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MLA Essay and Documentation Style: What It Is, What It Looks Like, and What It’s For!

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Presentation on theme: "MLA Essay and Documentation Style: What It Is, What It Looks Like, and What It’s For!"— Presentation transcript:

1 MLA Essay and Documentation Style: What It Is, What It Looks Like, and What It’s For!

2 Today’s Workshop The latest MLA citation styleThe latest MLA citation style Why attribute information to its sourcesWhy attribute information to its sources How to effectively integrate others’ material into your writingHow to effectively integrate others’ material into your writing Practice citing a sourcePractice citing a source


4 Believe it or not, you already know something about documenting sources!

5 How do you know? Who told you? Why should I believe them? These are the sorts of questions readers should have answered by your MLA documentation.

6 To Document (verb) To identify the source of statements that come from another work (a.k.a. to cite). Such identification is done through signal phrases and parenthetical citations.

7 Why Document Sources? There are two reasons to document your sources in your papers: academic honesty and to avoid plagiarism.

8 Academic Honesty = showing respect for other authors Identify them when you borrow their ideas or words

9 Your (and Your Sources’) Time to Shine Showing information on your sources demonstrates your own research accomplishments (Spatt 438). Documentation also allows readers to look up your sources and learn more.

10 Avoid Plagiarism According to Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers in the 7 th edition of A Writer’s Reference, “Three different acts are considered plagiarism: (1) failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas, (2) failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks, and (3) failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words” (428).

11 Instead... Cite your sources !

12 What to Cite Direct quotes Borrowed ideas

13 Direct quotes = exact word-for- word copies What to Cite

14 Borrowed ideas = “direct quotations; statistics and other specific facts; and visuals such as cartoons, graphs, and diagrams; and any ideas you present in a summary or paraphrase” (Hacker and Sommers 429). What to Cite

15 If it is rare information or contentious— people argue about it—cite the source. And, of course, “when in doubt, cite the source” (Hacker and Sommers 429).

16 What Not to Cite? common knowledge that could be found in any current reference source or that your audience is sure to know

17 Cite as You Note and Draft  Full documentation  With notes: word-for-word quotes, or totally rewritten in your own style You’ll know where a quote or idea originated. You’ll be practicing documentation as you draft your papers.

18 Example Notes Solberg, Judy. “Becoming Learning Commons Partners: Working Toward a Shared Vision and Practice.” Journal of Organisational Transformation & Social Change 8.3 (2011): 243-260. Web. 19 Feb. 2014. “As new technologies have emerged, librarians have been challenged with how to integrate these technologies into existing buildings and services” (244). What tech? Why? “Ideally, as described in the learning commons planning literature, learning commons participants would have been identified before the beginning of the planning process and members would have been chosen based on the best combination of services for producing the desired outcomes” (256). What happened when reality met idealism?

19 MLA Style MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used most often for literary analyses Quoting a text as the basis of argument Paraphrasing and/or summarizing large amounts of text for comparisons

20 How to Cite in MLA Style A signal phrase leads into sourced material followed by a parenthetical citation. The end of the paper is a list of works cited providing full publication data for each source mentioned in your paper (Hacker and Sommers 450).

21 No Dumped Quotes! A quotation without a signal phrase, citation, or discussion is called a “dumped quote.” Dumped quotes lack credibility and do not flow well.

22 Example of Dumped Quote Some authors talk about language in a descriptive way and others are prescriptive. “Before the eighteenth century, writers and speakers typically referred to an indefinite subject... with a they, their, or them.” Lynne Truss likes to tell people where to put their commas.

23 Huh? Who said what? Which? When? Where was the quote from? Who is Lynne Truss?

24 Signal Phrases Mark where your words end and the ideas of another writer begin, regardless whether quotation, summary, or paraphrase.

25 Give the author’s full name and credentials the first time introduced, only family name after. Use present tense verbs, especially for summaries, unless a date is given in the text. Signal Phrases

26 Show how you are using the source material, i.e., as background, support, refutation... Provide transitions between your sentences and the words or ideas of others. Signal Phrases

27 Example Signal Phrases In her essay, “Beans on Toast,” Sylvia Tate argues that... Cooper, in the Jan. 28, 2011 episode of Anderson Cooper 360, suggested that... This can be effective when, as Smith and Barnabas find, the two protagonists...

