Did you know...?
  • A citation does not exist simply to avoid plagiarism (although that is an important function as well).
  • The Works Cited/Bibliography is often where a researcher will begin before reading the work itself. (Why do you think this is true?)
  • A citation has tons of valuable information embedded within it.
  • A citation alone can give you a place to begin your research process.

Activity Outcomes
  • Students will be able to identify the parts of a MLA citation.
  • Students will be able to articulate the purpose of each part.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the ability to mine information from a citation.
Relevant Course Outcome
  • Students will be able to identify the steps of the research process and apply information literacy skills in a variety of contexts.

Let's experiment with some citation mining on articles accessed in research databases...

Works Cited
Broaddus, James W. "A Galenic Reading of the Redcrosse Knight's 'Goodly Court' of Fidessa/Duessa." Studies in Philology 109.3 (2012): 192-98. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Burlinson, Christopher. "Humans and Animals in Thomas More's Utopia." Journal of the Society for Utopian Studies 19.1 (2008): 25-47. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Gertz, SunHee Kim. "Transferral, Transformation, and the Act of Reading in Marie de France's Bisclavret." Romance Quarterly 39.3 (1992): 399-410. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Perry, William Gilmer. "English Literature's Debt to the Bible." The North American Review 198.693 (1913): 227-39. JSTOR. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Phillips, James. "In the Company of Predators: Beowulf and the Monstrous Descendants of Cain." Angelaki 13.3 (2008): 41-51. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

Smith, Charles R. "Jealousy: Chaucer's Miller and the Tradition." Chaucer Review 43.1 (2008): 16-47. JSTOR. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

(Should serve as examples of citations of scholarly articles accessed in research databases as well as the format of a Works Cited. Note: second lines of entries should be indented, but wiki formatting does not allow it.)

Breakdown of citation for a scholarly article accessed in a research database: TBA

1) Examine all six citations. Just by looking at the citations...
  1. What type of sources are these?
  2. What observations can we make about the journals from their titles?
  3. What observations or assumptions can we make about the articles based upon the respective access databases? The access dates?
  4. One of these things is not like the others...which one? Why? What should we question about it?

2) Choose a scribe who will create a Discussion Post ON THIS PAGE (double-dialogue bubble to the right of "Edit"). Title it with the last name of the author in your citation. Start the body of the Post by listing all group members. Then take notes on the discussion of the following questions...

3) As a group, examine your citation. Just by looking at your group's citation...
  1. What observations can you make about this specific journal?
  2. What observations/assumptions can you make based on the volume and issue numbers? (In other words, what do volume and issue numbers mean?)
  3. What observations can you make about the page number range?
  4. What observations/theories can you make/offer about the article's focus from its title?

4) As a group, examine your citation. Now you may let the citation lead you to look up further information (the internet can be your friend)...
  1. What more information can you find about the journal? What is important to know? What does this information tell you? (You might find some hints on the Research/Citation Help page by our librarian, under "Evaluating Sources.")
  2. What information can you learn about the author? What does this information tell you? (Again, check the hints on the Research/Citation Help page, "Evaluating Sources.")
  3. Can you find this source from its citation? What information allowed you to find it?
  4. Identify one other article in the same journal issue. Give its Works Cited citation (like those above).
  5. Imagine you are doing research on a topic related to the subject of this source. Once you have found the source (the article itself), use it (and only it - i.e. not a database or the internet) to identify another source that might help you in your research. Note the process it takes to find this second source as well as its Works Cited citation.

5) Reflection on your personal wiki page: What have you learned about the value of citations and this method of research?

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