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Literary Criticism for Students (and anyone else)

A guide to researching literary criticism online and at the library

Avoiding Plagarism

According to the Council of Writing Program Administrators, plagiarism in an instructional setting occurs "when a writer deliberatley uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowleding its source."  It is considered to be academic dishonesty. It can lead to suspension or expulsiion and should be avoided.  Learn more about what it is and how to avoid it at the links below: 

Citation Management Tools

Consider using Zotero, a free citation management tool.  Zotero is a Firefox web-browser extension and is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style

Each discipline has its own citation style.  For literature, the citation style is The Modern Language Association (MLA) Style.  The MLA is a scholarly organization devoted to the study and teaching of language and literature.  The MLA produces guidelines for the proper formatting and documentation of research papers in English and some disciplines in the humanities.  Their guidelines are published in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.

Why Cite Your Sources?

It is important to cite sources used in your research paper for the following reasons:

  • To acknowledge the work of authors you have used in creating your paper.
  • To add credibility to points made in your paper.
  • To enable readers who would like additional information on the topic locate the sources used.

The video below, from North Carolina State University(NCSU), explains what a citation is, and why we cite.

Internet Resources

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style Guides