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Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of
Research Papers. Seventh Ed. New York: MLA of America, 2009.
The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at
Purdue and Purdue U, 2008. Web. 31 Oct. 2012.
What is research?
Research: to study materials and information already
in existence to find facts and come to new conclusions.
What are the purposes of research?
Research should be combined with your own ideas and
An important purpose of researching and writing is to
strengthen your own understanding of a topic.
What is a source?
Sources: different places where you can gather
Why do we need to research multiple sources?
What are the two main types of sources?
primary source: original, first-hand materials from the
time period involved
secondary sources: published materials that use or talk
about primary sources
Primary Sources
What are some examples of primary sources?
Diaries, Journals, Letters
Journal article with NEW findings
Secondary Sources
What are some examples of secondary sources?
Magazine articles
Research Questions
Why do we need research questions?
To help guide our learning
Successful research questions:
A successful research question directly relates to the paper topic.
A successful research question generates ideas for where to find
the answers.
A successful research question is not too broad or too narrow so
that it can actually be answered by research.
Research Question Activity
Decide whether the following research questions would be
appropriate for a research paper on life during the Holocaust.
What was life like during the Holocaust?
What was the diet for soldiers fighting in World War II?
What was life like for women in North Dakota during the early
years of the Holocaust?
Why did the United States enter World War II?
What was daily life like for Jews in Denmark during the later
years of the Holocaust?
For the successful research questions, what types of sources
would be most useful for research?
Research Question Activity
Develop two successful research questions for your current
research paper.
List sources that might help answer your research questions.
Gathering Research:
Paraphrase and Summarize
How do you collect your information while you’re researching?
Use regular paper, graphic organizers, or notecards
Paraphrase the information you find:
Read until you understand the info, looking up unknown words and
Look away from the source and restate the information in your own
Summarize your findings, again in your own words:
State the main point in once sentence.
Include the most important details that support the main idea.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism: passing off someone else’s ideas or words as
your own.
Plagiarism includes but is not limited to:
Deliberately borrowing, stealing or buying a paper from
someone else
Quoting a source without citing
Building on someone else’s ideas or arguments without
Relying on a source too heavily when taking notes or
In middle school, plagiarism results in a failure for that
assignment and parent contact.
In college, plagiarism may result in failure on the
assignment, the course, or expulsion.
In the job market, plagiarism results in losing your job
and public embarrassment.
Shattered Glass
Shattered Glass trailer
The reporter Stephen Glass once wrote articles for many
prestigious magazines, such as The New Republic and
Rolling Stone. He lost his job and his reputation when it
was discovered that he was making up many of his
stories, quotations, sources, and events.
Citing and Citations
What does it mean to cite your sources?
Cite (verb): to directly reference a text or
written work
Cite sources when you…
Use OR build on someone else’s words or ideas.
Gain information through interviewing another
Quote or copy the exact words or a “unique phrase”.
Reprint diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, videos,
Don’t cite sources when you…
Write from your own experiences, observations,
insights, thoughts, conclusions about a subject.
Use “common knowledge” or generally accepted facts,
things that everyone should already know.
Citations in MLA Format
What is a format?
Format: the specific way something is put together
What are some formats you are familiar with?
Formats of music: MP3, CD
Formats of movies: DVD, Blu-Ray, Instant Download
Professional writers (and students) cite sources in
specific formats; this shows that you understand the
“code” of academics and should be taken seriously.
The format used by students of the arts (like the
language arts) is from the MLA: Modern Language
Citing a Book
Find info on the title and copyright pages.
Copyright: the fine print containing the
legal rights of the creator.
The medium of publication for all “hard
copy” sources is Print.
Medium of publication: the way a text is
published, usually either Print or Web.
Citing a Reference Book
(Encyclopedia, Dictionary,
Find info on the title and copyright pages.
If there is not an author, edition, editor, or volume,
skip those parts.
Edition: different versions of a text
Editor: the person who determines the content of a
Volume: one part of a series or collection of texts
Citing a Periodical: Magazine,
Newspaper, Scholarly Journal
Periodical: a text published on a regular basis (daily, weekly,
Scholarly journal: a text that is for a certain group of professionals,
such as teachers, athletes, or scientists.
Find info on the pages of the specific article, the cover, and the
copyright page.
Periodicals come out more often than books, so their citations
require more info about the date they were published.
When a periodical is used, you are only researching one article or
section, so page numbers are included.
Citing Web Sources
Find info at the tops and bottom of web pages and
Citations for web sources are nearly the same as print,
with two major exceptions:
The publication is Web instead of Print.
Include the date you accessed, or looked at, the website
since they change often: Day Month Year.
If there is no publisher, write n.p.
If there is not publishing date, write n.d.
If you cannot find other information, skip those parts.
Citing an Image
Include media type such as “photograph” or
“online video clip”.
Citation Activity
Each group will receive one of the following questions. As
a table, research your question and prepare to present
to the class:
What are the major components of every citation?
What are the major differences between a print citation
and a web citation?
What are the differences between a book citation and a
magazine/newspaper article citation?
What are the differences between a citation for a
reference book and a citation for a regular book?
Citation Activity
Review the Works Cited page on the model research
Label the type of source for each entry based on the
Citing Other Sources
Access the Purdue MLA Citation Guide:
Citations are available for every resource possible:
Works of art
Word Searches
What is a keyword?
Keyword: the most important word relating to a topic
What is the difference between an online database and a search engine?
Online database: searches an organized and often reliable collection of
journal, newspaper, and magazine articles (Kentucky Virtual Library)
Search Engine: searches the entire Internet, regardless of whether they are
trustworthy sources
When doing research on search engines or databases, use keywords.
If you type one or two words, the search results will include
sites/documents that include ANY of those words.
If you type a phrase in quotation marks, the search results will include
sites/documents with that EXACT phrase.
If you have too many results, use a more precise keyword or phrase or try a
Evaluating Sources
What does it mean to evaluate?
Evaluate: To judge whether something has value
Think/Pair/Share: Why should we evaluate our sources of
Michael Scott on Wikipedia, State Farm Commercial
Quickly create a T- Chart and divide the following sources into
“good” or bad”:
online database
Evaluating Sources
Three questions for evaluating resources:
Authority: Does the source have a clear author or organization that
takes credit for the source?
Does the source look official or homemade?
Choose websites with .org, .gov, or .edu instead of .com
Accuracy: Does the source appear truthful?
Are sources cited so information can be checked?
Does the info agree with other sources?
Relevancy: Does the source answer your research questions?
Even if a source is “good”, you also have to make sure it’s good for
you and your research.
Evaluating Sources Activity
Evaluate the following websites to see if they are good
resources for the following research question:
“How did Anne Sullivan demonstrate perseverance?”
Using the graphic organizer, decide whether or not each site it
is a good source. Then do the same for a site you find on your
own topic:
Formatting a Research Paper
Set the margins of the paper to 1 inch on all sides
Double space the text of the paper
Type in a font that is easily read, such as Times New Roman
Indent the first line of each paragraph (using the tab key or
spacing five times
Create a header with your last name and page numbers in the
upper right-hand corner, one half-inch from the top
In the upper left-hand corner, list your name, your instructor’s
name, the course, and the date, each on a new line
Center the title; use a different format for headings (for
instance, capitalize all the letters)
Formatting a Works Cited Page
Begin the Works Cited page on a separate page at the
end of the research paper
Label the page Works Cited in the center
Create a hanging indent of five spaces of one half-inch
for the second line of citations
Put the entries in alphabetical order
Italicize the title of larger works (books, magazines) and
use “quotation marks” for the name of shorter works
(poems, articles)
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