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Oceanography Research Guide

Citing Sources and Plagiarism

The most common way to cite sources is to use a bibliography or "Works Cited" list at the end of your paper. The works cited list includes a citation for each of the sources you used to write your paper. The citations are formatted in a consistent style according to one of several standard citation formats. The two most common citation formats for college research papers are: (1) The APA Publication Manual (American Psychological Association) - predominately used in Social Sciences and (2) The MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association) - predominately used in Humanities and Liberal Arts. A third citation format is CMS Handbook (Chicago Manual of Style) and is used primarily in History, but also in Humanities and Social Sciences. Copies of the MLA Handbook (LB 2369 M52 2021), the APA Manual (BF76.7 .P83 2020), and the CMS Handbook (Z253 .U69 2017) are available in the Library stacks and the reference collection. Assistance with writing your paper is available at the VVC Writing Center. Always check with your instructor for the required citation format.

MLA Citation

Source: MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America2021.  

The MLA 9 style states that the following elements should be used in the order indicated (see left) for creating a citation for all types of sources. When citing sources, the new style organizes elements 1 – 9 in the order. Notice the punctuation marks indicated for each element. Basic commas and periods should follow each element accordingly. The use of the term “container” refers to the larger whole where the source is found, such as an article located in a magazine. 

Example of print book citation using core elements:


Caution: Depending on the screen size of your computer or device, the formatting in the examples may not display correctly. Note that all citations should be double-spaced and indented five spaces after the first line.

***Be careful to distinguish italicized sections in citations***

Book by one author  

Greenfield, Susan. Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains. Random House,


Book by two authors 

Haugen, David M., and Susan Musser. Media Violence. Greenhaven P, 2009.

Book by an organization or corporate author  

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Article in a reference book  

Richardson, James T. "New Religious Movements and the Law." Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in

America, edited by Eugene Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft, vol. 1, Greenwood P, 2006, pp. 65-83.

Book with an editor  

Eastin, Matthew S., editor. Encyclopedia of Media Violence. Sage Publications, 2013.

Work in an anthology  

Park, Ruth. “Playing Beatie Bow.” Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature, edited by Jack Zipes, et al., W.W. Norton, 2005, pp.


Article from a Periodical (Magazine)  

Specter, Michael. "DNA Revolution." National Geographic, vol. 230, no. 2, Aug. 2016, pp. 30-55.

 Article from a scholarly journal 

Howland, Robert H. "Oxazepam for the Treatment of Substance Abuse and Depression." Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and

Mental Health Services, vol. 54, no. 5, May 2016, pp. 21-24.

Article from "Taking Sides"  (3 or More Authors)
Williams, Kaylene, et al. "Product Placement Effectiveness: Revisited and Renewed." Taking Sides: Clashing

Views on Media and Society, edited by Alison Alexander and Jarice Hanson, McGraw-Hill, 2014, pp. 91-96.

Entry from the "Gale Literary" Publications (Literary Criticism Reprinted from a Book)

Hedrick, Joan D. "Journeying Across the Ghostly Wastes of a Dead World." Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His

Work, U of North Carolina P, 1982. Short Story Criticism, edited by Justin Karr, vol. 49, Gale, 2002, pp. 340-43.

 Newspaper article 

Trottman, Melanie, and Brody Mullins. “Labor Fears Partisan Defections.” The Wall Street Journal, 2 June 2016, p. A4.

Online Sources

Note:  MLA recommends including the web address or URL for online sources (do not include the http://).  Databases or web sites may offer “permalinks” which are stable URLs.  Use a DOI (digital object identifier) when available in a database.  MLA recommends including the date of access if the source does not have a publication date.  Check with your instructor about the need to include web addresses and/or access dates.


Periodical (Magazine) article from an online database - Academic Search Premier

Knopf, Alison. "Incarcerated Children More Likely to Have Experienced Trauma." Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, vol.

