Documentation System – a scholarly method of crediting sources in an academic research paper 2. Modern Language Association of America (MLA) – the documentation system used in English composition and literature classes, among others B. Major Elements 1. In-text Citation (Parenthetical) – a reference within the text designed to direct readers to the appropriate entry on the works cited page; always appears inside parentheses; immediately follows source material but precedes end punctuation.

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QUESTION

A. Definitions
1. Documentation System – a scholarly method of crediting sources in an academic research paper
2. Modern Language Association of America (MLA) – the documentation system used in English composition and literature classes, among others

B. Major Elements

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Documentation System – a scholarly method of crediting sources in an academic research paper 2. Modern Language Association of America (MLA) – the documentation system used in English composition and literature classes, among others B. Major Elements 1. In-text Citation (Parenthetical) – a reference within the text designed to direct readers to the appropriate entry on the works cited page; always appears inside parentheses; immediately follows source material but precedes end punctuation.
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1. In-text Citation (Parenthetical) – a reference within the text designed to direct readers to the appropriate entry on the works cited page; always appears inside parentheses; immediately follows source material but precedes end punctuation.

IMPORTANT: Just like signal phrases, in-text citations are used for both quotes AND paraphrases. If the information is from a source, then you MUST identify the source within the parenthetical.

a. You don’t need to cite the same source more than once within the same paragraph. If you draw from more than one source, then both sources must be cited somewhere in the paragraph.

b. BUT…as soon as you start a new paragraph, you must again cite your source within another in-text citation. THAT MEANS EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH (EXCEPT THE CONCLUSION) WILL HAVE AT LEAST ONE IN-TEXT CITATION NEAR THE TOP SO THE READER ALWAYS KNOWS WHERE THE INFORMATION IS COMING FROM. If you wait until the end of the paragraph, then it’s too late — you’ve already plagiarized!

c. The elements within the in-text citation depends upon the type of source.

1) For a book, always use the last name of the author and page number.

Roses are red (Smith 117).

2) For a website or online article, your FIRST CHOICE is always the author’s last name. There is no page number for online sources!

Violets are blue (Smith).

3) For an online source, if you do not know the author’s name, your SECOND CHOICE is always the title of the article. Note that this title is placed in double quotation marks! In the absence of a formal title, simply use the heading on the webpage. (NEVER NEVER NEVER USE THE TITLE OF THE WEBSITE!)

Roses are red (“Beautiful Flowers”).

5) When using an in-text citation with a quote, always place the second double quotation mark BEFORE THE IN-TEXT CITATION. (This is an exception to the after-the-period rule.)

“Violets are blue” (Smith).

6) One final variation: when quoting the play in our textbook, do NOT simply identify the name of the playwright! Tennessee Williams wrote the play, not the textbook. That means you need to identify both the playwright and the authors of the textbook, like this:

“You’re going to be out of a job if you don’t wake up” (Williams qtd. in Kirszner and Mandell 1193).

d. There are MANY MORE variations of the above rules, depending upon the source, far too many to cover in an email! To find the correct format for these variations, google for websites to guide you. Two of the best are:

1) Mla.org — Modern Language Association’s website; easy to use and able to answer any question about formatting

2) Owl.perdue.edu — Perdue University’s online writing lab; extremely helpful information about every aspect of academic writing

There are computer programs that insert your in-text citations into the essay, BUT I STRONGLY RECOMMEND MANUALLY TYPING THEM IN YOURSELF AFTER THE ESSAY IS COMPLETE. It’s a better way to learn the system and to maintain control over your information.

Next time, we’ll discuss the works cited page…

II. Works Cited Page – a formal list of cited sources at the end of an essay; always a separate page with sources listed in alphabetical order (NOT numbered!)

A. The MLA documentation system rests on the relationship between the in-text citation and the works cited page. More specifically, the in-text citation LEADS to the information on the works cited page.

1. For a book: the in-text citation (Tan 47) indicates that the author’s last name is Tan and that information can be found on page 47. To find the full name of the author and the title of the book, the reader keys on the name and locates it on the works cited page:

Tan, Amy. The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Putnam, 2001.

2. For an online article: the in-text citation (Sullivan) indicates that the author’s last name is Sullivan. (There is NO page number because online sources have no page numbers.) To find the rest of the information, the reader keys on the name and locates it on the works cited page:

Sullivan, Michael J. “Land of the Surfing Hippos.” National Geographic, Aug. 2004, nationalgeographic.com/contributors/f/photographer-michael-fay. Accessed 27 April 2020.

3. For an online article: IF the author’s name is unknown, then the in-text citation will contain the title of article (“Land of the Surfing Hippos”). To find the rest of the information, the reader keys on the title and locates it on the works cited page:

“Land of the Surfing Hippos.” National Geographic, Aug. 2004, nationalgeographic.com/contributors/f/photographer-michael-fay. Accessed 2

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