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CIS Secondary Library: Extended Essay

CIS Secondary Library: Making the Virtual Visible

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MLA/APA: Samples & Guides

MLA Samples & Guides

APA Samples & Guides



"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

The [Rare] Use of Footnotes

MLA format requires in-text parenthetical references.

There are only two reasons to use footnotes or end notes: 

  1. As "Content Notes" which "offer the reader comment, explanation, or information that the text can’t accommodate. In general, they should be used only when you need to justify or clarify what you have written or when further amplification of your point is especially helpful." 
  2.  As "Bibliographic Notes" which used only when you need to cite several sources or make evaluative comments on your sources."

To be perfectly clear, footnotes and end notes do count against your total word count.

There is plenty of available support, so please take advantage:

Work Cited

"Are Notes Compatible with MLA Style?" Ask the MLA. Modern Language Association, 2016. Web. 14 June 2016. <>.

The Extended Essay, a compulsory component of the IBDP curriculum, is designed to give you an opportunity to engage in the methods of critical research. It is defined as “an in-depth study of a focused topic” intended to give you experience of the kind of individual, independent, and sustained research work that is encountered in college and university education. 

Getting started, it is wise to consult the Five Steps to Writing a Research Question and to consider the advice provided with the Sample Research Questions

For each subject, there are very particular standards you must follow. Get to know these resources (linked below) as you consider your subject options. After you have chosen a subject, use this very practical advice throughout the rest of the process.

As you work, you should frequently seek the wisdom of your supervisor, communicate with the Extended Essay coordinator, and--as always--ask questions. Because you are producing a significant body of research, you are expected to follow MLA Research Paper standards. At our Citing & Referencing LibGuide, you will find many additional tips and insights.

*"Effective first submission for assessment May 2021, extended essays submitted in studies in language and literature (Language A registrations) must not be based on a text which has been studied as part of this course. Students may, however, base their essays on different texts by the same author. Please note that this rule applies to all students without exception."

Key Databases

The entire range of our databases are available to use. This particular list centers on what you will typically need for your essays, but feel free to use the others. All items listed below are directly linked to the database opening page.

Database Description Best Fit Subjects

EBSCO features articles from newspapers, magazines, peer reviewed journals, and reference materials in an array of subject areas. For virtually any topic, one can find current, authoritative results.

All subjects

A collection of academic journals, letters, images and other primary sources appropriate for Diploma students.You will create your own account in order to access material and customise folders. See your librarian for support in creating your account.

All subjects

Global Issues in Context

A database designed to support global awareness. Authoritative content empowers learners to critically analyze and understand the most important issues of the modern world.

Economics, Geography, Sciences, World Studies

Gale Researcher

A reliable starting point to begin research projects in American Literature, British Literature, Criminal Justice, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, U.S. History, Western Civilization, and World History.

Economics, History, Lang & Lit, Psychology, Sciences

Opposing Viewpoints

Database designed to support science, social studies, current events, and language arts presents each side of important issues and empowers learners to develop information literacy and critical thinking skills.

Economics, History, Lang & Lit, Sciences, World Studies

Gale Literary Sources

Abounding with countless options for author searches, title searches, biographies, literary criticism, and literary terminology.

Lang & Lit

Literature Criticism Online

Critical responses to the writings of the world's most renowned novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers, scriptwriters, and other creative writers while providing supplementary biographical context and bibliographic material.

Lang & Lit, Theatre

Literature Resource Center

Literature Resource Center is a research-focused literary destination, providing students, academics and researchers authoritative and relevant results on demand.

Lang & Lit, Theatre


LitFinder covers world literature and authors throughout history, and contains a wealth of literary works and secondary-source materials, including over 150,000 full-text poems and more than 800,000 poetry citations, as well as short stories, speeches, and plays.

Lang & Lit, Theatre

Science in Context

Database designed to support science studies by providing contextual information on hundreds of today's most significant science topics and showcase scientific disciplines that relate to real-world issues.


Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies is an electronic resource that focuses on the study of sustainability and the environment. Topics include global warming, food safety, access to health care, and the impact of economic development on international relations.

Economics, Geography, Sciences, World Studies

US History in Context

Designed to support U.S. history studies and provides an overview of the nation's past, covering the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people.


World History in Context

Database designed to provide an overview of world history covering the most-studied events, cultures, civilizations, religions, people, and more.


Health and Wellness

Perfect for researchers at all levels, this comprehensive consumer health resource provides authoritative information on the full range of health-related issues, from current disease and disorder information to in-depth coverage of alternative medical practices.

Psychology, World Studies

What is a Primary Source?

According to the Princeton University Library, a primary source is a "document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study." They go on to provide clarity to the primary source question:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS(excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings 
  • Weavings and pottery - Native American history 
  • Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece

Find out how a primary source differs from a secondary source by visiting their web page.