The tabs above for APA, MLA and Chicago/Turabian provide formatting examples for the most common types of print and electronic sources of information.
Styles of Documentation
Different disciplines have developed different styles, or rules, of documentation. Fields in the humanities, like literature, religion, or philosophy, tend to prefer MLA style. History and some social sciences, like education, economics, or political science, may prefer Turabian or Chicago style. Other social sciences and some sciences prefer APA. Scientific writing has many different formats, depending on the discipline.
You should always consult with your professor to determine which style you should use for any project. There are whole books devoted to writing and documenting research in each of these styles. For details, you should refer to the individual style manuals; there are copies of all of them on in Boatwright Library and in the Research and Collaborative Area. To ensure that your citations conform to current practice, always use the most recent edition of any style manual.
Research findings are not considered valid and legitimate unless the researcher documents the resources and methods used to conduct that research. For a scientist, this entails a detailed account of materials and methods used in the lab or the field. For the social scientist, it may mean including copies of surveys, questionnaires, observations, or other methods used to gather information. For any researcher using verbal or graphic materials, regardless of the medium—print, Internet, film, photographic, microfiche, etc...—it means indicating exactly what sources were used and where each piece of information came from.
The purpose of documenting your sources is so people interested in the subject of the research can verify information or refer to it for additional information or research. Accurately and completely documenting all sources of information used is therefore essential to the scholarly conversation — and foundational to research.