Using Sources

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.


There is no way of exchanging information that does not involve an act of judgment.


For God’s sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think. — WALTER HAMILTON MOBERLY

A problem adequately stated is a problem on its way to being solved.


I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated.



We have pointed out that one gets ideas by writing. In the exercise of writing a draft, ideas begin to form, and these ideas stimulate further ideas, especially when one questions—when one thinks about— what one has written. But of course in writing about complex, seri- ous questions, nobody is expected to invent all the answers. On the contrary, a writer is expected to be familiar with the chief answers already produced by others and to make use of them through selec- tive incorporation and criticism. In short, writers are not expected to



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reinvent the wheel; rather, they are expected to make good use of it and perhaps round it off a bit or replace a defective spoke. In order to think out your own views in writing, you are expected to do some preliminary research into the views of others.

When you are trying to understand an issue, high-quality sources will inform you of the various approaches others have taken and will help you establish what the facts are. Once you are informed enough to take a position, the sources you present to your readers will inform and persuade them, just as expert wit- nesses are sometimes brought in to inform and persuade a jury.

Research isn’t limited to the world of professors and scientists. In one way or another, everyone does research at some point. If you want to persuade your city council to increase the number of bicycle lanes on city streets, you could bolster your argument with statistics on how much money the city could save if more people rode their bikes to work. If you decide to open your own business, you would do plenty of market research to persuade your bank that you could repay a loan. Sources (whether published informa- tion or data you gather yourself through interviews, surveys, or observation) are not only useful for background information; well- chosen and carefully analyzed sources are evidence for your read- ers that you know what you’re talking about and that your interpretation is sound.

Research is often misconstrued as the practice of transcribing information. In fact, it’s a process of asking questions and gathering information that helps you come to conclusions about an issue. By using the information you find as evidence, you can develop an effective argument. But don’t spend too much time searching, and then waiting until the last minute to start writing. As you begin your search, jot down observations and questions. When you find a useful source, take notes on what you think it means in your own words. This way, you won’t find yourself with a pile of printouts and books and no idea what to say about them. What you have to say will flow naturally out of the pre-writing you’ve already done— and that pre-writing will help guide your search.

The process of research isn’t always straightforward and neat. It involves scanning what other people have said about a topic and seeing what kinds of questions have been raised. As you poke and pry, you will learn more about the issue, and that, in turn, will help you develop a question to focus your efforts. Once you have a central idea—a thesis—you can sharpen your search to seek out the evidence that will make your readers sit up and take notice.


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Consider arguments about whether athletes should be permit- ted to take anabolic steroids, drugs that supposedly build up mus- cle, restore energy, and enhance aggressiveness. A thoughtful argument on this subject will have to take account of information that the writer can gather only by doing some research.

• Do steroids really have the effects commonly attributed to them?

• And are they dangerous?

• If they are dangerous, how dangerous are they?

After all, competitive sports are inherently dangerous, some of them highly so. Many boxers, jockeys, and football players have suffered severe injury, even death, from competing. Does anyone believe that anabolic steroids are more dangerous than the contests them- selves? Obviously, again, a respectable argument about steroids will have to show awareness of what is known about them.

Or take this question:

Why did President Truman order that atomic bombs be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

The most obvious answer is to end the war, but some historians believe he had a very different purpose. In their view, Japan’s defeat was ensured before the bombs were dropped, and the Japanese were ready to surrender; the bombs were dropped not to save American (or Japanese) lives but to show Russia that the United States would not be pushed around. Scholars who hold this view, such as Gar Alperovitz in Atomic Diplomacy (1965), argue that Japanese civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were incinerated not to save the lives of American soldiers who otherwise would have died in an invasion of Japan but to teach Stalin a lesson. Dropping the bombs, it is argued, marked not the end of the Pacific War but the beginning of the cold war.

One must ask: What evidence supports this argument or claim or thesis, which assumes that Truman could not have thought the bomb was needed to defeat the Japanese because the Japanese knew they were defeated and would soon surrender without a hard-fought defense that would cost hundreds of thousands of lives? What about the momentum that had built up to use the bomb? After all, years of effort and $2 billion had been expended to produce a weapon with the intention of using it to end the war against Germany. But Germany had been defeated without the use


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of the bomb. Meanwhile, the war in the Pacific continued unabated. If the argument we are considering is correct, all this background counted for little or nothing in Truman’s decision, a decision purely diplomatic and coolly indifferent to human life. The task for the writer is to evaluate the evidence available and then to argue for or against the view that Truman’s purpose in dropping the bomb was to impress the Soviet government.

A student writing on the topic will certainly want to consult the chief books on the subject (Alperovitz’s, cited above, Martin Sherwin’s A World Destroyed [1975], and John Toland’s The Rising Sun [1970]) and perhaps reviews of them, especially the reviews in journals devoted to political science. (Reading a searching review of a serious scholarly book is a good way to identify quickly some of the book’s main contributions and controversial claims.) Truman’s letters and statements and books and articles about Truman are also clearly relevant, and doubtless important articles are to be found in recent issues of scholarly journals and electronic sources. In fact, even an essay on such a topic as whether Truman was morally justified in using the atomic bomb for any purpose will be a stronger essay if it is well informed about such matters as the estimated loss of life that an invasion would have cost, the inter- national rules governing weapons, and Truman’s own statements about the issue.

How does one go about finding the material needed to write a well-informed argument? We will provide help, but first we want to offer a few words about choosing a topic.


We will be brief. If a topic is not assigned, choose one that

• Interests you and

• Can be researched with reasonable thoroughness in the allotted time.

Topics such as censorship, the environment, and sexual harassment obviously impinge on our lives, and it may well be that one such topic is of especial interest to you. But the scope of these topics makes researching them potentially overwhelming. Type the word censorship into an Internet search engine, and you will be referred to millions of information sources.


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This brings us to our second point—a manageable topic. Any of the previous topics would need to be narrowed substantially before you could begin searching in earnest. Similarly, a topic such as the causes of World War II can hardly be mastered in a few weeks or argued in a ten-page paper. It is simply too big.

You can, however, write a solid paper analyzing, evaluating, and arguing for or against General Eisenhower’s views on atomic warfare. What were they, and when did he hold them? (In his books of 1948 and 1963 Eisenhower says that he opposed the use of the bomb before Hiroshima and that he argued with Secretary of War Henry Stimson against dropping it, but what evidence sup- ports these claims? Was Eisenhower attempting to rewrite history in his books?) Eisenhower’s own writings and books and other information sources on Eisenhower will, of course, be the major sources for a paper on this topic, but you will also want to look at books and articles about Stimson and at publications that contain information about the views of other generals, so that, for instance, you can compare Eisenhower’s view with Marshall’s or MacArthur’s.

Spend a little time exploring a topic to see if it will be interest- ing and manageable by taking one or more of these approaches.

• Do a Web search on the topic. Though you may not use any of the sites that turn up, you can quickly put your finger on the pulse of popular approaches to the issue by scanning the first page or two of results to see what issues are getting the most attention.

• Plug the topic into one of the library’s article databases. Again, just by scanning titles you can get a sense of what questions are being raised.

• Browse the library shelves where books on the topic are kept. A quick check of the tables of contents of recently published books may give you ideas of how to narrow the topic.

• Ask a librarian to show you where specialized reference books on your topic are found. Instead of general encyclope- dias, try sources like these: CQ Researcher Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics Encyclopedia of Bioethics Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics


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• Talk to an expert. Members of the faculty who specialize in the area of your topic might be able to spell out some of the most significant controversies around a topic and may point you toward key sources.


What strategy you use for finding good sources will depend on your topic. Researching a current issue in politics or popular cul- ture may involve reading recent newspaper articles, scanning infor- mation on government Web sites, and locating current statistics. Other topics may be best tackled by seeking out books and schol- arly journal articles that are less timely, but more in-depth and ana- lytical. You may want to supplement library and Web sources with your own field work by conducting surveys or interviews.

Critical thinking is crucial to every step of the research process. Whatever strategy you use, remember that you will want to find material that is authoritative, represents a balanced approach to the issues, and is persuasive. As you choose your sources, bear in mind they will be serving as your “expert witnesses” as you make a case to your audience. Their quality and credibility are crucial to your argument.

Finding Quality Information on the Web The Web is a valuable source of information for many topics and less helpful for others. In general, if you’re looking for information on public policy, popular culture, current events, legal affairs, or for any subject of interest to agencies of the federal or state government, the Web is likely to have useful material. If you’re looking for literary criticism or scholarly analysis of historical or social issues, you will be better off using library databases, described later in this chapter.

To make good use of the Web, try these strategies.

• Use the most specific terms possible when using a general search engine; put phrases in quotes.

• Use the advanced search option to limit a search to a domain (e.g. .gov for government sites) or by date (such as Web sites updated in the past week or month).

• If you’re not sure which sites might be good ones for research, try starting with one of the selective directories listed below instead of a general search engine.


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• Consider which government agencies and organizations might be interested in your topic and go directly to their Web sites.

• Follow “about” links to see who is behind a Web site and why they put the information on the Web. If there is no “about” link, delete everything after the first slash in the URL to go to the parent site to see if it provides information.

• Use clues in URLs to see where sites originate. For example, URLs containing .k12 are hosted at elementary and second- ary schools, so may be intended for a young audience; those ending in .gov are government agencies, so they tend to pro- vide official information.

• Always bear in mind that the sources you choose must be persuasive to your audience. Avoid sites that may be dis- missed as unreliable or biased.

Some useful Web sites include the following:

Selective Web Site Directories Infomine <> Intute <> Librarian’s Internet Index <>

Current News Sources Google News <> Kidon Media-Link < .php>

Digital Primary Sources American Memory <> Avalon Project <> American Rhetoric <>

Government Information GPO Access <> Thomas (federal legislation) <> University of Michigan Documents Center <http://www.lib.umich .edu/govdocs/>

Scholarly or Scientific Information Google Scholar <> Scirus <>

Statistical Information American FactFinder <> Fedstats <> Pew Global Attitudes Project <> U.S. Census Bureau <>


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Finding Articles Using Library Databases Your library has a wide range of general and specialized databases available through its Web site. Some databases provide references to articles (and perhaps abstracts or summaries) or may provide direct links to the entire text of articles. General and interdisciplinary data- bases include Academic Search Premier (produced by the EBSCOhost company) and Expanded Academic Index (from InfoTrac).

More specialized databases include PsycINFO (for psychology research) and ERIC (focused on topics in education). Others, such as JSTOR, are full-text digital archives of scholarly journals. You will likely have access to newspaper articles through LexisNexis or Proquest Newsstand, particularly useful for articles that are not available for free on the Web. Look at your library’s Web site to see what your options are, or stop by the reference desk for a quick per- sonalized tutorial.

When using databases, first think through your topic using the listing and diagramming techniques described on pages 147–48. List synonyms for your key search terms. As you search, look at words used in titles and descriptors for alternative ideas and make use of the “advanced search” option so that you can easily combine multiple terms. Rarely will you find exactly what you’re looking for right away. Try different search terms and different ways to nar- row your topic.



Links to Wikipedia ( often rise to the top of Web search results. This vast and decentralized site provides over a million articles on a wide variety of topics. However, anyone can contribute to the online encyclopedia, so the accuracy of articles varies, and, in some cases the coverage of a controversial issue is one-sided or disputed. Even when the articles are accurate, they provide only basic information. Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, cautions students against using it as a source, except for obtaining general background knowledge: “You’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.”1

1”Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation,” Chronicle of Higher Educa-tion: The Wired Campus, 12 June 2006, 16 Nov. 2006 < campus/article/1328/wikipedia-founder-discourages-academic-use-of-his-creation>.

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Most databases have an advanced search option that offers forms for combining multiple terms. In Figure 7.1, a search on “anabolic steroids” retrieved far too many articles. In this advanced search, three concepts are being combined in a search: anabolic steroids, legal aspects of their use, and use of them by athletes. Related terms are combined with the word “or”: law or legal. The last letters of a word have been replaced with an asterisk so that any ending will be included in the search. Athlet* will search for athlete, athletes, or athletics. Options on both sides of the list of articles retrieved offer opportunities to refine a search by date of publication or to restrict the results to only academic journals, mag- azines, or newspapers.

As with a Web search, you’ll need to make critical choices about which articles are worth pursuing. In this example, the first article may not be useful because it concerns German law. The second and third look fairly current and potentially useful. Only the third has a full text link, but the others may be available in another database. Many libraries have a program that will check other databases for you at the push of a button; in this case it’s indicated by the “Find full text” button.

As you choose sources, keep track of them by selecting choice ones in the list. Then you can print off, save, or e-mail yourself the references you have selected. You may also have an option to export references to citation management program such as RefWorks or



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EndNote. These programs allow you to create your own personal database of sources in which you can store your references and take notes. Later, when you’re ready to create a bibliography, these pro- grams will automatically format your references in MLA, APA, or another style. Ask a librarian if one of these programs is available to students on your campus.

Locating Books The books that your library owns can be found through its online catalog. Typically, you can search by author or title or, if you don’t have a specific book in mind, by keyword or subject. As with data- bases, think about different search terms to use, keeping an eye out for subject headings used for books that appear relevant. Take advan- tage of an “advanced search” option. You may, for example, be able to limit a search to books on a particular topic in English published within recent years. In addition to books, the catalog will also list DVDs, sound recordings, and other formats.

Unlike articles, books tend to cover broad topics, so be prepared to broaden your search terms. It may be that a book has a chapter or ten pages that are precisely what you need, but the catalog typi- cally doesn’t index the contents of books in detail. Think instead of what kind of book might contain the information you need.

