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Requirements for an MLA Research Paper It is a research paper that you write with information you collect from several sources. You write it by following.

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Presentation on theme: "Requirements for an MLA Research Paper It is a research paper that you write with information you collect from several sources. You write it by following."— Presentation transcript:

1 Requirements for an MLA Research Paper It is a research paper that you write with information you collect from several sources. You write it by following MLA rules. You are not allowed to use first person – “I” or second person – “you.”

2 What is the MLA? MLA stands for Modern Language Association. It is a group that was created in 1883, and it is made up of teachers and researchers who establish rules for writing formal papers. Source:

3 Why should you follow MLA rules? Following these rules lets the readers of your paper immediately see where you found each fact. Following these rules makes it easy for people to read your paper. Following these rules keeps you from getting into trouble for plagiarizing.

4 What is plagiarism? It is a crime that occurs if you write someone else’s ideas without giving that person credit. It is stealing someone else’s work. It can result in an “F” on the paper, an “F” for the semester, or even possible suspension. Don’t do it!!!!

5 View a Sample MLA Paper

6 The MLA style for papers has two parts. 1. In-text or parenthetical citations 2. A works-cited page

7 What are in-text and parenthetical citations? They are how you show where you got your information. You may state this directly in text: “According the movie The Crucible,…” or inside parentheses: (The Crucible).. This information tells readers where to look on the last page of your paper to learn where you got your information. The last page of your paper is called a Works Cited page.

8 When should you use citations? 1. Use them when you quote any words that are not your own. (Quote means to copy information from a source, word for word, using quotation marks.)

9 When should you use citations? (continued) 2. Use them when you summarize facts and ideas from a source.  Summarize means to read one or more paragraphs and then write the main ideas, using your own words. 3. Use them when you paraphrase a source.  Paraphrase means to use the ideas from sentences or a paragraph from another source but change the words to make them sound like the way you write.

10 Remember to use citations for three reasons. 1. To quote 2. To summarize 3. To paraphrase Even if you use none of the same words as the source, you must still cite it in order to give the author credit for the ideas you are using.

11 What does it mean to cite a source? It means to use an in-text or parenthetical citation and then put publication information in an entry on the works- cited page.

12 What is on a works-cited page? The works-cited page has a complete list of every source that you got facts, ideas, or quotes from to create your paper. If you did not think it up, it must have come from a source. If you looked at Google, asked a friend, or read a book, you used a source that you must cite. The works-cited page has all the information necessary for someone else to find the same sources you used. It makes it possible for someone else to check that everything you have written came from an expert.

13 A Sample Works-Cited Page

14 Here is an example: Washington Irving made his story scary when he wrote, “ The swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high; which made it dark at noonday, and a retreat for all the owls of the neighborhood” (Irving) What does a quote look like in a research paper? Notice that the quote is introduced with a few words, a comma, and opening quotation marks. The period goes after the parenthetical citation, not before or immediately after the closing quotation marks.

15 What does the (Irving). mean? (Irving). is a parenthetical citation telling the reader that someone named Irving is the author of the quote. If the quote is from a printed text, you would see (Irving 23). The 23 is the page number where the quote appeared in the source. It tells the reader what to look for on the works-cited page (the last page) of the paper if the reader wants to read more from Irving’s work.

16 Okay, I want to read more from Irving. How do I find the source of his quote? 1. Go to the works-cited page (last page) of the paper. 2. Look for Irving’s name hanging out on the left side of the paper. 3. All of the sources used in the paper are in alphabetical order. 4. Look for Irving.

17 Looking for Irving on a Sample Works-Cited Page Works Cited Irving, Washington. “The Devil and Tom Walker.” About.com. Web. 4 Dec Warner, Charles. Washington Irving. Whitefish: Kessinger, Print. IMPORTANT: The author’s last name hangs over the publishing information, so readers can easily find authors. The top example is a story by Washington Irving. The bottom example is a book about Washington Irving. Do you see how following MLA rules is important to avoid confusion?

18 More about the Importance of MLA Rules Each rule has a useful purpose. When readers see italics used in a parenthetical citation, they know that the source is either a source like a movie or a book with no known author. They know this because authors’ names are not italicized. The formatting rules about punctuation, spacing, and capitalization let readers easily see whether the parenthetical citation is referring to a person or a title. The rules let readers easily find an author or work by an unknown author because entries on the works cited page are in alphabetical order.

19 Matching Citations and Works Cited Entries : Some Examples Combination In-text/Parenthetical Citation for a Book According to Harper Lee, Dill’s new father was a lawyer like Atticus (116). Parenthetical Citation for the Same Book Dill’s new father was a lawyer like Atticus (Lee 116). Works Cited Entry for the Same Book Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner, Print.

20 Matching Citations and Works Cited Entries (continued) Combination In-text/Parenthetical Citation for a Work in an Anthology — a book (like some textbooks) with a collection of works written by different authors According to Anita Desai, …. (251-73). Parenthetical Citation for a Work in an Anthology ( Desai ). Note: In the parentheses, use just the page numbers where each quote or paraphrase was found. Matching Works Cited Entry the same Work in an Anthology Desai, Anita. “Scholar and Gypsy.” The Oxford Book of Travel Stories. Ed. Patricia Craig. Oxford: Oxford UP, Print.

21 Matching Citations and Works Cited Entries (continued) To find how to do works cited entries for other sources, go to Click on the type of source you are citing. Type in required information. Remember that if you are not sure about what you are doing, you must check your resulting Easy Bib citation by comparing it to a drop-down box example on Diana Hacker’s site at s2.html

22 How to Use a Quote That Is Four or More Lines Long Introduce the quote with a complete sentence ending with a colon. Indent the entire quote. Do not use quotation marks. Put a period before the citation. Irving creates a scary story by describing a thick and dark forest which represents greed and evil: The swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high; which made it dark at noonday, and a retreat for all the owls of the neighborhood. It was full of pits and quagmires, partly covered with weeds and mosses; where the green surface often betrayed the traveler into a gulf of black smothering mud; there were also dark and stagnant pools, the abodes of the tadpole, the bull-frog, and the water snake, and where trunks of pines and hemlocks lay half drowned, half rotting, looking like alligators, sleeping in the mire. (Irving)

23 Let’s look closely at how a long quote is introduced. Irving creates a scary setting when he describes a thick and dark forest which represents greed and evil It is introduced with a sentence ending with a colon

24 Let’s look at how the quote itself is formatted. The entire quote is indented. No quotation marks are used!!! A period appears immediately after the quote. The parenthetical citation appears last.

25 Look at the long quote again. Irving creates a scary setting by describing a thick and dark forest which represents greed and evil Intro. ends with colon. The swamp was thickly grown with great gloomy pines and hemlocks, some of them ninety feet high; which made it dark at noonday, and a retreat for all the owls of the neighborhood. It was full of pits and quagmires, partly covered with weeds and mosses; where the green surface often betrayed the traveler into a gulf of black smothering mud; there were also dark and stagnant pools, the abodes of the tadpole, the bull-frog, and the water snake, and where trunks of pines and hemlocks lay half drowned, half rotting, looking like alligators, sleeping in the mire. (Irving) Quote is indented. No quotation marks. Citation is last.

26 Sources for This PowerPoint This PowerPoint shows how to use MLA rules to create an MLA paper. The slides are not in MLA form. Most information in the slides comes from years of teaching experience. Information from specific sources are noted on the respective slides and those URLs are provided here as well: and Years ago I found a PowerPoint about research papers at I don’t believe any information in this PowerPoint comes from that source which disappeared from the Purdue site long ago, but I seem to remember getting some formatting ideas from it.http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/


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