Revise the Documentation (Workout D)

We use documentation to cite the research material in our essays. When we want to quote or paraphrase ideas from someone else, we must document where the ideas come from.

Good documentation includes accurate in-text citation, which links ideas directly to their source in the body of the essay, and a properly formatted Reference page. In addition, quotes and paraphrase must be formatted and presented accurately.

The stakes for accurate documentation are much higher than just better grades. Errors in documentation must be fixed before you submit your essay. Such errors could cause you to have plagiarism in your writing, which has serious consequences even if it’s unintentional.

Checklist for Effective Documentation

Let’s begin by considering the essential elements of effective documentation.

Does your essay:

1. Use direct quotation and paraphrase accurately?
Direct quotation must exactly match the source and be placed in quotation marks. Paraphrase, used more commonly, is the unique re-expression of someone else’s idea in your own words and the attribution of that idea to the source.
2. Use accurate in-text citation?
Direct quotation and paraphrase both require an in-text citation linking the information to the source. In APA format, this includes the author’s last name and the year of publication.
3. Have a properly formatted Reference Page?
The format of a Reference Page will depend on the style guide used. In APA, the Reference Page must include all the research material referred to in the essay. It does not include other source material that was consulted but not mentioned in the essay.

Revising Documentation

Let’s practice revising some documentation. Remember, the goal is that the reader always knows whose ideas they are reading; we never want our reader to be confused over whether an idea comes from us or from one of our sources.

  1. Consider the use of documentation in the following paragraph. Make a list of any problems you can identify with the documentation. When finished, click to reveal sample answer below.

    In addition to learning how to use the search engines, students need to understand how a search engine works. Technological literacy includes understanding how information online is filtered using algorithms. The idea of the filter bubble explains how algorithms shape what information is presented to us through tools like Google. The more we search for certain kinds of information, the more likely we are to find the same kinds of information. This means it can be difficult to research a diverse range of opinions and arguments about a topic (Eli Pariser).

    Pariser, E. (2011). Beware online “filter bubbles”. Ted.com. Retrieved 15 November 2015, from https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en


     

  2. Now that we have an idea of the problems, let’s fix them.
    Here’s a revised paragraph. Click on the following features that fix the documentation errors:
    1. The correct in-text citation with author name and date.
    2. Direct quotation for phrase taken exactly from the source
    3. Language of attribution that shows how the paraphrase of Pariser continues in the paragraph.
    4. Language of attribution that introduces the author in the paragraph
    Revising Documentation (Sample Answers)
    1. What problems can you identify with the documentation?
      • In-text citation is not correct as the date is missing.
      • Pariser invented the phrase “filter bubble” and it should be clear that these are his words by using quotation instead of paraphrase.
      • Location of the in-text citation is not specific enough as it is unclear how much of the paragraph belongs to Pariser. Is it all the paragraph? Or the last three sentences?
      • Pariser is not introduced in the paragraph.
    2. In addition to learning how to use the search engines, students need to understand how a search engine works. Technological literacy includes understanding how information online is filtered using algorithms. Eli Pariser (2011) (a) argues that (d) we need to be aware of the “filter bubble,” (b) his term to explain how algorithms shape what information is presented to us through tools like Google. The more we search for certain kinds of information, the more likely we are to find the same kinds of information. According to Pariser, (c) this means it can be difficult to research a diverse range of opinions and arguments about a topic.

    Download Sample Answers

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