When writing your thesis, the references are a crucial part of the process. You want to acknowledge other people’s work and expand upon them, not ignore or steal them.  So you need to cite each resource you use correctly.

Of course each field of study uses a different formatting style. For social sciences, such as anthropology, the Harvard style can be used, as can the APA style. For the languages and arts, and in particular English, the MLA style is used most often.

When using the MLA style (Modern Language Association), the acknowledgement of a source in the body of the text is done in parenthesis. If the author is not mentioned in the sentence leading up to the citation, then it is recorded as author and date published. It looks like: (Olsen, 2001). If the author is mentioned, such as in the sentence, “Olsen’s work suggests that…” than the date is only needed. It looks like: (2011).

In MLA formatting, the bulk of reference information is included at the end of the thesis or essay. They are listed in a bibliography or Works Cited list. Sources used appear in alphabetical order of the author’s last name. If there is no author, then it is listed alphabetically by the first word of the title. The name of the author, the title of the resource, the publication city, name, and date are all included, and in that order. It looks like:

Olsen, Colin. All I Know. Lethbridge: Pantheon, 2001.

If two or more authors wrote a book or paper that you are using, than you list all the authors in the order they appear on the title page. Only the first author’s name is reversed and a comma is placed between each author’s names.

If you are using a web resource, as is becoming more popular each day due to online journals, the website name, URL, and date viewed all need to be included.

Remember to cite all works that you used direct quotes from, but also those works you take information from and re-phrase in your own words. If you use statistics, examples, or ideas from a work remember to cite it as a reference as well.

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