A document that outlines procedures that are followed when an activity is being undertaken. It is used as a point of consultation for similar activities as they are undertaken in future, to ensure that no steps or crucial details are left out.
Reference Document Details
There are many types of reference documents that are used in different sectors. The legal sector, business, information technology and so on. All these are just a few examples where a reference document is usually used. That said, reference documents follow different styles depending on their use. However, their main details will remain largely the same. Here are the details that reference documents will almost always have.
- Title: This appears at the top of the document and will summarize what the document is about.
- Definition: The definition of a reference document is usually derived from statistics developed by international organizations such as the IMF. Usually, these definitions are quoted word for word from source.
- Context: This section contains more detailed information about the data being collected. It will contain more information about the definition, the relevance of the data, and their appropriate uses. It also contains citations to more detailed information.
- Source Publications: This is the source the definition is derived from. It will list the publications that it was obtained from
- Cross References: The information here contains links to other sources that the definition could be contained in.
- Dates: The date the reference document was created as well as when it was last updated are also included in the details.
Reference Document Example
Reference documents are usually hard copy publications or in electronic form. They can be easily referred to in case one needs to undertake an activity that has been undertaken before.
For example, let's say that Ken is new to the Hobco, Inc. family. He's been assigned the job of planning the annual, company-wide staff meeting. Since he's a new member of the team, he doesn't know where to start or what to include in the planning.
His manager points him to a reference document that's in the company files. Ken now has a good chance of planning a successful staff party that follows the planned procedure from the organization. For every part of his process, he can look to the reference document, and add details according to the theme from that year’s staff event.
Significance of Reference Document
Reference documents have great significance to an organization. These are some of the most notable significance of using reference documents:
- A reference document acknowledges the contribution of other members of staff in its formulation.
- A reference document streamlines the activities of an organization. For instance, keeping the base requirements for different activities the same for uniformity.
- A reference document provides evidence and supports any claims that you may make.
- A reference document keeps facts accurate for the next activity.
Types of Reference Documents
There are many types of reference documents and they all have different uses. Some of the more common types of reference documents that you have probably used before include dictionaries, bibliographies, directories, encyclopedias, and atlases. These are just a few of the reference documents that are available and in use on a day-to-day basis.