MLA Citation Guide - Cary Academy

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MLA Citation Guide - Cary Academy

Middle School MLA Citation Guide

CITATIONS

A citation indicates where information or ideas originated. When a person cites a source,

they indicate what book, magazine, web site, etc. the information came from.

Why cite sources?

When writing a research paper or a scientific journal, scientists often draw on the work of

other writers, and they must document those contributions. In research writing, sources are

cited for two reasons:

1. to alert readers to the sources of the information

2. to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas

Avoiding plagiarism

Your scientific paper is a collaboration between you and your sources. To be fair and ethical,

you must acknowledge your source of information. To borrow another writer’s language or

ideas without proper acknowledgment is a form of dishonesty known as plagiarism, a serious

academic offense. Plagiarism is akin to lying – you are saying that someone else’s work is

your own.

There are various ways to go about borrowing information and documenting where the

information came from. We will avoid plagiarism by doing two things:

1. At the end of a paper, a list of references (also called works cited) will be arranged

alphabetically and give complete publishing information.

2. Putting all summaries and paraphrases in your own words

Citing Sources

The citations given in the sample below are put in what is known as MLA format. MLA is an

abbreviation for Modern Language Association, and it is the most commonly used system for

doing citations. All of this information can generally be found on the first pages of a book or

at the top/bottom of a web site. However, it will not be put in order as shown below. You will

need to find the information and arrange it properly. Notice how the sources are listed

alphabetically and double spaced.

Sample Entries in a Works Cited:

Brown, Charlie. "The Great Pumpkin." Gardener Magazine. 3 May 2001: 40-42. Print.

Linden, Eugene. Silent Partners: The Legacy of the Ape Language Experiments. New

York: New York Times, 1986. Print.

Stenger, Richard. “Runaway Black Hole Headed Our Way.” CNN.com. Cable News

Network, Nov 2002. Web. 1 Sept. 2009.

Updated: 9/16/09 - CAW


Putting Summaries and Paraphrases in Your Own Words

When you summarize or paraphrase, it is not enough to name the source in your Works Cited

section; you must restate the source’s meaning using your own language. You are guilty of

plagiarism if you half-copy the author’s sentences. It is not enough to plug in your own

synonyms into the author’s sentence structure.

Here are some examples of plagiarism:

ORIGINAL VERSION

If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for

animal behaviorists.

BLATANT PLAGIARISM

If the existence of a signing ape was unsettling for linguists, it was also startling news for

animal behaviorists.

UNACCEPTABLE BORROWING OF PHRASES

If the existence of a sign-language ape was unnerving for a language specialist, it was also

astonishing news for animal scientists.

UNACCEPTABLE BORROWING OF PHRASES

The existence of a signing ape unsettled linguists and startled animal behaviorists.

To avoid plagiarizing an author’s language, resist the temptation to look at the source

while you are summarizing or paraphrasing. Close the book, write from memory, and

then open the book to check for accuracy.

ACCEPTABLE PARAPHRASE

When they learned of an ape’s ability to use sign language, both linguists and animal

behaviorists were taken by surprise.


CITATION GUIDELINES AND EXAMPLES

BASIC FORMAT FOR BOOKS AND MAGAZINES (MLA):

Author/Editor. ‘Title of Article.” Title of Work. Edition. City of publication: Publisher,

Year of Publication. Medium.

BOOKS

EXAMPLES

Example with a Single Author:

Ayers, Edward L. Fairy Tales in Our Time and Why We Should Read Them. Oxford: Oxford

UP, 1995. Print.

Example with Two or Three Authors:

Allaby, Michael and Derek Gjertsen. Makers of Science: Volume 1. New York: Oxford

UP, 2002. Print.

Example with More than Three Authors:

Valdes, Gaudalupe, et al. Teaching Spanish to the Hispanic Bilingual: Issues,Aims, and

Methods. New York: Teachers Coll, 1981. Print.

Example with an Editor instead of Author:

Gillispie, Charles Coulston, ed. Dictionary of Science Biography. Vol. 1. Danbury: Grolier,

1997. Print.

MAGAZINE OR JOURNAL:

Kronen, Louis. "Bog Mummies." Discover Magazine 33:36-38. 1 August 1997. Print.

WEB SITE:

BASIC FORMAT FOR WEB Sites (MLA):

Author/Editor. “Title of the Work.” Title of Web Site. Publisher or Sponsor of the Site,

Date of Publication. Web. Date of Access.

Example of a Web Site Citation:

Cultural Heritage Initiative for Community Outreach. “What Are Mummies.” Mummies of

Ancient Egypt. U of Michigan School of Information, 6 Aug. 1997. Web. 1 Sept. 2009.


LIBRARY SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE (DATABASE) (i.e. EBSCO Middle School Research

Center, ProQuest Platinum, Science Reference Center.)

BASIC FORMAT FOR DATABASE CITATION:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Work.” Title of Source volume number . issue

number (year of Publication) : page(s). Database Name. Web. Date of Access (day

month year).

Example of an Article in a Database:

Tanne, Janice Hopkins. “American Medical Association Approves Stem Cell Research.”

British Medical Journal 326.7404 (2003): 1417. ProQuest Platinum. Web. 22 March

2004.

BASIC FORMAT FOR ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE CITATION

“Title of Work.” Title of the Web site. Publisher of the site, Date of publication. Web. Date of

access (day, month, year)

Example from Encyclopedia Britannica Online:

“Empire State Building.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2009.

Web. 1 September 2009.

***This handout uses some examples and occasional wording from the MLA Handbook for

Writers of Research Papers. 7 th ed.

Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7 th ed. New

York: MLA, 2009. Print.

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