Sunday, April 8, 2012

Citing References in the Body of a Research Paper

MLA in-text citation pertains to the crediting of the references you have used for your research paper in the main body. The elements for creating a citation in the text are the author's last name and the page number of the summarized or paraphrased idea, or the directly quoted passage. They are enclosed in parentheses and are not separated by any kind of punctuation mark.
Needless to say, an in-text citation should have a corresponding MLA citation in the works cited page. For instance, when you paraphrase a passage from the The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English, you need to get the names of the authors of the book and the page number of the idea you've referred to. As such, the sentence will look like this (minus the quotation marks): "To better comprehend English written material in Southeast Asia, it is best to take a look at its culture first (Patke and Holden 10)." In the works cited page, this MLA in-text citation will be translated into the following: Patke, Rajeev S., and Philip Holden. The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print. This citation consists of several elements, namely, the authors' names, the book title, the location and name of publisher, and the year and medium of publication.
An MLA in text citation with multiple pages occurs when a long passage is directly quoted or a particularly lengthy idea is summarized and discussed. In this instance, the paraphrased idea and the MLA in-text citation will look like this (without the quotation marks): "The Japanese language has varied forms. However, these variations in the language should not be considered dialects. Their differences mostly lie in pronunciation and verb conjugation, although an educated person will have no difficulty in recognizing these slight distinctions. Like in every other language, Japanese vernacular has colloquial and formal language. Thekogo is used in everyday speech, while the bungo is used in literary texts. (Henderson 3: 4-5)"
For a long paraphrased idea, the citation should come after the last period (.) in the paragraph to indicate that the preceding sentences, and not only the last one, were all based on the author's idea. Notice also that there is a "3" that comes before the page numbers. This format is used for multivolume works to indicate that the third volume in the series is the one being referred to.
The corresponding MLA citation for this in-text citation is as such: Henderson, Harold G.Handbook of Japanese Grammar. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print. For this particular format, since volume 3 of the multivolume work has its own title, it can be considered an independent publication, that is, the title of the whole series need not be mentioned anymore.

Nathan Ake

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