altschul, S.F., Madden, T.L., Schäffer, A.A., Zhang, J., Zhang, Z., Miller, W. & Lipman, D.J. (1997) Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402


Boratyn GM, Schäffer AA, Agarwala R, Altschul SF, Lipman DJ, & Madden T.L. (2012) Domain enhanced lookup time accelerated BLAST. Biol Direct. 2012 Apr 17;7:12


Lu, S., Wang, J., Chitsaz, F., Derbyshire, M. K., Geer, R. C., Gonzales, N. R., … & Thanki, N. (2020). CDD/SPARCLE: the conserved domain database in 2020. Nucleic Acids Res. 48(D1), D265-D268.


El-Gebali, S., Mistry, J., Bateman, A., Eddy, S. R., Luciani, A., Potter, S. C., … & Sonnhammer, E. L. L. (2019). The Pfam protein families database in 2019. Nucleic Acids Res. 47(D1), D427-D432.


Geneious version 2022.0 created by Biomatters. Available from

In-text citation for Geneious, use (Geneious version 2022.0)

Hire a competent writer to help you with

Literature Cited Guidelines

troublesome homework