Once you’ve found some promising books in the catalog, note down the call numbers, find them on the shelves, and then browse. Since books on the same topic are shelved together, you can quickly see what additional books are available by scanning the shelves. As you browse, be sure to look for books that have been published recently enough for your purposes. You do not have to read a book cover-to-cover to use it in your research. Instead, skim the introduction to see if it will be useful, then use its table of con- tents and index to pinpoint the sections of the book that are the most relevant.

If you have a very specific name or phrase you are searching for, you might try typing it into Google Book Search <http://books>, which searches the contents of over 7 million scanned books. Though it tends to retrieve too many results for most topics, and you may only be able to see a snippet of context, it can help you locate a particular quote or identify which books might include an unusual name or phrase. There is a “find in a library” link that will help you determine whether the books are available in your library.


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You ought to try to consult experts—for instance, members of the faculty or other local authorities on art, business, law, and so forth. You can also consult interested laypersons. Remember, however, that experts have their biases and that “ordinary” people may have knowl- edge that experts lack. When interviewing experts, keep in mind Picasso’s comment: “You mustn’t always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.”

If you are interviewing your peers, you will probably want to make an effort to get a representative sample. Of course, even within a group not all members share a single view—many African Americans favor affirmative action but not all do, and many gays favor legalizing gay marriage but, again, some don’t. Make an effort to talk to a range of people who might be expected to offer varied opin- ions. You may learn some unexpected things.

Here we will concentrate, however, on interviews with experts. 1. Finding subjects for interviews If you are looking for

expert opinions, you may want to start with a faculty member on your campus. You may already know the instructor, or you may have to scan the catalog to see who teaches courses relevant to your topic. Department secretaries and college Web sites are good sources of information about the special interests of the faculty and also about lecturers who will be visiting the campus.

2. Doing preliminary homework (1) In requesting the interview, make evident your interest in the topic and in the person. (If you know something about the person, you will be able to indi- cate why you are asking him or her.) (2) Request the interview, preferably in writing, a week in advance, and ask for ample time— probably half an hour to an hour. Indicate whether the material will be confidential, and (if you want to use a recorder) ask if you may record the interview. (3) If the person accepts the invitation, ask if he or she recommends any preliminary reading, and establish a time and a suitable place, preferably not the cafeteria during lunchtime.

3. Preparing thoroughly (1) If your interviewee recom- mended any reading or has written on the topic, read the material. (2) Tentatively formulate some questions, keeping in mind that (unless you are simply gathering material for a survey of opinions) you want more than yes or no answers. Questions beginning with Why and How will usually require the interviewee to go beyond yes and no.

Even if your subject has consented to let you bring a recorder, be prepared to take notes on points that strike you as especially


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significant; without written notes, you will have nothing if the recorder has malfunctioned. Further, by taking occasional notes you will give the interviewee some time to think and perhaps to rephrase or to amplify a remark.

4. Conducting the interview (1) Begin by engaging in brief conversation, without taking notes. If the interviewee has agreed to let you use a recorder, settle on the place where you will put it. (2) Come prepared with an opening question or two, but as the interview proceeds, don’t hesitate to ask questions that you had not anticipated asking. (3) Near the end (you and your subject have probably agreed on the length of the interview) ask the subject if he or she wishes to add anything, perhaps by way of clarifying some earlier comment. (4) Conclude by thanking the interviewee and by offering to provide a copy of the final version of your paper.

5. Writing up the interview (1) As soon as possible — certainly within twenty-four hours after the interview—review your notes and clarify them. At this stage, you can still remember the meaning of your abbreviated notes and shorthand devices (maybe you have been using n to stand for nurses in clinics where abortions are performed), but if you wait even a whole day you may be puzzled by your own notes. If you have recorded the inter- view, you may want to transcribe all of it—the laboriousness of this task is one good reason why many interviewers do not use recorders—and you may then want to scan the whole and mark the parts that now strike you as especially significant. If you have taken notes by hand, type them up, along with your own observa- tions, for example, “Jones was very tentative on this matter, but she said she was inclined to believe that . . .” (2) Be especially care- ful to indicate which words are direct quotations. If in doubt, check with the interviewee.


Each step of the way, you will be making choices about your sources. As your research proceeds, from selecting promising items in a database search to browsing the book collection, you will want to use the techniques for previewing and skimming detailed on pages 000–00 in order to make your first selection. Ask yourself some basic questions.

• Is this source relevant?

• Is it current enough?


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• Does the title and/or abstract suggest it will address an impor- tant aspect of my topic?

• Am I choosing sources that represent a range of ideas, not simply ones that support my opinion?

Once you have collected a number of likely sources, you will want to do further filtering. Examine each one with these ques- tions in mind.

• Is this source credible? Does it include information about the author and his or her credentials that can help me decide whether to rely on it? In the case of books, you might check a database for book reviews for a second opinion. In the case of Web sites, find out where the site came from and why it has been posted on the Web. Don’t use a Web source if you can’t determine its authorship or purpose.

• Will my audience find this source credible and persuasive? Some publishers are more selective about which books they pub- lish than others. University presses, for instance, have sev- eral experts read and comment on manuscripts before they decide which to publish. A story about U.S. politics from the Washington Post, whose writers conduct first-hand reporting in the nation’s capital, carries more clout than a story from a small-circulation newspaper that is drawing its information from a wire service. A scholarly source may be more impres- sive than a magazine article.

• Am I using the best evidence available? Quoting directly from a government report may be more effective than quoting a news story that summarizes the report. Finding evidence that supports your claims in a president’s speeches or letters is more persuasive than drawing your conclusions from a page or two of a history textbook.

• Am I being fair to all sides? Make sure you are prepared to address alternate perspectives, even if you ultimately take a position. Avoid sources that clearly promote an agenda in favor of ones that your audience will consider balanced and reliable.

• Can I corroborate my key claims in more than one source? Compare your sources to ensure that you aren’t relying on facts that can’t be confirmed. If you’re having trouble confirming a source, check with a librarian.

• Do I really need this source? It’s tempting to use all the books and articles you have found, but if two sources say essentially


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the same thing, choose the one that is likely to carry the most weight with your audience.

The information you will look for as you evaluate a Web source is often the same as what you need to record in a citation. You can streamline the process of creating a list of works cited by identifying these elements as you evaluate a source.

In Figure 7.2, the URL includes the ending .gov—meaning it is a government Web site, an official document that has been vetted.



URL—Site has a .gov domain.



Link will explain that this institute is a government agency.

Corporate author

Web site name

Title of page

Table of contents

Scanning list will give an idea of whether source is reliable and useful.9


















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There is an “about” link that will explain the government agency’s mission. The date is found at the bottom of the page: “revised 2006.” This appears to be a high-quality source of basic information on the issue.

The information you need to cite this report is also on the page; make sure you keep track of where you found the source and when, since Web sites can change. One way to do this is by creating an account at a social bookmarking site such as Delicious <> or Diigo <> where you can store and annotate Web sites.

Figure 7.3 shows how the information on a Web page might lead you to reject it as a source. Clearly, though this site purports to pro- vide educational information, its primary purpose is to sell products.


Table of contents looks useful, but . . . Disclaimers seem defensive.

Images seem to promote steriod use.

Steroids are for sale.

FIGURE 7.3 A HOMEPAGE FROM A COMMERCIAL WEB SITE This is a .com (commercial) site.

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The graphics emphasize the supposed benefits of these performance- enhancing drugs, a visual incentive to promote their use. The dis- claimers about legal liability and age requirements send up a red flag.


When it comes to taking notes, all researchers have their own habits that they swear by, and they can’t imagine any other way of working. We still prefer to take notes on four- by six-inch index cards, while others use a notebook or a computer for note taking. If you use a citation management program, such as RefWorks or EndNote, you can store your personal notes and commentary with


✓ A CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING PRINT SOURCES For Books: � Is the book recent? If not, is the information I will be using from

it likely or unlikely to change over time? � What are the author’s credentials? � Is the book titled toward entertainment, or is it in-depth and

even- handed? � Is the book broad enough in its focus and written in a style I

can understand? � Does the book relate directly to my tentative thesis, or is it of

only tangential interest? � Do the arguments in the book seem sound, based on what I

have learned about skillful critical reading and writing?

For Articles from Periodicals: � Is the periodical recent? � Is the author’s name given? Does he or she seem a credible

source? � Does the article treat the topic superficially or in-depth? Does it

take sides, or does it offer enough context so that you can make up your own mind?

� How directly does the article speak to my topic and tentative thesis?

� If the article is from a scholarly journal, am I sure I understand it?

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the citations you have saved. Using the program’s search function, you can easily pull together related notes and citations, or you can create project folders for your references so that you can easily review what you’ve collected.

Whatever method you use, the following techniques should help you maintain consistency and keep organized during the research process:

1. If you use a notebook or cards, write in ink (pencil gets smudgy), and write on only one side of the card or paper. (Notes on the backs of cards tend to get lost, and writing on the back of paper will prevent you from later cutting up and rearranging your notes.)


✓ A CHECKLIST FOR EVALUATING ELECTRONIC SOURCES An enormous amount of valuable material is available on the World Wide Web—but so is an enormous amount of junk. True, there is also plenty of junk in books and journals, but most printed material has been subjected to a review process: Book publishers and editors of journals send manuscripts to specialized readers who evaluate them and recommend whether the material should or should not be published. Publishing on the Web is quite different. Anyone can publish on the Web with no review process: All that is needed is the right software. Ask yourself: � What person or organization produced the site (a commercial

entity, a nonprofit entity, a student, an expert)? Check the electronic address to get a clue about the authorship. If there is a link to the author’s homepage, check it out to learn about the author. Does the author have an affiliation with a respectable institution?

� What is the purpose of the site? Is the site in effect an infomer- cial, or is it an attempt to contribute to a thoughtful discussion?

� Are the sources of information indicated and verifiable? If possible, check the sources.

� Is the site authoritative enough to use? (If it seems to contain review materials or class handouts, you probably don’t want to take it too seriously.)

� When was the page made available? Is it out of date?

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2. Put only one idea in each notebook or computer entry or on each card (though an idea may include several facts).

3. Put a brief heading on each entry or card, such as “Truman’s last words on A-bomb.”

4. Summarize, for the most part, rather than quote at length. 5. Quote only passages in which the writing is especially effec-

tive, or passages that are in some way crucial. 6. Make sure that all quotations are exact. Enclose quoted

words within quotation marks, indicate omissions by ellipses (three spaced periods: . . .), and enclose within square brack- ets ([]) any insertions or other additions you make.

7. Never copy a passage, changing an occasional word. Either copy it word for word, with punctuation intact, and enclose it within quotation marks, or summarize it drastically. If you copy a passage but change a word here and there, you may later make the mistake of using your note verbatim in your essay, and you will be guilty of plagiarism.

8. Give the page number of your source, whether you summa- rize or quote. If a quotation you have copied runs in the original from the bottom of page 210 to the top of page 211, in your notes put a diagonal line (/) after the last word on page 210, so that later, if in your paper you quote only the material from page 210, you will know that you must cite 210 and not 210–11.

9. Indicate the source. The author’s last name is enough if you have consulted only one work by the author; but if you consult more than one work by an author, you need further identification, such as the author’s name and a short title.

10. Add your own comments about the substance of what you are recording. Such comments as “but contrast with Sherwin” or “seems illogical” or “evidence?” will ensure that you are thinking as well as writing and will be of value when you come to transform your notes into a draft. Be sure, however, to enclose such notes within double diago- nals (//), or to mark them in some other way, so that later you will know they are yours and not your source’s. If you use a computer for note taking, you may wish to write your comments in italics or in a different font.

11. In a separate computer file or notebook page or on separate index cards, write a bibliographic entry for each source. The information in each entry will vary, depending on whether the source is a book, a periodical, an electronic document,


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and so forth. The kind of information (for example, author and title) needed for each type of source can be found in the sections on MLA Format: The List of Works Cited (p. 227) or APA Format: The List of References (p. 241).


Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else’s work. The word comes from a Latin word for “kidnapping,” and plagiarism is indeed the stealing of something engendered by someone else. We won’t deliver a sermon on the dishonesty (and folly) of plagiarism; we intend only to help you understand exactly what plagiarism is. The first thing to say is that plagiarism is not limited to the unac- knowledged quotation of words.

A paraphrase is a sort of word-by-word or phrase-by-phrase translation of the author’s language into your own language. Unlike a summary, then, a paraphrase is approximately as long as the origi- nal. Why would anyone paraphrase something? There are two good reasons:

• You may, as a reader, want to paraphrase a passage in order to make certain that you are thinking carefully about each word in the original;

• You may, as a writer, want to paraphrase a difficult passage in order to help your reader.

Paraphrase thus has its uses, but it is often unnecessarily used, and students who overuse it may find themselves crossing the border into plagiarism. True, if you paraphrase you are using your own words, but

• You are also using someone else’s ideas, and, equally important,

• You are using this other person’s sequence of thoughts.

Even if you change every third word in your source, you are plagiarizing.

Here is an example of this sort of plagiarism, based on the pre- vious sentence:

Even if you alter every second or third word that your source gives, you still are plagiarizing.


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Further, even if the writer of this paraphrase had cited a source after the paraphrase, he or she would still have been guilty of pla- giarism. How, you may ask, can a writer who cites a source be guilty of plagiarism? Easy. Readers assume that only the gist of the idea is the source’s, and that the development of the idea—the way it is set forth—is the present writer’s work. A paraphrase that runs to several sentences is in no significant way the writer’s work: the writer is borrowing not only the idea but the shape of the pres- entation, the sentence structure. What the writer needs to do is to write something like this:

Changing an occasional word does not free the writer from the obligation to cite a source.

And the source would still need to be cited, if the central idea were not a commonplace one.

