Friday, July 18, 2008

(32) Documentation

Text that includes sources must also conform to some documentation style sheet. In academic and scholarly situations, writers often choose among guidelines provided by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), or the Chicago Manual of Style. Regardless of the style sheet required, writers must be careful to consult the most recent edition of those guidelines. [EDIT]

First, if you are wrestling with documentation and citation issues, take a moment to smile.

Academic and scholarly writing require writers to document fully and accurate all sources integrated into the original work of that writer. Documentation also expects a high ethical standard for writers.

Since documentation guidelines vary significantly from field to field and style sheet to style sheet, writers must consult the most recent style sheet required by the course or publication guiding the work of the writer.

For a valuable on-line resource to the major documentation guidelines, consult The Owl at Purdue University:

See the link to the right, “Research and Citation”; then select the appropriate link underneath.

Additional citation support is available here:

Another excellent resource is here (includes downloadable PDFs):

Citation Guides

Also, request sample essays [Appendix 1 (MLA) and Appendix 2 (APA)], along with the provided sample published essays in MLA and APA.

For help with Chicago Manual of Style, see this link.

Plagiarism must be avoided by writers in all settings. Technically, plagiarism is the purposeful misrepresentation in writing that presents ideas as the writers but belong to another source. Writers, particularly students, should be aware that many also consider improper documentation as plagiarism. In other words, a student may be accused of plagiarizing if that student simply fails to follow a style sheet properly. What, then, counts as plagiarism?:

• Downloading or borrowing a work not drafted by the writer, but submitting that work as if the writer did create it.

• Copying and pasting part or all of a source without documenting that source properly in the submitted text.

• Documenting a source, incorporating a source in the writer’s text, but failing to include quote marks when the exact words of the source are used.

• Paraphrasing from a source, including the source on the reference list, but failing to acknowledge the source in the text of the essay.

• In-text citations do not correspond with the listing of references or in-text citations cannot be found in listing of references.

Writers must look carefully at in-text guidelines, punctuation, capitalization, and bibliographic guidelines unique to the style sheet required in each setting. MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style are not conflicting guidelines, but each has a system within which a writer must be able to work.

For on-line help with plagiarism, visit the following:

Research and Plagiarism

For on-line help with quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, visit: