Referencing information from sources is one of the most common academic tasks, especially for research assignments where it is necessary to acknowledge ideas or support an argument being made. Proper documentation format depends on the content area or the preferences of the teacher. Courses in the social sciences frequently use APA format, for instance, and courses in the humanities use MLA format. It is very important to check with the teacher about what is acceptable for a particular class and to purchase a handbook that provides such information. The following handbooks are often used in writing courses and provide necessary information about all forms of documentation format:

Hacker, The Writer’s Manual (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

Aaron and Fowler, The Little Brown Compact Handbook (Longman)

Lunsford and Connors, The Everyday Writer (St. Martin’s)


For additional assistance, including some excellent handouts and exercises on proper documentation forms, consult the Purdue On-Line Writing Lab.


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