28 Example Author Credentials Legal scholar Max Moynihan contends... Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware, delights in... My friend Lisa, a twenty-year veteran of the culture wars in public schools, bemoans...

29 Signal Phrases = Believable The signal phrase also gives you credibility as a researcher. If you can’t tell readers why they should trust your source, then they’re not going to believe that you have read and understood your source—or that you know why you’re using it!

30 Example of Improved Quote Some authors talk about language in a descriptive way and others are prescriptive. Ben Yagoda, professor of English and journalism at the University of Delaware, argues that people should be able to use “they” for singular indefinite subjects, and demonstrates with examples that span centuries (184). Because there is so much evidence of its accepted use, he doesn’t think there should be a rule against it.

31 In contrast to Yagoda’s descriptive approach, Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, demands that “‘Sticklers unite!’” to enforce British punctuation rules (xviii). She believes “standards of punctuation are abysmal” in the UK and US and her book dictates how English should be written. However, she mistakenly equates punctuation rules with grammar (xix).

32 Summaries, Too! Even without a typical “So-and-so says” phrase, A Writer’s Reference notes that there should be a signal phrase that identifies the originator of an idea being summarized (Hacker and Sommers 434).

33 Summary vs. Paraphrase Summary—short version of a text in all new words Paraphrase—also completely rewords and restructures a text, but is about the same length as the original

34 A Name and Some Synonyms Are Not Enough To summarize or paraphrase without plagiarizing, you must give the idea without using the same words or sentence structure. Don’t look at the original when you’re drafting. Write the meaning, not the words.

35 Go to MLA ex. 2-4 layer/Pages/Main.aspx Select Research Exercises, click “cancel,” then choose MLA. (Exercise 2-3 is really good, too!)

36 Signal Phrases In a 2009 online survey of members of The Alphonso Bandersnatch Adoration Society, more than 75% of the lovers of the erudite actor reported they also consumed herbal tea and butter cookies. Besides people, corporate entities (organizations or governments) can count as the author:

37 If there is no author name, not even a corporate entity, use the full title of your source in the signal phrase or a short form of the title in the parenthetical citation. No Author? No Problem!

38 Examples of No-Author-Name Documentation In the entry entitled “I Was Married to Sasquatch,” an anonymous blogger details her 30-year marriage to the mythical beast. It baffles me how an anonymous blogger has such a large audience for her spurious stories (“I Was Married”).

39 “Quotation Punctuation” Periods and commas go inside end quotes, whether single or double quotes* “I never know when to write accept,” said the typist, “or except. Do you?” * except when a sentence ends with a parenthetical citation.

40 Colons and semicolons go outside quotation marks: Upon receiving her award, Vanessa said, “I really don’t have the words to express my feelings”; her speech that followed, however, was both eloquent and moving.

41 Other Marks with Quotes The ellipsis and square brackets are friends of quotation marks.

42 Ellipsis The ellipsis is three spaced periods:... Shows where words have been left out No need at the beginning of a quote Use at the end only if not the end of the original sentence (Hacker and Sommers 432-433).

43 Example of Ellipsis Use Professor of English and journalism at the University of Delaware, author Ben Yagoda argues that, despite what recent language authorities say is traditional English grammar, “before the eighteenth century, writers and speakers typically referred to an indefinite subject... with a they, their, or them,” and he demonstrates this with examples from Shakespeare, the King James version of the Bible, and the 1749 novel Tom Jones (184).... = —everyone, anyone, a person, or the typical student—

44 There may be both a period and ellipsis combined if 1 full sentence (or more) is left out. When using ellipses to shorten a quote, the original meaning must still come across, and the sentence must be grammatical!... Ellipses...

45 [Square Brackets] Square brackets are for putting in your own words to clarify a quote or to make a quote grammatical in your sentence.

46 In The Big Lebowski, the main character, The Dude, often says, “It [the rug] tied the room together.” Example Square Brackets Use

47 If a word form has to change to become grammatical, then the word is considered a substitution and requires brackets. original blamed becomes quoted [blaming] (It’s okay to change a capital in the original to a lowercase to blend into your sentences without brackets.)

48 (Parenthetical Citations) Any information you put in parentheses is described as “parenthetical.” A parenthetical citation is the documentation given in parentheses at the end of a sentence or a clause.

49 Parenthetical Citations Give page numbers when pagination is always the same: print and PDF files. If no page or paragraph numbers, use well-developed signal phrases and no parenthetical citation.

