Writing: A College Handbook - Documenting the Research Paper (Ch. 39)


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In the final draft of your research paper, you must clearly identify all the sources you have quoted from, summarized, or paraphrased. To do this you will need a style of documentation. Styles of documentation are established by professional societies and journals to regularize the citing of sources in each field. Though each field has its own special requirements, scientists and social scientists often cite their sources by parenthetical reference rather than numbered notes, and parenthetical citing has been adopted by many humanists also. This chapter explains just one kind of parenthetical citation; it offers a simplified version of the MLA style, which has been recommended by the Modern Language Association for research papers on literature, philosophy, art, and other subjects in the humanities. For styles of documentation in the social sciences and natural sciences, see chapter 42.

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