12Documentation Styles  

Contrary to popular belief, documentation was not dreamed up by professors to see how miserable they could make studentsí lives. Students need to realize that it is not only polite but also ethical to acknowledge where they found their information. Furthermore, citing such sources can strengthen their arguments and/or research. 

To help someone with documentation, the first question you should ask is what documentation style the professor prefers. If the student does not know, refer her to the chart on Disciplinary Documentation Preferences. You may have had no experience with some documentation styles, but not to worry: disciplines require the same basic three sections of any citation, although they may be arranged differently:


1.      information about the author or editor

2.      the title of the work

3.      publication information

Below, the same information is given in four bibliographical styles to illustrate the similarities and differences among them.


     Jones, R. W., Bizzaro, P., & Selfe, C. L. (1997). The Harcourt Brace guide to writing in the disciplines. NY: Harcourt Brace.  


Jones, Robert, Patrick Bizzaro, and Cynthia L. Selfe.
The Harcourt Brace Guide to Writing in the
Disciplines. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1997.


Jones, R. W.; Bizzaro, P.; Selfe, C. L. The Harcourt 
Brace guide to writing in the  disciplines. New 
York: Harcourt Brace; 1997.  


     1.  R. W. Jones, Patrick Bizzaro, and Cynthia L. Selfe, The Harcourt Brace Guide to Writing in the Disciplines (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1997), 63-64.

Key Idea
Knowing where to find models of documentation appropriate to your subject is more important than memorizing specific details of any one style. 





The Writing Center: Past and Present The Student/Tutor Relationship The Clueless Student The Unfocused Student The Disorganized Student The Underdeveloped Student The Unrevised Student The Unpolished Student ESL Strategies Research Strategies Discipline-Specific Assignments Documentation Styles Writing Center Ethics Writing Center Publicity

© 1999, 2000, 2002 Virginia Bower (Mars Hill College), Charlene Kiser (Milligan College), Kim McMurtry (Montreat College), Ellen Millsaps (Carson-Newman College), Katherine Vande Brake (King College). All rights reserved. This manual was made possible by a Culpeper grant from the Appalachian College Association; click here for information. If you encounter difficulties with these web pages, please notify kmcmurtry@montreat.edu.