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Literatures in English Research Guide

The following is intended as a general guide to research in literature.

Why cite?

Citing your sources is required! It is also beneficial in several ways:

  • Ethically: It helps you distinguish between your ideas and those of your sources
  • Collegially: Others can look up the sources you used to get more information about your subjects
  • Rhetorically:  It proves that you are up-to-date with what people are saying. This makes you look more knowledgeable. 

If you are an English major, most of your classes will use MLA citation style.

Here are a few tips...

Finding Citation Information

MLA Handbook

There are many brief MLA guides out there, but the MLA Handbook contains the complete rules.  It is useful to consult for several reasons:

  • It explains the reasons behind the rules. These are important for resolving ambiguity.
  • It covers special cases that may be excluded from brief guides.
  • It provides enough information to allow you to cobble together your own rules when there isn't an exact rule for what you want to do.
  • The examples are fantastic.

I'd recommend buying your own copy (it is very inexpensive), but the Library also has one, located at:

Reference Level 3        LB 2369 .G53 2016

Other Tools

Some Example Citations

Hall, Mark F. "The Theory and Practice of Alliterative Verse in the Work of J. R. R. Tolkien." Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature, vol. 25, no. 1-2, 2006, pp. 41-52. 

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Fall of Arthur, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, 2013.

Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. "The Lay of the Children of Húrin." The Lays of Beleriand, edited by Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin, 1985, pp. 1-125.

More on Citation Styles

Citation Managers

I strongly recommend becoming familiar with MLA style; this can help you read citations to identify what kind of work you're looking at quickly. However, when it comes to formatting your Works Cited, citation managers can save you a lot of time. Here are the two I'd recommend: