The Rhode Island College History Department requires a style of documentation that differs from both the APA and the MLA formats. Style sheets that contain all of the guidelines are available in the department and at the Writing Center, but here are a few highlights:

  • If the assignment is an essay or a major report, it should have a title page containing the title, your name, the name of the course you are writing for, the date, and the name of your instructor.
  • Number your pages, except page one.
  • Double-space the text and only print on one side of the paper.
  • Make sure that you proofread your final copy before you turn it in. It is a good idea to have someone else read it, too.
  • Use footnotes. There are no concrete rules to cover the use of footnotes in every instance. However, footnotes are required in the following cases:

    1. Direct quotations
    2. Controversial facts or opinions you derived from other sources
    3. Statements/paraphrases from other sources that directly support the main points in the paper
    4. Statistical information, charts, illustrations, graphs, maps, etc

Footnotes should be placed at the bottom of the page. If your professor permits, they may also be placed at the end of the text (making them endnotes) before your bibliography page.

When citing a source (book) for the first time, use this form:

John B. Wolf, Louis XIV (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1968), 351.

When the same source is cited consecutively, use Ibid., plus the page number if different. (Ibid. is short for ibidem, Latin, meaning "at the same place.")

Ibid., 375.

Later references to this same book (following other footnotes) require only the author's name:

Wolf, 403.

When citing from a magazine or a journal, this format is used:

Thomas Kelly, "Thucydides and Spartan Strategy in the Archidamian War," American Historical Review, vol. 87, No. 1 (February 1982), 25-54.

Citing from a newspaper employs this format:

British, in 1950, Helped Map Iraqui Invasion of Iran," New York Times, October 16, 1980, 17.

There are numerous variations, as well as other kinds of footnote forms for other types of documents, and for such details you should consult a handbook. Here are some suggestions:

  • Grey, Wood, et al. Historian's Handbook. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1964.
  • Strunk, William, Jr. The Elements of Style, 2nd edition (1972).
  • Turabian, Kate, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Themes, and Dissertations. 4th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977.
  • MLS Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. New York: Modern Language Association, 1977.

All papers should have a bibliography unless otherwise specified. This is a list of the sources you used, and it should be the last page (or pages) of your paper. The sources should be listed alphabetically and not numbered.

Page last updated: December 3, 2015