Professional and Technical Writing/Resources

Additional Information


Documenting Your Sources




When communicating information, the writer often finds it necessary to incorporate outside information into a document. This outside information must be credible and factual. There are several reasons why a writer might use outside sources within their documents:

  • To clarify information the writer has provided
  • To emphasize a point made by the writer
  • To prove that an idea has merit
  • To acknowledge people who have contributed to your project
  • To illustrate how your research contributes to new knowledge and ideas

Choose a Format


A wide variety of documentation styles exist. Because no one style is suitable for every type of document, the circumstances of a document dictate which style should be chosen. Most organizations state which documentation style should be used by their employees. If you are writing a document for a different organization, find out which documentation style they prefer, and use it. Many organizations develop style guidelines which include sample reports and documents. Citation preference should be found within these guidelines. Conversely, other organizations choose their documents to be cited using a professionally developed system such as APA or MLA. A little research must be done by the writer to determine the preferred style.

Decide Where to Place In-Text Citations


When using in-text citations, both MLA and APA styles place the author's name in parentheses following the borrowed information. The APA style includes the year of publication along with the author's name. This in-text citation directs the reader to an alphabetized bibliography found at the back of the document. The bibliography styles for APA and MLA are different, but the in-text citations are relatively the same. In-text citations are used to inform the reader where the information being provided is coming from. This is simple when the citation is relevant to a single piece of information such as a quotation or a fact. However, if the citation is relevant to multiple ideas, the citation should be placed in the topic sentence of the information. The author's name may also be used in subsequent sentences to help further aid the reader in determining the initial author of the information being provided.

APA In-Text Citations


When doing an APA in-text citation, place the author's name and the date of publication behind the pertinent information being cited. This enclosure should be placed inside normal punctuation. Furthermore, a comma should be placed between the author's last name and the date of publication. When citing a specific page, use p. When citing more than one page, use pp. For example, When two molecules approach, they attract or repel each other (Wade, 2006, p. 61). If the author's name is included within the quotation, only include the date and page number in the citation.

For help with these citations there are multiple website that will create the works cited and citations including:

•Son of Citation Machine[1]

•EasyBib [2]

•American Psychological Association [3]

•NoodleTools [4]

Other Types of Citations


(Wade & Whitman, 2006) Two authors

(Ewert, Paradise, Butterfass, 1986) First citation for three or more authors

(Ewert et al., 1986) Subsequent citations for three or more authors.

(Henderson, 1992, p. 24) Reference to a specific page

(Department of Labor, 2008) Government or corporate author

("Human Metabolism," 2007) Citation refers to an article in which no author is listed.

(Hill, 2003; Lorn, 2001; Spa, 1999) Multiple sources cited together.

(Johnson 1992a) Two sources by the same author

Writing an APA References List

  • Book, One Author

Ozick, C. (1983). Art & ardor. New York: Pantheon Books.

  • Book, Two or More Authors

Talbert, S.H., & Betzalel A. (1992). Elementary mechanics of plastic flow in forming. New York: Wiley.

  • Anthrology or Essay Collection

Rubin, B. & Laqueur, W. (Eds.). (1989). The Human Rights Reader. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

  • Government Report

McCleod, S.A. Rural Broadband Stimulus Program. Political current affairs. 92-2736. Omaha: Stimulus Survey, 2009.

  • Article in an Encyclopedia, Dictionary, or Similar Reference Work-MLA

Strauss, Sharon. "Sea Turtles." Encyclopedia Smithsonian. 1994 ed.

  • Pamphlet or Brochure-MLA

University of Minnesota. Department of Food Science and Nutrition. Managing Diabetes. Minneapolis: Minnesota, 2005.

  • Article in Journal that Numbers Pages Continuously-MLA

McCornack, Brian. "Prevalence of Aphid Populations in Western Minnesota." Nature 222(2003): 363-42.

  • Article in Journal that Numbers its Pages Separately-MLA

Creighton, George. "Real World Application of Intermolecular Bonds." Chemistry Universe 11 (1992): 35-36.

  • Article in a Popular Magazine-MLA

Cowman, Whitney. "The Ticking Time Clock." Time. 15 Nov. 2004: 53-55.

  • Newspaper Article-MLA

Henry, Devin. " Biomed Building Funding Could Be Cut." Pioneer Press 13 June 2009, natl. ed.: A9.

  • Article with No Author Listed-MLA

"Making Exercise Your Own." Improve Health. 120.1 (2009): 54.

Electronic Sources

  • Report From the World Wide Website-MLA

American Heart Association. Watching Your Cholesterol. 22 Oct. 2007 [5]

  • Online Journal Article That Is Not Available in Print

Johnson, Michael. "Geometric Significance of Refraction." Journal of Physics 6 2002. 18 April 2009 [6]

  • Email-MLA

Ewert, Julie. "Rhetoric in the Workplace." Email to Jamie Butterfass. 3 Feb. 2009.

Other Sources

  • Interview-MLA

Metz, Paul. Telephone Interview. 19 Dec. 2007.

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