Module 22 - Finding, Analyzing, and Documenting Information
Teaching Tip: Students often use the most convenient sources of research in their
assignments, with little regard for the veracity or soundness of that research. In
particular, they rely on Internet sources, some of which are of dubious origin. Make
sure students read this module’s Building a Critical Skill box (p. 363) prior to using
the Internet for assignment research. If you assign a report, consider limiting the
number of sources that are from the Internet—perhaps a minimum of ten sources
total, of which only three can be from the Internet.
How should I document sources? LO 22-6
Use MLA or APA format.
Proper documentation is integral to the research process: not only does
it negate accusations of plagiarism, but documentation helps other
researchers to locate sources, as well as review the research foundation
of others (PP 22-23).
Though there are many forms of documentation available, MLA and
APA are the two writers are most likely to encounter on the job. Students should already be
familiar with MLA from composition courses; chances are they’ve used APA in science or social
science courses. Bear in mind that MLA changed format, especially for web publications,
starting in 2009. Examples in BCS6e use the 2009 format, but examples included in the IRM
appendixes use the older version.
However, as many instructors know, students’ memory retention about either format may be
fleeting at best. Some students are also intimidated by the documentation process—the attention
to minutiae that seems simple and straightforward to some is daunting and oppressive to others.
Even instructors may disagree on exact formats. Like any skill, though, documentation can be
Teaching Tip: Ask students to share for 10-15 minutes their success stories using
MLA or APA, as well as some of the challenges they may have faced. Where did
they learn either format? What resources did students use? For those who
succeeded, what advice can they give to others?
Teaching Tip: Split students into two groups, one to discuss MLA, the other APA.
Give them 15-20 minutes to brainstorm similarities and differences between the two
formats. Have them list each on the board. Afterward, have each group give a
mini-lesson on using MLA or APA format.
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