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Making Sense of MLA by Tabbitha Zepeda Library & Learning Resource Center 2012.

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1 Making Sense of MLA by Tabbitha Zepeda Library & Learning Resource Center 2012

2 What is MLA Formatting? College papers include information, ideas, and quotations from sources that must be accurately documented. Documentation allows others to see the path you have taken in researching and writing your paper, be it informative, interpretive, or argumentative. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

3 The guidelines presented here are based on the fifth and seventh editions of Joseph Gibaldi’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. The documentation style developed by the Modern Language Association (MLA) is used by many researchers in the arts and humanities, especially those who write about language and literature. Because of this, MLA style is often used by courses focused on the arts and humanities. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

4 Basic Paper Layout  1 inch margins  font ( Times New Roman or Arial)  Double spaced  Writer’s last name and page number in upper right corner ½ inch from the top on every page  Title must be centered and NOT underlined  Paragraph indentation is 5 spaces or ½ inch  Heading in upper left corner 1 inch from the top (first page only) Layout: Name Professor’s Name Course Name Due Date Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

5 Plagiarism

6 What is Plagiarism? Plagiarism is the unauthorized use or imitation of someone else’s thoughts or ideas and using them as one’s own. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

7 Why is Plagiarism important? While taking college While taking college courses, students are influenced by class discussion, text, and lecture. Using such influences in one’s own writing is inevitable, but claiming that such ideas are one’s own is dishonest and does not give credit to the source. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

8 What happens if a student is caught plagiarizing? Each college is different, but all take disciplinary measures when approaching cases of plagiarism. At Heald College, faculty members may enter a failing grade for the assignment or exercise in question, enter a failing grade for the entire course, give additional coursework or other exercises, or recommend further action to the President, such as suspension from the college. The length of suspension may be from one class up to and including the remainder of the school term to all classes and activities of the college for one or more terms. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

9 How does a student avoid plagiarizing? To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:  Another person’s idea, opinion, or theory  Any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings – any pieces of information – that are not common knowledge  Quotations for another person’s actual spoken or written words  Paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

10 Using Quotes in Your Essay Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

11 Quotes are used to refer to the works of others. When quoting or paraphrasing, provide the author’s name or title of the work and the page or paragraph number of the work in a parenthetical citation. EXAMPLE: In essence, “culture shock is one of the staples of anthropology” (Wormsley 5). Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

12 If quoting from a play, the parenthetical citation includes the act number, scene number, and line numbers. EXAMPLE: Malvolio retorts by yelling, “Go hang yourselves all! You are idle shallow things; I am not your element. You shall know more hereafter” ( ). Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

13 If adding your own word(s) or an ellipsis into a quote, you must use brackets to indicate that the information isn’t part of the direct quote. You may need to do this in order to make the quote a complete sentence or to edit information that isn’t necessary. EXAMPLE: (original quote) Wormsley suggests, “Unlike a Western court, with its litigants, lawyers, jurors and judges, Yombi operates with only the disputants and himself” (85). (edited quote) Wormsley suggests, “Unlike a Western court, […] Yombi operates with only the disputants and himself” (85). Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

14 If a quote is longer than four lines, the quotation is given 10 spaces or 2 tabs inward to the left. This specific quotation of a source does not require quotation marks. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

15 EXAMPLE: Paul D’s statement can be explained by Mary Jane Suero Elliott when she writes: Although the end of slavery signals the beginning of a “post” colonial period for African Americans, their status continues to be defined by slavery’s colonial ideologies. The imposed perception of themselves as commodified being, when internalized, results in [the African Americans’] continued struggle to develop an empowered, agentive sense of self. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

16 Works Cited Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

17 Formatting Layout  Begin on a new page with the next consecutive page number of the paper.  Center the words Works Cited an inch from the top of the page.  Double space  Put sources in alphabetical order  Each entry should be hanging, meaning that, starting with the second line, all lines are indented 5 spaces (the reverse of a standard paragraph. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

18 EXAMPLE of hanging: Author(s). Title (or in quotation marks). Title of edition used. Editor. Edition number. Volume number, Series name, State of Publication: Publisher, date published. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

19 Works Cited: Variations and Examples Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

20 Components of Most Citations Author. Title. Title of edition used. Publication place (city): Publisher, date published. Type of Text. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

21 EXAMPLES Book: Bergreen, Laurence. Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life. New York: Broadway, Print. Book with multiple authors: Jones, Max and John Chilton. Louis, The Louis Armstrong Story, Boston: Little, Print. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

22 Journals Journal/Magazine: Tirro, Frank. “Constructive Elements in Jazz Improvisation.” Journal of the American Musicological Society. 27. (1974): Print. Personal Interview: Doe, John. Personal Interview. 12 Nov Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

23 Elements of an online entry Author. “Title of article.” Title of publisher. Date posted. Total pages/paragraphs/sections (if numbered). Web. Date of access.  If there is no publisher, substitute the information with N.p.  If there is no date of publication, substitute with n.d.  If there is no page numbers, substitute with n. pag. *Giving a substitute for page numbers is optional, and only necessary if there is other information missing. ** There is no need to give a substitute if an author is not listed. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

24 Examples Internet Source with All Components: Ross, Michael E. “The New Sultans of Swing.” Salon. 18 Apr Web. 6 Mar With Information Missing: “Diane Mott Davidson.” Harper Collins Publishers. n.d. n.pag. Web. 10 May (This source is missing an author, a date posted, and page numbers) Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

25 Activity

26 Online Source Example nightsun.html Meyer, Stephenie. “Midnight Sun: Edward’s Version of Twilight”. The Official Website of Stephenie Meyer. 28 Aug Web. 16 Apr Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010

27 Looking for Sources? Heald offers a variety of search engines to assist you with finding sources for research papers. All you need to do is go to As a student, your user ID is “healdstockton”, with your password being “student”. Tabbitha Zepeda © 2010


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