The point that even if you cite a source for your paraphrase you are nevertheless plagiarizing—unless you clearly indicate that the entire passage is a paraphrase of the source—cannot be overemphasized.

You are plagiarizing if, without giving credit, you use someone else’s ideas —even if you put these ideas entirely into your own words. When you use another’s ideas, you must indicate your indebtedness by saying something like “Alperovitz points out that . . .” or “Secretary of War Stimson, as Martin Sherwin notes, never expressed himself on this point.” Alperovitz and Sherwin pointed out something that you had not thought of, and so you must give them credit if you want to use their findings.

Again, even if after a paraphrase you cite your source, you are plagiarizing. How, you may wonder, can you be guilty of plagiarism if you cite a source? Easy. A reader assumes that the citation refers to information or an opinion, not to the presentation or develop- ment of the idea; and of course, in a paraphrase you are not pre- senting or developing the material in your own way.

Now consider this question: Why paraphrase? Often there is no good answer. Since a paraphrase is as long as the original, you may as well quote the original, if you think that a passage of that length is worth quoting. Probably it is not worth quoting in full; probably you should not paraphrase but rather should drastically summarize most of it, and perhaps quote a particularly effective phrase or two. As we explained on pages 36–39, the chief reason to paraphrase a passage is to clarify it—that is, to make certain that you and your


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readers understand a passage that—perhaps because it is badly written—is obscure.

Generally, what you should do is

• Take the idea and put it entirely into your own words, per- haps reducing a paragraph of a hundred words to a sentence of ten words, but you must still give credit for the idea.

• If you believe that the original hundred words are so per- fectly put that they cannot be transformed without great loss, you’ll have to quote them in full and cite your source. You may in this case want to tell the reader why you are quoting at such great length.

In short, chiefly you will quote or you will summarize, and only rarely will you paraphrase, but in all cases you will cite your source.


✓ A CHECKLIST FOR AVOIDING PLAGIARISM � In my notes did I always put quoted material within quotation

marks? � In my notes did I summarize in my own words and give credit

to the source for the idea? � In my notes did I avoid paraphrasing, that is, did I avoid

copying, keeping the structure of the source’s sentences but using some of my own words? (Paraphrases of this sort, even with a footnote citing the source, are not acceptable, since the reader incorrectly assumes that the writing is essentially yours.)

� If in my paper I set forth a borrowed idea, do I give credit, even though the words and the shape of the sentences are entirely my own?

� If in my paper I quote directly, do I put the words within quotation marks and cite the source?

� Do I not cite material that can be considered common knowledge (material that can be found in numerous reference works, such as the date of a public figure’s birth or the population of San Francisco or the fact that Hamlet is regarded as a great tragedy)?

� If I have the slightest doubt about whether I should or should not cite a source, have I taken the safe course and cited the source?

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There is no point in paraphrasing an author’s hundred words into a hundred of your own. Either quote or summarize, but cite the source.

Keep in mind, too, that almost all generalizations about human nature, no matter how common and familiar (for instance, “males are innately more aggressive than females”) are not indisputable facts; they are at best hypotheses on which people differ and there- fore should either not be asserted at all or should be supported by some cited source or authority. Similarly, because nearly all statis- tics (whether on the intelligence of criminals or the accuracy of lie detectors) are the result of some particular research and may well have been superseded or challenged by other investigators, it is advisable to cite a source for any statistics you use unless you are convinced they are indisputable, such as the number of registered voters in Memphis in 1988.

On the other hand, there is something called common knowledge, and the sources for such information need not be cited. The term does not, however, mean exactly what it seems to. It is common knowledge, of course, that Ronald Reagan was an American president (so you don’t cite a source when you make that statement), and under the conventional interpretation of this doctrine, it is also common knowledge that he was born in 1911. In fact, of course, few people other than Reagan’s wife and children know this date. Still, information that can be found in many places and that is indisputable belongs to all of us; therefore, a writer need not cite her source when she says that Reagan was born in 1911. Probably she checked a dictionary or an encyclopedia for the date, but the source doesn’t matter. Dozens of sources will give exactly the same information, and in fact, no reader wants to be bothered with a citation on such a point.

Some students have a little trouble developing a sense of what is and what is not common knowledge. Although, as we have just said, readers don’t want to hear about the sources for information that is indisputable and can be documented in many places, if you are in doubt about whether to cite a source, cite it. Better risk bor- ing the reader a bit than risk being accused of plagiarism.


When several sources have been identified and gathered, many researchers prepare an annotated bibliography. This is a list provid- ing all relevant bibliographic information (just as it will appear in


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your Works Cited list or References list) as well as a brief descrip- tive and evaluative summary of each source—perhaps one to three sentences. Your instructor may ask you to provide an annotated bibliography for your research project.

An annotated bibliography serves four main purposes:

• First, constructing such a document helps you to master the material contained in any given source. To find the heart of the argument presented in an article or book, phrase it briefly, and comment on it, you must understand it fully.

• Second, creating an annotated bibliography helps you to think about how each portion of your research fits into the whole of your project, how you will use it, and how it relates to your topic and thesis.

• Third, an annotated bibliography helps your readers: They can quickly see which items may be especially helpful in their own research.

• Fourth, in constructing an annotated bibliography at this early stage, you will get some hands-on practice at biblio- graphic format, thereby easing the job of creating your final bibliography (the Works Cited list or References list for your paper).

Following are two examples of entries for an annotated bibliog- raphy in MLA (Modern Language Association) format for a project on the effect of violence in the media. The first is for a book, the second for an article from a periodical. Notice that each

• Begins with a bibliographic entry—author (last name first), title, and so forth—and then

• Provides information about the content of the work under con- sideration, suggesting how each may be of use to the final research paper.

Clover, Carol J. Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern

Horror Film. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992. The author focuses on

Hollywood horror movies of the 1970s and 1980s. She studies rep-

resentations of women and girls in these movies and the responses

of male viewers to female characters, suggesting that this relation-

ship is more complex and less exploitative than the common wis-

dom claims.


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Winerip, Michael. “Looking for an Eleven O’Clock Fix.” New York

Times Magazine 11 Jan. 1998: 30-40. The article focuses on the ris-

ing levels of violence on local television news and highlights a sta-

tion in Orlando, Florida, that tried to reduce its depictions of

violence and lost viewers as a result. Winerip suggests that people

only claim to be against media violence, while their actions prove



Organizing Your Notes If you have read thoughtfully, taken careful (and, again, thoughtful) notes on your reading, and then (yet again) thought about these notes, you are well on the way to writing a good paper. You have, in fact, already written some of it, in your notes. By now you should clearly have in mind the thesis you intend to argue. But you still have to organize the material, and, doubtless, even as you set about organizing it, you will find points that will require you to do some additional research and much additional thinking.

Divide your notes into clusters, each devoted to one theme or point (for instance, one cluster on the extent of use of steroids, another on evidence that steroids are harmful, yet another on arguments that even if harmful they should be permitted). If your notes are in a computer file, use your word processor’s Cut and Paste features to rearrange the notes into appropriate clusters. If you use index cards, simply sort them into packets. If you take notes in a notebook, either mark each note with a number or name indicating the cluster to which it belongs, or cut the notes apart and arrange them as you would cards. Put aside all notes that — however interesting — you now see are irrelevant to your paper.

Next, arrange the clusters or packets into a tentative sequence. In effect, you are preparing a working outline. At its simplest, say, you will give three arguments on behalf of X and then three counterarguments. (Or you might decide that it is better to alter- nate material from the two sets of three clusters each, following each argument with an objection. At this stage, you can’t be sure of the organization you will finally use, but you can make a tentative decision.)


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The First Draft Draft the essay, without worrying much about an elegant opening paragraph. Just write some sort of adequate opening that states the topic and your thesis. When you revise the whole later, you can put some effort into developing an effective opening. (Most experienced writers find that the opening paragraph in the final version is almost the last thing they write.)

If your notes are on cards or notebook paper, carefully copy into the draft all quotations that you plan to use. If your notes are in a computer, you may simply cut and paste them from one file to another. Do keep in mind, however, that rewriting or retyping quotations will make you think carefully about them and may result in a more focused and thoughtful paper. (In the next section of this chapter we will talk briefly about leading into quotations and about the form of quotations.) Be sure to include citations in your drafts so that if you must check a reference later it will be easy to do so.

Later Drafts Give the draft, and yourself, a rest — perhaps for a day or two — and then go back to it. Read it over, make necessary revisions, and then outline it. That is, on a sheet of paper chart the organization and development, perhaps by jotting down a sentence summariz- ing each paragraph or each group of closely related paragraphs. Your outline or map may now show you that the paper obviously suffers from poor organization. For instance, it may reveal that you neglected to respond to one argument or that one point is needlessly treated in two places. It may also help you to see that if you gave three arguments and then three counterarguments, you probably should instead have followed each argument with its rebuttal. On the other hand, if you alternated arguments and objections, it may now seem better to use two main groups, all the arguments and then all the criticisms.

No one formula is always right. Much will depend on the complexity of the material. If the arguments are highly complex, it is better to respond to them one by one than to expect a reader to hold three complex arguments in mind before you get around to responding. If, however, the arguments can be stated briefly and clearly, it is effective to state all three and then to go on to the responses. If you write on a word processor, you will find it easy, even fun, to move passages of text around. Even so, you will


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probably want to print out a hard copy from time to time to review the structure of your paper. Allow enough time to pro- duce several drafts.

A Few More Words about Organization There is a difference between

• A paper that has an organization and

• A paper that helpfully lets the reader know what the orga- nization is.

Write papers of the second sort, but (there is always a “but”) take care not to belabor the obvious. Inexperienced writers sometimes either hide the organization so thoroughly that a reader cannot find it, or they so ploddingly lay out the structure (“Eighth, I will show . . .”) that the reader becomes impatient. Yet it is better to be overly explicit than to be obscure.

The ideal, of course, is the middle route. Make the overall strat- egy of your organization evident by occasional explicit signs at the beginning of a paragraph (“We have seen . . . ,” “It is time to consider the objections . . . ,” “By far the most important . . .”); elsewhere make certain that the implicit structure is evident to the reader. When you reread your draft, if you try to imagine that you are one of your classmates, you will probably be able to sense exactly where explicit signs are needed and where they are not needed. Better still, exchange drafts with a classmate in order to exchange (tactful) advice.

Choosing a Tentative Title By now a couple of tentative titles for your essay should have crossed your mind. If possible, choose a title that is both interesting and informative. Consider these three titles:

Are Steroids Harmful?

The Fuss over Steroids

Steroids: A Dangerous Game

“Are Steroids Harmful?” is faintly interesting, and it lets the reader know the gist of the subject, but it gives no clue about the writer’s thesis, the writer’s contention or argument. “The Fuss over Steroids” is somewhat better, for it gives information about the writer’s posi- tion. “Steroids: A Dangerous Game” is still better; it announces the


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subject (“steroids”) and the thesis (“dangerous”), and it also displays a touch of wit because “game” glances at the world of athletics.

Don’t try too hard, however; better a simple, direct, informative title than a strained, puzzling, or overly cute one. And remember to make sure that everything in your essay is relevant to your title. In fact, your title should help you to organize the essay and to delete irrelevant material.

The Final Draft When at last you have a draft that is for the most part satisfactory, check to make sure that transitions from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph are clear (“Further evidence,” “On the other hand,” “A weakness, however, is apparent”), and then worry about your opening and your closing paragraphs. Your opening paragraph should be clear, interesting, and focused; if neither the title nor the first paragraph announces your thesis, the second paragraph probably should do so.

The final paragraph need not say, “In conclusion, I have shown that . . .” It should effectively end the essay, but it need not summarize your conclusions. We have already offered a few words about final paragraphs (p. 170), but the best way to learn how to write such paragraphs is to study the endings of some of the essays in this book and to adopt the strategies that appeal to you.

Be sure that all indebtedness is properly acknowledged. We have talked about plagiarism; now we will turn to the business of introducing quotations effectively.


Incorporating Your Reading into Your Thinking: The Art and Science of Synthesis A much-quoted passage—at least it is much-quoted by teachers of composition and especially by teachers of courses in argument—is by Kenneth Burke (1887–1993), a college dropout who became one of America’s most important twentieth-century students of rhetoric. Burke wrote:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you


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exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.

—The Philosophy of Literary Form (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1941), 110–11.

Why do we quote this passage? Because it is your turn to join the unending conversation.

Notice that Burke says, in this metaphoric discussion of the life of a thoughtful person, “You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar.” There may be times in your daily life when it is acceptable to make use of Twitter and to shoot off 140 characters, but for serious matters you will want to think about what you are saying before you give it to the world, and you will want to convey your thoughts in more than 140 characters. (We admit that quite a lot can be said in 140 characters, for instance the forceful words in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that “Separate educational facilities are inher- ently unequal,” or the anonymous insight that “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” but most of us lack the genius that will enable us to produce such compressed wisdom.)

During the process of reading, and afterwards, you will want to listen, think, say to yourself something like

• “No, no, I see things very differently; it seems to me that . . . “ or

• “Yes, of course, but on one large issue I think I differ,” or

• “Yes, sure, I agree, but I would go further and add . . .” or

• “Yes, I agree with your conclusion, but I hold this conclusion for reasons very different from the ones that you offer.”

During your composition courses, at least (and we think during your entire life), you will be reading or listening, and will sometimes want to put in your oar—you will sometimes want to respond in writing, for example in the form of a Letter to the Editor, or in a memo at your place of employment. In the course of your response


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you almost surely will have to summarize very briefly the idea or ideas you are responding to, so that your readers will understand the context of your remarks. These ideas may not come from a single source; you may be responding to several sources. For instance, you may be responding to a report and also to some comments that the report evoked. In any case, you will state these ideas briefly and fairly, and will then set forth your thoughtful responses, thereby giv- ing the reader a statement that you hope represents an advance in the argument, even if only a tiny one. That is, you will synthesize sources, combining existing material into something new, drawing nourishment from what has already been said (giving credit, of course), and converting it into something new—a view that you think is worth considering.

