Just as reading the writing of others can help students appreciate the importance of documentation, engaging in such reading also familiarizes students with general documentation protocol. In addition to noting authorsâ€™ reasons for documenting, ask students to list the kinds of information documented—information such as quotations, paraphrased or summarized ideas, debatable or little known facts, statistics and other quantifiable data, unique phrasing or terminology, and othersâ€™ opinions or assertions. (For further discussion of these types of information, see What to Document.) Again, lead a classroom conversation on studentsâ€™ findings.
Point out to students that the reasons for documenting and decisions regarding what to document are closely related. As students better appreciate this relationship through exposure to and practice with documentation, they will more easily avoid common mistakes such as dropping quotes into their papers without context. They will also move more readily toward mastery of a particular documentation style.