There are several different bibliographic and citation styles. All styles have their peculiarities regarding the way and order of inclusion of the data such as the first and last name of the author, name of the publication, year of publication/date of publication, name of the original/journal, number of pages, URL address, etc.
The author can be a corporation, organization, or group. If the author (whether an individual or a corporate author) is not known, the publication is considered anonymous. In this case, the next element by which the publication is identified is the name of the publication. Also, each style has a specially defined set of rules for citing sources in the text, i.e. references, as well as citing sources in the literature list, i.e. bibliography.
Anyone who has written a final, graduate, or any other paper must have encountered problems with citations. Why? The problem is that:
- there are many different citation styles (which btw. experts don’t always agree on),
- students are often careless, so they consider this a pointless job.
As you must have already experienced, professors often tend to be, let’s say problematic, so they don’t feel like reading the paper and talking to the student about the content, but they do care about the form of the work – that it all looks nice, and is written according to the rules.
In this article, we will try to make you familiar with the most common MLA citation elements.
What is: CITATION, PARAPHRASE, REFERENCE?
Ok, first we need to learn the difference between quoting, paraphrasing, and referencing.
Citation. Quoting or as some say – explicit quoting – is when you quote someone else’s words exactly as they said them. In that case, you put the text under “quotation marks”.
Example: Joe (2017) says, “When women party, money is best spent.”
Paraphrasing. If you retell someone else’s words in your own words, without losing the meaning, we call it paraphrasing or implicit quoting, and do NOT put “quotation marks”.
Example: In recent years, the trend of consumption, as one of the key components of the domestic product, is closely associated with fun, mostly nighttime activities of females (Joe, 2017).
Referencing. Referencing has a broader meaning than citation, and by this term, we describe any reference to the sources used in the paper, including tables, graphs, images, etc.
WHY DO I HAVE TO QUOTE??
The point of writing papers is to show how well you know how to use literature and that you can draw some of your conclusions from it. So, no one expects you to be able to write about 50 pages on a certain topic from your mind, but showing where your information comes from is also respecting someone else’s intellectual property.
So, you can’t write “In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Thomson’s gazelles in Southeast Africa,” without giving proof of where you got the data from (yes, even when it comes to such well-known data).
WHAT ARE CITATION STYLES?
In order to make it clear where we quoted something from, it would be nice to follow certain rules, so that the reader doesn’t have to struggle for 3 hours to find the source. Citation styles have evolved over the years and have mostly been adapted to the needs of the disciplines for which they were developed.
There are three most commonly used styles in practice:
- American Psychological Association (APA) style
- Modern Language Association (MLA) style
- Chicago style.
All of them have a set of rules one must follow in order to use them correctly. A template you can use for the MLA style can be found here https://wr1ter.com/mla-format-template-in-google-docs .
As for all the elements this style needs to cover, the following lines will tell you all about it.
- As opposed to other styles, which students are much more used to, this one does not require you to include things like the paper title on a separate page, student’s name, teacher’s name, or paper deadline.
- Every page must contain a page number and the name of the author of the paper. This goes especially for those who are writing papers for school, college, or university.
- When citing in-text, the following information must be included: the last name of the author, page number or a paragraph from here the citation has been taken from.
- As for the references they need to be arranged in alphabetical order, and regarded as “works cited”
- Regardless of whether it is a reference you’re using, or quoting it needs to have the same structure: Last name of the author, page number, publisher, and year.
Sherman, Denise. “Corporate Newsletters Keep Employees Connected.” Triangle Business Journal, 1999.
- Using online sources goes more or less the same as when citing printed sources, with one addition, that is the information about the website you’ve taken the citation from (database, URL, access date). When it comes to proper usage of elements this style has, URL is not mandatory, however, in practice, it is very common due to the nature of the source. Information about the source (website) should be added at the end after information about the access date has been added.
This style is said to be way easier to use than the other two we’ve mentioned earlier. Especially for students as there is no need to prepare a separate page containing the title, and other information required by other styles. However, if you want to format your paper in this style properly, all the rules need to be comprehended before. And this may take a while.
This is the reason more and more students are opting to use paper writing services. After all, adjusting everything one has written takes ages, if it needs to be properly done. All the help one can utilize to cut down the time of finalizing their paper comes useful.