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Lecture 7: MLA, Research, Documentation and Attributions to Sources

The purpose of this lecture is as follows:
  • Explain the degree to which we will use MLA Style Guidelines for formatiing your writings and for documenting sources.
  • The research requirements for this course.
  • What is meant by attributions, and how to handle them.

  • MLA Style Guidelines and Formatting:

    We will use MLA Style Guidelines only for formatting of your assignments, but not documentation and research.

    For the formatting aspects of your essays, work with "Lecture 2: Formatting and Academic Prose: Read This Before Turning in Any Work," for the duration of the semester.

    Research—No Outside Sources Required—Attributions:

    In English Composition I, research and documentation is not the primary focus, for research and documentation is the focus of English 1302 - Composition II.

    Even so, Essays 1, 2, and 3 surely necessitate that you google some keywords and read about the subject that you have been assigned to write about. In these cases, you should not concern yourself with documenting the sources in your paper by using MLA-type in-text citations and works cited pages, but YOU MUST include an attribution to the author or source. See "Lecture 4: TurnItIn.com: Plagiarism Detection Software," which will make clear exactly what constitutes plagiarism and that I DO REQUIRE that you attribute information to its proper source by writing something like so: "The website www.cnn.com states that . . ."

    Moreover, if the words are not your own, they must be inside quotation marks. Remember, I do not require MLA style documentation in the form of parenthetial citations, and I do not require works cited pages. Do not include them. However, I DO REQUIRE that you pay attributions to your sources.

    The reasoning behind not documenting sources in this course is simply that I want your Composition I course to focus on the development of writing skills. The proper course in which to develop skills in research and documentation is the course you will hopefully take next semester: Composition II. Again, see "Lecture 4: TurnItIn.com: Plagiarism Detection Software." This is perhaps the most important aspect of the course, and no one should treat it lightly. Also see the Temple College Handbook for the Scholastic Integrity Policy.
    Remember that there are key differences between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing, so below, I have included a few links to handouts that will help you through the process of deciding when to quote, when to paraphrase, and when to summarize from sources you have found, and you are expected to engage these handouts to the point where you can handle these skills successfully.

    Work with these handouts:

    Paraphrase: Write it in Your Own Words
    Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

    Very Important: Keep quotations short, by which I mean a short sentence or two once or twice in an essay; I want to read your writing, not the writings of others.