IRIS 42: Information and Research Instruction Suite for two-year colleges
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Plagiarism, Part 3: Style Manuals

Style Manuals: Guides for citing sources

A style manual is a book of rules for writing formal papers. Style manuals provide guidance in using punctuation, composing sentences and paragraphs, formatting papers, documenting your sources in the body of your paper, composing citations, and more.

Style Manuals aren't just for students. Scholars, editors, journalists and other professional writers use style manuals every day to guide their writing style and documentation. When you see an article or book with a list of sources at the end, be assured that the author had to follow the publication's style guide. Even publications like newspapers and popular magazines follow style guides to maintain consistency in punctuation, abbreviations, spelling, etc.

In this module, we’re going to look at how style manuals help you write bibliographic citations.


After working through the section on Style Manuals, you should be able to:

  • Identify two or three style manuals commonly used for academic work.
  • Describe how a style manual can help you write a bibliographic citation.
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updated: 28 August, 2009