5 Tips for Documenting Sources in a TalkBy 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!
Angela Gibson is the associate director of scholarly communication at the MLA. She has a decade and a half of editorial experience and holds a PhD in Middle English from the University of Rochester. Before coming to the MLA, she taught college courses in writing and literature.
Published 3 January 2017