Let’s pause for a moment and consider this word synthesis. You probably are familiar with photosynthesis, the chemical process in green plants that produces carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Synthesis, again, combines pre-existing elements and pro- duces something new. In our use of the word synthesis, even a view that you utterly reject becomes a part of your new creation because it helped to stimulate you to formulate your view; without the idea that you reject, you might not have developed the view that you now hold. Consider the words of Francis Bacon, Shakespeare’s contemporary:

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Your instructor will expect you to digest the readings—this does not mean you need to accept them, but only that you need to read them thoughtfully—and that, so to speak, you make them your own thoughts by refining them. Your readers will expect you to tell them what you make out of the assigned readings, which means that you will go beyond writing a summary and will synthesize the material into your own contribution. Your view is what is wanted, and readers expect this view to be thoughtful—not mere summary and not mere tweeting.


A RULE FOR WRITERS: In your final draft you must give credit to all of your sources. Let your reader know whether you are quoting (in this case, you will use quotation marks around all material directly quoted), or whether you are summarizing (you will explicitly say so), or whether you are paraphrasing (again, you will explicitly say so).

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The Use and Abuse of Quotations When is it necessary, or appropriate, to quote? Sometimes the reader must see the exact words of your source; the gist won’t do. If you are arguing that Z’s definition of rights is too inclusive, your readers have to know exactly how Z defined rights. Your brief sum- mary of the definition may be unfair to Z; in fact, you want to con- vince your readers that you are being fair, and so you quote Z’s definition, word for word. Moreover, if the passage is only a sen- tence or two long, or even if it runs to a paragraph, it may be so compactly stated that it defies summary. And to attempt to para- phrase it—substituting natural for inalienable, and so forth—saves no space and only introduces imprecision. There is nothing to do but to quote it, word for word.

Second, you may want to quote a passage that could be sum- marized but that is so effectively stated that you want your readers to have the pleasure of reading the original. Of course, readers will not give you credit for writing these words, but they will give you credit for your taste and for your effort to make especially pleasant the business of reading your paper.

In short, use (but don’t overuse) quotations. Speaking roughly, quotations

• Should occupy no more than 10 to 15 percent of your paper, and

• They may occupy much less.

Most of your paper should set forth your ideas, not other people’s ideas.

How to Quote Long and Short Quotations Long quotations (five or more lines of typed prose or three or more lines of poetry) are set off from your text. To set off material, start on a new line, indent one inch from the left margin, and type the quotation double-spaced. Do not enclose quotations within quotation marks if you are setting them off.

Short quotations are treated differently. They are embedded within the text; they are enclosed within quotation marks, but oth- erwise they do not stand out.

All quotations, whether set off or embedded, must be exact. If you omit any words, you must indicate the ellipsis by substituting three spaced periods for the omission; if you insert any words or


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punctuation, you must indicate the addition by enclosing it within square brackets, not to be confused with parentheses.

Leading into a Quotation Now for a less mechanical matter, the way in which a quotation is introduced. To say that it is “intro- duced” implies that one leads into it, though on rare occasions a quotation appears without an introduction, perhaps immediately after the title. Normally one leads into a quotation by giving

• The name of the author and (no less important)

• Clues signaling the content of the quotation and the purpose it serves in the present essay. For example:

William James provides a clear answer to Huxley when he says

that “. . .”

The writer has been writing about Huxley and now is signaling read- ers that they will be getting James’s reply. The writer is also signaling (in “a clear answer”) that the reply is satisfactory. If the writer believed that James’s answer was not really acceptable, the lead-in might have run thus:

William James attempts to answer Huxley, but his response does

not really meet the difficulty Huxley calls attention to. James

writes, “. . .”

or thus:



Ask yourself the following questions. If you cannot answer yes to at least one of the questions, consider summarizing the material rather than quoting it in full. � Is the quotation given because it is necessary for the reader to

see the exact wording of the original? � Is the quotation given because the language is especially

engaging? � Is the quotation given because the author is a respected

authority and the passage lends weight to my argument?

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William James provided what he took to be an answer to Huxley

when he said that “. . .”

In this last example, clearly the words “what he took to be an answer” imply that the essayist will show, after the quotation from James, that the answer is in some degree inadequate. Or the essay- ist may wish to suggest the inadequacy even more strongly:

William James provided what he took to be an answer to Huxley,

but he used the word religion in a way that Huxley would not have

allowed. James argues that “. . .”



Think of your writing as a conversation between you and your sources. As in conversation, you want to be able to move smoothly between different, sometimes contrary, points of view. You also want to be able to set your thoughts apart from those of yours sources. Signal phrases make it easy for your readers to know where your information came from and why it’s trustworthy by including key facts about the source.

According to psychologist Stephen Ceci . . .

A report published by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics concludes . . .

Feminist philosopher Sandra Harding argues . . .

To avoid repetitiveness, vary your sentence structure.

. . . claims Stephen Ceci.

. . . according to a report published by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.

Useful verbs to introduce sources: acknowledges contends points out argues denies recommends believes disputes reports claims observes suggests

Note that papers written using MLA style refer to sources in the present tense. Papers written in APA style use the past tense (acknowledged, argued, believed ).

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If after reading something by Huxley the writer had merely given us “William James says . . . ,” we wouldn’t know whether we were getting confirmation, refutation, or something else. The essayist would have put a needless burden on the readers. Generally speaking, the more difficult the quotation, the more important is the introductory or explanatory lead-in, but even the simplest quotation profits from some sort of brief lead-in, such as “James reaffirms this point when he says . . .”



In the course of your essay, you will probably quote or summarize material derived from a source. You must give credit, and although there is no one form of documentation to which all scholarly fields subscribe, you will probably be asked to use one of two. One, estab- lished by the Modern Language Association (MLA), is used chiefly in the humanities; the other, established by the American Psychological Association (APA), is used chiefly in the social sciences.

We include two papers that use sources. “Why Trials Should Not Be Televised” (p. 247) uses the MLA format. “The Role of Spirituality and Religion in Mental Health” (p. 264) follows the APA format. (You may notice that various styles are illustrated in other selections we have included.)

A Note on Footnotes (and Endnotes) Before we discuss these two formats, a few words about footnotes are in order. Before the MLA and the APA developed their rules of style, citations commonly were given in footnotes. Although today footnotes are not so frequently used to give citations, they still may be useful for another purpose. (The MLA suggests endnotes rather than footnotes, but all readers know that, in fact, footnotes are preferable to endnotes. After all, who wants to keep shifting from a

A RULE FOR WRITERS: In introducing a quotation, it is usually advisable to signal the reader why you are using the quotation, by means of a lead-in consisting of a verb or a verb and adverb, such as claims, or convincingly shows, or admits. (See Idea Prompt 7.1.)

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page of text to a page of notes at the rear?) If you want to include some material that may seem intrusive in the body of the paper, you may relegate it to a footnote. For example, in a footnote you might translate a quotation given in a foreign language, or you might demote from text to footnote a paragraph explaining why you are not taking account of such-and-such a point. By putting the matter in a footnote you are signaling the reader that it is dis- pensable; it is something relevant but not essential, something extra that you are, so to speak, tossing in. Don’t make a habit of writing this sort of note, but there are times when it is appropriate.

MLA Format: Citations within the Text Brief citations within the body of the essay give credit, in a highly abbreviated way, to the sources for material you quote, summarize, or make use of in any other way. These in-text citations are made clear by a list of sources, titled Works Cited, appended to the essay. Thus, in your essay you may say something like this:

Commenting on the relative costs of capital punishment and life

imprisonment, Ernest van den Haag says that he doubts “that capi-

tal punishment really is more expensive” (33).

The citation, the number 33 in parentheses, means that the quoted words come from page 33 of a source (listed in the Works Cited) written by van den Haag. Without a Works Cited, a reader would have no way of knowing that you are quoting from page 33 of an article that appeared in the February 8, 1985, issue of the National Review.

Usually the parenthetic citation appears at the end of a sen- tence, as in the example just given, but it can appear elsewhere; its position will depend chiefly on your ear, your eye, and the context. You might, for example, write the sentence thus:

Ernest van den Haag doubts that “capital punishment really is more

expensive” than life imprisonment (33), but other writers have pre-

sented figures that contradict him.

Five points must be made about these examples:

1. Quotation marks The closing quotation mark appears after the last word of the quotation, not after the parenthetic citation.


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Since the citation is not part of the quotation, the citation is not included within the quotation marks.

2. Omission of words (ellipsis) If you are quoting a com- plete sentence or only a phrase, as in the examples given, you do not need to indicate (by three spaced periods) that you are omitting mate- rial before or after the quotation. But if for some reason you want to omit an interior part of the quotation, you must indicate the omis- sion by inserting an ellipsis, the three spaced dots. To take a simple example, if you omit the word “really” from van den Haag’s phrase, you must alert the reader to the omission:

Ernest van den Haag doubts that “capital punishment . . . is more

expensive” than life imprisonment (33).

Suppose you are quoting a sentence but wish to omit material from the end of the sentence. Suppose, also, that the quotation forms the end of your sentence. Write a lead-in phrase, quote what you need from your source, then type the bracketed ellipses for the omission, close the quotation, give the parenthetic citation, and finally type a fourth period to indicate the end of your sentence.

Here’s an example. Suppose you want to quote the first part of a sentence that runs, “We could insist that the cost of capital punish- ment be reduced so as to diminish the differences.” Your sentence would incorporate the desired extract as follows:

Van den Haag says, “We could insist that the cost of capital pun-

ishment be reduced . . .” (33).

3. Punctuation with parenthetic citations In the preced- ing examples, the punctuation (a period or a comma in the exam- ples) follows the citation. If, however, the quotation ends with a question mark, include the question mark within the quotation, since it is part of the quotation, and put a period after the citation:

Van den Haag asks, “Isn’t it better—more just and more useful—

that criminals, if they do not have the certainty of punishment, at

least run the risk of suffering it?” (33).

But if the question mark is your own and not in the source, put it after the citation, thus:

What answer can be given to van den Haag’s doubt that “capital

punishment really is more expensive” (33)?


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4. Two or more works by an author If your list of Works Cited includes two or more works by an author, you cannot, in your essay, simply cite a page number because the reader will not know which of the works you are referring to. You must give addi- tional information. You can give it in your lead-in, thus:

In “New Arguments against Capital Punishment,” van den Haag

expresses doubt “that capital punishment really is more expensive”

than life imprisonment (33).

Or you can give the title, in a shortened form, within the citation:

Van den Haag expresses doubt that “capital punishment really is

more expensive” than life imprisonment (“New Arguments” 33).

5. Citing even when you do not quote Even if you don’t quote a source directly, but use its point in a paraphrase or a sum- mary, you will give a citation:

Van den Haag thinks that life imprisonment costs more than capi-

tal punishment (33).

Note that in all of the previous examples, the author’s name is given in the text (rather than within the parenthetic citation). But there are several other ways of giving the citation, and we shall look at them now. (We have already seen, in the example given under paragraph 4, that the title and the page number can be given within the citation.)


It has been argued that life imprisonment is more costly than capi-

tal punishment (van den Haag 33).


We have seen that if the Works Cited list includes two or more works by an author, you will have to give the title of the work on which you are drawing, either in your lead-in phrase or within the parenthetic citation. Similarly, if you are citing someone who is listed more than once in the Works Cited, and for some reason you do not mention the name of the author or the work in your lead- in, you must add the information in your citation:


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Doubt has been expressed that capital punishment is as costly as

life imprisonment (van den Haag, “New Arguments” 33).



Treat the issuing body as the author. Thus, you will write some- thing like this:

The Commission on Food Control, in Food Resources Today, con-

cludes that there is no danger (37-38).


If a work is by two or three authors, give the names of all authors, either in the parenthetic citation (the first example below) or in a lead-in (the second example below):

There is not a single example of the phenomenon (Smith, Dale, and

Jones 182-83).

Smith, Dale, and Jones insist there is not a single example of the

phenomenon (182-83).

If there are more than three authors, give the last name of the first author, followed by et al. (an abbreviation for et alii, Latin for “and others”), thus:

Gittleman et al. argue (43) that . . .


On average, the cost is even higher (Gittleman et al. 43).




Suppose you are reading a book by Jones in which she quotes Smith and you wish to use Smith’s material. Your citation must refer the reader to Jones — the source you are using — but of course, you cannot attribute the words to Jones. You will have to


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make it clear that you are quoting Smith, and so after a lead-in phrase like “Smith says,” followed by the quotation, you will give a parenthetic citation along these lines:

(qtd. in Jones 324-25).


The costs are simply too high (Smith 301; Jones 28).

Notice that a semicolon, followed by a space, separates the two sources.


This is a bit tricky. If you have used only one volume, in the Works Cited you will specify the volume, and so in the parenthetic in-text citation you will not need to specify the volume. All that you need to include in the citation is a page number, as illustrated by most of the examples that we have given.

If you have used more than one volume, your parenthetic cita- tion will have to specify the volume as well as the page, thus:

Jackson points out that fewer than one hundred fifty people fit this

description (2: 351).

The reference is to page 351 in volume 2 of a work by Jackson. If, however, you are citing not a page but an entire volume—

let’s say volume 2—your parenthetic citation will look like this:

Jackson exhaustively studies this problem (vol. 2).


Jackson (vol. 2) exhaustively studies this problem.

Notice the following points:

• In citing a volume and page, the volume number, like the page number, is given in arabic (not roman) numerals, even if the original used roman numerals to indicate the volume number.

