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Writing the Research Paper Using MLA to Document the Argumentative Research Paper.

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1 Writing the Research Paper Using MLA to Document the Argumentative Research Paper

2 Getting Started Finding a topic What makes a good research paper topic? Topic must be debatable. Reasonable people should have conflicting opinions about your topic (i.e. gun control, stem cell research, use of nuclear energy, etc) Choose a topic that you have an interest in and/or already know a bit about (this will make writing and researching the topic more enjoyable). If you already know some about your topic, your goal is to research the topic and build on the information you already know

3 How to Bring Research into Your Paper Why am I asking you to write a paper using sources? To gather additional or new information about your topic To discover the differences in opinions about your topic To help you discover the abundance of information available to you through research

4 What Are Sources? A source is where you found factual and reliable information about your topic Examples of the types of sources available are: Person whom you interviewed Newspaper article or magazine article Scholarly journal article Book Website Television/radio program

5 What is a Citation? When you bring research into your writing (quotes, statistics, paraphrases), you must indicate from where you found the information, which includes the source (i.e. book and author(s) Giving credit (identifying where you found the information in your paper) is also referred to as ‘citing a source.’ When you cite the source within the body of your paper, this is referred to as ‘in-text citations’ or ‘parenthetical citation’ because you are providing the bibliographic information of the source.

6 What to Cite in Your Research Paper Always cite direct quotations (this information must be in quotation marks) Always cite paraphrased information (information found in a source but written in your own words and not stated word-for-word in your paper) Facts and statistics (unless they are common knowledge and easily found in numerous sources) HOWEVER: IF YOU ARE IN DOUBT ABOUT WHETHER TO CITE OR NOT, CITE THE SOURCE!

7 Direct Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing Direct Quoting: You use an author’s exact words Paraphrasing: Putting a source’s information into your own words and sentence structure but maintaining the accuracy of the source’s information (usually is the same length as the original source) Summarizing: Also written in your own words; shorter than a paraphrase; quickly sums up the source’s information

8 What is Plagiarism? As explained and defined in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Plagiarism “derived from the Latin word plagiarius [kidnapper”] and refers to a form of cheating that has been defined as the “false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person’s mind, and presenting it as one’s own.” Plagiarism involves “two types of wrongs: using another person’s ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person’s work constitutes intellectual theft and passing off another person’s ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some other advantage constitutes fraud” (Gibaldi 66). Remember that using relevant source information in your own writing is both academically and morally commendable; however, it is imperative that you properly cite the source’s information and give credit where credit is due. Improper citation may be held against you. Although you may not intend to plagiarize, I cannot read your mind. One plagiarized paragraph or sentence is all that an essay needs to be failed. Work Cited Gibaldi, Joseph.MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.6th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2003.

9 How to Avoid Plagiarism? Always cite material found in sources Direct Quotations (always use quotation marks and indicate source’s information) Paraphrased information Summarized Information These are examples of subtle forms of plagiarism Do not be tempted to use papers found on the internet and submit as your own (blatant type of plagiarism) What guidelines can we use to help us avoid plagiarism? MLA Style Documentation: Modern Language Association

10 MLA Documentation Two important aspects of MLA Documentation: In-text citation (in the body of your paper) Works Cited Page (last page of your research paper that lists ALL sources used in your paper)

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