How do I document sources?
Check with your instructor on how sources should be documented for your particular class or assignment. As a quick introduction, these on-line sources may help you navigate the most common methods of documentation:
Generally, you should describe your source as fully and accurately as possible for the benefit of readers. Depending on the type of source, the information required may include the title, author, editor, translator, volume number, issue number, publisher, place of publication, year of publication, page numbers, URL, and other descriptors. There are three main systems used to organize this information:
MLA (Modern Language Association)
- used mostly in the humanities
- commonly uses parenthetical citations within the text, followed by a “Works Cited” list at the end that includes entries only for works cited
- used mostly in history and some humanities
- commonly uses footnotes or endnotes, followed by a “Bibliography” at the end that includes entries for works cited or consulted
APA (American Psychological Association)
- used mostly in the social and natural sciences
- commonly uses parenthetical citations within the text, followed by a “References” list at the end that includes entries for works cited
Detailed guidelines for these and other methods of documentation can be found in style guides or writing handbooks.