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How do I cite a source?
It is very important that you identify all of the resources that you have used for your paper. This shows that you have done a good job with your research. It also avoids being accused of plagiarism or passing off someone else's work as your own. You should always cite a source when you:
use factual information or data that you found in a source
quote the exact text from a source for more than two words in a row
paraphrase, or put the text from a source in your own words
include opinions, interpretations, or conclusions that are not your own
make reference to some aspect of another person's work
You cite a source by making a note that refers your reader to an area in your paper where you provide information about the material you have used.
The are many different ways to cite sources. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed. (808.027 GIBAL 2003) is widely used by students. If you are unsure what format your teacher wants you to use, please check with him or her.
Other styles your teacher may ask you to use include the APA Style, Chicago Manual of Style and Turabian's Style Guide. You can access examples of these styles through Concordia University's Help & Instruction page on this topic at http://library.concordia.ca/help/howto/citations.html.
In the MLA style, you briefly note sources with brackets in the text of your paper. In the example below, the note appears at the end of the sentence:
Results of the studies done by Hawaii's Ocean Mammal Institute indicate that humpbacked whales are affect by the noise of marine engines (Calvez 41).
You then give the complete description of each source in your Works Cited list. The list presents all of the sources used in your paper, arranged alphabetically by author's last name, or when there is no author, by the first word of the title.
It is very important to follow the format for the citation exactly, including spaces, underlining, and punctuation. You may be graded on this component of your paper.
The format that is used to describe your sources depends on the type of material that you are describing. There are many different types of materials, but the four most common are: books, journal or magazine articles, newspaper articles, and Web pages or Internet documents. These are described below according to the MLA Style:
Author Name(s). Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year.
English, Carol and John Stevenson. The Cliffs Won't Do: Read the Book. Philadelphia: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Journal & Magazine Articles
Author Name(s). "Title of Article". Title of Journal or Magazine, Date: Page(s).
Taubes, Gary. "The Cell-Phone Scare". Technology Review, November 2000: 117-119.
Newspaper Articles
Author Name(s). "Title of Article". Title of Newspaper, Date, Edition: Page(s).
Goldberg, Grace. "The Inside Track: Alumni Life". Trojan Times, 10 October 1991, Final: 17.
Web Pages and Internet Documents
Author Name(s) (if known). "Title of the Page or Document". Title of Site or Larger Work, Date of Document. Online. Available http://address/filename. Date of Access.
Cassutto, George. "Social Studies and the World Wide Web" Social Studies Papers, 8 June 1996. Online. Available http://www.fred.net/nhhs/html3/article3.htm. 25 September 1996.
Article from a Database
Author Name(s) (if known). "Aritcle Title." Title of Magazine or Journal Volume.Issue (Year): Page(s). Name of Database, Database Publisher. Access Provider. Date of Access. http://address.s
Brennan, Katherine Stern. "Culture in Cities" Canadian Journal of History 38.1 (2003): 19-42. CBCA Complete. Proquest. Richmond Hill Public Library. 8 October 2005. http://www.rhpl.richmondhill.on.ca.
DVD or Video
Title. Dir. Director Name(s) (if known). Perf. Performer(s). Production Company. Date of Production.
The Shining. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall. Warner Bros., 1980.
If you still have questions, check out the following titles for assistance:
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed. by Joseph Gibaldi
    808.027 GIBAL 2003
  • Making Sense in the Humanities: A Student's Guide to Writing and Style by Margot Northey
    808.0660013 NORTH
  • Making Sense in Psychology and the Life Sciences: A Student's Guide to Writing and Style by Margot Northey
    808.06615 NORTH
  • Making Sense in the Social Sciences: A Student's Guide to Writing and Style by Margot Northey
    808.0663021 NORTH
  • A Guide to MLA Documentation by Joseph M. Trimmer
    REF 808.027 TRIMM
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