28, no. 13, 28 Mar. 2016, pp. 3-4.  Academic Search Premier,


Scholarly Journal article from an online database - Academic Search Premier

Pinsof, David, and Martie Haselton. "The Political Divide Over Same-Sex Marriage." Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 4,

Apr. 2016, pp. 435-42. Academic Search Premier,


Newspaper article from an online database - Newspaper Source Plus and LexisNexis Academic

Kepner, Tyler.  “Bryant Turns Back the Clock, Then Exits.”  New York Times, 15 Apr. 2016, p. B12.  Newspaper Source



Svrluga, Susan. “George Mason Law School Officially Renamed in Honor of Antonin Scalia.” The Washington Post, 18

May 2016, p. B8. Lexis Nexis Academic, lnacui2api/api/version1/getDocCui?lni=5JT4-

NS51-DXXY31XX&csi=270944,270077,110 59,8411&hl=t&hv=t&hnsd=f&hns=t&hgn=t&oc=00240&perma=true.      

Online Database- Opposing Viewpoints in Content (Article Reprinted from a Magazine and a Topic Overview)

Edelman, Peter. "The State of Poverty in America." American Prospect, vol. 6, no. 23, 22 June 2012. Opposing Viewpoints

in Context,






“Minimum Wage.”  Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2015.  Opposing Viewpoints in





Article from an Online Database – CQ Researcher

Wanlund, William. "Modernizing the Nuclear Arsenal." CQ Researcher, vol. 26, no. 27, 29 July 2016, pp. 625-48. CQ


Article from an Online Database – Literature Resource Center (Literary Criticism Reprinted from a Book and a Magazine)

Henthorne, Tom. "Dystopia with a Difference: The Lessons of Panem and District 13." Approaching the Hunger Games

Trilogy, McFarland, 2012, pp. 108-24.   Literature Resource Center,


Maio, Kathi.  “Girl Power in Dystopia.”  The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, vol. 127, nos. 1-2, July-Aug.  2014,

p. 199.  Literature Resource Center,


Article from an Online Encyclopedia (Source with DOI and source with URL)

Strawson, Galen. “Free Will.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V014-2.


"Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011".  Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2016,


Electronic/Digital Book Citation—EBSCOhost E-Books

Harrold, Stanley. Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War. U of North Carolina P, 2010. EBSCOhost

E-book, =343662&site=ehost-live.

Internet Source – Special Collection or Scholarly Project (No Publication Date on Source, Includes Access Date)

By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s.” Library of Congress, Accessed 9 June 2016.

Internet source - Document from professional site or information database

“Cancer Alternative Therapies.” MedlinePlus, United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 7

June 2016,

Posting of an Article at a Website-Blog

Smith, Dakota. “Election 2016 Round-up: Rematches, Rivalries, and Big Money.” The Sausage Factory, Los Angeles

Daily News, 8 June 2016,

Internet source - Article from a news service

Chrisafis, Angelique. “‘France is Not in Chaos’: PM Manuel Valls Says Labor Reforms Must Go Ahead.” Guardian, 2 June



Internet Source – Video from YouTube

D’Annunzio, Melissa Huseman.  “The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism.”  YouTube, TED-Ed, 14 June 2013,

MLA (9th ed.) style requires the use of parentheses (in-text citations) to cite sources rather than footnotes or endnotes. Use the following guidelines when applying in-text citations: 

  • To cite a source, include the author’s last name and the specific page number where the information was found in parenthesis after the quote or paraphrase (see Example 1).
  • Include the author’s name in the text of your paper and cite the page number in parenthesis (see Example 2).
  • To cite a source that does not have an author, include the first word or words of the title of the work and page number in parenthesis (see Example 3).
  • To cite a Web site or a source that does not have a page number, include the author's name in the text or at the end of the quote in parenthesis (see Example 4).

[Refer to MLA Handbook pages 227-230 and 231-286 for further details and examples].



In-text Citation Examples

Example 1

As had been the case with Dada nearly sixty years earlier, "the instigators of the revolutionary avant-garde in music comprised a tiny number of people" (Bracewell 242).

[In this example, both author's name and page number are placed in parentheses.]

Example 2

According to Bracewell, "the instigators of the revolutionary avant-garde in music comprised a tiny number of people" (242).

[In this example, the author’s name is used in the text, so only the page number is placed in parentheses.]

Example 3

Roxy Music’s style has been described as artistic rock that combined “wistful romantic irony with initially archaic and later subdued, lush rock” (“Roxy” 855).

[In this example, there is no author and the title of the article “Roxy Music” is shortened to “Roxy” and followed by the page number.]

