MHRA Style Sheet
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Introduction to Referencing Introduction In your essays you must acknowledge all the sources you have consulted: primary texts, secondary sources, websites, etc. You need to do it for several reasons: to help your essay-marker identify quotations; to get credit for the research you have undertaken; to identify the evidence on which your argument is based; to engage in dialogue with the wider scholarly community and to avoid plagiarism. Experience suggests that not all students are clear about how to acknowledge and identify the sources employed in preparing their essays. Choice of Style Sheet There are several referencing systems or ‘style sheets’ available. The main ones used in the Arts and Humanities are the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) and the MLA (Modern Languages Association) and Harvard style sheets. The English Department favours the MHRA system. If you are a Joint Honours student, your partner department might recommend a different one. As long as you identify which system you are using and are consistent in your usage, you will be fine. What follows is some basic advice on referencing and a selection of basic examples based on the MHRA Style Guide. Pretty much all you need can be found in one section: Chapter 11. You might want to buy a hard copy of the full guide for yourself, or you can download it for free from the following site: http://www.mhra.org.uk/Publications/Books/StyleGuide/download.shtml
Quotations Quotations in the body of an essay should be strictly accurate and clearly identified. Short quotations (not more than about forty words of prose or two complete lines of verse) should be enclosed in single quotations marks and run on with the main text. Long quotations (more than about forty words of prose, prose quotations consisting of more than one paragraph even if less than forty words, and verse quotations of more than two lines) should be broken off by an increased space from the preceding and following lines of typescript. They should not be enclosed within quotation marks. Any words omitted from a quotation should be indicated by three single-spaced dots (…). Some brief examples: Crick has recently argued that terms like ‘family, community, and individual…are no less alien and assumption-laden than social identity’. Chaucer’s narrator introduces Troilus’ song with protests of accuracy: And of his song naught only the sentence, As writ myn auctour called Lollius, But pleinly, save our tonges difference, I dar wel seyn, in al that Troilus Seyde in his song, loo! every word right thus As I shal seyn…. Footnotes The first time that you quote, paraphrase, refer to, or adopt a stance with regard to a particular source, you need to insert a numbered note, preferably a footnote at the foot of the page, giving full details as in the following examples. Notice that in footnotes, the author’s first name comes first; in a bibliography, the surname comes first so that you can arrange all the entries in alphabetical order. Note also how page numbers are indicated: p. 79 (a single page) or pp. 78-85 (more than one page). For some reason, you don’t use the abbreviation p. or pp. for articles in journals. If you cite a web page, you should give the title of the webpage as well as the URL.
Books: 1 Nicholas
Seager, The Rise of the Novel (Readers' Guides to Essential Criticism) (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), p. 79. 2Alfred
the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, trans. by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (London: Penguin, 1983), pp. 78-85. 3The
Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by F. N. Robinson, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957). Essays in books: 4 Neelam
Srivastava, 'Reading after Terror: The Reluctant Fundamentalist and First-World Allegory', in Postcolonial Audiences: Readers, Viewers and Reception (New York, NY: Routledge, 2012), pp. 171-183 (p. 175). Articles in journals: 5 Monica
Fludernik, ‘William Godwin’s Caleb Williams: the tarnishing of the sublime’, ELH, 68 (2001), 857-896 (p. 872). 6 Steve Sohmer, ‘The Lunar Calendar of Shakespeare’s King Lear’, Early Modern Literary Studies, 5 (1999) [accessed 28 January 2000]. [Note that for a journal read on-line, you still need to give full publication details.] Poems: 7Chaucer,
Troilus and Criseyde, III. 30-35, in The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by F. N. Robinson, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957). Subsequent references to this edition will be by parenthetical line references only. On-line databases: 8 Kent Bach, ‘Performatives’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy www.rep.routledge.com [accessed 3 October 2015] 9 E. E. (Edward Estlin) Cummings, ‘maggie and milly and molly and may’, in Literature Online http://lion.chadwyck.co.uk [accessed 5 June 2014] Subsequent references to previously cited works can be made parenthetically, in the body of your essay or in footnotes. If you cite more than one work by the same author, include author surname and a short title: Seager, p. 128. Alfred, p. 57. Fludernik, p. 873. Troilus and Criseyde, V. 150-51. Cummings, ‘maggie and milly’, l. 7. Cummings, ‘anyone lived’, l. 2. Fuller examples and explanations can be found in the MHRA Style Book. If you find a work whose details do not match up with the models, you may have to approximate them. The golden rule is: clarity, consistency, and common sense.
