Perhaps the best way to familiarize students with the importance of documentation is to call their attention to the use of documentation in course readings. As they read, ask students to note reasons the author might have had for documenting his or her sources. Possible reasons might be to give proper credit, to create a context for his or her ideas, to demonstrate the quality and quantity of his or her research, to build credibility with readers, to distinguish his or her original ideas from the ideas of others, and to avoid plagiarism. (For further discussion of these reasons, see Reasons for Documenting Sources.) Allow students to complete their own lists and then ask them to share their observations as a class. Supplement the class list with suggestions from above or with ideas from your own list.
View Teaching Students What to Document