MLA Research Paper
Outlining and Drafting
Create a general plan for your writing (list).
Beyond Introduction and Conclusion, what
will your “talking points” be? These can be
the basis for your body paragraphs.
Read carefully the sources you have located
to determine which details will help support
your “talking points.”
Understand the Information: Go beyond copy and
paste; read the sources; determine what will be
useful for your thesis.
Select the Information: Be sure to use a minimum of
five (5) sources; weed out useless information in
favor of key ideas.
Record the Information: Copy/paste or re-type info
on your Google Doc. Be sure to differentiate
between direct quotes and your own attempts to
paraphrase. Keep all publication information
(working bibliography) with your notes.
Create an outline for your draft. This will ensure
that the drafting process goes smoothly, and that you
don’t forget to add any key details from your
Use Roman Numerals (I, II) for the key talking
points in your notes.
Use Capital Letters (A., B.) for the main ideas
beneath those talking points.
Use Arabic Numerals (1, 2) for the details beneath
the main ideas.
II. Finding a cure for AIDS
A. Treating the disease
1. Testing new drugs
2. Distributing vaccines
B. Funding the research
1. Soliciting private contributions
2. Seeking government assistance
As you record information, be sure that you don’t
“borrow” words and phrases from your sources.
Even a short phrase, if not properly cited, can lead to
Place quotation marks “…” around any words you
copy directly from your sources.
Keep the publication information for your source
close at hand whenever you paraphrase or
A summary condenses information, perhaps
reducing an article to a short paragraph or
even a single sentence.
A summary is written in your own words.
If you use exact phrases from the source, put
them in quotation marks.
Like a summary, a paraphrase is written in
your own words; but whereas a summary
reports significant information in fewer words
than the original source, a paraphrase retells
the information in roughly the same number
If you retain occasional choice phrases from
the source, use quotation marks.
A quotation consists of the exact words from a
In your notes, put all quoted material in quotation
marks; do not assume that you will remember which
words, phrases, and passages you have quoted and
which are your own.
When you quote, be sure to copy the original words
exactly, including spelling, punctuation, and
Quotation Marks: A few rules
1. Place quotation marks around any phrases or
sentences used directly from the source material.
2. Use a comma to set apart any explaining words
before or after a direct quote.
3. Place end punctuation INSIDE the quotation marks,
unless you include a parenthetical reference.
4. With a parenthetical reference, the quotation marks
go before the parentheses; the end mark goes after.
Longer quotations (more than 4 lines of type)
should be introduced by an informative
sentence, usually followed by a colon.
Because they are tabbed in, no quotation
marks are necessary.
The parenthetical page reference, if there is
one, goes outside the end mark.
Example: All double spaced
Botan and Vorvoreanu examine the role of
gender in company practices of electronic
There has never been accurate
documentation of the extent of gender
differences in surveillance, but by the
middle 1990s, estimates of the proportion
of surveilled employees that were women
ranged from 76% to 80%. (127)
With an in-text citation, you acknowledge the source
directly in your writing.
Frederick Lane reports that employers do not
necessarily have to use software to monitor how
their employees use the Web: employers can “use a
hidden video camera pointed at an employee’s
monitor” and even position a camera “so that a
number of monitors [can] be viewed at the same
With parenthetical citations, you do not mention the
source in the text of your writing.
Rather, you provide the quote/info and place the
author’s last name and page # in parentheses at the
end of the quote.
Employers do not necessarily have to use soft-
ware to monitor how their employees use the Web:
employers can “use a hidden video camera pointed at
an employee’s monitor” and even position a camera
“so that a number of monitors [can] be viewed at the
same time” (Lane 147).
Q: What if there is no author listed for the article?
A: Use the first keyword (other than a, an, the) in
Q: What if the article has no page numbers?
A: Then don’t put page numbers in parentheses.
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