Types of Documentation

Students are often confused by the many terms used when we discuss documenting sources—the process by which we acknowledge the use of another's words, ideas, conclusions, information, data, graphics, and products. These terms—citations, footnotes, endnotes, works cited, references, bibliography—are associated with a particular documentation style, namely, APA or MLA. The documentation style used to write this guide, for example, is based on APA style. How does a writer know which style guide to use?

Winkler and McCuen, in Writing the Research Paper: A Handbook, report that two basic styles of documentation are currently being used in research, (1) note citations and (2) parenthetical citations (1994, p. 124).