Documentation during Drafting and Revising

  1. In-text citations: in-text citations tell your reader that an idea in your paper comes from another source. They are usually in parentheses at the end of a quotation or paraphrase, but sometimes they are in footnotes. In-text citations also tell your reader exactly where in that other source the idea can be found.
  2. Full list of Sources: This list is called a “Works Cited” in MLA style or “References” in APA style , but its purpose is the same in both. It provides your reader with full information about each of your sources. There are a lot of rules for sequencing and punctuating these lists, and it’s important to pay careful attention to the details when you edit your final draft.
  3. If you’ve labeled ideas that come from research in the prewriting step, simply transfer those labels to your draft.

    If you know as you are writing that an idea comes from another source, but that source isn’t in your notes or on your outline, then circle the idea in your draft or add a big symbol of your choice—and then keep on writing—don’t interrupt your flow to go searching for sources. BUT once you’ve finished your draft, make sure you go back, check for accuracy, and add citations. Don’t wait until the last minute.

    As you rewrite and rearrange your ideas, keep those labels affixed to those ideas from your sources: this will allow you to easily add In-text citations as you move toward a final draft.

    Note: The drafting phase is usually too late to be looking directly at your sources. During this step you should be looking at your notes. No notes? Go back to prewriting.

    During drafting and revising, don’t worry about the form of your documentation or whether you’ve got mistakes in your MLA or APA style. Looking this stuff up while you are drafting will interrupt the flow if your ideas.

    More research? Even if you have a great plan following your organizing phase, you may discover as you revise your paper that there are holes in your support or points of view you haven’t considered. Even if you have a complete draft, it’s not too late to go back to the library or the web for more information. Be sure to follow good strategies for note taking and tracking your sources.

    Textbook publisher St. Martin’s Press provides details on how to document in your discipline.