There’s a reason we call these things “Research Papers” and not “Plagiary Papers,” and that reason is the noble reference. The reference is the thing that lets the reader know how the heck you suddenly got so smart.
As you conduct your research, be sure to collect the following information about your sources:
- Full names of all authors
- Exact titles of articles and books (often, you’ll quote from an article published in a book–get all relevant titles!)
- Page numbers
- Edition numbers
- Publication dates
- Name of publisher
- City in which published
- Magazine edition and volume numbers
- Website publication date
- Website sponsoring organization
Armed with this information, you’ll be ready to create your citations and references.
- In-text citations
- These are the little references you put in parentheses after a quote in your paper. The most typical way to do this is with the author’s last name and page number (Thomas 36). (That was an example).
- Sometimes you don’t have the author’s last name, most often when quoting from only semi-reputable websites. In that case, you will generally use the title of the website, instead. Come see me with questions.
- Endnote references
- At the end of your paper, attach a “Works Cited” page formatted exactly like this: Works Cited Sample
- The easiest way to create perfectly formatted references is to use a tool like Citation Machine. Follow that link, click on the “MLA” link on the left, then in the left-hand column, select the kind of reference you’re creating (book, article, website, etc.), then fill in the info requested. When you hit submit, it will spit out a perfectly formatted reference you can copy and paste onto your Works Cited page. (Always check Pasted text very carefully for correct formatting–sometimes things get messed up in the process.)
That’s it for references. Have fun not plagiarizing!