More Documentation Hints, Tips & Tricks...
The following comments were gleaned from various email "conversations" on the subject of documentation:
- Have someone proofread your documentation!
They should look not just for spelling and grammar errors, but also for content. Did you write what you really wanted to say? Do you know more about the piece than you put down on paper? Is the topic of your documentation focused on the piece that is being judged? If the proofreader doesn't understand your documentation, chances are the judge won't either.
- Assume that the judge knows nothing about the category. One of the hardest tricks to master is how to spill your guts on the subject without getting too verbose.
- Find someone who got really good documentation scores at Kingdom A&S and ask to see his/her documentation. Here are a couple of documents to get you started (.pdf files). Remember that the contents of these documents are not gospel. They are the result of one person's research. Even if your entry is in the same category, your own research may have led you down a very different path.
- Do your documentation first.
- Make sure your documentation is neat and easy to read.
- Read and use the judging sheets to help determine what items you should cover in your documentation.
- Have a friend/mentor do a practice judging using your documentation.
- The documentation is your voice.
- Bring extra copies of your documentation, just in case.
- Protect your documentation - plastic page protectors or a folder will also help with presentation.
- Use footnotes. The style (Turabian, MLA, etc.) is not as important as the fact that footnotes are there. It is right and proper to give credit to the originator of the idea. This does not apply only to direct quotes (i.e., word for word)—it also applies to paraphrases. The footnotes help the judges by showing them exactly where you found the information.