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Citations, References and Documentations:

A writer must not use another person’s words or original ideas without providing documenting (or giving credit to) the words’ or ideas’ source. While using the exact words from an original text, the writer needs to use quotation marks. The writer can also paraphrase or restate the idea in his or her own words. In such a case, the writer need not use quotation marks – but must still provide documentation of the source.

 There are many different ways to provide documentation. One of the most popular is the CSE (Council of Science Editors) format. In the CSE format, the writer identifies the sources briefly in the text and provides complete information in the list of references at the end of the article, paper or study.

 In the Citation-Sequence system (commonly used by students for chemistry lab/library assignments), the writer identifies the information sources in the text. These are references. They take the place of footnotes. Rather than listing these references separately, the writer integrates them seamlessly into his text. While mentioning each source, the writer provides sequential numbers. The writer will use the same number while quoting the same source elsewhere.

 The writer then provides a list of references (or bibliography) at the end of the study. This list, called ‘References’ or ‘Cited References’ enumerates all the sources that contributed ideas and information to it. Each reference appears in the order in which the writer has mentioned it.

 Yet another method of citing references and sources is the Name Year system, included n the CBE (Council of Biology editors) style guide. In this system, the writer links the quoted authors’ last names and years of publication to an alphabetically arranged list of references. The Name Year style requires the writer to place the date of publication right after the author’s name, both within the text and in the reference list at the end.

 Writers for both print and electronic media should remember that reference lists exist so that others who read the study or paper can find the quoted sources. The best reference lists result from extensive research. While creating a web page or multimedia presentation, the writer needs to include links to electronic sources within the reference list, too.

Arun Chitnis


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