50 Even if a source is only one page, put in the page number to clearly show where the ideas from the source end (Hacker and Sommers 443).

51 Parenthetical Citations Depending on the amount of documentation in the sentence and the type of source, there will be more or less in the parentheses:

52 In If You Catch an Adjective, Kill It, the parts of speech are analyzed (Yagoda 15-35). The Wikipedia article “Solar Flares” describes coronal mass ejections and their effects on our electronics. That’s right! No parenthetical citation at all—the documentation was done in the sentence.

53 Follow a Quote with Your Point In addition to the signal phrase and verb choice, give further explanation to connect a quote or summary to your own thesis argument:

54 Follow a Quote with Your Point Generally, Yagoda takes the middle ground in the debate on the English language. With the curious eye of a linguist, he gathers examples of usage from respected academic journals (Chronicle of Higher Education, American Speech) (185), literary canon (KJV Bible, Shakespeare, Twain, Wilde) (187), as well as popular culture (Springsteen and Seinfeld) to identify what is acceptable by users of the language (90). However, like a traditional grammarian, he also applies his own rigid notions about pronouns when answering the phone: “I think ‘This is he’ sounds pompous but ‘This is him’ sounds louche [disreputable]” (191). His personal views underscore just how emotional academics can be about grammar—a supposedly objective, rule-based subject. your argument intro your point

55 6 General Types of Sources: 1.Print Book Author’s Lastname, Firstname. Book Title. City of Publication: Publisher, copyright date. Print. 2.Authored Article or Chapter in a Book Lastname, Firstname. “Article Title.” Book Title. Eds. Firstname Lastname and Firstname Lastname. City of Publication: Publisher, copyright date. ##-###. Print.


57 5.Internet Resource Author’s Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Article.” Title of Publication or Website. Publisher/Sponsor of the site, Date of Publication/Latest Update. Web. Date of Access. Date of Source style: # Month YEAR For example: 21 Nov. 1989, 5 May 2008

58 6.E-book Author’s Lastname, Firstname. Book Title. City of Publication: Print Publisher, Date of Publication. Medium of Publication. Medium of publication = Kindle file, Nook file, EPUB file, PDF file, etc. If unknown, say Digital file. If no date, then write n.d. No publisher, N.p.

59 Practice Gender and Texting: Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender Role Ideology 93a45e-aa97-4013-a96d- 9d9240e3cacc%40sessionmgr4003&hid=4114&bdata=JnNpd GU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=97934744

60 Works Cited Entry Example Ogletree, Shirley Matile, Joshua Fancher, Simran Gill. “Gender and Texting: Masculinity, Femininity, and Gender Role Ideology.” Computers in Human Behavior. 37 (2014): 49-55. EBSCOhost Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Nov. 2014.


62 To Sum up MLA... Use signal phrases in the body of your papers to identify every source of borrowed ideas and quotations.

63 Introduce the author and the source Demonstrate their & your credibility Use verbs that show how you are using the borrowed ideas or words in relation to your own thesis.

64 If possible, use a parenthetical citation to mark the end of borrowed ideas or words: Author last name (if not in the sentence) Page number(s)—when they exist

65 For quotes, copy a text exactly and put quotation marks at the beginning and end of the borrowed words. Completely reword summaries and paraphrases—a few substitutions is plagiarism.

66 Clearly show readers where “what they say” starts and ends, and where “what [you] say” begins and ends (Graff and Birkenstein).

67 For More Info At the Academic Success Center Writing Lab, you can drop in to ask questions! We’re in D-204 Hours: M–Th 8am–8pm, Fri. 8am-3:30pm, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm

68 For More Info Phone: 564-2200 Web: Online e-tutoring: Follow us on Twitter: @BCASCWritingLab

69 Works Cited Graff, Gene and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton, 2006. Print. Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference with Exercises. 7 th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print. Spatt, Brenda. Writing from Sources. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print. Truss, Lynne. Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. New York: Gotham, 2004. Print. Yagoda, Ben. When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse. New York: Broadway, 2007. Print.

70 Works Consulted “About the MLA.” Modern Language Association. 5 June 2012. Web. 28 April 2013. “How Do I Cite an E-book?” Modern Language Association. 2 March 2012. Web. 28 April 2013. Palmquist, Mike. The Bedford Researcher. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.

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