Many college courses require students to write research papers. While conducting the appropriate research may be the main objective of the assignment, collecting the research is often not as challenging as documenting the sources of the research. Part of the challenge associated with properly documented sources is understanding the format of the required style guide assigned by the instructor. A style guide is a set of standards for creating documents, and citing of sources. A citation, or a reference, is a formal acknowledgement to a published or unpublished source. The purpose of using citations is to give credit to the author of the original research, and avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism occurs when a user presents the data of another author as if it were their own. The major writing style guides include MLA, APA, CSE, and Chicago. Each style has unique requirements for handling citations.
A typical requirement of a research paper is the production of a bibliography, a Works Cited or References page. A bibliography is an alphabetic list of the sources used to produce a scholarly work. Each style guide has different requirements for what data is needed to be listed for each source. The bibliography helps the reader identify the source of the writer’s research. Manually creating a bibliography can be a tedious and inexact process, and updating a manually-generated bibliography will likely induce heartburn. However, by carefully entering sources into Word, a bibliography can be accurately generated and re-generated with ease.
Before a user can create a bibliography, they must create at least one citation and source in the document. Whenever a source is referenced in a document, the user should create a citation to give the original author credit. To add a citation, place the cursor in the desired location (follow the style guide), and click Insert Citation from the References tab, then choose Add New Source…
The Create/Edit Source dialog window will appear where the user can enter as much information regarding the source as possible.
The first field, Type of Source, will dictate which bibliography fields are needed for the source depending on the specific style guide. After entering the publication details, and clicking OK, the citation will appear in the document, and the source will be saved.
Types of sources can include books, a web site, an article in a periodical, a sound recording, and many more. Often, a single source can be cited numerous times in a report. Users can easily add the citation again by clicking the Insert Citation drop down button from the References tab, and selecting the source from the drop-down menu. A citation can be edited to add page numbers. Open the citation’s inline drop-down menu and choose Edit Source. Certain fields can even be suppressed.
After completing the paper, adding all the sources for the document, and completing the summary, adding the bibliography or works cited is extremely easy! Typically, a bibliography will reside on its own page. Therefore, create a manual page break, and then on the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, choose the Bibliography option and choose from the pre-designed formats to insert the Bibliography or Works Cited into the document.
The bibliography appears and the sources are formatted to match the selected style guide. If the user ends up adding more sources to the document, they can easily update the bibliography by clicking it and selecting Update Citations and Bibliography.