Writing and Citing

Putting It All Together

When it comes time to put together your final paper, you may want to look back at the first section of this guide, which suggests guides for organizing and writing literary papers.

Part of the writing process is the inclusion of citations to the information sources you used for the paper. This is an opportunity to demonstrate to your instructor that you did background research, and that your conclusions are based on information you found through outside sources.

Including citations in your paper is a way of giving credit to other writers whose work enhanced yours. Equally important, citations allow the reader of your paper to go back to the sources you used. You want to make your citations clear, so that readers don't get frustrated trying to figure out what sources you used. In an effort to make it easy for readers to track down citations, it is traditional to use a standard, consistant format.

Different academic disciplines have slightly different standards and customs for creating citations. For literature papers, the most common format is the MLA format, developed by the Modern Language Association. The complete MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is helpful not only for creating citations, but also for giving guidance on other aspects of the writing process.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
D.H. Hill Reference Collection LB2369 .G53 2003 (Learning Commons)
This if the full version of the guide book is not available electronically, although there are some online sources that provide abbreviated versions of the information.

MLA Formating and Style Guide
Summary of highlights of the MLA handbook, including information on citing sources, from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Citation Builder
Quick tool for creating correctly formated citations in several formats (including MLA format).

Tool for managing citations for major projects. You can import citations from databases, and incorporate them into you research papers.