How should material from a course pack be cited?

Since course packs may be cited more than one way, students should ask their instructors what to do, and instructors should indicate their preferred citation method. Below are recommendations for instructors and recommendations for students who are unable to get their instructors’ guidance.

Recommendations for Instructors

When assigning material from a course pack, you should decide whether students should cite the course pack or the original source of the work. Either way, the work should be cited according to the MLA format template

Say, for example, that an instructor named Anne Smith has asked her students to treat her course pack as the source for Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” The students would list the author of the story in the “Author” slot and the title of the story in the “Title of source” slot. They would then list a description of the course pack in the “Title of container” slot, Anne Smith’s name in the “Other contributors” slot (since Smith compiled the course pack), the date of the course pack, and its location:

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Course pack for English 285: American Short Story Writers, compiled by Anne Smith, Spring 2015, Iowa State U.

Instructing students to cite the course pack will teach them how to cite the particular version of the work they are consulting, but you might consider having your students cite the original source of the work so that they can practice documenting real-world rather than classroom sources.

Recommendations for Students

If you are unable to get guidance on how to cite course-pack material, assume your instructor wants you to cite the original source of the material. So, for example, if your instructor assigned “The Lottery” from a course pack and indicated that the story was published in the collection “The Lottery” and Other Stories by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2005, you would cite the story as follows:

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” “The Lottery” and Other Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005, pp. 291-302.

Published 30 May 2019

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