VI. Documenting A Paper: When And How

Parenthetical or In-Text Citations
Research papers use parenthetical citations in the text of the paper to document sources for every borrowed piece of information. To document or cite the source of ideas used in your paper (a quotation, paraphrase, fact, statistic, graph, picture, etc.), simply enclose in parentheses the author's last name or shortened title of your source when no author is given and place it after the end of the borrowed material. It will look like this: (Bauman 313). The reader will turn to your list of sources (bibliography) to find out more about the source you are using. If you have used the author's name to introduce the quotation or paraphrase as in “Professor Bauman states . . . ,” include only the page number in parentheses, like this: (313).

The format of the parenthetical citation will vary depending on the style of documentation you are using in your paper. The documentation style explained above, (Bauman 313), is the MLA style, used in this guide. Another one, the APA style, will have a comma, a year and a "p." before the page number in addition to the author's name and page number, like this: (Bauman, 1998, p. 313). The CSE and many others have their own ways of citing. Refer to examples in this guide for the documentation style that your professor specifies.

For electronic sources, use the established citation formats of the MLA, APA, or other documentation styles. For source list entries, give the complete information about each source: the author's name, title, date, and URL. Remember you are including both in-text citation and source entry at the end of the paper to credit your source and to provide interested readers the information they will need to find the source themselves. With electronic sources especially, it is better to give too much information than not enough.

List of Sources
The last page of a research paper lists sources used for the paper. Traditionally, this has been called a “bibliography,” and it still is by many people.

However, because the word “bibliography” literally means a description of books (from the Latin), and many of the sources available these days are electronic, non-book sources, style manuals recommend not using "bibliography" except when you are putting together a list of inclusive sources on a topic (i.e., all the sources you can find or all that you recommend on a topic).

For heading a last page list of sources used just for your paper, the modern terms include Works Cited or Works Referred To (preferred for humanities papers) or References or References List (preferred for social science and science papers).

You may also see and use other appropriate headings, like Works Consulted or References Consulted (all the sources you looked at to compile the paper), Annotated List of Works (when you provide a note about the content of each work in your list). For long and complex papers (senior or graduate level), the sources may be divided into categories: for example, Books, Magazine and Journal Articles, Internet, Surveys, Interviews . And, human creativity being what it is, probably you will see even more than these.

Checklist for Documenting a Paper

Comparison of a Quotation and a Paraphrase using APA style
Example of a Quotation
:

Initially the Internet was created as a means for research scientists to communicate and share information. This use has expanded so that today people in many professions use the Internet. Professor Becker of the University of California at Irvine conducted a survey: "Among other things, Becker found that 68 percent of teachers surveyed said they use the Internet at least occasionally to get information for use in their lessons and 39 percent use e-mail to communicate with teachers in other schools" (Mendels, 1999, ¶ 8).

Analysis of Example:

  1. The first and second sentences are common knowledge.
  2. Quotation marks are placed before and after the words copied exactly from the source.
  3. The credit for the source is placed in parentheses after the quotation. This example uses APA documentation style.

Example of a Paraphrase:

Initially the Internet was created as a means for research scientists to communicate and share information. This use has expanded so that today people in many professions use the Internet. One source reports that over 60% of teachers use the Internet for instructional purposes and nearly 40% use e-mail to communicate with colleagues around the world (Mendels, 1999).

Analysis of Example:

  1. The first and second sentences are common knowledge.
  2. The paraphrase is introduced by a few words (e.g. "One source reports") so the reader knows where it begins.
  3. There are no quotation marks used around the paraphrased statement.
  4. Credit is given to the source at the end of the paraphrase. This example uses APA documentation style.

References

Pattern:

Mendels, P. (1999, May 26). Non-Traditional Teachers More Likely to Use the Net. The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 1999, from http://www.nytimes.com

When USING VISUALS (figures, graphs, charts, illustrations, music scoring, etc.):

  1. Cite the source in the text of the paper (usually right below the visual).
  2. Include the source in your list of sources at the end of the paper.

Example of an illustration, using MLA style:

(Fact Book 18)

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MCC Guide to Writing Research Papers.
Developed by: M. DiSano, A. Penwarden, S. Callan.
Revised version August 2006. Copyright Monroe Community College.