Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

English II Documented Research Essay

Research how-to for the English II documented research essay.


You have several options for citing resources in your paper. Most teachers, here at Interlochen, require MLA. The citation style usually varies by academic discipline:

- MLA style (Modern Language Association): Humanities 
- APA style (American Psychological Association): Education, Psychology, Science, and Business
- Chicago/Turabian (Professor Turabian was from the University of Chicago): History and Fine Arts (some)

Check with your teacher to use the style required for your class. Regardless of which one you use, be consistent!

There are many reasons why you need to cite your sources:

- You need to tell the reader the original source of your information. This lends authority to your work and lets the instructor know you did your research.
- You want to let your reader identify and retrieve the sources you used for their own use. 
- You need to credit the person whose ideas you have quoted, summarized or paraphrased. Not doing so constitutes plagiarism and is a violation of copyright law.

Remember, it does matter if you paid for the information or not. You must always state where you found it. If someone used your work, you’d want to get credit for it, too!

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA

You should cite when:

- Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
- Using an image or media file you did not create

When in doubt, cite it

When referring to a source, you have three options:

- Quoting
- Summarizing
- Paraphrasing

Here are some links that may help you with your Quotations:

When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source  (from Grounds for Argument)

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing (from Purdue OWL)

Suggested Ways to Introduce Quotations (from Columbia College)

How to Add Quotations to Your Paper (from Grounds for Argument)

You do not need to cite:
- Your thoughts and your interpretations

- Common knowledge​ 

Many different tools can assist you when creating a citation entry. However, these tools are not perfect. Common mistakes include:

-  Selecting the wrong type of information source
-  Inputting information incorrectly or leaving information out
-  Misplaced or incorrect punctuation
-  Improper capitalization

Make sure you closely review all citations if you choose to use a generator. You should always refer to your citation style guide to learn how to format your works cited/reference page.

Butler University Libraries. Citation Guides: HomeUsed under CC BY NC SA

We highly recommend this citation generator:

Works cited

General resources
Modern Language Association: A variety of resources from MLA Style Center. 
Answers frequently asked questions, including ones about how to cite recent information formats such as tweets and other online resources.

Formatting / style

- MLA: Formatting a Research Paper
Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): General Formatting: Guidelines for headers, first pages, and other format details within MLA style.

In-text citations
Purdue OWL: In-text Citations: Explains the basics of citing within your text. Includes examples for multiple authors and different types of sources.
Purdue OWL: Formatting Quotations: Guidelines for formatting short and long quotations within your text.

Works cited
Purdue OWL: Works Cited Page Basic Format: Explains basic formatting rules for your works cited page. Use the menu on the left of the screen to select the right type of source (Books, Periodicals, Electronic Sources, Other Common Sources) to create a Works Cited entry. The side menu also includes helpful information about creating tables and more.

Sample papers

Sample Papers in MLA Style 

NoodleTools is a user-friendly, online research platform that enables students to evaluate information, create citations, take notes, outline, archive source material, and prepare to write. Remember, your citation is only correct if you know what type of source you are citing and how to find all the relevant information. Ask a librarian if you have any questions.

-  NoodleTools

-  NoodleTools Express (no login required, for quick one-time citation needs)

-  NoodleTools Support

-  NoodleTools Templates

Any questions—Contact us @
We'll try to get back with you as soon as possible. At most, give us a 12-hour cycle.