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CIS Secondary Library: Citing & Referencing

CIS Secondary Library: Making the Virtual Visible

Modern Language Association

  Modern Language Association (MLA) citing and formatting are the the expected standards at Chinese International School. Perhaps you need general advice on MLA Formatting, or maybe you are seeking advice and insights on plagiarism. You will find help on that and more.

Traditionally speaking, English classes, the humanities, world languages, the arts, law, religion, and philosophy follow MLA formatting. Most important to MLA standard research is authorship. Emphasizing who originally came up with an idea is the most important element of any MLA research paper. While there are other formats out there (APA and Chicago being two prominent options), we use a single standard. The IB has provided a simple overview on Effective Citing and Referencing that you might find useful.




"As creators/authors, we are expected to acknowledge any materials or ideas that are not ours and that have been used in any way, such as quotation, paraphrase, or summary. The term 'materials' means written, oral or electronic products, and may include the following: 

  • Text, Visual, Audio, Graphic, Artistic, Lectures, Interviews, Conversations, Letters, Broadcasts, Maps.

Basic and common knowledge within a field or subject does not need to be acknowledged. However, if we are in doubt whether the source material is common knowledge or not, we should cite!"

from Effective Citing and Referencing, by the IB Programme of International Education, 2014


When Sources Must Be Cited (Checklist)*

Information that always must be cited—whether web-based or print-based—includes:

  • Quotations, opinions, and predictions, whether directly quoted or paraphrased.
  • Statistics derived by the original author.
  • Visuals in the original.
  • Another author’s theories.
  • Case studies.
  • Another author’s direct experimental methods or results.
  • Another author’s specialized research procedures or findings.

If you use specific information of the type just mentioned, document it; otherwise you could be plagiarizing. Better safe than lazy. By citing the source of your information you point to an authority rather than ask your reader to trust your memory or what might appear to be your own idea. Even though you can recall a statistic or a description of a process, for example, citation of such information—if it came directly from a source—gives more credibility to your writing and underscores the accuracy, timeliness, and even the potential bias of your information. In short, be honest, smart, and safe.

*from Penn State University College of Earth and Mineral Sciences

Citation Flowcharts

MLA Handbook

As a school policy, CIS adheres to the research standards and format set forth by the Modern Language Association (MLA).

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