• The volume number is followed by a colon, then a space, then the page number.


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• If you cite a volume number without a page number, as in the last example quoted, the abbreviation is vol. Otherwise do not use such abbreviations as vol. and p. and pg.


For an anonymous work, give the title in your lead-in, or give it in a shortened form in your parenthetic citation:

A Prisoner’s View of Killing includes a poll taken of the inmates on

death row (32).


A poll is available (Prisoner’s View 32).


Probably you won’t need a parenthetic citation because you’ll say something like

Vivian Berger, in an interview, said . . .


According to Vivian Berger, in an interview . . .

and when your reader turns to the Works Cited, he or she will see that Berger is listed, along with the date of the interview. But if you do not mention the source’s name in the lead-in, you will have to give it in the parentheses, thus:

Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty is not reserved for

serial killers and depraved murderers (Berger).


Electronic sources, such as those found on CD-ROMs or the Internet, are generally not divided into pages. Therefore, the in- text citation for such sources cite only the author’s name (or, if a work is anonymous, the title):

According to the World Wide Web site for the American Civil

Liberties Union . . .


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If the source does use pages or breaks down further into paragraphs or screens, insert the appropriate identifier or abbreviation (p. or pp. for page or pages; par. or pars. for paragraph or paragraphs; screen or screens) before the relevant number:

The growth of day care has been called “a crime against poster-

ity” by a spokesman for the Institute for the American Family

(Terwilliger, screens 1-2).

MLA Format: The List of Works Cited As the previous pages explain, parenthetic documentation consists of references that become clear when the reader consults the list titled Works Cited given at the end of an essay.

The list of Works Cited continues the pagination of the essay; if the last page of text is 10, then the Works Cited begins on its own page, in this case page 11. Type the page number in the upper right corner, a half inch from the top of the sheet and flush with the right margin. Next, type the heading Works Cited (not enclosed within quotation marks and not italic), centered, one inch from the top, and then double-space and type the first entry.

An Overview Here are some general guidelines.


• Begin each entry flush with the left margin, but if an entry runs to more than one line, indent a half inch for each suc- ceeding line of the entry. This is known as a hanging indent, and most word processing programs can achieve this effect easily.

• Double-space each entry, and double-space between entries.

• Italicize titles of works published independently—for instance, books, pamphlets, and journals. Enclose within quotation marks a work not published independently—for instance, an article in a journal or a short story.

• If you are citing a book that includes the title of another book, italicize the main title, but do not italicize the title mentioned. Example:

A Study of Mill’s On Liberty


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• In the sample entries below, pay attention to the use of com- mas, colons, and the space after punctuation.


• Arrange the list alphabetically by author, with the author’s last name first.

• For information about anonymous works, works with more than one author, and two or more works by one author, see below.

A Closer Look Here is more detailed advice.


Notice that the last name is given first, but otherwise the name is given as on the title page. Do not substitute initials for names written out on the title page.

If your list includes two or more works by an author, do not repeat the author’s name for the second title but represent it by three hyphens followed by a period. The sequence of the works is determined by the alphabetic order of the titles. Thus, Smith’s book titled Poverty would be listed ahead of her book Welfare. See the example on page 298, listing two works by Roger Brown.

Anonymous works are listed under the first word of the title or the second word if the first is A, An, or The or a foreign equivalent. We discuss books by more than one author, government docu- ments, and works of corporate authorship on pages 230–31.


After the period following the author’s name, allow one space and then give the title. Take the title from the title page, not from the cover or the spine, but disregard any unusual typography such as the use of all capital letters or the use of the ampersand (&) for and. Italicize the title and subtitle (separate them by a colon) but do not italicize the period that concludes this part of the entry.

• Capitalize the first word and the last word.

• Capitalize all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (for example, although, if, because).


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• Do not capitalize (unless it’s the first or last word of the title or the first word of the subtitle) articles (a, an, the), prepositions (for instance, in, on, toward, under), coordinat- ing conjunctions (for instance, and, but, or, for), or the to in infinitives.


The Death Penalty: A New View

On the Death Penalty: Toward a New View

On the Penalty of Death in a Democracy



For the place of publication, provide the name of the city; you can usually find it either on the title page or on the reverse of the title page. If a number of cities are listed, provide only the first. If the city is not likely to be known, or if it may be confused with another city of the same name (as is Oxford, Mississippi, with Oxford, England), add the name of the state, abbreviated using the two-letter postal code.

The name of the publisher is abbreviated. Usually the first word is enough (Random House becomes Random), but if the first word is a first name, such as in Alfred A. Knopf, the surname (Knopf ) is used instead. University presses are abbreviated thus: Yale UP, U of Chicago P, State U of New York P.

The date of publication of a book is given when known; if no date appears on the book, write n.d. to indicate “no date.”

Because you may find your sources in any number of places, each entry should end by indicating the medium of publication for each source (“Print” for books or periodicals, “Web,” for sources found on the Internet, and so on).

SAMPLE ENTRIES Here are some examples, illustrating the points we have covered thus far:

Brown, Roger. Social Psychology. New York: Free, 1965. Print.

- - - . Words and Things. Glencoe, IL: Free, 1958. Print.

Douglas, Ann. The Feminization of American Culture. New York:

Knopf, 1977. Print.


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Hartman, Chester. The Transformation of San Francisco. Totowa, NJ:

Rowman, 1984. Print.

Kellerman, Barbara. The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership

from Kennedy through Reagan. New York: Oxford UP, 1984. Print.

Notice that a period follows the author’s name and another period follows the title. If a subtitle is given, as it is for Kellerman’s book, it is separated from the title by a colon and a space. A colon fol- lows the place of publication, a comma follows the publisher, and a period follows the date.


The book is alphabetized under the last name of the first author named on the title page. If there are two or three authors, the names of these are given (after the first author’s name) in the normal order, first name first:

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The

Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination.

New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Print.

Notice, again, that although the first author’s name is given last name first, the second author’s name is given in the normal order, first name first. Notice, too, that a comma is put after the first name of the first author, separating the authors.

If there are more than three authors, give the name only of the first and then add (but not enclosed within quotation marks and not italic) et al. (Latin for “and others”).

Altshuler, Alan, et al. The Future of the Automobile. Cambridge: MIT

P, 1984. Print.


If the writer is not known, treat the government and the agency as the author. Most federal documents are issued by the Government Printing Office (abbreviated to GPO) in Washington, D.C.

United States. Office of Technology Assessment. Computerized

Manufacturing Automation: Employment, Education, and the

Workplace. Washington: GPO, 1984. Print.


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Begin the citation with the corporate author, even if the same body is also the publisher, as in the first example:

American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatric Glossary. Washington:

American Psychiatric Association, 1984. Print.

Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education. Giving Youth

a Better Chance: Options for Education, Work, and Service. San

Francisco: Jossey, 1980. Print.



After the title, give the date of original publication (it can usu- ally be found on the reverse of the title page of the reprint you are using), then a period, and then the place, publisher, and date of the edition you are using. The example indicates that Gray’s book was originally published in 1970 and that the student is using the Vintage reprint of 1971.

Gray, Francine du Plessix. Divine Disobedience: Profiles in Catholic

Radicalism. 1970. New York: Vintage, 1971. Print.


If you have used more than one volume, in a citation within your essay you will (as explained on p. 225) indicate a reference to, say, page 250 of volume 3 thus: (3: 250).

If, however, you have used only one volume of the set—let’s say volume 3—in your entry in the Works Cited, specify which volume you used, as in the next example:

Friedel, Frank. Franklin D. Roosevelt. Vol. 3. Boston: Little, 1973. Print.

4 vols.

With such an entry in the Works Cited, the parenthetic citation within your essay would be to the page only, not to the volume and page, because a reader who consults the Works Cited will understand that you used only volume 3. In the Works Cited, you may specify volume 3 and not give the total number of volumes, or you may add the total number of volumes, as in the preceding example.


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Sometimes a set with a title makes use also of a separate title for each book in the set. If you are listing such a book, use the following form:

Churchill, Winston. The Age of Revolution. New York: Dodd, 1957.

Vol. 3 of History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Print. 4 vols.



Churchill, Winston, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Complete

Correspondence. Ed. Warren F. Kimball. 3 vols. Princeton:

Princeton UP, 1985. Print.

Kant, Immanuel. The Philosophy of Kant: Immanuel Kant’s Moral and

Political Writings. Ed. Carl J. Friedrich. New York: Modern, 1949.


If you are making use of the editor’s introduction or other edi- torial material rather than of the author’s work, list the book under the name of the editor rather than of the author, as shown below under An Introduction, Foreword, or Afterword.


Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem. Rev. and enlarged ed. New

York: Viking, 1965. Print.

Honour, Hugh, and John Fleming. The Visual Arts: A History. 5th ed.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1999. Print.


Franqui, Carlos. Family Portrait with Fidel: A Memoir. Trans. Alfred

MacAdam. New York: Random, 1984. Print.


Goldberg, Arthur J. Foreword. An Eye for an Eye? The Morality of

Punishing by Death. By Stephen Nathanson. Totowa, NJ:

Rowman, 1987. v-vi. Print.


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Usually an introduction or comparable material is listed under the name of the author of the book (here Nathanson) rather than under the name of the writer of the foreword (here Goldberg), but if you are referring to the apparatus rather than to the book itself, use the form just given. The words Introduction, Preface, Foreword, and Afterword are neither enclosed within quotation marks nor underlined.


Let’s assume that you have used a book of essays written by various people but collected by an editor (or editors), whose name(s) appears on the collection.

LaValley, Albert J., ed. Focus on Hitchcock. Englewood Cliffs:

Prentice, 1972. Print.

If the book has one editor, the abbreviation is ed.; if two or more editors, eds.


The following entry indicates that a short work by Susan Sontag, an essay called “The Aesthetics of Silence,” appears in a book by Sontag titled Styles of Radical Will. Notice that the inclusive page num- bers of the short work are cited, not merely page numbers that you may happen to refer to but the page numbers of the entire piece.

Sontag, Susan. “The Aesthetics of Silence.” Styles of Radical Will.

New York: Farrar, 1969. 3-34. Print.


Here is an example, citing Gerstein’s review of Walker’s book. Gerstein’s review was published in a journal called Ethics.

Gerstein, Robert S. Rev. of Punishment, Danger and Stigma: The

Morality of Criminal Justice, by Nigel Walker. Ethics 93 (1983):

408-10. Print.

If the review has a title, give the title between the period following the reviewer’s name and Rev.

If a review is anonymous, list it under the first word of the title, or under the second word if the first is A, An, or The. If an


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anonymous review has no title, begin the entry with Rev. of , and then give the title of the work reviewed; alphabetize the entry under the title of the work reviewed.


A book may consist of a collection (edited by one or more per- sons) of new essays by several authors. Here is a reference to one essay in such a book. (The essay by Balmforth occupies pages 19 to 35 in a collection edited by Bevan.)

Balmforth, Henry. “Science and Religion.” Steps to Christian

Understanding. Ed. R. J. W. Bevan. London: Oxford UP, 1958.

19-35. Print.


The previous example (Balmforth’s essay in Bevan’s collection) was for an essay written for a collection. But some collections reprint earlier material, such as essays from journals or chapters from books. The following example cites an essay that was origi- nally printed in a book called The Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock. This essay has been reprinted in a later collection of essays on Hitchcock, edited by Albert J. LaValley, and it was LaValley’s collec- tion that the student used.

Bogdanovich, Peter. “Interviews with Alfred Hitchcock.” The

Cinema of Alfred Hitchcock. New York: Museum of Modern Art,

1963. 15-18. Rpt. in Focus on Hitchcock. Ed. Albert J. LaValley.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1972. 28-31. Print.

The student has read Bogdanovich’s essay or chapter, but not in Bogdanovich’s book, where it occupied pages 15 to 18. The material was actually read on pages 28 to 31 in a collection of writings on Hitchcock, edited by LaValley. Details of the original publication— title, date, page numbers, and so forth—were found in LaValley’s collection. Almost all editors will include this information, either on the copyright page or at the foot of the reprinted essay, but some- times they do not give the original page numbers. In such a case, you need not include the original numbers in your entry.

Notice that the entry begins with the author and the title of the work you are citing (here, Bogdanovich’s interviews), not


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with the name of the editor of the collection or the title of the collection.



The publisher, place of publication, volume number, and page number do not have to be given. For such works, list only the edi- tion (if it is given) and the date.

For a signed article, begin with the author’s last name. (If the article is signed with initials, check elsewhere in the volume for a list of abbreviations, which will inform you who the initials stand for, and use the following form.)

Williams, Donald C. “Free Will and Determinism.” Encyclopedia

Americana. 1987 ed. Print.

For an unsigned article, begin with the title of the article:

“Automation.” The Business Reference Book. 1977 ed. Print.

“Tobacco.” Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 1988 ed. Print.


Be sure to include the title of the episode or segment (in quota- tion marks), the title of the show (italicized), the network, the call letters and city of the station, and the date of broadcast. Other information, such as performers, narrator, and so forth, may be included if pertinent.

“Back to My Lai.” 60 Minutes. Narr. Mike Wallace. CBS. 29 Mar.

1998. Television.

“Juvenile Justice.” Talk of the Nation. Narr. Ray Suarez. Natl. Public

Radio. WBUR, Boston. 15 Apr. 1998. Radio.

AN ARTICLE IN A SCHOLARLY JOURNAL The title of the article is enclosed within quotation marks, and the title of the journal is italicized.

Some journals are paginated consecutively; the pagination of the second issue begins where the first issue leaves off. Other jour- nals begin each issue with page 1.


