5 Tips for Documenting Sources in a Talk

By Angela Gibson

Speaking at the MLA convention in Philadelphia? Remember a key principle of MLA style: it’s important to credit ideas and quotations borrowed from others. This is true even when delivering an oral presentation. Here are five easy tips:

1. When introducing a source for the first time, provide enough information about it for others to locate it and understand its context. Typically, the author, title, and date of the source are needed. Other publication information can be mentioned if relevant.

2. Use clear and varied phrases to introduce a source that you quote or paraphrase.

3. Conclude quotations clearly, by reestablishing yourself as the speaker (e.g., “In this quotation we see”; “As we can discern from Katz’s statement”; “Jefferson’s words are especially apt because”).

4. Avoid “quote . . . unquote.”

5. If your presentation includes slides or a handout, include a works-cited list for your presentation.

Good luck, and we’ll see you in Philly at the MLA Style Workshop!

Published 3 January 2017

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