In academic writing and in electronically delivered projects,
all sources of information other than your own opinions, explanations,
and interpretations must be properly credited both in the text of the
work and in a Works Cited listing.
Providing this documentation serves several purposes:
- fulfills the conventions and requirements of academic papers
- gives credit to others as a courtesy and as an aid to other
- gives credit to you as author of your own writing and thinking
by distinguishing your own words and ideas
- avoids both the appearance and the accidental commission of plagiarism
See In-text Citations for guidelines about citing
sources within the text of your paper or presentation.
See Works Cited and Acknowledgments
about listing sources at the end of your paper or project.
See Academic Integrity for
your responsibilities as a scholar.
Five Factors for Accurate Academic Documentation
If you follow these 5 guidelines for
every reference to sources other than your own experience or
observation, your paper will be properly documented.
Always signal clearly both the
beginning and end of every use of a source reference/citation,
including paraphrases and summaries as well as direct quotations.
Readers will, as a result, be able to distinguish these source
references from your own commentary, synthesis, analysis,
and ideas. It is insufficient to place a name and page at
the end of the citation. Instead, clearly indicate in a coherent
and clear manner where each citation begins (usually
with the name of the person or work being cited--see examples)
and ends (usually a page reference or a date). Sometimes
the language of the paragraph makes the beginnings and ends
of citations clear.
- Include in each reference the name of the
source from which the information was taken.
Include in your in-text reference sufficient
information for readers to locate the item on your bibliography
pagewhatever information is first in the listing there,
usually the last name of the first author or the title of the
work when no author is listed.
- For people, give the full name for the first
text reference and the last name alone for subsequent text
references; use the last name alone within parentheses. Usually,
the name of the source, especially a person, appears in the
text to signal the beginning of the citation rather than in
the parenthetical reference.
- If more than one author or editor should
be credited, include all names up to three. When citing more
than three names, use the abbreviation et al. for all but
the first (see example). As a result, you will have credited
(attributed) the material properly, a courtesy as well as
a convention of scholarship.
Include in the parenthetical reference the
exact page number or page numbers on which the reference material
can be found in the book or article. This parenthetical reference
usually appears at the end of the entire citation but sometimes
elsewhere for clarity.
- If this information is in parentheses in
your text, use last names only or a short form of the title,
properly punctuated. Information already in the text should
be excluded from the parenthetical reference.
- The in-text citation must clearly repeat
the first word of the listing on the Works Cited page, except
for articles (a, an, the).
Include a complete Works Cited in MLA format
as your bibliography. See Works Cited
- If no pages are given, mentally number the
pages (for example, unnumbered newsletters and pamphlets).
- For most sources without pages, select an
appropriate substitute for the page, for example, the date
of the interview or email, the date of copyright or production,
or the microfiche number, if you need to provide a signal
of the end of the citation. For Web pages, a date or, for
short pages, paragraph numbers (pars. 3-7) can be used.
- Be sure that the end of the citation
is clear by the way you word the next sentence, in particular,
if the citation ended without a parenthetical reference.
for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©1998 by D. Reiss
modified and copyright ©25 March 2003 by D. Reiss