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Documenting Sources
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Documenting Sources

"You may certainly use other persons' words and thoughts in your paper, but the borrowed material
must not seem your creation"
-- Joe Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Paper, 5th Ed., p. 31.

Why document your writing?

   1. To give credit to others for their work.
   2. To avoid plagiarism (passing of borrowed
        material as one's own).
   3. To give your writing credibility.
   4. To make your writing more useful to readers.

How do I document my sources?

Luckily, there are online bibliography generators available to you:

There are also several handy web guides. Below are two that are highly regarded:
Purdue OWL     Valencia Citation Guide

Here is a link to resources from the Modern Language Association:
MLA Style Center
Why is giving credit to others so important?

Listen to four Duke professors describe the value of citing the work of others in this video on the Duke Libraries website. Whose Idea Was That? (mins. 2:46 - 7:38 are most relevant)

What citation style should you use?

At HMHS, most teachers require the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. A teacher will inform you if you are required to use a format other than MLA. The MLA format was written for documenting research in the humanities. There are several other formats. The webpage "Necessities in Academics: An Education Guide to Citation Styles" identifies the style used for each discipline. The most commonly used styles, the
MLA Handbook, the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual, and The Chicago Manual of Style, are supported by NoodleBib and EasyBib.

What constitutes borrowed materials?

  1. Direct quotations
  2. A special choice of words used by an author - such as a metaphor or an analogy- where you have mixed in your own words.
  3. A specific idea or theory of an author described in your own words.
  4. A specific fact or statistic that might be called into question by your reader who might ask: Where did the writer of this paper get that information?
  5. -- Marilyn Lee Mauger,
    former HMHS English teacher, 2003