Here are some questions to ask yourself as you re-examine your use of outside sources in your writing.

Quality of sources:

Are your sources relevant, “beefy”, credible, objective, up-to-date, college-level?

Do you know who wrote the source? Is the person as expert, and how do you know?

If it’s an organizational web site without a personal authority, what do you know about the organization? Is it trying to sell a product or an viewpoint?

Evaluating print sources

Evaluating online sources for academic papers:

Using sources:

If you’ve taken material word-for-word from your source have you used quotation marks? If you’ve paraphrased, have you made sure the wording and sentence structures are truly “your own”? Here’s a link about how to avoid plagiarism: Plagiarism:

Have you quoted material when a paraphrase would have been more effective? Make sure you need a quote, both for its information and its wording (generally because it gives added credibility to your point or because its wording is so wonderful that you want to be able to use it).   Don’t quote just to get a statistic, and don’t overquote.

Have you used signal phrases to introduce all quotations (or a colon, with explanatory information on the left of the sentence).

Quotations (info on when and how to quote)

Integrating quotes

Citing sources:
Have you used in-text citations for all info obtained from sources, whether the material is quoted, summarized, or paraphrased?

Are your in-text citations in the proper format?

Is your Works Cited page in MLA formaat (double-spaced, alphabetized, hanging indent).

Do you know what type of source you have? Are your entries in proper MLA format? (Look at type and order of information, and check these details: roman vs. italic, punctuation, capitalization, format of dates, medium, access date for electronic sources.)
Citation resources

Diana Hacker on MLA in-text citations

Diana Hacker on MLA list of works cited

MLA Formatting and Style Guide from Purdue OWL


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