Your instructor has asked you to use 2-3 peer-reviewed sources for your research paper (note: biographical information can come from a credible, non-peer reviewed source). What is "peer-review" in the scholarly world and how do you know if your source is peer-reviewed? Let's explore this by first watching a video on credibility:
Now that we understand the characteristics of a credible source, let's look at what makes a source "peer-reviewed:"
Scholarly articles are written by an expert in the subject matter, are research focused, contain original research, and the audience is geared towards other experts. Scholarly articles are often, but not always, peer-reviewed.
Peer-reviewed articles are scholarly articles that also go through a rigorous review process by other experts in the same field before publication. How does the process work?
Popular articles are articles that appear in magazines or newspapers, are not scholarly or peer-reviewed, and are written by journalists or staff members who are not subject matter experts. That is not to say that these types of articles are not credible, but they need do need to be evaluated for credibility more so than their counterparts. Examples:
There are several ways to check and see if the article you are looking at is peer-reviewed:
Databases are collections of information. Research databases are generally arranged by subject area and/or purpose. Below there is a list of suggested databases for your assignment. You can also browse the A to Z Database List to search specific databases or take an interdisciplinary approach by searching all of EBSCO or Gale using the search bars on the library homepage.
<your poet> AND <theme>
<your poet> AND <element of poetry>
<your poet> AND <"poem">
<your poet> AND (element of poetry/theme OR poem)
<your poet> AND (element of poetry/theme AND poem)
wordsworth AND nature
clarke AND meter
burns AND "to a mouse"
browning AND (meter OR my last duchess)
browning AND (meter AND my last duchess)
Your paper must include MLA formatting and citations. Citation styles require very specific order, punctuation, formatting and capitalization - there is no room for creativity! To see MLA rules and examples, visit the MLA Citation Guidelines.
Citations are vital to avoiding plagiarism in a research paper, but they are only one part. One of the most difficult aspects of writing a research paper is paraphrasing correctly. Many students who would never intentionally cheat or plagiarize will accidentally plagiarize through improper paraphrasing. Closely examine the paraphrasing examples below and see the Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial for more information.
Examples of Acceptable and Unacceptable Paraphrasing
The examples below will show you how paraphrase correctly. They're adapted from Paraphrasing by University Libraries, University of Arizona with its gracious permission.
Here's the original text, from page 1 of Lizzie Borden: A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s by Joyce Williams et al.:
The rise of industry, the growth of cities, and the expansion of the population were the three great developments of late nineteenth century American history. As new, larger, steam-powered factories became a feature of the American landscape in the East, they transformed farm hands into industrial laborers, and provided jobs for a rising tide of immigrants. With industry came urbanization the growth of large cities (like Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Bordens lived) which became the centers of production as well as of commerce and trade.
Here's an unacceptable paraphrase:
The increase of industry, the growth of cities, and the explosion of the population were three large factors of nineteenth century America. As steam-driven companies became more visible in the eastern part of the country, they changed farm hands into factory workers and provided jobs for the large wave of immigrants. With industry came the growth of large cities like Fall River where the Bordens lived which turned into centers of commerce and trade as well as production.
What makes this passage plagiarism?
This is unacceptable paraphrasing because the writer has:
Here's an acceptable paraphrase:
Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. Steam-powered production had shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, and as immigrants arrived in the U.S., they found work in these new factories. As a result, populations grew and large urban areas arose. Fall River was one of these manufacturing and commercial centers (Williams 1).
Why is this passage acceptable?
Here's an another acceptable paraphrase, using a quotation and paraphrase together:
Fall River, where the Borden family lived, was typical of northeastern industrial cities of the nineteenth century. As steam-powered production shifted labor from agriculture to manufacturing, the demand for workers "transformed farm hands into factory workers" and created jobs for immigrants. In turn, growing populations increased the size of urban areas. Fall River was one of these manufacturing hubs that were also "centers of commerce and trade" (Williams 1).
Why is this passage acceptable?
Strategies for avoiding plagiarism
1. Put quotation marks around everything that comes directly from the text, especially when taking notes.
2. When you paraphrase, be sure you're not just rearranging or replacing a few words. Instead, read over what you want to paraphrase carefully; cover up the text with your hand, or close the text so you can't see any of it (and so aren't tempted to use the text as a "guide"). Write out the idea in your own words without peeking.
3. Check your paraphrase against the original text to be sure you haven't accidentally used the same phrases or words, and that the information is accurate.
Students often confuse proofreading/editing for revision. The following video explains how these two parts of the writing process are both very necessary and very different from each other:
Here's a few options to get help:
Visit the University of North Carolina's Writing Lab for more writing help. They have many excellent worksheets and tutorials.
Contact the MCC Library if you need help finding or evaluating sources.
During fall and spring semesters, the library is open Monday - Thursday from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M., and Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. for in-person help:
Neal Campus Kingman Library
1971 E Jagerson Avenue
Kingman, AZ 86409
Virtual help is available at the same hours through the website chat at mohave.libguides.com, text at 928-232-4430, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Zoom. Contact the library to set up a Zoom session.
Contact the Student Success Center if you need help writing, editing or formatting your paper. They are located next to the library.
During fall and spring semesters, tutors are available Monday - Thursday from 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. and Friday from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
SmartThinking online tutoring also has tutors who will review your paper. You can access SmartThinking through Schoology at the bottom of the lefthand toolbar.
MCC Connect can transfer your call to the Library, Student Success Center or your professor. Call 866-664-2832.