Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Writing the bibliography

A bibliography gives a reviewer an idea of how much and what quality of background research you did for your project. Be sure to list every book, magazine, website, interview, or other source you used to choose your topic, prepare your research plan and make your hypothesis. Each entry should be in an accepted format.

Do not cite anything in your bibliography that you have not read.

Your teacher, sponsor, and judges should be able to assume that if you list a reference in your bibliography that you know what it says. You should also have a copy of at least the first page of every website you use in your notebook.

When you list your references you must have the following:

  1. Generic reference to the ISEF rules:
    • Book
    • Science Service. “International Rules for Precollege Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs / 2006–2007.” Washington, DC: Science Service Science Education Department, 2006.
    • Website
    • Science Service. “International Rules for Precollege Science Research: Guidelines for Science and Engineering Fairs / 2006–2007.” 1 Sep, 2006. < http:// >
  2. Special Projects references:

    For projects in the Special Projects category, reference to at least one of the additional resources listed in the ISEF rules book for your type of project. For Example:

    • Human Subjects Projects
    • Department of Health and Human Services.“Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), Title 45 (Public Welfare), Part 46-Protection of Human Subjects (45CFR46).”(2003). < >
    • Nonhuman Vertebrate Animals
    • Institute of Laboratory Animal Resources (ILAR).“Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.”(2003). < >
    • Pathogenic Microorganisms
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health.“Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), Fourth Edition.”(1999). < >
  3. At least 3 project-specific references

    These should be books specific to your project. They should NOT be encyclopedias, dictionaries, or general information books.

  4. MSDS sheet references

    References to the source of MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) that you have consulted covering chemicals used in your project. It is not necessary to include the MSDS sheets with your project paperwork, but you must show that you consulted them. It is also a very good idea to keep the sheets with your logbooks.

Format for bibliography citations

To help you with the format of your citations, check the basic MLA guidelines as listed on a webpage from Long Island University. If your particular case is not listed, check with your teacher, or either of the standard guides below: