Documenting Sources for Research Papers

Research work involves combining information from various sources. Most of the times, information is obtained from other writers’ books and articles without their consent. This is what is called plagiarism. Therefore, it is always advisable that you document any sources that you use in your research paper. Documenting is the act of attributing the efforts of the writers for whom you used their ideas, opinions as well as any other data in your research paper. The essence of documenting any work is to bring in to attention the information that belongs to you and which does not.

Reasons to document your sources

Correct documentation establishes one as a credible researcher or even a writer. This helps your readers understand that whatever you have given is a reliable data since you have included the hand of experts in your research. Therefore, documentation helps to establish trust. On the other hand, failure to document properly questions one’s academic integrity. Lack of documentation implies that one is just using somebody’s information as yours.

From the foregoing, it is important to note that integrity in academic involves a writer using their own information but not just acknowledging the sources. It is advisable that you create your own ideas out of the information that you get from other people.

When documenting sources the following concepts should be put in practice. To begin with, documentation of sources is different for different sources. The style of documenting a book source is different from when documenting an article source. An article source is differentiated from a book source by looking at the publisher and the place of publication.

Documenting a book source

Example: Samwel, Noah J.,ed.The Penny Diaries.Nakuru: Oxford, 2001

On the other hand, documentation from an article source is differentiated from a book source by looking at availability of title of the article, its volume number as well as page numbers.

Example: Parmenas, Kisengese K. “Types of Ladies to Avoid Dating.” Lifestyle 241(2014):12-14.

However, care must be taken when documenting a research paper. This is because there are different formats that one can use to document their sources. The format of documenting is not an issue though, what is important is the knowledge of the different forms that you can use to document your work.

You can use the APA- American Psychological Association, Modern Language Association or the Chicago Manual. The Chicago Manual is mostly used by a large number of writers while the APA is used mostly for social sciences and MLA in humanities.