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Vilas, Carlos M. “Popular Insurgency and Social Revolution in

Central America.” Latin American Perspectives 15.1 (1988):

55-77. Print

Vilas’s article occupies pages 55 to 77 in volume 15, which was published in 1988. (Notice that the volume number is followed by a space, then by the year in parentheses, and then by a colon, a space, and the page numbers of the entire article.) When available, give the issue number.


If the journal is, for instance, a quarterly, there will be four page 1’s each year, so the issue number must be given. After the volume number, type a period and (without hitting the space bar) the issue number, as in the next example:

Greenberg, Jack. “Civil Rights Enforcement Activity of the

Department of Justice.” Black Law Journal 8.1 (1983): 60-67.


Greenberg’s article appeared in the first issue of volume 8 of the Black Law Journal.



Do not include volume or issue numbers, even if given.

Lamar, Jacob V. “The Immigration Mess.” Time 27 Feb. 1989: 14-15.


Markowitz, Laura. “A Different Kind of Queer Marriage.” Utne

Reader Sept.-Oct. 2000: 24-26. Print


Because a newspaper usually consists of several sections, a sec- tion number or a capital letter may precede the page number. The example indicates that an article begins on page 1 of section 2 and is continued on a later page.


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Chu, Harry. “Art Thief Defends Action.” New York Times 8 Feb. 1989,

sec. 2: 1+. Print


“The Religious Tyranny Amendment.” Editorial. New York Times 15

Mar. 1998, sec. 4: 16. Print.


Lasken, Douglas. Letter. New York Times 15 Mar. 1998, sec. 4: 16. Print.


Give the name of the interview subject and the interviewer, fol- lowed by the relevant publication or broadcast information, in the fol- lowing format:

Green, Al. Interview with Terry Gross. Fresh Air. Natl. Public Radio.

WFCR, Amherst, MA. 16 Oct. 2000. Radio.


Jevgrafovs, Alexandre L. Personal [or Telephone] interview. 14 Dec.



Add “TS” for a typed letter, “MS” for a handwritten letter, or “E-mail” to the end of the citation.

Paso, Robert. Letter [or Message, in the case of E-mail] to the

author. 6 Jan. 2004. TS.


Books on CD-ROMs are cited very much like their printed counterparts. Add the medium (CD-ROM) after the publication information. For articles, to the usual print citation information, add (1) the title of the database, italicized; (2) the medium (CD-ROM); (3) the vendor’s name; and (4) the date of electronic publication.

Louisberg, Margaret. Charlie Brown Meets Godzilla: What Are Our

Children Watching? Urbana: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary

and Early Childhood Education, 1990. CD-ROM.


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“Pornography.” The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. CD-ROM.

Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992.


Include the following elements, separated by periods: the name of the person who created the site (omit if not given, as in Figure 7.4); site title (italicized); name of any sponsoring institution or organization; date of electronic publication or of the latest update (if given); the medium (Web); and the date of access.

Legal Guide for Bloggers. Electronic Frontier Foundation. 11 Feb.

2009. Web. 30 May 2009.


FIGURE 7.4 Include the URL only if your Instructor requires it.

Sponsor of Web site

No author given; start citation with the title

Title of Web page

Publication date

Include the medium (Web) and the date you retrieved it.6








6 3



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Give the same information as you would for a print article, plus the medium (Web) and the date of access. (See Figure 7.5.)

Acocella, Joan. “In the Blood: Why Do Vampires Still Thrill?” New

Yorker. 16 March 2009. Web. 30 May 2009.


The citation includes the author’s name, subject line of posting, description Online posting, if the posting has no title, name of the forum, date material was posted, the medium (Web), and date of access.

Ricci, Paul. “Global Warming.” Global Electronic Science Conference,

10 June. 1996. Web. 22 Sept. 1997.


FIGURE 7.5 Include the URL only if your Instructor requires it.

Title of periodical

Title of article

Subtitle of article


Publication date

Include the medium (Web) and the date you retrieved it.7









4 5




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Treat material obtained from a computer service, such as Bibliographic Retrieval Service (BRS), like other printed material, but at the end of the entry add (if available) the title of the database (italicized), publication medium (Web), name of the computer service if known, and date of access.

Jackson, Morton. “A Look at Profits.” Harvard Business Review 40

(1962): 106-13. BRS. Web. 23 Dec. 2006.

Caution: Although we have covered the most usual kinds of sources, it is entirely possible that you will come across a source that does not fit any of the categories that we have discussed. For approxi- mately two hundred pages of explanations of these matters, covering the proper way to cite all sorts of troublesome and unbelievable (but real) sources, see MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009).

APA Format: Citations within the Text Your paper will conclude with a separate page headed References, in which you list all of your sources. If the last page of your essay is numbered 10, number the first page of the References 11.

The APA style emphasizes the date of publication; the date appears not only in the list of references at the end of the paper but also in the paper itself, when you give a brief parenthetic citation of a source that you have quoted or summarized or in any other way used. Here is an example:

Statistics are readily available (Smith, 1989, p. 20).

The title of Smith’s book or article will be given at the end of your paper, in the list titled References. We discuss the form of the mate- rial listed in the References after we look at some typical citations within the text of a student’s essay.


Smith (1988) holds the same view.


Similar views are held widely (Smith, 1988; Jones & Metz, 1990).


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Smith (1988) argues that “the death penalty is a lottery, and

blacks usually are the losers” (p. 17).



If in the References you list two or more works that an author published in the same year, the works are listed in alpha- betic order, by the first letter of the title. The first work is labeled a, the second b, and so on. Here is a reference to the second work that Smith published in 1989:

Florida presents “a fair example” of how the death penalty is

administered (Smith, 1989b, p. 18).

APA Format: The List of References Your brief parenthetic citations are made clear when the reader consults the list you give in the References. Type this list on a sepa- rate page, continuing the pagination of your essay.

An Overview Here are some general guidelines.


• Begin each entry flush with the left margin, but if an entry runs to more than one line, indent five spaces for each suc- ceeding line of the entry.

• Double-space each entry, and double-space between entries.


• Arrange the list alphabetically by author.

• Give the author’s last name first and then the initial of the first name and of the middle name (if any).

• If there is more than one author, name all of the authors up to seven, again inverting the name (last name first) and giv- ing only initials for first and middle names. (But do not invert the editor’s name when the entry begins with the name of an author who has written an article in an edited book.) When there are two or more authors, use an ampersand (&) before


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the name of the last author. Example (here, of an article in the tenth volume of a journal called Developmental Psychology):

Drabman, R. S., & Thomas, M. H. (1974). Does media violence

increase children’s tolerance of real-life aggression? Develop-

mental Psychology, 10, 418-421.

• For eight or more authors, list the first six followed by three ellipses dots and then the last author. If you list more than one work by an author, do so in the order of publica- tion, the earliest first. If two works by an author were pub- lished in the same year, give them in alphabetic order by the first letter of the title, disregarding A, An, or The, and their foreign equivalent. Designate the first work as a, the second as b. Repeat the author’s name at the start of each entry.

Donnerstein, E. (1980a). Aggressive erotica and violence against

women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39,


Donnerstein, E. (1980b). Pornography and violence against women.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 347, 227-288.

Donnerstein, E. (1983). Erotica and human aggression. In R. Green

and E. Donnerstein (Eds.), Aggression: Theoretical and empiri-

cal reviews (pp. 87-103). New York, NY: Academic Press.


• In references to books, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the title (and of the subtitle, if any) and capital- ize proper nouns. Italicize the complete title (but not the period at the end).

• In references to articles in periodicals or in edited books, capi- talize only the first letter of the first word of the article’s title (and subtitle, if any) and all proper nouns. Do not put the title within quotation marks. Type a period after the title of the article. For the title of the journal and the volume and page numbers, see the next instruction.


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• In references to periodicals, give the volume number in ara- bic numerals, and italicize it. Do not use vol. before the num- ber, and do not use p. or pg. before the page numbers.

Sample References Here are some samples to follow.


Pavlov, I. P. (1927). Conditioned reflexes (G. V. Anrep, Trans.). London,

England: Oxford University Press.


Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Torule, J. M.

(1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self,

voice, and mind. New York, NY: Basic Books.


Christ, C. P., & Plaskow, J. (Eds.). (1979). Woman-spirit rising: A

feminist reader in religion. New York, NY: Harper & Row.


Fiorenza, E. (1979). Women in the early Christian movement. In C.

P. Christ & J. Plaskow (Eds.), Woman-spirit rising: A feminist

reader in religion (pp. 84-92). New York, NY: Harper & Row.


If the writer is not known, treat the government and the agency as the author. Most federal documents are issued by the U.S. Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. If a docu- ment number has been assigned, insert that number in parentheses between the title and the following period.

United States Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. (1984).

Comput-erized manufacturing automation: Employment, educa-

tion, and the workplace. Washington, DC: U.S. Government

Printing Office.


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Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The framing of decisions and

the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458.



Foot, R. J. (1988-89). Nuclear coercion and the ending of the

Korean conflict. International Security, 13(4), 92-112.

The reference informs us that the article appeared in issue number 4 of volume 13.


Greenwald, J. (1989, February 27). Gimme shelter. Time, 133, 50-51.

Maran, S. P. (1988, April). In our backyard, a star explodes.

Smithsonian, 19, 46-57.


Connell, R. (1989, February 6). Career concerns at heart of 1980s’

campus protests. Los Angeles Times, pp. 1, 3.

(Note: If no author is given, simply begin with the title fol- lowed by the date in parentheses.)


Daniels, N. (1984). Understanding physician power [Review of

the book The social transformation of American medicine].

Philosophy and Public Affairs, 13, 347-356.

Daniels is the reviewer, not the author of the book. The book under review is called The Social Transformation of American Medicine, but the review, published in volume 13 of Philosophy and Public Affairs, had its own title, “Understanding Physician Power.”

If the review does not have a title, retain the square brackets, and use the material within as the title. Proceed as in the example just given.


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✓ A CHECKLIST FOR PAPERS USING SOURCES Ask yourself the following questions: � Are all borrowed words and ideas credited, including those

from Internet sources? � Are all summaries and paraphrases acknowledged as such? � Are quotations and summaries not too long? � Are quotations accurate? Are omissions of words indicated by

three spaced periods? Are additions of words enclosed within square brackets?

� Are quotations provided with helpful lead-ins? � Is documentation in proper form?

And of course, you will also ask yourself the questions that you would ask of a paper that did not use sources, such as: � Is the topic sufficiently narrowed? � Is the thesis (to be advanced or refuted) stated early and

clearly, perhaps even in the title? � Is the audience kept in mind? Are opposing views stated fairly

and as sympathetically as possible? Are controversial terms defined?

� Are assumptions likely to be shared by readers? If not, are they argued rather than merely asserted?

� Is the focus clear (evaluation, recommendation of policy)? � Is evidence (examples, testimony, statistics) adequate and sound? � Are inferences valid? � Is the organization clear (effective opening, coherent sequence

of arguments, unpretentious ending)? � Is all worthy opposition faced? � Is the tone appropriate? � Has the paper been carefully proofread? � Is the title effective? � Is the opening paragraph effective? � Is the structure reader-friendly? � Is the closing paragraph effective?

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American Psychological Association. (1995). Lesbian and gay par-

enting. Retrieved June 12, 2000, from



Carpenter, S. (2000, October). Biology and social environments

jointly influence gender development. Monitor on Psychology

31. Retrieved September 20, 2000, from


For a full account of the APA method of dealing with all sorts of unusual citations, see the sixth edition (2009) of the APA man- ual, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


The following argument makes good use of sources. Early in the semester the students were asked to choose one topic from a list of ten, and to write a documented argument of 750 to 1,250 words (three to five pages of double-spaced typing). The completed paper was due two weeks after the topics were distributed. The assign- ment, a prelude to working on a research paper of 2,500 to 3,000 words, was in part designed to give students practice in finding and in using sources. Citations are given in the MLA form.


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Why Trials Should Not Be Televised


Theresa Washington

Professor Wilson

English 102

10 December 2009


The MLA Handbook does not insist on a title page and outline, but many instructors prefer them.

Title one-third down page

All lines centered

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Thesis: The televising of trials is a bad idea because it has

several negative effects on the First Amendment: It

gives viewers a deceptive view of particular trials and

of the judicial system in general, and it degrades the

quality of media reporting outside the courtroom.

I. Introduction

A. Trend toward increasing trial coverage

B. First Amendment versus Sixth Amendment

II. Effect of televising trials on First Amendment

A. Provides deceptive version of truth

1. Confidence in verdicts misplaced

a. William Smith trial

b. Rodney King trial

2. Nature of TV as a medium

a. Distortion in sound bites

b. Stereotyping trial participants

c. Misleading camera angles

d. Commentators and commercials

B. Confuses viewers about judicial system

1. Contradicts basic concept “innocent until proven


2. Can’t explain legal complexities

C. Contributes to media circus outside of court

1. Blurs truth and fiction

2. Affects print media in negative ways

3. Media makes itself the story

4. Distracts viewers from other issues

III. Conclusion

Washington i


Small roman numerals for page with outline

Roman numerals for chief units (I, II, etc.); capital letters for chief units within these largest units; for smaller and smaller units, arabic numerals and lowercase letters

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Why Trials Should Not Be Televised

Although trials have been televised on and off since the

1950s,1 in the last few years the availability of trials for a

national audience has increased dramatically.2 Media critics,

legal scholars, social scientists, and journalists continue to

debate the merits of this trend.

Proponents of cameras in the courtroom argue, falsely, I

believe, that confidence in the fairness of our institutions,

including the judicial system, depends on a free press,

guaranteed by the First Amendment. Keeping trials off

television is a form of censorship, they say. It limits the

public’s ability to understand (1) what is happening in

particular trials and (2) how the judicial system operates, which

is often confusing to laypeople. Opponents claim that

televising trials threatens the defendant’s Sixth Amendment

rights to a fair trial because it can alter the behavior of the

trial participants, including the jury (“Tale”; Thaler).

