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MLA : The Basics

Why use MLA citation style?

 

MLA is most commonly used to cite sources within in the liberal arts, specifically the humanities.

 

What does that really mean?:

 

When you cite in MLA, you are using parenthetical citations for your in-text citations with the author and page number, and it includes a works-cited page at the end of your paper.

 

What does an in-text citation typically look like?:

Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).
Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).*

What does a work-cited citation typically look like?:

Your works-cited page and your in-text citations should line up with each other - meaning that if you include an in-text citation, you will be able to find more detailed information about that source in the complete works-cited list.

For example the in-text citation might read, "(Worsdworth, 263)" - indicating the author's last name, and the page used in the paper.

The works-cited citation for that book will be:

Wordsworth, William. Lyrical Ballads. London: Oxford UP, 1967.

What is the general rule for a works-cited citation?:

The general format for a citation in your works-cited list in MLA will more or less follow this guideline:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of the Book. Publisher Location: Name of Publisher, Year of Publication.

Citation Style Guides:

The Purdue OWL is an amazing resource that gives great examples of how to cite different materials in MLA. Your citations in MLA will change slightly depending on the format of the work that you are using. Citing a book is slightly different than citing an article. The Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide is a wonderful resource that breaks down how to cite different formats in MLA.

For more information, check out our citing sources guide.

APA : The Basics

Why use APA citation style?

 

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences, also including mots hard sciences, psychology, sociology, and related disciplines.

 

What does that really mean?:

 

APA employs in-text citations and a references list. APA in-text citations also ask you to include the year of publication as well as the author's last name and the page number of the source that you are using.

 

What does an in-text citation typically look like?:

If you are directly quoting from a work, include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?

If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.*

*example from the Purdue OWL

What does a work-cited citation typically look like?:

Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" centered at the top of the page (do NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.*

*example from Purdue OWL

The general format for a citation in your works-cited list in APA will more or less follow this guideline:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

Citation Style Guides:

APA style has a specific formatting and style that requires you to include different elements in your work that a paper formatted in MLA would.

The Purdue OWL guide for APA includes more information on citing different in formats, as well as a sample paper formatted in APA style.

For more information, check out our citing sources guide.

Evaluating Academic Resources

What is Peer Review?

An article that has been reviewed by experts in the field in which it is about before being accepted for publication. To learn more about what it means when something has been "peer reviewed," check out the video from NCSU libraries posted below:

 

There are two types of bias that are important to keep in mind during the research and writing process:

Confirmation Bias:

This is when you deliberately shape evidence to support your argument/agenda, and ignore information that supports the contrary.

For example: You are writing a paper that argues that vegetarians are better athletes because they avoid red meat. There is information that supports your argument, but there is also a lot of information that supports the opposing argument. Without acknowledging that this other information exists, your work has a confirmation bias.

Implicit Bias:

Implicit bias occurs when someone consciously rejects stereotypes and supports anti-discrimination efforts but also holds negative associations in his/her mind unconsciously. In other words, the work may say one thing, but express another by reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices that otherwise would suggest a prejudicial bias on the behalf of the author. It's important to be able to discern the intentions of the author of any piece of information that you absorb.

With resources like Google at our fingertips, information isn't hard to find.

What is challenging is determining whether that information is credible, and can trusted.

Web sources can be particularly hard to evaluate, so here is a handy acronym to help you determine if a source may be CRAP.

  • CURRENCY How recently was this information published/posted? Can you find a publication date?
  • RELIABILITY:  Is the information supported by evidence? Can it be confirmed by other sources?
  • AUTHORITY:  Who wrote the information - are they an expert or knowledgeable in their field? (i.e. For health information, did a doctor or nurse write it? For science information, did a scientist or researcher write it?)
  • PURPOSE / POINT OF VIEW:  Why was it written? To sell something? To sway opinion? Is it biased toward a particular point of view?
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Evaluating Sources for Credibility from NCSU Libraries

Library vs. Google