Style Guide - MLA


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DOCUMENTATION GUIDE: MLA What: The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is used for most research reports (with the exception of the social and health sciences where the MLA style is required). If you are in doubt about what style to use, consult your teacher, or, if writing a report for the workplace, ask your colleagues. Why: If you keep in mind the reasons for documenting reports (honesty, reliability, utility), you will realize the primary function of documentation is to enable your readers to find, consult, and evaluate your sources for themselves if they wish to do so , and the most important thing about your documentation is that it should make this possible. This is the reason for standardization. Before attempting to put these instructions into practice, you should understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. See the Student Survival Guide: avoiding plagiarism . How: The standard format is given in simplified form here : it covers most situations. In the interest of teaching you the principles rather than the endless details, and in order to make your college experience with documentation as painless as possible, we are simplifying very complex requirements. When your source doesn’t fit this model, or when you need to use MLA outside the College, we suggest you consult . As you are researching: Make the process easier on yourself : You should record the publishing information for each source you consult as soon as you consult it. You don’t want to waste time searching for the information later, when you put the report together, as this will more than double your work. We also recommend you print Web pages and e-mails, and photocopy printed sources for later reference, noting the publishing details at the top. Documenting each source as you obtain it means you don’t have a rush at the end when you put your report together, and enables you to become acquainted with the MLA system a little at a time. 1
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Writing the report: Readers expect information in two places : 1. at the end of the report , in a list of Works Consulted (anything you looked at) or Works Cited (only those works you actually refer to in your report). Your employer, teacher or situation will decide which is the most suitable. In either list, you must give complete publishing details of every source. 2. within the report to identify the source of ideas or information you have borrowed or words you have quoted (actual quotations also need quotation marks). Here, brief references in parentheses supply just enough information to allow the reader to consult your list at the end and recognize to which item you are referring. 1. At the end of the report: Works Cited
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This note was uploaded on 08/22/2009 for the course ENGL 1133 taught by Professor Bruceharper during the Fall '05 term at Niagara College.

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