Follow the tabs for a Step-by-Step Research GuideQuestions? Ask a Librarian
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** The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is now in its 8th edition (2016).
Things you ought to know
Writing clearly is very important in every occupation. You will learn to write well in your classes and at the English Center, not in this simple overview. If you already write well, visit the English Center and they will help you write exceptionally well. If you are just learning to write well, visit the English Center and they will help you on your way! Do you see a pattern?
There are specific writing guides for college that tell you how to format papers and provide tips on good writing. Minimally, many professors will want you to follow a guide for the in-text citations and the references cited page or bibliography. Ask your professor if you need to follow a specific guide.
The two main style guides for college students are published by the Modern Language Association of America (MLA guide) and the American Psychological Association (APA guide). Here are a few of the most commonly used references cited styles in MLA style and APA style. Be aware that you may need to use a complete guide if your specific need is not covered in the brief guides.
If you have followed this website’s tabs about writing your paper, you should be at the point of reading your research and taking notes. Be sure and write next to each note you take where you got the information. You will need this for your in-text citations, bibliography or references cited page. Occasionally review your assignment and your topic sentence or research question to be sure you are staying on track.
Divide up your notes based on the different parts of your topic or your various topic questions. If you are using a computer, you could combine them on different pages: a page for each part of your topic. If you are using note cards, you could make piles of cards on each part of your topic. Now you have a collection of information/notes on each area of your topic. Read through them. Do you need more information for one area? Do you need a statistic to make your point? Did you have notes that answer all your questions sufficiently? Maybe more research is needed.
Did you write an outline? Put your piles of note card or pages of notes in the order of your outline. Dive in and pull the parts of your paper together. Anywhere in this process, consult the English Center for help with writing or a librarian for help with research.
Unless your professor has asked to see your first draft, do not turn in your first draft! Re-read and rewrite several times before submitting your final draft to your professors. This is college and the time to really show your best. There is plenty of help at City College. Start your papers and projects early so that you can take full advantage of this opportunity!