Regardless of its impact on due process of law,3 TV in

court does not serve the First Amendment well. Consider the

first claim, that particular trials are easier to understand when

televised. But does watching trials on television really allow

the viewer to “see it like it is,” to get the full scope and

breadth of a trial? Steven Brill, founder of Court TV, would like

us to believe so. He points out that most high-profile

defendants in televised trials have been acquitted; he names

William Kennedy Smith, Jimmy Hoffa, John Connally, and John

Delorean as examples (Clark 821). “Imagine if [Smith’s trial]

Washington 1


Title is focused and announces the thesis.

Double-space between title and first paragraph— and throughout the essay.

1” margin on each side and at bottom

Summary of opposing positions

Parenthetic reference to an anonymous source and also to a source with a named author

Superscript numerals indicate endnotes.

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had not been shown and he got off. Millions of people would

have said the Kennedys fixed the case” (Brill qtd. in “Tale”

29). Polls taken after the trial seem to confirm this claim,

since they showed the public by and large agreed with the

jury’s decision to acquit (Quindlen).

However, Thaler points out that the public can just as

easily disagree with the verdict as agree, and when this

happens, the effects can be catastrophic. One example is the

Rodney King case. Four white Los Angeles police officers were

charged in 1991 with severely beating African American Rodney

King, who, according to the officers, had been resisting arrest.

At their first trial, all four officers were acquitted. This verdict

outraged many African Americans throughout the country; they

felt the evidence from watching the trial overwhelmingly

showed the defendants to be guilty. The black community of

south-central Los Angeles expressed its feelings by rioting for

days (Thaler 50-51).

Clearly the black community did not experience the trial

the same way the white community and the white jury did.

Why? Marty Rosenbaum, an attorney with the New York State

Defenders Association, points out that viewers cannot

experience a trial the same way trial participants do. “What you

see at home ‘is not what jurors see’” (qtd. in Thaler 70). The

trial process is slow, linear, and methodical, as the defense and

prosecution each builds its case, one piece of information at a

time (Thaler 11). The process is intended to be thoughtful and

reflective, with the jury weighing all the evidence in light of

Washington 2


Parenthetic reference to author and page

Parenthetic reference to an indirect source (a borrowed quotation)

Although no words are quoted, the idea is borrowed, and so the source is cited.

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the whole trial (Altheide 299-301). And it emphasizes words—

both spoken and written—rather than images (Thaler 11).

In contrast, TV’s general strength is in handling visual

images that entertain or that provoke strong feelings. News

editors and reporters choose footage for its assumed visual and

emotional impact on viewers. Words are made to fit the images,

not the other way around, and they tend to be short catchy

phrases, easy to understand (Thaler 4, 7). As a result, the

fifteen- to thirty-second “sound bites” in nightly newscasts

often present trial events out of context, emphasizing moments

of drama rather than of legal importance (Thaler 7; Zoglin 62).

Furthermore, this emphasis on emotional visuals leads

to stereotyping the participants, making larger-than-life

symbols out of them, especially regarding social issues (Thaler

9): abused children (the Menendez brothers), the battered wife

(Hedda Nussbaum), the abusing husband (Joel Steinberg, O. J.

Simpson), the jealous lover (Amy Fisher), the serial killer

(Jeffrey Dahmer), and date rapist (William Smith). It becomes

difficult for viewers to see defendants as ordinary human


One can argue, as Brill has done, that gavel-to-gavel

coverage of trials counteracts the distortions in sound-bite

journalism (Clark 821). Yet even here a number of editorial

assumptions and decisions affect what viewers see. Camera

angles and movements reinforce in the viewer differing degrees

of intimacy with the trial participant; close-ups are often used

for sympathetic witnesses, three-quarter shots for lawyers, and

profile shots for defendants (Entner 73-75).4

Washington 3


Clear transition (“In contrast”)

Parenthetic citation of two sources

Summary of an opposing view countered with a clear transition (“Yet”)

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On-air commentators also shape the viewers’ experience.

Several media critics have noted how much commentators’

remarks often have the play-by-play tone of sportscasters

informing viewers of what each side (the defense and the

prosecution) needs to win (Cole 245; Thaler 71, 151). Continual

interruptions for commercials add to the impression of

watching a spectacle. “The CNN coverage [of the Smith trial]

isn’t so much gavel-to-gavel, actually, as gavel-to-commercial-

to-gavel, with former CNN Gulf War correspondent Charles Jaco

acting more as ringleader than reporter” (Bianculli 60). This

encourages a sensationalistic tone to the proceedings that the

jury does not experience. In addition, breaking for ads

frequently occurs at important points in the trial (Thaler 48).

In-court proponents also believe that watching

televised trials will help viewers understand the legal aspects of

the judicial system. In June 1991, a month before Court TV

went on the air, Vincent Blasi, a law professor at Columbia

University, told Time magazine, “Today most of us learn about

judicial proceedings from lawyers’ sound bites and artists’

sketches. . . . Televised proceedings [such as Court TV] ought to

dispel some of the myth and mystery that shroud our legal

system” (qtd. in Zoglin 62).

But after several years of Court TV and CNN, we can now

see this is not so. As a medium, TV is not good at educating

the general public, either about concepts fundamental to our

judicial system or about the complexities in particular cases.

For example, one basic concept—”innocent until proven

guilty”—is contradicted in televised trials in numerous subtle

Washington 4


Author lets reader hear the opposition by means of a brief quotation

Omitted material indicated by three periods, with a fourth to mark the end of a sentence

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ways: Commentators sometimes make remarks about (or omit

comment on) actions of the defense or prosecution that show a

bias against the defendant.

Media critic Lewis Cole, watching the trial of Lorena

Bobbitt on Court TV in 1994, observed:

Court TV commentators rarely challenged the

state’s characterization of what it was doing,

repeating with-out comment, for instance, the

prosecution’s claims about protecting the

reputation of Lorena Bobbitt and concentrating

on the prosecution decision to pursue both

cases as a tactical matter, rather than inquiring

how the prosecution’s view of the incident as a

“barroom brawl” had limited its approach to and

understanding of the case. (245)

Camera angles play a role also: Watching the defendant

day after day in profile, which makes him or her seem either

vulnerable or remote, tends to reinforce his or her guilt

(Entner 158).

Thaler points out that these editorial effects arise

because the goals of the media (print as well as electronic)

differ from the goals of the judicial system. His argument runs

as follows: The court is interested in determining only whether

the defendant broke the law. The media (especially TV) focus on

acts to reinforce social values, whether they’re codified into law

or not. This can lead viewers to conclude that a defendant is

guilty because pretrial publicity or courtroom testimony reveals

he or she has transgressed against the community’s moral code,

Washington 5


Quotation of more than four lines, indented 1” (ten spaces) from left margin, double- spaced, parenthetic reference set off from quotation

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even when the legal system later acquits. This happened in the

case of Claus von Bulow, who between 1982 and 1985 was tried

and acquitted twice for attempting to murder his wife and who

clearly had behaved in reprehensible ways in the eyes of the

public (35). It also happened in the case of Joel Steinberg,

who was charged with murdering his daughter. Extended

televised testimony by his former partner, Hedda Nussbaum,

helped paint a portrait of “a monster” in the eyes of the public

(140-42). Yet the jury chose to convict him on the lesser

charge of manslaughter. When many viewers wrote to the

prosecutor, Peter Casolaro, asking why the verdict was not first-

degree murder, he had to conclude that TV does not effectively

teach about due process of law (176).

In addition to being poor at handling basic judicial

concepts, television has difficulty conveying more complex and

technical aspects of the law. Sometimes the legal nature of the

case makes for a poor translation to the screen. Brill admitted

that, despite attempts at hourly summaries, Court TV was

unable to convey to its viewers any meaningful understanding

of the case of Manuel Noriega (Thaler 61), the Panamanian

leader who was convicted by the United States in 1992 of drug

trafficking and money laundering (“Former”). In other cases,

like the Smith trial, the “civics lesson” gets swamped by its

sensational aspects (Thaler 45). In most cases print media are

better at exploring and explaining legal issues than is TV

(Thaler 4).

In addition to shaping the viewer’s perceptions of trial

reality directly, in-court TV also negatively affects the quality

Washington 6


Argument supported by specific examples

Transition briefly summarizes and then moves to a new point.

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of trial coverage outside of court, which in turn limits the

public’s “right to know.” Brill likes to claim that Court TV helps

to counteract the sensationalism of such tabloid TV shows as A

Current Affair and Hard Copy, which pay trial participants to tell

their stories and publish leaks from the prosecution and

defense. “I think cameras in the courtroom is [sic] the best

antidote to that garbage” (Brill qtd. in Clark 821). However, as

founder and editor of Court TV, he obviously has a vested

interest in affirming his network’s social and legal worth. There

are several ways that in-court TV, rather than supplying a

sobering contrast, helps to feed the media circus surrounding

high-profile trials (Thaler 43).

One way is by helping to blur the line between reality

and fiction. This is an increasing trend among all media but is

especially true of TV, whose footage can be combined and

recombined in so many ways. An excellent example of this is

the trial of Amy Fisher, who pleaded guilty in September 1992

to shooting her lover’s wife and whose sentencing was televised

by Court TV (Thaler 83). Three TV movies about this love

triangle appeared on network TV in the same week, just one

month after she had been sentenced to five to fifteen years of

jail (Thaler 82). Then Geraldo Rivera, the syndicated TV talk-

show host, held a mock grand jury trial of her lover, Joey

Buttafuoco; even though Buttafuoco had not at that point

been charged with a crime, Geraldo felt many viewers thought

he ought to have been (Thaler 83). Then A Current Affair had a

series that “tried” Fisher for events and behaviors that never

got resolved in the actual trial. The announcer on the program

Washington 7


The author uses “[sic]” (Latin for “thus”) to indicate that the oddity is in the source and is not by the author of the paper.

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said, “When Ms. Fisher copped a plea and went to jail, she

robbed the public of a trial, leaving behind many unanswered

questions. Tonight we will try to . . . complete the unwritten

chapter” (“Trial”). Buttafuoco’s lawyer from the trial served as a

consultant on this program (Thaler 84). This is also a good

example of how tabloid TV reinforces people’s beliefs and plays

on people’s feelings. Had her trial not been televised, the

excitement surrounding her case would not have been so high.

Tabloid TV played off the audience’s expectation for what a

televised trial should and could reveal. Thus in-court television

becomes one more ingredient in the mix of docudramas, mock

trials, talk shows, and tabloid journalism. This limits the

public’s “right to know” by making it difficult to keep fact

separate from storytelling.

In-court TV also affects the quality of print journalism.

Proponents like to claim that “[f]rom the standpoint of the

public’s right to know, there is no good reason why TV

journalists should be barred from trials while print reporters are

not” (Zoglin 62). But when TV is present, there is no level

playing field among the media. Because it provides images,

sound, movement, and a greater sense of speed and immediacy,

TV can easily outcompete other media for audience attention

and thus for advertising dollars. In attempts to keep pace,

newspapers and magazines offer more and more of the kinds of

stories that once were beneath their standards, such as

elaborate focus both on sensational aspects of the case and on

“personalities, analysis, and prediction” rather than news

(Thaler 45). While these attributes have always been part of TV

Washington 8


Useful analysis of effect of TV

Square brackets indicate that the author has altered text from a capital to a lowercase letter.

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and the tabloid print press, this trend is increasingly apparent

in supposedly reputable papers like the New York Times. During

the Smith trial, for example, the Times violated previously

accepted boundaries of propriety by not only identifying the

rape victim but also giving lots of intimate details about her

past (Thaler 45).

Because the media are, for the most part, commercial,

slow periods—and all trials have them—must always be filled

with some “story.” One such story is increasingly the media

self-consciously watching and analyzing itself, to see how it is

handling (or mishandling) coverage of the trial (Thaler 43). At

the Smith trial, for example, one group of reporters was

covering the trial while another group covered the other

reporters (Thaler 44).5 As bizarre as this “media watching” is,

there would be no “story” if the trial itself had not been


Last but not least, televising trials distracts viewers

from other important issues. Some of these are abstract and

thus hard to understand (like the savings-and-loan scandal in

the mid-1980s or the causes of lingering unemployment in the

1990s), while others are painful to contemplate (like overseas

wars and famines). Yet we have to stay aware of these issues if

we are to function as active citizens in a democracy.

Altogether, televising trials is a bad idea. Not only does

it provide deceptive impressions about what’s happening in

particular trials; it also doesn’t reveal much about our judicial

system. In addition, televising trials helps to lower the quality

of trial coverage outside of court, thus increasingly depriving

Washington 9


No citation is needed for a point that can be considered common knowledge, but the second sentence is documented.

Useful summary of main points

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the public of neutral, fact-based reporting. A healthy free press

depends on balance and knowing when to accept limits.

Saturating viewers with extended media coverage of sensational

trials oversteps those limits. In this case, more is not better.

Yet it is unlikely that TV coverage will be legally

removed from the courtroom, now that it is here. Only one

state (New York) has ever legislated a return to nontelevised

trials (in 1991), and even it changed its mind in 1992 (Thaler

78). Perhaps the best we can do is to educate ourselves about

the pitfalls of televising the judicial system, as we struggle to

do so with the televised electoral process.

Washington 10


Realistic appraisal of the current situation and a suggestion of what the reader can do

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1. Useful discussions of this history can be found in

Clark (829-32) and Thaler (19-31).

2. Cable networks have been showing trial footage to

national audiences since at least 1982, when Cable News

Network (CNN) covered the trial of Claus von Bulow (Thaler 33).

