Re-post: Follow MLA Rules to avoid plagiarism on final research project

Any student who plagiarizes — even 1-2 words — runs the risk of failure for the semester.

Please conduct only the most ethical research and essay writing.

Citations are needed for

— facts and statistics

—direct quotations

—paraphrase of a unique idea

If an idea is not yours, if the words are a direct quotation, AND/OR if the idea appears in ONLY ONE SOURCE (that is, it is unique), a citation will always be required.

For an in-text citation based on an anthology/collected works, cite the AUTHOR of the essay  (not the names of the editor[s] on the book’s cover).  For example, if you use Leslie Silko’s essay on Pueblo Landscape and Imagination, the citation will look like this:

For an anthology:  (Silko 383).

For an Internet article w/no author listed:  (“Climate Change Consensus”).

For an Internet source w/an author listed:  (Smith).

For an Internet source w/more than one author:  (Flinstone and Rubble).

NOTICE:  The period is placed AFTER the parentheses; please be sure to use punctuation correctly.  The period follows the citation to provide the reader with information about the information quoted/cited and to establish a connection to the Works Cited.  EVERY work literally cited in your essay MUST also be LISTED (alphabetically) on the Works Cited page.  If only one source is absent from the Works Cited page, the student risks plagiarism.

Notice, all that is needed for an in-text citation is the author’s LAST NAME and the page number upon which the quotation, fact/statistic, or concept may be located.

There are only two occasions upon which citations are NOT NECESSARY:                                 1.    When the idea is common knowledge (e.g., Independence Day in the US is celebrated on July 4).

2.  If there is critical consensus (several authors/3+) all agree about a subject.  When there is consensus, a writer might name the authors in the sentence to demonstrate there is critical agreement among authorities about a specific issue.

For example, the information below comes from a website that lists the specific organizations that agree that climate change is having an impact on weather patterns:  “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,1and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.”


  • Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations

    “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver” (“American Association for the Advancement of Science”).

  • We will discuss the rules for MLA in class several times before papers are due.  Also be aware that BOTH in-text citations [e.g., (Silko 391)] AND the Works Cited page are required.  If a student submits the final research paper without parenthetical citations AND/OR the Works Cited page, the student will fail for the semester.  All authors and/ or texts cited in your essay MUST ALSO appear (alphabetically, not numbered) on your Works Cited page.  To leave any author/source off the Works Cited page is indicative of plagiarism.  Please be cautious; please follow the rules as precisely as possible.  Good luck!

To Avoid Plagiarism, Follow MLA Rules

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in failure–either for a single assignment or for the entire semester.  The rules for quoting and citing are clear and easy to follow at the Purdue Owl’s site.  The more ethical a student is about his/her writing, the stronger and more confident thinker and speaker the student will become.  Please know that the documented (research) essay is a requirement across all SUNY campuses including SUNY Rockland.  I am certain there is no such thing as accidental plagiarism:  plagiarism is cheating and lying.  First the work is not your own and such dishonesty/cheating is easily traced.  Please use the Web responsibly:  the use of electronic sources offers wonderful academic opportunities.  Please treat the words of others with respect:  if the words are not yours, please do not put your name above them.  Quote and cite words that are not your own.  Also, use quotations sparingly:  that is, your research essay must be 90% your voice and writing; we use outside sources only for supporting examples to prove and support our argument.  In a paper that is about 5-6 pages (double spaced and in 14 font), a student may have anywhere between 10-20 citations.

Please DO NOT place citations back to back; also do not stack quotations back to back.  When citing a source, introduce the author, title, and author’s credentials (if available, to show his/her expertise on the subject).  Then quote and cite.  Even if 1-2 words are borrowed from another author:  the words MUST BE QUOTED and CITED.  Please write the documented essay w/the highest ethical standards.  Plagiarism only results in failure; if a student does not successfully complete the documented essay at SUNY RCC, s/he cannot pass ENG 1o1 for the semester.


Thank you for cooperating with this fundamental rule:  every college campus in the country punishes plagiarism.  The best way to avoid plagiarism is to know and follow the rules.

The Works Cited Page

There is a sample of a Works Cited page in the link above.  About the Works Cited page:

— it is always the LAST PAGE

— it is always on a separate, single sheet of paper

–entries are alphabetized (use authors’ last name), and all entries begin at the margin;            second and subsequent lines are indented five spaces/tab.

— DO NOT NUMBER the sources

Five total sources are required:   limit Internet sources (use no more than two; an interview or quotations/statistics from a film may also be used.  But video and Interview (together) count as one source, so students need four more resources.   Please avoid Wikipedia and other very brief or questionable Internet sources.

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