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What is MLA?
MLA (Modern Language Association) style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the
English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a
system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in
their essays and Works Cited pages.
- As with any citation stystem using it correctly protects the writer from
of plagiarism. As mentioned earlier in this guide proper citation builds
credibility to the paper by demonstrating accountability to
If you are asked to use MLA format, be sure to consult the MLA
Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). Publishing
scholars and graduate students should also consult the MLA Style
Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd edition). The MLA
Handbook is available in College Library and in the ASUCLA bookstore.
Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism
are many ways to avoid plagiarism, including developing good research
habits, good time management, and taking responsibility for your own
learning. Here are some specific tips:
Don't procrastinate with your research and assignments.
research takes time. Procrastinating makes it likely you'll run out of
time or be unduly pressured to finish. This sort of pressure can often
lead to sloppy research habits and bad decisions. Plan your research
well in advance, and seek help when needed from your professor, from
librarians and other campus support staff.
Commit to doing your own work.
you don't understand an assignment, talk with your professor. Don't
take the "easy way" out by asking your roommate or friends for copies of
old assignments. A different aspect of this is group work. Group
projects are very popular in some classes on campus, but not all. Make
sure you clearly understand when your professor says it's okay to work
with others on assignments and submit group work on assignments, versus
when assignments and papers need to represent your own work.
Be 100% scrupulous in your note taking.
you prepare your paper or research, and as you begin drafting your
paper. One good practice is to clearly label in your notes your own
ideas (write "ME" in parentheses) and ideas and words from others (write
"SMITH, 2005" or something to indicate author, source, source date).
Keep good records of the sources you consult, and the ideas you take
from them. If you're writing a paper, you'll need this information for
your bibliographies or references cited list anyway, so you'll benefit
from good organization from the beginning.
Cite your sources scrupulously.
cite other people's work, words, ideas and phrases that you use
directly or indirectly in your paper. Regardless of whether you found
the information in a book, article, or website, and whether it's text, a
graphic, an illustration, chart or table, you need to cite it. When you
use words or phrases from other sources, these need to be in quotes.
Understand good paraphrasing.
using synonyms or scrambling an author's words and phrases and then
using these "rewrites" uncredited in your work is plagiarism, plain and
simple. Good paraphrasing requires that you genuinely understand the
original source, that you are genuinely using your own words to
summarize a point or concept, and that you insert in quotes any unique
words or phrases you use from the original source. Good paraphrasing also requires that you cite the original source. Anything less and you veer into the dangerous territory of plagiarism.
For more information visit the Seaver College's Academic Integrity Policies.
Citation styles can be difficult to learn.
Here are links to guides for some of the most popular style guides.
Chicago Manual of Style
Turabian Guide for Writers
These Guides are from OWL, the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
Online Citation Generators
TIP! Save time and avoid plagiarism--cite correctly and easily with MLA or Chicago style!
Free Citation Creator for MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian.
Free service creates, formats, and punctuates bibliographies according to MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE writing style rules.
Manually enter information to generate MLA, APA and Chicago Style citations.