Some Student Basics and Links for Documentation Styles, Guides and Citation

Academic disciplines, technical fields and various professions have their own preferred guidelines for formal writing and crediting of sources in their particular areas of focus. Specifics on the dos and don'ts for each purpose/field will likely be available from the clerical offices of the various departments, agencies or professional firms. Here are links to a basic, starting overview of citation and list of academic fields from a non-academic, introductory-only source--not to be used as a cite-able source. Disclaimer: Find other more solid sources for any information encountered in these two links if the information is important enough to cite in a paper.

Currently, there are two primary, common documentation styles that reflect the concerns of most fields. 1) Author, year: reflecting the emphasis of the Natural and Social Sciences which are most interested in the person responsible for the finding and the year of that work. Those disciplines focus on the results of studies and the newest information. 2) Author page: reflecting the emphasis of the Humanities which are most interested in the person responsible for views, opinions and interpretations of material in their fields and the location/page of where that information can be found. The time-frame or year of that analysis is not so important to the Humanities as it is to the Sciences. In fact for the Humanities, the "timeless" value of various ideas is quite valuable, especially when connected to venerable figures.

So, in general, the (author, year) in-text format is basic to the Sciences and other time-focused material,  and the (author page#) in-text format is basic to the Humanities where informed analysis, less concerned with the time-frame of the ideas, is the focus. However, a third, less common, method, the "number/notes" style of crediting sources is used in some fields. In some ways it is more complex than the first two styles and inserts only in-text numerals to refer the reader to more complete information, sometimes at the bottom of the page or more often, lately, at the end of the paper.  However, each field of study, profession or technical area has their own variation or mix of these styles that reflects the more specific needs or interests of that field.


Documenting Sources in the Disciplines: Overview - Purdue OWL

Long Island University Notes on Disciplines and Styles

Hacker list of Guides | and samples- [includes History as a separate category, now. often seen as a mix of Humanities and Sciences.]

*OWL Style Comparison of APA,MLA, CMS (Chicago)



Jane Thielsen 2012  ♦  COCC ♦  all rights reserved