Where do I look that up?

There are two kinds of sources you can use when conducting research: academic sources and journalistic sources.

Academic sources are reviewed by experts who check that they are credible. They are dedicated to publishing fact based articles. Some examples of academic sources are: Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, American
Political Science Review, Shakespeare Quarterly and Teacher Education Quarterly. These sources are required for work in college level classes. Google Scholar is a search engine that lets you to search for academic sources by topic. Instead of searching the whole internet, Google Scholar searches academic publishers, professional societies, universities and scholarly organizations.

Journalistic sources have not been reviewed by experts and may or may not be good sources. They have been published by businesses that have reason to be somewhat truthful. Some examples of these are: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, PBS, NPR, BBC, CNN, Rolling Stone and slate. These sources are required for work in high school level classes.

Internet sources that do not fit into ether of these categories like wikipedia, sparknotes and enotes are not always accurately checked. However they are not useless. They may provide some perspective. Make sure you confirm information you get from places like wikipedia in another credible source.The best place to confirm what you find on these internet sources is through a database. There is a list of databases at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. You can get access to it through the school's network.
http://mblc.state.ma.us/grants/licenses/links/links.php?locid=mlin_n_shawvvt&search.x=0&search.y=0&search=Submit



If it's a word in a poem or book, try the dictionary first. dictionary.com is not the best. Try http://www.merriam-webster.com/. It will work much better.

If it's a concept or some idea unknown to you, use http://www.google.com/ or http://www.wikipedia.org/. People will tell you that these cites are not to be trusted, and they are right. But they are a good place to start.

If it is a book, check out http://www.amazon.com/ or http://books.google.com/?PHPSESSID=f8fdae66572b24ab8fc567c25fbccdcc .

Literary Terms? Try http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/display_rpo/poetterm.cfm

What's the deal with Wikipedia? Can it be trusted?





The Librarian is your friend!


One of the first places you can start your search for any information is your school or public library. Whether your sources end up being those in print or electronic, you will find that the librarian can help you get on the right track in your search for answers. Our library has a website: http://shawsheenlibrary.wikispaces.com/

Citing Sources

There are many different styles used to cite sources. APA, MLA, Turabian, and Chicago are all styles used for formatting bibliographic material. APA and MLA are the most common for high school students. In this class we use APA Style for bibliographies and for quotations.

How does this work? There are two things you should know:

1. How to make a reference list.
2. How to cite sources using parenthetical documentation.

To use son of citation machine, click here.

Reference List
Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) has a page describing the basic rules for making a reference list using APA Style 6th Edition.
Here is what they say:


Your reference list should appear at the end of your paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any source you cite in the body of the paper. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.
Your references should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" centered at the top of the page (do NOT bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title). All text should be double-spaced just like the rest of your essay.
  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work for up to and including seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use ellipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.
  • Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.
  • If you have more than one article by the same author, single-author references or multiple-author references with the exact same authors in the exact same order are listed in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest.
  • When referring to any work that is NOT a journal, such as a book, article, or Web page, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.
  • Capitalize all major words in journal titles.
  • Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.
  • Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.
  • Please note: While the APA manual provides many examples of how to cite common types of sources, it does not provide rules on how to cite all types of sources. Therefore, if you have a source that APA does not include, APA suggests that you find the example that is most similar to your source and use that format. For more information, see page 193 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition. (Angeli et al., 2010)

Parenthetical Documentation
You may have used footnotes or endnotes in the past to cite sources, but with APA style, you are going to cite the sources within the text, using something called parenthetical documentation. The word "parenthetical" comes from the word parentheses, because parentheses are used to identify each source.


Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) also has a page describing the basic rules for siting sources inside text using APA Style 6th Edition.

Here's what they say:

APA Citation Basics

When using APA format, follow the author-date method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the year of publication for the source should appear in the text, for example, (Jones, 1998), and a complete reference should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
If you are referring to an idea from another work but NOT directly quoting the material, or making reference to an entire book, article or other work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication and not the page number in your in-text reference. All sources that are cited in the text must appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.

In-Text Citation Capitalization, Quotes, and Italics/Underlining

  • Always capitalize proper nouns, including author names and initials: D. Jones.
  • If you refer to the title of a source within your paper, capitalize all words that are four letters long or greater within the title of a source: Permanence and Change. Exceptions apply to short words that are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and adverbs: Writing New Media, There Is Nothing Left to Lose.(Note: in your References list, only the first word of a title will be capitalized: Writing new media.)
  • When capitalizing titles, capitalize both words in a hyphenated compound word: Natural-Born Cyborgs.
  • Capitalize the first word after a dash or colon: "Defining Film Rhetoric: The Case of Hitchcock's Vertigo."
  • Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, or albums: The Closing of the American Mind; The Wizard of Oz; Friends.
  • Put quotation marks around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles, articles from edited collections, television series episodes, and song titles: "Multimedia Narration: Constructing Possible Worlds"; "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry."

Short Quotations

If you are directly quoting from a work, you will need to include the author, year of publication, and the page number for the reference (preceded by "p."). Introduce the quotation with a signal phrase that includes the author's last name followed by the date of publication in parentheses.

According to Jones (1998), "Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time" (p. 199).

Jones (1998) found "students often had difficulty using APA style" (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?
If the author is not named in a signal phrase, place the author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number in parentheses after the quotation.

She stated, "Students often had difficulty using APA style" (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.

Long Quotations

Place direct quotations longer than 40 words in a free-standing block of typewritten lines, and omit quotation marks. Start the quotation on a new line, indented 1/2 inch from the left margin, i.e., in the same place you would begin a new paragraph. Type the entire quotation on the new margin, and indent the first line of any subsequent paragraph within the quotation 1/2 inch from the new margin. Maintain double-spacing throughout. The parenthetical citation should come after the closing punctuation mark.

Jones's (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style,
especially when it was their first time citing sources.
This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many
students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask
their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Summary or Paraphrase

If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, you only have to make reference to the author and year of publication in your in-text reference, but APA guidelines encourage you to also provide the page number (although it is not required.)

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.

APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

(Angeli et al., 2010)