Style Guide

What is Academic Style?

Academic style refers to grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, expression of ideas and arguments, and the documentation of sources used to defend your ideas, arguments, and conclusions.

Students at Royal St. George's College are expected to master a variety of writing styles to suit different academic disciplines. Specific style demands vary from subject to subject, so students should pay careful attention to information provided in each class. As a default style, students should use the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. The library has the latest copy of The MLA Handbook For Writers of Research Papers. It is located in the reference section with the call number REF 808.027 GIB. Almost any bookstore will carry it in paperback.

Samples of MLA Style: List of Works Cited / Bibliography

Examples of MLA and other styles courtesy of EasyBib.

Personal web page  (note last date of entry, post or update and the date of access)

Deibert, Ronald. Main page. 12 Jan. 2009. 21 Jan. 2009. <http://deibert.citizenlab.org/>.

Professional web page

National Survey of Student Engagement. Indiana University Bloomington. 21 Jan. 2009 <http://nsse.iub.edu/>.

Online magazine/newspaper article accessed through database

Bronskill, Jim. "U.S. Cites Personal History for Keeping Watch Listing." Winnipeg Free Press 27 Jan. 2007. Canadian Newsstand. Proquest. Royal St. George's College Library, Toronto. 28 Jan. 2007.

Wikipedia article

"Open Source." Wikipedia. 25 Jan. 2007. 27 Jan. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source>.

Blog posting

Carr, Nick. "Strip Mine Media." 11 Jan. 2009. Rough Type. 21 Jan. 2009 <http://www.roughtype.com/>.

Book (one author)

Arendt, Hannah. Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil. New York: Penguin, 1994.

Book (two authors)

Kidd, Bruce, and John Macfarlane. The Death of Canadian Hockey. Toronto: New P, 1972.

Printed newspaper article

Hunter, Paul. "Home Ice No Haven for Leafs." Toronto Star 20 Jan. 2009: S1+.

Printed magazine article (style may vary depending on type of publication - consult MLA Style Guide for more information)

Hsu, Hua. "The End of White America?" Atlantic Jan.-Feb. 2009: 46-55.

Citing Internet Sites Using MLA

MLA Guidelines This link takes you to the FAQ page on citing web resources at the MLA web site. Read this note on the use of italics vs. underlining.

Other Academic Styles

The other two popular styles are the American Psychological Association (APA) Style and the Chicago Style.



Other Style and Citation FAQs

Why do I have to cite the use of someone else's ideas?

You want to cite your sources for three reasons: it shows your reader that you have researched your arguments in a thoughtful and effective way; it allows your reader to conduct further research into your arguments and ideas, and, it is dishonest not to give credit to someone else's ideas. That is the essence of plagiarism.

Every sentence of my essay comes from another source. Should I use one citation for the entire paper?

First of all, you should not be writing a paper like this. If you are writing a report or reviewing ideas on a topic you should inject your own bridging statements, ideas or conclusions to break up any extensive use of quotations from other sources.

Is there such a thing as too much citing?

There can be, but caution is preferable to not citing your sources. Try and distinguish between common knowledge (e.g. Wilfrid Laurier was prime minister from 1896 - 1911) and ideas (Laurier was Canada's best prime minister). Common knowlege does not need to be cited.

Do I have to provide a citation for images I have copied from the Internet?

Yes. Most images available on the Internet are covered by copyright and the source of the image must be cited.

Should I number the entries in my bibliography/list of works cited?

No. Entries should be in alphabetical order by author or by title if there is no author.

Should I separate items listed in my bibliography/list of works cited by type (Internet, book, magazine, etc.)?

No. Entries should be listed in alphabetical order by author or by title regardless of the format of the item.

I am citing a piece of dynamically generated content from a newspaper website. Should I include the extensive URL in my citation?

No. Provide as much information as possible for the content (author, title, date,, etc.) and the newspaper URL (e.g., www.thestar.com). Include the date you accessed the article.

I have lost the origins of a really good quotation for my essay. Can I still use it without citing the source?

No. If you want to use the quotation or any ideas from that source you must go back and find it. To use the quotation without citing it constitutes plagiarism.

When should I prepare my list bibliography/list of works cited?

Students often leave the compiling of a bibliography to the end of a research paper. A better way to do it is to compile a working bibliography as sources are discovered and used. This ensures you don't leave anything out or make careless mistakes.

Bibliography Formatting Tools

These tools allow you to quickly format bibliographic infomation. It is still important for students to have an understanding of the principles of bibliographic citation and these web sites are not a replacement for that. Use them carefully.

Bib Me

Citation Machine

EasyBib

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