MLA: Citing your sources the easy way!

As an on-line Composition tutor, I get flooded with e-mails from students who are absolutely petrified of using MLA format and I can’t say I blame them. A lot of on-line students are working adults who have been out of school for several years; most of who say “M-L-what?!” and “Can’t I just write a paper and make sure all of that grammar and stuff looks good?”

Well…
no, you can’t.

Credit must be given where credit is due; that’s only fair, right? Sources must be cited in a universally-accepted manner that is easy enough for both a novice essay-writer to use and an instructor to read, grade, etc. MLA format is the way to go, which is why many instructors (not only in the English department!) require MLA format for written assignments like essays and research papers.

The most student-friendly print source is Diana Hacker’s “A Writer’s Reference,” which is used by our Composition instructors. “A Writer’s Reference” has an entire section on the MLA handbook and how to cite any type of source, including anthologies, websites, databases, poems… you name it, “A Writer’s Reference” has got it covered!

No “Reference?” No problem! Diana Hacker’s official website has a page dedicated to MLA. You can find it here:

http://www.dianahacker.com/resdoc/humanities.html

If you click on “Documenting Sources,” you will find how to incorporate in-text citations when you are citing an outside source and how to set up your Works Cited page (which is different from a bibliography!) This website is very user-friendly and easy to navigate; best of all, it gives you all of the information you would find in the MLA section of “A Writer’s Reference.”

Of course, many students may feel more comfortable with face-to-face assistance, so don’t forget about ACCC’s great tutoring services in the LAC and librarians and help desk in the library (both in building D at the Mays Landing campus).

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