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Library Resources for Ms Lynch's FYS Class: Citation and Documentation

Documentation Styles

The documentation style you use depends on the disciplinary area of the subject.  The style created by the Modern Language Association is known as MLA style, and it is used primarily by those in literary studies, as well as some of the humanities.  MLA style uses parenthetical in-text citations and a Works Cited page at the end of the paper for the bibliography.

Other documentation styles include:

  • APA style, which is affiliated with the American Psychological Association, and is used by scholars in psychology, nursing, and various of the social sciences
  • Chicago style, or Turabian, which is used mostly by scholars and writers in history, art, and music.

Resources for Using MLA Style

Plagiarism Prevention

Indiana University's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct defines plagiarism as:

"[...] presenting someone else’s work, including the work of other students, as one’s own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered 'common knowledge' may differ from course to course" (Part II: Student Responsibilities, Section 3). "

Plagiarism is taking someone else's words and ideas and presenting them as your own without giving credit to the source. This means that all work you submit in your classes must be your own work, and that all sources that you used in your work must be documented and acknowledged. Plagiarism is a serious offense with severe consequences. You could receive an F for your assignment or fail the course altogether. Make certain that you are familiar with the University’s policy on plagiarism and academic integrity and understand what it means. 

Part of being a member of an academic community involves following the rules and conventions that govern it. Using information accurately and ethically demonstrates that you are aware of the codes of the culture of academia. The documentation of information sources serves the purpose of providing credibility, reliability, and accuracy to your work. It is not wrong to use the ideas or information of others in your research. Most research papers require the use of outside sources to build an argument or present and informed perspective. What is wrong, however, is to use these ideas without documenting the fact that you got them from somewhere else. Plagiarism can happen even if you do not intend to plagiarize.

In order to avoid plagiarism, you should:

  • Keep track of what information sources you use and what information you took from them. For example, if you copy down a quotation in your notes, be certain to note who is the source of the quotation and where you found it.
  • Be wary of copying and pasting text from electronic sources. While this is a quick and easy way to get the words exactly right for a quotation, it is also easy to forget to document the source of this text.
  • Use in-text citations in your paper followed by a bibliography at the end of your paper, depending on the documentation style specified by your instructor.