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MLA Format Helps

Research POWTOONS!

Plan Ahead -- How long will it take to do a research project? (YouTube version)

     Plan ahead (MP4 version)

Choose a topic -- what makes a "good" topic (YouTube version)

     Choose a topic (MP4 version)

Develop a research plan -- what are "subtopics?" (YouTube version)

     Create a research plan (MP4 version)

Locate sources of information -- print and web sources, how to cite print sources (YouTube version)

     Locate sources (MP4 version)

Web sources -- databases and internet sites and how to cite them (YouTube version)

    Web sources (MP4 version)

Evaluating Credibility on the Web -- How can you determine if a web site is reliable? (YouTube, Jenny Thomas)

Steps to Research

1. PLAN AHEAD

What do I already know about the research process?

  • Research Rubric for Beginning Researchers  -- see if you are a beginner, adequate, accomplished, or master researcher.
  • Plan Ahead -- watch the video to see how much time you'll need.
  • Get organized: Create a folder on your student drive; start a blank Works Cited page. Save any research database articles you find in the folder, and keep notes and rough drafts there. Get a "flash drive" to easily carry information back and forth from home to school.

2. CHOOSE A TOPIC

What interests me enough that I will investigate it for several weeks?

  • 3.Do some "pre-searching" in the library by reading a short article from a reference source such as an encyclopedia. 
  • Is your topic too broad? Too narrow? As you read, jot down important people, events, and ideas which may be good subtopics for your research.
  • Watch the Choose a Topic video for practical tips.

3. DEVELOP A RESEARCH PLAN WITH SUBTOPICS

How can I divide this topic up into subtopics?

4. LOCATE SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Where can I find information on my research topic?

  • Watch Locate Sources of Information to understand the difference between print and web sources.
  • Use general terms from your subtopics web as keywords to search in the online library catalog to locate books in the library.
  • Build and print a list of books to look for, here's how.
  • Use the Dewey Decimal system to locate books on the shelf in the library.
  • E-books will open from within the library catalog.
  • DATABASES: the passwords bookmark will help you locate information in our research databases
  • Watch the short Web Sources video to understand the types of web sources.
  • Watch the short Research and the Internet  presentation from Purdue University's OWL English with your class for ideas on effective web searches, including Advanced Searches, searching by "domains," and Boolean Operators.

5. EVALUATE SOURCES

Is this source of information accurate? authoritative? free of bias? current and reliable?

Your teacher will help you use these resources:

6. READ, WRITE, CITE

Have I read enough about my topic to begin selecting information to take notes?

  • Read your sources carefully. Think about what you read (pencils down!), and select important information. Does it fit your research plan? Do you understand enough general background information about your topic to make sense of your notes?
  • Take notes as your teacher directs; note the page number where you find information so that you can later create in-text citations as needed. An example of how your notes should look: Note Taking Format (also in the Useful Information box).
  • Organize your notes by subtopics using the research plan you created in Step 3. 
  • Turn your notes into an outline before writing a rough draft.
  • Cite your sources! Check the MLA Format Helps on this web page for samples of finished research papers, or use the MLA Guide in the library reference section to be sure you are correctly typing the finished research paper.

Introduction to MLA

From McMaster Library, using MLA 8th edition to cite your sources (3:38)

 

Help with MLA 8th Edition

Modern Language Association web site:

MLA Style Center Quick Guide

Ask the MLA: Frequently Asked Questions

What's New in the Eighth Edition

Formatting a Research Paper

Sample Research Papers

College Websites:

Chico College - Meriam Library - Citing Sources the 9 elements of an MLA citation, with explanations

Concordia University MLA Style Guide  clear explanations with links to how to cite various types of sources

Purdue OWL MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format  link from this page to other resources, thorough explanations

Useful handouts:

MLA Practice Template pdf new template using "containers"

Spartanburg Community College Library MLA 8th Edition - Works Cited (pdf) format with examples for each type of citation

An Introduction to MLA 8th Edition pdf (Delta College, Hannah Abramson) explanation of "containers"

What's New in MLA Style? (Canisus Library, Bedford/St Martin's) changes in the details of MLA style

 

 

Avoiding plagiarism

 

Plagiarism: How to Recognize & Avoid It  (from University of Indiana)

How to Avoid Plagiarism (from University of Wisconsin)  

Web Evaluation Guides

RADCAB fun, interactive online web evaluation

Web Evaluation A ,A, B, C's

Web Evaluation Guide checklist

EasyBIB (register, choose web site, type the internet address or URL into the box and if there are a lot of "red" blank boxes, it may not be not a good site for research!)

Berkeley Web Evaluation Checklist (from University of California, Berkeley Library)