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  1. USING RESEARCH EFFECTIVELY What You Need to Know about Support, Plagiarism, and Documentation for Research Papers Using MLA Style The Brenham Writing Room Created by D. Herring

  2. RESEARCH AS SUPPORT • Don’t let research take over your paper • Use only short, pertinent ideas as support. • Supports what you say, doesn’t say it for you. • Weave research into your paper. • Any research information that you use must be directly related to the point you’ve just made.

  3. USE RELEVANT & RELIABLE SOURCES FOR SUPPORT • A relevant source • Contains information that directly relates to and supports your argument. • Contains the most recent, updated information. • A reliable source • Contains information from a scholarly, reputable, expert, or objective (unbiased) source.

  4. USE SOURCES TO ADD DETAILS • Make general comments more specific. • Give specific examples that illustrate your main points. • Present expert opinions.

  5. WHAT IS PLAGIARISM? • Presenting another person’s ideas or words as if they were your own. • Submitting as your work a paper that you did not write. • Deliberately incorporating the work of other people into your own writing without using documentation to credit those sources. • Being unaware of what information to document and how to do so correctly.

  6. DOCUMENTATION • You must acknowledge your sources using internal documentation. • Mark the exact place in your paper where you have “used” a source & provide a parenthetical citation. • Provide bibliographical information for your reader to locate this same source on a works cited page.

  7. What do you not need to document? • Common knowledge: information that most high school educated people know. • Your own ideas.

  8. What must be documented? • Information that you gain through a secondary source and use as support in your paper in the form of • Quotes • Paraphrases

  9. How To Document • Keep track of citation information as you conduct research. • Mark locations where research is inserted into your paper. • Know how and where to find correct MLA documentation information for Internal Documentation and Works Cited.

  10. QUOTATIONS • Direct quotes use the exact words of a source; the words are set off in quotation marks. • Use quotations from authorities on your subject to support what you say. • Authorities bring credibility to your argument. • Never force a quote to fit your material.

  11. QUOTATIONS • Use quotations as evidence for your own argument; do not simply recopy all of someone else’s argument. • Use direct quotes sparingly; paraphrase information in your own words when possible. • Use quotations that are self-explanatory. • Use only the parts you need.

  12. GUIDELINES FOR USING QUOTATIONS • Always use your own words to introduce a source. • Quotations must fit smoothly with your own grammar, style, and logic. • Quotations must be punctuated correctly! • Citing the author’s name and title of the work as you introduce the quotation helps create a context for the quotation. • Referring to the author’s credentials as part of the introduction to the quotation gives additional authority to your argument.

  13. QUOTATIONS • How Do I Avoid Plagiarism? • You must document to credit your source. • You must quote accurately. • Copy your source exactly. • Use brackets [ ] if you need to add a word so that the quotation fits grammatically into your essay. • Use ellipses . . . to delete a portion of a very long quotation. Make sure the remaining words still accurately reflect the original meaning and do not create awkward sentence structure.

  14. PARAPHRASE • Precisely restate in your own words a passage written by another person. • Use your own words and sentence structure. • You may need to change punctuation, verb tenses, and voice. • Do not skip parts that convey critical meaning. • Do not guess at the meaning. • Do not insert your own opinion or interpretation. • Do not distort or manipulate the meaning of the source.

  15. PARAPHRASE • How Do I Avoid Plagiarism? • You must completely reword your source, not merely change a couple of minor words. • The paraphrase must sound like you, not your source. • Even though you’ve paraphrased, you still must attribute the idea to your source through documentation.

  16. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • MLA uses in-text citations (parenthetical documentation) to credit sources within the text of a research paper. • The basic format for a parenthetical citation is to include the author’s last name and page number in parenthesis following the quoted or paraphrased passage. (Smith 10) • A corresponding list of Works Cited must appear at the end of the paper.

  17. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • If the author’s name is mentioned in the attribution, it does not need to be repeated in the parenthetical citation; in this case, only list the page number. • L. A. Police Chief Matt Sundeen notes that drivers with cell phones place an estimated 98,000 emergency calls each day and that the phones “often reduce emergency response times and actually save lives” (1).

  18. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • If the author’s last name is not mentioned in the attribution, then it must be included in the parenthetical citation. • According to the L. A. Chief of Police, drivers with cell phones place an estimated 98,000 emergency calls each day and the phones “often reduce emergency response times and actually save lives” (Sundeen 1).

  19. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • If the source has no author, then the default is to credit the title of the article in the attribution or parenthetical citation. • According to the article “Gun Control Laws,” many people support the plan to limit the number of guns a person can own (12). • An article in Newsweek reveals that many people support the plan to limit the number of guns a person can own (“Gun Control Laws” 12).

  20. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • For any type of citation, you must use the following MLA rules: • Do not use the word page or the abbreviation p. or pp. • Do not place a comma between the last name & page #. • If using article title, title must be enclosed in quotation marks. • Place the sentence period after the closing parenthesis. • If a quotation ends the sentence, insert the closing quotation marks before the parentheses. • Follow exactly the formatting guidelines on pages 649-655 in The Little, Brown Handbook for each separate citation.

  21. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Your in-text citations must correspond exactly with the list of sources on your Works Cited page. • For each source cited in your paper, you must have a matching entry on the Works Cited page. • For each entry on the Works Cited page, you must have a matching citation in the paper.

  22. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Your Works Cited page will be a separate page at the end of your paper that lists alphabetically all of the sources that you cite. • The Works Cited page must be in MLA Format and must follow a set of specific guidelines.

  23. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • MLA Format/Guidelines for Works Cited page • Put the page on a separate sheet at the end of the paper. • Continue the pagination as part of the essay. (i.e. your Works Cited may be page 3, so in the upper right corner, ½ inch from the top, you will have your last name and page number). • Title the page Works Cited. • The title should be placed in the center of the page, 1-inch from the top. • Do not use quotation marks, underlining, italics, or bold type for the title. • Double-space the entire list/page.

  24. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Works Cited Format/Guidelines continued • List only the sources you cite in your paper. • Alphabetize the list by authors’ last names. • For works with multiple authors, invert only the first author’s name. • For works with no author, alphabetize using the first word in the title of the article. • Indent the second and all subsequent lines five spaces. (This is known as hanging indent style.)

  25. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Works Cited Format/Guidelines continued • Capitalize the first word and all other words in a title except articles, coordinating conj., and prepositions. • Underline or italicize (be consistent!) titles of books and names of journals, magazines, and newspapers. • Put in quotation marks titles of articles within journals, magazines, and newspapers.

  26. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Works Cited Format/Guidelines continued • Format each works-cited entry according to the guidelines on pages 656-686 in The Little, Brown Handbook. • Cite the source information exactly as MLA prescribes. • Be sure to use MLA Style, not APA Style.

  27. INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION • Works Cited Format/Guidelines continued • Sample Works Cited entry: Sundeen, Matt. “Cell Phones and Highway Safety: 2000 State Legislative Update.” National Conference of State Legislatures. Dec. 2000. 9 pp. 27 Feb. 2001 <>.

  28. USEFUL RESOURCES • Sample MLA Research Papers: • • Online MLA Practice Exercises (Plagiarism, In-text Citations, Works Cited Entries) • • Citation Generators: • or