8: Writing, Style and Documentation,
Section 3 of 5, STYLE AND DOCUMENTATION, page 4 of 4.
STYLE AND DOCUMENTATION
Tips on doing documentation
TIP: It is impossible to do a good job of documentation without possessing the current edition of the appropriate style manual. Documentation is a complex process, but it is one that can become easier with practice (and, perhaps, with a large number of adhesive notes stuck in your manual ... really!).
TIP: As discussed in Module 2 of this tutorial, when you write a paper, bear in mind the reasons for documentation, "To give credit .... to assure readers about the accuracy of your facts .... to show readers the research tradition that informs your work .... to help readers follow or extend your research (Turabian, 133-134)."
TIP: In addition to the style manuals themselves, there are a few, high-quality guides available to assist you.
- From the Writing Center, guides for APA and MLA style.
- From the Library, guides which focus on the documentation of online sources: Citing the World Wide Web in Style: Guides for American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Chicago, and Turabian.
MLA Crib Sheet <http://docstyles.com/mlacrib.htm>
MLA Formatting and Style Guide <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01>
Student's Guide to MLA Style <http://docstyles.com/mlaguide.htm>
APA Crib Sheet <http://docstyles.com/apacrib.htm>
APA Formatting and Style Guide <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01>
Student's Guide to APA Style <http://docstyles.com/apaguide.htm>
Dr. Abel Scribe's Guides to Chicago Style Research Papers, <http://www.docstyles.com/cmsguide.htm>. Look for the Chicago Crib Sheet Online (online as html or PDF), The Writer's Guide, and the CMS Document Set.
The Chicago Manual of Style Online, <http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org>. Use the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide for a free sampling of citation style.
TIP: Ignore any and all freebie Web sites that purport to generate correctly formatted citations—they simply are no good.
TIP: Even if a book or journal database offers to show you how to document a source, the style they show you is almost never the best format ... it is just a crude, computer-generated, guess.
TIP: If you want to use software to assist you:
- First, know how to do documentation by hand (without the software). That way you will know whether or not a given citation, created electronically, is correct.
- Use well-known/established software. Ask your instructor if there is a software-generated style that they approve of, e.g., one they use or have had students use successfully. The following are not official recommendations, but are simply a short list of reputable programs: Microsoft Office 2007 has built-in features for APA, MLA, and Turabian styles. The American Psychological Association has a product named APA-Style Helper. Another up-to-date program for APA style is APA PERRLA. Other prominent products for creating multiple documentation formats (MLA, APA, and more), include EndNote and RefWorks.
END OF SECTION: STYLE AND DOCUMENTATION
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