ADVICE to Student Authors


As you write, keep in mind your subject and purpose, as well as your audience, that is, your colleagues in this class and others like them. How do you wish to be perceived by this audience? Maintain your own voice as you write, but also be sure each paper you submit, whether the first or a revised version, represents your best work and meets Honors standards. Edit and proofread carefully, and turn in work free of errors in logic, transitions, grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage.

In all your writing, and in oral presentations too, it is essential that you acknowledge the ideas of others upon whom your own thinking depends, including ideas obtained from such non-written sources as lectures, interviews, class discussions, and even casual conversations with colleagues and friends.  Give credit for ideas that are not your own as well as for passages of text that you summarize, paraphrase, or quote.
If material possessions are the property of our community at large, thoughts and ideas—expressed in speech or writing—constitute the “intellectual property” of our academic community.  To take another’s words or ideas and present them as your own is to commit plagiarism, an act of academic theft, and the punishments can be severe (cf. University of Massachusetts Amherst Academic Regulations, “Academic Honesty”).  On the other hand, to cite your sources properly is to acknowledge the intellectual ownership of others; proper citation affords you permission to use others’ work as a foundation for your own.
Adequate source citation is therefore a matter of academic honesty.  It is not only a matter of honesty, however.  Thorough documentation allows your readers fuller entry into your own thought process by answering four essential questions:
•    Who influenced your thinking on a given subject?
•    What precisely did these other thinkers say about your subject?
•    Where did you find their thoughts and observations?
•    Where can your readers find the full expression of these thoughts and observations in order to pursue them further?

Submitting another’s paper as one’s own is a clear act of plagiarism.  Inserting verbatim portions of another’s work into one’s own text without acknowledgement is clearly plagiarism as well.  But the need for proper documentation extends still further to encompass any information, argument, line of reasoning, or theory written or spoken by another—whether you quote it directly, summarize it succinctly, or paraphrase it in words entirely your own.  You must carefully document and cite sources of borrowed material appearing in all three forms.

What, other than your own unique observations and interpretations, need not be documented?  Common adages are free, though usually to be avoided as clichés (e.g. “Don’t cry over spilt milk”; “You can’t judge a book by its cover”).  Commonly known facts are free-use, too (“Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’s Theatre”; “The Caspian Sea is bordered on the south by Iran”). As a rule of thumb, facts that you find undocumented in five or more sources do not require your documentation.  A safer rule to follow: When in doubt, document.

Various disciplines rely on various styles of documentation. Writers in the arts and humanities usually follow the forms of the Modern Language Association (MLA); social scientists typically adhere to the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines; many writers in the natural sciences as well as mathematics follow the Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors or CBE) style.  Historians traditionally follow a fourth guide, The Chicago Manual of Style, often referred to as “Turabian” for Kate Turabian, dissertation secretary at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1958. Some book and journal editors produce their own individual style guides as well.

The content, arrangement, and format of documentation entries constitute a sign system guiding readers quickly and efficiently to the source of your ideas so that they can study those same sources themselves.  You may be asked to use other style systems in other courses.  No one style is absolutely better than the others.  We ask all members of the Dean’s Book Course community to accept the conventions of MLA style.  It suits most of our tasks, represents a widely recognized and easily accessible style, and will allow us all to “speak” a common documentation language.
The MLA style employs parenthetical in-text citations, a works cited list of sources actually cited in the paper (rather than a bibliography of all works referenced during the research process, whether cited in the text or not), and occasionally substantive endnotes. Parenthetical in-text citations provide the author and page referenced. The works cited list, alphabetized by authors’ surnames, gives complete bibliographic information for the associated work. Endnotes provide additional amplification or qualification to statements made in the body of the text. All are explained below and in readily available guides.

Please Note: The citation examples given below are by no means exhaustive. Consult an in-print or on-line guide to find an appropriate sample upon which to model other source types.
Faigley, Lester. The Penguin Handbook, UMass Custom Edition. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2006
Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.
Purdue Online Writing Lab. <>.
Wisconsin-Madison Writing Center. <>.

•    Whether you quote, summarize, or paraphrase another’s words, place the citation within parentheses immediately following the documented material.
•    If the author’s name appears in the text body, place only the page number (no p or pp) within parentheses; if author’s name does not appear in text, place last name followed by page number (no separating punctuation; no p or pp) in parentheses.
•    For book, journal, magazine, newspaper, play, and web site titles, use underline or italics (if italic font is clearly distinguishable from normal roman font); for poems, articles published in a book, journal, etc., use surrounding quotation marks.
•    If the citation falls at the sentence end, place period after the closing parenthesis.
•    If the quotation or other documented material falls mid-sentence, do not interrupt the flow of your words with the citation.  Instead, place the citation before a natural pause or sentence break, as close to the relevant material as possible.
•    For quotations longer than five printed lines, do not use quotation marks. Place the quotation in its own paragraph; indent that paragraph one inch.  And in this case, place the parenthetical citation after the quotation’s final period.