Example 4

"Many of the best from the new crop of arty pop bands from that era owed a lot to Roxy's earlier incarnations, from the playfully quirky theatrical apparel to the emotionally detached, affected cool of some of their best music" (Clark).

[In this example, the quote is taken from a Web site without a page number designation and the author's name is included in parenthesis.]

In the "In-text Citation" examples, the author’s last name or brief title included in parentheses corresponds with the names and titles listed alphabetically on the “Works Cited” page. This format enables the reader to quickly identify the source and access the same materials when necessary.


Works Cited 

Bracewell, Michael. Re-make, Re-model: Becoming Roxy Music.

DaCapo, 2008.

Clark, Rick. "Roxy Music's Avalon." Mix. Penton Media, 6 Jan. 2004,


“Roxy Music.” New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.

edited by Patricia Romanowski and Holly George-Warren,


How Can You Avoid Plagiarism?

To avoid plagiarism you need to recognize when credit is due. Types of plagiarism include direct copying, paraphrasing, and using another person's idea, opinion, or theory. Take a look at the table below:

You Must Give Credit When Using: Credit Is Not Needed When Using:
  • Summaries, paraphrases, or direct quotations from a source
  • Reprints of diagrams, charts, illustrations, or pictures Little-known facts
  • Other people's opinions
  • Results of other people's research (opinion polls, case studies, statistics, etc.)
  • Quotations or paraphrases from people you interview
  • Common knowledge (facts that can be found in many places and are likely to be known by many people)
  • Your own ideas, opinions, experiences, and conclusions
  • Your own research (surveys or observations)

Examples of Plagiarism

Example One: Paraphrasing from the original source

Original Text
(from Democracy in America By Brian P. Janiskee and Ken Masugi , 2003)
The influence of the entertainment industry on state politics is limited. Because the federal government has jurisdiction over the entertainment industry via the Federal Communications Commission, most of the entertainment industry’s lobbying efforts focus on federal issues. Also, many Hollywood stars parlay their high visibility into elected office or positions of political influence.
Unacceptable Paraphrase
The power of the entertainment industry on state and local politics is inadequate. The reason why is that the federal government has jurisdiction over the entertainment industry through the FCC, most of the entertainment industry’s lobbying efforts look at federal issues. Also, many Hollywood actors use their fame to move into elected offices or influence politicians.
Why is it Plagiarism?
  1. Only a few words were changed or the order of words was altered.
  2. The source of the text is not cited at the end.
Acceptable Paraphrase The influence the entertainment industry has on state politics is narrow. The entertainment industry however tends to have more of an impact on federal issues due to the fact that the entertainment industry has oversight from the Federal Communications Commission. "Hollywood stars parlay their high visibility into elected office or positions of political influence. The late Sonny Bono became mayor of Palm Springs and then was elected to Congress" (Janiskee 36).
Why is it Acceptable?
  1. The passage was rewritten in the writer's own words while maintaining the meaning of the original text.
  2. The source of the text is cited at the end.
Note: You can use paraphrase and quotations together. This is particularly useful for phrases that you do not wish to reword because it may alter the meaning.

Example Two
Quoting from the original source

Original Text
(from Conservatism an Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present by Jerry Z. Miller, 1997).
Both American liberals and conservatives in the 1960s embraced the notion of a “culture of poverty,” a phrase coined by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis. To liberals, the concept suggested that the culture of the poor, which limited their upward social mobility, could be transformed by government agencies such as schools, enrichment programs for pre-school children, and job training programs.
Unacceptable Quote
"Both American liberals and conservatives in the 1960s embraced the notion of a culture of the poor. To the liberals, the concept suggested that the poor, who had limited social mobility, could rely on government programs to transform their social class."
Why is it Plagiarism?
  1. The passage has not been quoted accurately.
  2. The source of the quotation is not cited at the end.
Acceptable Quotation It is believed that American liberals during the 1960s embraced the phrase a "culture of poverty." "To liberals, the concept suggested that the culture of the poor, which limited their upward social mobility, could be transformed by government agencies such as schools, enrichment programs for pre-school children, and job training programs" (Miller 336).
Why is it Acceptable?
  1. The first sentence is an acceptable paraphrase.
  2. The second sentence is quoted accurately.
  3. The whole passage is cited.