Essay Documentation Styles
Guidelines to Various Accepted Use of Styles
Documenting your Sources
To explore a topic in a university context is to enter worlds in which others have made their thoughts public, often through publications—in academic journals and books, for instance. Our work builds on the work of others, and all scholarship involves citing the relevant studies in our own work.
There are established styles for documenting other people’s research. Some of your professors will insist that you use one style, while many will ask you to choose an established style and keep consistently to it. You need to be aware of these styles of documentation. It is rarely acceptable to choose your own, or to mix ‘n match styles, or to use an idiosyncratic form that you’ve developed over the years. Your work will look unprofessional if you ignore the reality of documentation styles.
Global Studies encourages you to choose a style with which you’re comfortable as your default, and to consult with each of your professors on their preferences when preparing papers for their courses.
Remember too (you’ve no doubt been told many times!) that Laurier’s Writing Centre is an excellent general resource for you on these matters, and many others, when it comes to preparing your papers: http://www.wlu.ca/writingcentre.
Links to Three Widely-used Documentation Styles:
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- Modern Language Association (MLA) Style
- American Psychological Association (APA) Formatting and Style Guide
WLU Writing Centre APA Documentation Style Handout