Citation Type    Example
One author, name in signal phrase    With a touch of irony Shipler concludes, “Blessed are the poor who have lawyers on their side” (230).
One author, without signal phrase (name in reference)    Currently “the most surrogacy-friendly state in the country” (Silver 175) is the Clintons’ home turf of Arkansas.
One work by two or three authors    “The Chinese police often close their eyes to the illegal human traffic” (Kang and Rigoulot 232).
One work by four or more authors    Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule discovered that most high school and college courses “begin not with the student’s knowledge, but with the teacher’s knowledge” (198).
Most high school and college courses “begin not with the student’s knowledge, but with the teacher’s knowledge” (Belenky et al. 198).
Indirect quotation
(quotation within source)    Foucault claims that “we cannot exercise power except through the production of truth” (qtd. in White and Epston 22).
One of two (or more) works by same author    We should not be too glib in our assumptions that “in the future we’ll have books and electronic texts” (Nunberg, “The Place” 14).
2nd of two works by same author (signal phrase)    “Technological predictions have a way of going awry,” Nunberg observes (Going Nucular 4).
Two (or more) sources cited together.    How digital technology alters the relationship between punctuation and typography has been debated by others (Helfand 279; Solomon 289).
On-line or print source, no author    Violence in Iraq has resulted in steadily declining oil production, including a drop of 400,000 barrels in November 2004 (“OPEC” 2). [Note: This is a shortened form of title appearing in the works cited list.] Play  (Numbers indicate act, scene, and line.)    Shakespeare recognized the force of war to “make ambition virtue” (Othello 3.3.351).
Personal interview or public presentation, name in signal phrase    When interviewed, Elbow responded that the key to good reading, is to be “both objective and subjective at the same time, while always remaining respectful of both text and writer.”
Personal interview or public presentation, name in reference    The key to effective listening, we learned, is to find a balance between objectivity and subjectivity, between “doubting” and “believing” (Elbow).

•    Title list “Works Cited” and place after main text body and endnotes if used.
•    Arrange overall Works Cited list in alphabetical order by the authors’ last names.
•    Format entries as hanging indents (1st line, flush left; succeeding lines, .5” indent).
•    Each entry generally contains three main divisions: Author’s last name, first name. Title. Publication information including city, publisher, and date.
•    Web source entries usually contain two dates: the first is the date of the site’s publication or last update; the second is the date you accessed the site.
•    Consult an online or print style guide for additional entry types.

Source Type    Example                  Works Cited
Book with multiple authors    Belenky, Mary Field, et al. Women’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic, 1986.
Personal interview    Elbow, Peter. Personal interview. 12 Feb. 2004.
Article in a collection or anthology    Giddings, Paula. “Strange Fruit.” Race-ing Justice: En-gendering Power. Ed. Toni Morrison. New York: Pantheon-Random, 1992. 441-65.
Spoken address or talk    Hedges, Chris. Address to graduates. Rockford College. Rockford, Ill. 20 May 2003.
Document or report
(no author listed)    National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges. Writing: A Ticket to Work or a Ticket Out.  New York: College Board, 2004.
Class presentation    Regalé, Robin. Presentation. Dean’s Book Course. Machmer Hall, UMass Amherst. 25 Sept. 2007.
Book by one author translated; publisher with imprint    Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return. Trans. Anjali Singh. New York: Pantheon-Random, 2006.
Book with one author; publisher with imprint    Stern, Jessica. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Ecco-HarperCollins, 2003.
Book with one author
(republished paperback)    Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America. 2004. New York: Vintage-Random, 2005.

MLA style allows for the occasional use of endnotes in addition to parenthetical citations to amplify or qualify points made in the body of the text or to provide additional bibliographic information, including sources of interest not cited in the text. Note numbers should be inserted in the text following the relevant passage or quotation, in Arabic superscript half space above the line. Numbers should be in numerical order beginning with 1 and run consecutively throughout the text.

•    Place endnotes after the body of the paper and before the Works Cited in a section labeled “Notes.”
•    The first line of each note should be indented 5 spaces (or by a tab).
•    Introduce each entry with the number corresponding to its textual reference. Like the in-text notation, the number is formatted in Arabic superscript half space above the line.
. . . .The introduction of technology into public school classrooms has raised questions in the minds of many regarding the fate of literacy as we know it, and especially the fate of the book as principal artifact of literate society.1 A more pressing question, however, remains fair and equitable access . . . .
1The presentation made by Robin Regalé prompted me to explore the possibility of the book’s total elimination by 2010.  For a sampling of opinions on this issue, see Nunberg 20-2; Helfand 278-80; and Carla Hesse, “Books in Time,” The Future of the Book, ed. Geoffrey Nunberg (Berkeley: Univ. of CA, 1996) 21-33.