It continues to show trials. In the first week of February 1995,

four to five million homes accounted for the top fifteen most-

watched shows on cable TV; all were CNN segments of the O. J.

Simpson trial (“Cable TV”). In July 1991, Steven Brill founded

the Courtroom Television Network, or “Court TV” (Clark 821).

Like CNN, it broadcasts around the clock, showing gavel-to-

gavel coverage. It now claims over fourteen million cable

subscribers (Clark 821) and, as of January 1994, had televised

over 280 trials (“In Camera” 27).

3. Thaler’s study The Watchful Eye is a thoughtful

examination of the subtle ways in which TV in court can affect

trial participants, inhibiting witnesses from coming forward,

provoking grandstanding in attorneys and judges, and

pressuring juries to come up with verdicts acceptable to a

national audience.

4. Sometimes legal restrictions determine camera

angles. For example, in the Steinberg trial (1988), the audience

and the jury were not allowed to be televised by New York state

law. This required placing the camera so that the judge and

witnesses were seen in “full frontal view” (generally a more

neutral or positive stance). The lawyers could be seen only from

the rear when questioning witnesses, and the defendant was

Washington 11


1” 1⁄2”

Double-space between heading and notes and throughout notes.

Superscript number followed by one space

Each note begins with 1/2” indent (five typewriter spaces), but subsequent lines of each note are flush left.

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shot in profile (Thaler 110-11). These camera angles, though

not chosen for dramatic effect, still resulted in emotionally

laden viewpoints not experienced by the jury. George W.

Trammell, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, has written on

how technology can interfere with the fairness of the trial

system. He claims that “[t]echnology, well managed, can be a

great benefit. Technology poorly managed benefits no one.”

5. At the Smith trial a journalist from one German

newspaper inadvertently filmed another German reporter from a

competing newspaper watching the Smith trial in the pressroom

outside the courtroom (Thaler 44).

Washington 12


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Works Cited

Altheide, David. “TV News and the Social Construction of Justice.”

Justice and the Media: Issues and Research. Ed. Ray

Surette. Springfield, IL: Thomas, 1984. 292-304 Print.

Bianculli, David. “Shame on You, CNN.” New York Post 11 Dec.

1992: 60. Print.

“Cable TV Squeezes High Numbers and Aces Competition.” All

Things Considered. Natl. Public Radio. 9 Feb. 1994.

Unedited transcript. Segment 12. NPR Audience Services.

Washington. Print.

Clark, Charles S. “Courts and the Media.” CQ Researcher 23 Sept.

1994: 817-40. Print.

Cole, Lewis. “Court TV.” Nation 21 Feb. 1994: 243-45. Print.

Entner, Roberta. “Encoding the Image of the American Judiciary

Institution: A Semiotic Analysis of Broadcast Trials to

Ascertain Its Definition of the Court System.” Diss. New

York U, 1993. Print.

“Former Panamanian Leader Noriega Sentenced.” Facts on File

16 July 1992: 526. CD-ROM. InfoTrac: Magazine Index

Plus 1992-Feb. 1995. Information Access. Feb. 1995.

“In Camera with Court TV.” New Yorker 24 Jan. 1994: 27-28.


Quindlen, Anna. “The Glass Eye.” New York Times 18 Dec. 1991:

A29. Print.

“A Tale of a Rug.” Economist 15 Jan. 1994: 28-29. Print.

Thaler, Paul. The Watchful Eye: American Justice in the Age of

the Television Trial. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994. Print.

Washington 13


1” 1⁄2”

Alphabetical by author’s last name

Hanging indent 1/2”

Transcript of radio program

The title of an unpublished work is not italicized but is enclosed within quotation marks.

CD-ROM source

Anonymous source alphabetized under first word (or second if first is A, An, or The)

No page reference for this in-text Internet citation

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Trammell, George W. “Cirque du O. J.” Court Technology Bulletin.

National Center for State Courts, July-Aug. 1995. Web. 12

Sept. 1996.

“The Trial That Had to Happen: The People versus Amy Fisher.”

A Current Affair. Fox. WFXT, Boston. 1-4 Feb. 1993.


Zoglin, Richard. “Justice Faces a Screen Test.” Time 17 June

1991: 62. Print.

Washington 14


Television program

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The following paper is an example of a student paper that uses APA format.


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The Role of Spirituality and Religion

in Mental Health

Laura DeVeau

English 102

Professor Gardner

April 12, 2010


The APA-style cover page gives title, author, and course information.

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The Role of Spirituality and Religion

in Mental Health

It has been called “a vestige of the childhood of

mankind,” “the feeling of something true, total and absolute,”

“an otherworldly answer as regards the meaning of life” (Jones,

1991, p. 1; Amaro, 2000; Kristeva, 1987, p. 27). It has been

compared to medicine, described as a psychological cure for

mental illness, and also referred to as the cause of a dangerous

fanaticism. With so many differing opinions on the impact of

religion in people’s lives, where would one begin a search for

the truth? Who has the answer: Christians, humanists,

objectivists, atheists, psychoanalysts, Buddhists, philosophers,

cults? This was my dilemma at the advent of my research into

how religion and spirituality affect the mental health of society

as a whole.

In this paper, I explore the claims, widely accepted by

professionals in the field of psychology, that religious and

spiritual practices have a negative impact on mental health. In

addition, though, I cannot help but reflect on how this

exploration has changed my beliefs as well. Religion is such a

personal experience that one cannot be dispassionate in

reporting it. One can, however, subject the evidence provided

by those who have studied the issue to critical scrutiny. Having

done so, I find myself in disagreement with those who claim

religious feelings are incompatible with sound mental health.

There is a nearly limitless number of beliefs regarding

spirituality. Some are organized and involve rituals like mass or

worship. Many are centered around the existence of a higher

Religion in Mental Health 1


Short form of title and page number as running head

Citation of multiple works from references

Acknowledg- ment of opposing viewpoints

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being, while others focus on the self. I have attempted to

uncover the perfect set of values that lead to a better lifestyle,

but my research has pointed me in an entirely different

direction, where no single belief seems to be adequate but

where spiritual belief in general should be valued more highly

than it is currently in mental health circles.

I grew up in a moderately devout Catholic family. Like

many young people raised in a household where one religion is

practiced by both parents, it never occurred to me to question

those beliefs. I went through a spiritual cycle, which I believe

much of Western society also experiences. I attended religious

services because I had to. I possessed a blind, unquestioning

acceptance of what I was being taught because the adults I

trusted said it was so. Like many adolescents and young adults,

though, I stopped going to church when I was old enough to

decide because I thought I had better things to do. At this

stage, we reach a point when we begin searching for a meaning

to our existence. For some, this search is brought on by a major

crisis or a feeling of emptiness in their daily lives, while for

others it is simply a part of growing up. This is where we begin

to make personal choices, but with the barrage of options,

where do we turn?

Beginning with the holistic health movement in the

eighties, there has been a mass shift from traditional religions

to less structured spiritual practices such as meditation, yoga,

the Cabala, and mysticism (Beyerman, 1989). They venture

beyond the realm of conventional dogmatism and into the new

wave of spirituality. Many of these practices are based on the

Religion in Mental Health 2


Thesis explicitly introduced

Author and date cited for summary or paraphrase

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notion that health of the mind and spirit equals health of the

body. Associated with this movement is a proliferation of

retreats offering a chance to get in touch with the beauty and

silence of nature and seminars where we can take “a break from

our everyday environment where our brains are bustling and our

bodies are exhausting themselves” (“Psychological benefits,”

1999). A major concept of the spiritual new wave is that it

focuses inward toward the individual psyche, rather than

outward toward another being like a god. Practitioners do not

deny the existence of this being, but they believe that to fully

love another, we must first understand ourselves. Many find this

a preferable alternative to religions where the individual is seen

as a walking dispenser of sin who is very fortunate to have a

forgiving creator. It is also a relief from the scare tactics like

damnation used by traditional religions to make people behave.

Many, therefore, praise the potential psychological benefits of

such spirituality.

While I believe strongly in the benefits of the new wave,

I am not willing to do away with structured religion, for I find

that it also has its benefits. Without the existence of churches

and temples, it would be harder to expose the public to values

beneficial to mental stability. It is much more difficult to hand

a child a copy of the Cabala and say “Read this, and then get

back to me on it” than it is to bring a child to a service where

the ideas are represented with concrete examples. My religious

upbringing presented me with a set of useful morals and values,

and it does the same for millions of others who are brought up

in this manner. Many people, including some followers of the

Religion in Mental Health 3


Anonymous source cited by title and date

Clear transition refers to previous paragraph

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new wave, are bitter toward Christianity because of events in

history like the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch

trials, and countless other horrific acts supposedly committed

in the name of God. But these events were based not on

biblical teachings but on pure human greed and lust for power.

We should not reject the benevolent possibilities of organized

religion on the basis of historical atrocities any more than we

should abandon public education because a few teachers are

known to mistreat children.

Another factor contributing to the reluctance

concerning religion is the existence of cults that seduce people

into following their extreme teachings. The victims are often at

vulnerable times in their lives, and the leaders are usually very

charming, charismatic, and sometimes also psychotic or

otherwise mentally unstable. Many argue that if we

acknowledge these groups as dangerous cults, then we must do

the same for traditional religions such as Christianity and

Islam, which are likewise founded on the teachings of

charismatic leaders. Again, though, critics are too quick to

conflate all religious and spiritual practice; we must distinguish

between those who pray and attend services and those who

commit group suicide because they think that aliens are coming

to take over the world. Cults have provided many psychologists,

who are eager to discount religion as a factor in improving

mental health, with an easy target. Ellis (1993), the founder of

rational-emotive therapy, cites many extreme examples of

religious commitment, such as cults and antiabortion killings,

to show that commitment is hazardous to one’s sanity.

Religion in Mental Health 4


When the author’s name appears in text, only the date is cited in parentheses.

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Anomalies like these should not be used to speak of religion as

a whole, though. Religion is clearly the least of these people’s

mental problems.

Besides Ellis, there are many others in the field of

psychology who do not recognize religion as a potential aid for

improving the condition of the psyche. Actually, fewer than 45

percent of the members of the American Psychiatric Association

even believe in God. The general American public has more than

twice that percentage of religious devotees (Larson, 1998).

Going back to the days of Freud, many psychologists have held

atheist views. The father of psychoanalysis himself called

religion a “universal obsessional neurosis.” Psychologists have

long rejected research that demonstrates the benefits of

spirituality by saying that this research is biased. They claim

that such studies are out to prove that religion helps because

the conductors are religious people who need to justify their


While this may be true in some instances, there is also

some quite empirical research available to support the claims of

those who promote religion and spirituality. The Journal for the

Scientific Study of Religion has conducted many studies

examining the effects of religion on individuals and groups. In

one example, the relationship between religious coping

methods and positive recovery after major stressful events was

observed. The results indicated not only that spirituality was

not harmful to the mind but that “the positive religious coping

pattern was tied to benevolent outcomes, including fewer

symptoms of psychological distress, [and] reports of

Religion in Mental Health 5


Bracketed word in quotation not in original source

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psychological and spiritual growth as a result of the stressor”

(Pargament et al., 1998, p. 721). Clearly, the benefits of piety

can, in fact, be examined empirically, and in some cases the

results point to a positive correlation between religion and

mental health.

But let us get away from statistics and studies. If

religion is both useless and dangerous, as so many psycholo-

gists claim, we must ask why has it remained so vital a part of

humanity for so long. Even if it can be reduced to a mere

coping method that humans use to justify their existence and

explain incomprehensible events, is it futile? I would suggest

that this alone represents a clear benefit to society. Should

religion, if it cannot be proven as “true,” be eliminated and life

based on scientific fact alone? Surely many would find this a

pointless existence. With all the conflicting knowledge I have

gained about spirituality during my personal journey and my

research, one idea is clear. It is not the depth of devotion, the

time of life when one turns to religion, or even the particular

combination of beliefs one chooses to adopt that will improve

the quality of life. There is no right or wrong answer when it

comes to self-fulfillment. It is whatever works for the

individual, even if that means holding no religious or spiritual

beliefs at all. But clearly there are benefits to be gained, at

least for some individuals, and mental health professionals need

to begin acknowledging this fact in their daily practice.

Religion in Mental Health 6


Conclusion restates and strengthens thesis

Author, date, and page number are cited for a direct quotation.

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Amaro, J. (2000). Psychology, psychoanalysis and religious

faith. Nielsen’s psychology of religion pages. Retrieved

March 6, 2000, from http://www.psy


Beyerman A. K. (1989). The holistic health movement.

Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press.

Ellis, A. (1993). Dogmatic devotion doesn’t help, it hurts. In

B. Slife (Ed.), Taking sides: Clashing views on controversial

psychological issues (pp. 297-301). New York, NY: Scribner.

Jones, J. W. (1991). Contemporary psychoanalysis and religion:

Transference and transcendence. New Haven, CT: Yale

University Press.

Kristeva, J. (1987). In the beginning was love: Psychoanalysis

and faith. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Larson, D. (1998). Does religious commitment improve mental

health? In B. Slife (Ed.), Taking sides: Clashing views on

controversial psychological issues (pp. 292-296). New

York, NY: Scribner.

Pargament, K. I., Smith, B. W., Koening, H. G., & Perez, L.

(1998). Patterns of positive and negative religious

coping with major life stressors. Journal for the Scientific

Study of Religion, 37, 710-724.

“Psychological benefits.” (1999). Walking the labyrinth. Retrieved

April 3, 2000, from


Religion in Mental Health 7


References begin on a new page.

A World Wide Web source

A book

An article or a chapter in a book

An article in a journal

Anonymous source alpha- betized by title

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