MLA Documentation for Research Papers--Purpose. A reader who is interested in exploring a subject wants to read not only your paper but also the material you used in your paper. Why?
A reader who is interested in exploring a subject wants to read not only your paper but also the material you used in your paper.
Readers want to examine your sources to see if you missed anything, to see if they interpret the material the same way you do, or to see if your sources help them to come up with more new ideas.
This is the way knowledge gets built on. This is the reason we need computers to store all the new knowledge we create.
The MLA (Modern Language Association)
format for showing where information in a
paper came from is one of many methods. It
uses two features: a citation in the body of
the paper linked by a signal phrase and/or a
parenthetical in-text citation to a reference
on the Works Cited page at the end of the
Citation in the body of the paper must be done whenever you are taking words from another source (quoting) and also whenever you are taking ideas from another source and putting them into your own words (paraphrasing).
A signal phrase lets readers know that you are about to use words or ideas that are not your own – often by naming the author or the title of the source:
David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen insist that “no writing is strictly personal” (14).
David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen believe beginning writers rely ineffectively on personal responses instead of analysis (14).
If the author or the title is not announced in a signal phrase, then more information than a page number needs to be put in the parentheses following the quote or paraphrase:
Beginning writers rely ineffectively on personal experience instead of analysis (Rosenwasser 14).
The Works Cited page contains references to all the sources quoted or paraphrased in the paper.
The sources are listed in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name or to the first significant word of the parenthetical in-text citation.
Rosenwasser, David and Jill Stephen. Writing Analytically. Boston:Thomson, 2003.
The Works Cited entries are written differently depending on whether they are books, newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, interviews, films, television programs, Internet sites, electronic databases, or whatever.
Students can use the De Anza library web page, the WRC reference books, or their own English texts to check details.
Cornford, Dan. “A Turbulent End to a Brilliant Life.” San Francisco Chronicle
19 Feb 2006: M1+.
Hodge, Roger D. “Blood and Time.” Harper’s February 2006: 65-72.
Taylor, Tim N. “The Research Paper as an Act of Citizenship.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College 33.1(2005) 50-61).
Internet citations provide all of the information needed to find the print source (if there is one) as well as the author’s name (if there is one) the title of the web page, the sponsor of the web page, the date of publication, the date of access to the site,and the URL
“There has long been a strong pastoral tradition in American literature” (Rothenburg).
Rothenburg, David. “The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology.” The Ecologist 28.1(1998). Infotrac. De Anza College. 1-26-2006
Ibsen had an extraordinary effect upon other playwrights: “his offerings, medicinal and bitter, have changed the history of the stage” (Belllinger).
Bellinger, Martha Fletcher. “Henrik Ibsen.” TheaterDatabase 2-20-06 http://www.theatredatabse.com/19th_century/henrik_ibsen_001.html.
Dropped quotations: don’t do it. Always lead up to and follow your quote or paraphrase with your own ideas in your own words.
Ellipses: use three dots to show you have taken out some words or four dots to show you have taken out more than a sentence.
Brackets: use brackets [ ] to add any words of your own to a quote.
(qtd in): Sometimes you will want to quote a writer that was quoted in another writer’s work: James Wood believes Cormac McCarthy’s latest novel No Country for Old Men is “rubbing our noses in death’s horror” (qtd in Hodge 65).
Double quotes become single quotes: When a quote contains a quote, change the double quote mark to a single:
One of McCarthy’s ex-wives reports that despite extreme poverty McCarthy “firmly rejected the seductions of the lecture and workshop circuit. ‘Someone would call up and offer him $2000 to come speak at a university about his books…and he would tell them that everything he had to say was there on the page’” (Hodge 66).