Sources on the World Wide Web that students and scholars use in their research include scholarly projects, reference databases, the texts of books, articles in periodicals, and professional and personal sites. Entries in a works-cited list for such sources contain as many items from the list below as are relevant and available. Following this list are sample entries for some common kinds of Web sources.
1.    Name of the author, editor, compiler, or translator of the source (if available and relevant), reversed for alphabetizing and followed by an abbreviation, such as ed., if appropriate.
2.    Title of a poem, short story, article, or similar short work within a scholarly project, database, or periodical (in quotation marks); or title of a posting to a discussion list or forum (taken from the subject line and put in quotation marks), followed by the description Online posting
3.    Title of a book (underlined)
4.    Name of the editor, compiler, or translator of the text (if relevant and if not cited earlier), preceded by the appropriate abbreviation, such as Ed.
5.    Publication information for any print version of the source
6.    Title of the scholarly project, database, periodical, or professional or personal site (underlined); or, for a professional or personal site with no title, a description such as Home page
7.    Name of the editor of the scholarly project or database (if available)
8.    Version number of the source (if not part of the title) or, for a journal, the volume number, issue number, or other identifying number
9.    Date of electronic publication, of the latest update, or of posting
10.    For a work from a subscription service, the name of the service and–if a library is the subscriber–the name and city (and state abbreviation, if necessary) of the library
11.    For a posting to a discussion list or forum, the name of the list or forum
12.    The number range or total number of pages, paragraphs, or other sections, if they are numbered
13.    Name of any institution or organization sponsoring or associated with the Web site
14.    Date when the researcher accessed the source
15.    Electronic address, or URL, of the source (in angle brackets); or, for a subscription service, the URL of the service’s main page (if known) or the keyword assigned by the service

Citation Type    Example
Scholarly Project    Victorian Women Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett. Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997
Professional Site    Portuguese Language Page. U of Chicago. 1 May 1997 <>.
Personal Site    Lancashire, Ian. Home page. 1 May 1997 <http://>.
Book    Nesbit, E[dith]. Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism. London, 1908. Victorian Women Writers Project.
Ed. Perry Willett. Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997
Poem    Nesbit, E[dith]. “Marching Song.” Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism. London, 1908. Victorian Women
Writers Project. Ed. Perry Willett. Apr. 1997. Indiana U. 26 Apr. 1997
Article in a Reference Database    “Fresco.” Britannica Online. Vers. 97.1.1. Mar. 1997. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 29 Mar. 1997
Article in a Journal    Flannagan, Roy. “Reflections on Milton and Ariosto.” Early Modern Literary Studies 2.3 (1996):
16 pars. 22 Feb. 1997 <>.
Article in a Magazine    Landsburg, Steven E. “Who Shall Inherit the Earth?” Slate 1 May 1997. 2 May 1997
Work from a Subscription Service    Koretz, Gene. “Economic Trends: Uh-Oh, Warm Water.” Business Week 21 July 1997: 22. Electric
Lib. Sam Barlow High School Lib., Gresham, OR. 17 Oct. 1997 <>.
“Table Tennis.” Compton’s Encyclopedia Online. Vers. 2.0. 1997. America Online. 4 July 1998.
Keyword: Compton’s.
Posting to a Discussion List    Merrian, Joanne. “Spinoff: Monsterpiece Theatre.” Online posting. 30 Apr. 1994. Shaksper: The
Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference. 27 Aug. 1997
Article in On-line newspaper, no author    “OPEC Approves Cutting Oil Production.” New York Times on the Web 10 Dec. 2004. 12 Oct. 2007 < 2004/12/10/business/worldbusiness/10oil.html&OQ=th>.
Entire website    Sheep Have Rights Too. Ed. Mary Herder. 2004. Bureau of Alternative Animal Husbandry. 29 Sept. 2007 <>.
2nd entry by same author: Article in on-line scholarly journal    —-. “Monkey see, monkey do: if pols ignore poverty, the press does, too.” Columbia Journalism Review 44.4 (Nov-Dec 2005):11(2).  Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. Univ Mass Amherst. 6 December 2005 <>.

Online video website    Shimabukuro, Jake. “Ukulele weeps by Jake Shimabukuro.” 04 April 2008. Online video clip. YouTube. Accessed on 22 April 2006. <>

In-text Citations
In parenthetical citations, you will treat online resources the same as you would treat other kinds of resources, according to their type (book, journal article, etc.).
As Alfred Skitter points out, “Landscape description in this period is in transition, from traditional paysage moralisé to pictorialism, and verse such as Saint-Amant’s La Solitude, for instance, anticipates Romantic “mood-music” in the age of the emblem book” (59).

Source cited:  Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.  6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.