The Study Dude – An Indy 500 Nerd

Study Tips from a Semi-Anonymous Friend

There is nothing more that The Study Dude wants than for you to record bibliographies like an Indy 500 nerd: fast and formal.

Well, in these articles, as The Study Dude, I’ll try to give you the study tips you need to help make your learning easier. I’ll also give you straight and honest opinions and personal anecdotes?even the embarrassing ones that you wouldn’t ever dare read about from any other study tip guru.

This week’s Study Dude looks at Charles Lipson’s book Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles?MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More. Lipson lets loose on the basics of citations. I zero in on his talk about MLA and Chicago.

Skinny on Citing
Did you ever wonder, Why cite? Or, Why stare at style guides?

To save you headaches, That’s why.

As an undergrad, I dreamed of publishing. So, I interviewed community leaders and wrote my piece. Sadly, I sent my article to an editor who took a month to start, which sparked conflict between us. Although she finally delivered, I failed to complete my bibliography. But I also had a deadline.

So, I hired an eager friend to find the missing bibliography entries. Months went by with endless nagging until he finally let on?he hadn’t started. And the deadline passed.

To make matters worse, later, I contacted one of the community leaders I interviewed. I hoped to hire him as a comedian. But, because of my article flub, he didn’t take me seriously.

So, I hired a dancer instead. After the event, the comedian phoned to see if my event failed?like my article failed. I told him the event rocked, which shocked him.

The moral? Record your citations the moment you pick up a book or download an article. Make sure you follow the citation manual’s style—to the tee. And do it yourself—so you don’t miss the deadline.

Charles Lipson gives the gist on citations in general:
– Citations give credit to authors, show support for your arguments, and help readers know what articles to chew-on for second-helpings.
– If you say Donald Trump is President of the United States, don’t cite Yahoo as your source. Everyone on the planet knows Trump. [And cite Yahoo? You might as well cite the self-interest of Soros instead.]
– If you didn’t read the book or article, don’t slip it in your bibliography. If you just read a chapter, cite that one chapter. Honesty is integrity.
– You can use a secondary citation. A secondary citation occurs when you didn’t read the actual source?you heard it second-hand. So, you bundle together in your citation mention of both the second-hand source and the actual source.

But which style guide is for you? Lipson gives a quick list and some advice there as well:
– Ask your prof which style guide is best for your discipline. And stick to that style guide, if you can. Make your style a fine wine.
– MLA is the style guide for English (the humanities).
– APA is the style guide for education, social sciences, and business.
– CSE is for biology.
– AMA is for medicine.
– ACS is for chemistry.
– Chicago is for social sciences and the humanities.
– AMS is for mathematics and computer sciences. (I never encountered AMS my entire time as a math undergrad. Not sure when it pops up.)
– IEEE and ASCE are for engineering.
– Footnotes and endnotes are the same cream puffs, just one’s in the fridge, the other’s in the breadbox. (Footnotes are at the bottom of the page; endnotes are at the chapter end or at the back of the book or article.)
– If your style guide fails to offer a certain citation rule (say, for podcasts), try to mimic similar patterns in the style guide while filling the blanks with your own version. Just be consistent.

The Road to A’s: Chicago, MLA, and APA
Have you ever wondered which citation style is best?

I love APA. In Communications, profs always request APA. But, as a TA, I discovered a student’s paper that shocked me. A beautiful paper. Much better than anything I could ever write. The paper used footnotes and a bibliography. The footnotes were comments, not references. Meaningful comments.

Later, I ran across a book called Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines by Evans-Wentz. Like the student’s paper, the footnote comments took up half each page.

What citation style did they use? Maybe MLA or APA. Both work. You see, APA and MLA allow ? but don’t recommend ? comments in the footnotes. Why? Footnotes are costly to publish (as cited in owl.english.purdue.edu).

Chicago style uses footnotes for citations?but allows footnotes for comments, too.

Now, here’s my next question: which citation style treats authors you cite as people with pulses?

Well, APA is the least human. No first names. Just initials.

MLA is the most human: You’re on a first name basis with the author. At least, in your bibliography. For this reason alone, MLA is decent to learn.

Similarly, Chicago style uses first and last names in the bibliography or notes.

Why care? Well, do you want to be known as S. Dude? Likely not.

Charles Lipson feeds us the how-to for Chicago and MLA styles:
– Chicago Style has two choices: (1) a full first reference in the note (such as the footnote) and shortened subsequent references in the note, or (2) shortened notes with a bibliography. You must stick with one of the two choices throughout your entire paper.
– For Chicago Style, you don’t use in-text references, but you use superscript numbers like this: 2.
– For MLA citations, you use in-text citations like this: (Dude 12).
– In MLA, you don’t need an in-text citation if your sentence mentions the author and title. Why? MLA likes it brief.
– MLA uses the authors? full names in the “Works Cited” page.

But the reference below? That’s in APA style. The one I love and the one that The Voice uses.

So, there’s nothing to fear. The Study Dude is determined to make right for you all the wrongs I made in grad school?one A+ at a time.

ReferencesLipson, C. (2001) Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles?MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More (Chicago Guide to Writing, Editing, and Publishing). 2nd ed., Digital., University of Chicago Press.

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