Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Presentation


Rhetoric and Composition


A presentation made at the annual conference of the Association of Christian Librarians, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI, 14 June 2007. Workshop handouts and slide presentation are available here. An unpublished manuscript that contains the supporting research is available in this repository under the title "Documentation Style as Rhetorical Device: A Comparative Analysis of Two Bibliographic Systems."


The documentation styles developed by the Modern Language Association and the American Psychological Association reflect divergent assumptions regarding the apprehension and communication of knowledge. Each system expresses its rhetorical character through the aims it articulates, the sources it values, and the formats it prescribes for in-text citations and bibliographic references. Like other scholarly writing conventions, documentation styles are not arbitrary, but both shape and are shaped by the discourse communities that they serve. Emerging scholars need to be acculturated purposively to the conventions of their respective communities, while authors should consciously select bibliographic systems that support their rhetorical aims.

Comparison & analysis2.pdf (42 kB)
A Rhetorical Comparison of MLA and APA Documentation Styles [Workshop Handout]

Comparison - refs & cits.pdf (18 kB)
Bibliographic References and In-text Citations: A Comparison of MLA and APA Styles [Workshop Handout]

Presentation.pdf (100 kB)
Tedious Work, Trivial Details? A Fresh Look at Bibliographic Citation [Slide Presentation]