Bibliography Every essay should conclude with a bibliography, which lists all the editions and critical works that you have consulted and found relevant to your research on that topic. Items in the bibliography should be listed in alphabetical order. The format for bibliographies is very similar to that in footnotes except that the authors’ (or editors’) last names are listed first and no full stop is placed at the end of each reference:
Asser, Alfred the Great: Asser’s Life of King Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, trans. by Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (London: Penguin, 1983) Bach, Kent, ‘Performatives’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy www.rep.routledge.com [accessed 3 October 2015] Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by F. N. Robinson, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957) Fludernik, Monica, ‘William Godwin’s Caleb Williams: the tarnishing of the sublime’, ELH, 68 (2001), 857-896 Garrison, Mary, ‘The Emergence of Carolingian Latin Literature and the Court of Charlemagne (780-814)’, in Carolingian Culture: Emulation and Innovation, ed. by Rosamond McKitterick (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 111-40 Hines, John, ‘The Becoming of the English: Identity, Material Culture and Language in Early Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 7 (1994), 49-59 Seager, Nicholas, The Rise of the Novel (Readers' Guides to Essential Criticism) (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
Plagiarism Plagiarism is a serious issue, perhaps the most serious offence that a student in the Humanities can commit as part of his or her studies. Please ensure that you understand exactly what plagiarism and its penalties are. Here are the University Regulations regarding plagiarism: All work submitted by students for assessment must be expressed in their own words and incorporate their own ideas and judgements. Plagiarism—that is, the presentation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were one’s own—must be avoided, with particular care in coursework and essays and reports written in students’ own time. Deliberate plagiarism in coursework is as serious as deliberate cheating in an examination. Direct quotations from the published or unpublished work of others must always be clearly identified as such by being placed inside quotation marks, and a full reference to their source must be provided in the proper form. A series of short quotations from several different sources, if not clearly identified as such, constitutes plagiarism just as much as does a single unacknowledged long quotation from a single source. Use of another’s computer program or data without acknowledgement also constitutes plagiarism. Equally, a summary of another person’s ideas or judgements, must be referred to and the work referred to included in the bibliography. Failure to observe these rules may result in an allegation of cheating. Students should therefore consult their tutor or course director if they are in doubt about what is permissible. The following explanations are adopted from the Department of English’s Student Handbook: You are advised to cite all quoted material rigorously. Be warned that the discovery of plagiarism invariably has severe consequences, and can lead to various college penalties, from being awarded nought for a particular subject to being disqualified from receiving a degree at all. It is very important that your indebtedness to published work by critics and scholars is fully acknowledged. Listing in the bibliography is vital, but not enough. If you wish to adopt, counter, or refine a critical viewpoint which has come to you from published work, then you should acknowledge your sources accurately. If possible, quote the critic or scholar in his or her own words, citing the full reference in a footnote. If you have to paraphrase, make it clear what you are doing. If a section of your essay owes a pervasive debt to a particular critic, then acknowledge this by introducing it in terms such as these: ‘I agree with Helen Vendler in her sensitive account of Keats’s ode “To Autumn” that …’
You do not need to cite an authority for scholarly information which is generally available (e.g. an author’s dates of birth and death, publication, etc) but you do need to acknowledge information which a particular critic has brought to light (e.g. the presence of numerology in Spenser’s ‘Epithalamion’, discovered by Kent Hieatt). Above all, avoid any attempt to conceal your sources in the hope that it will make your work appear more individual and resourceful than it really is. If you adopt another person’s words without acknowledgement, this is a breach of copyright and indeed a form of theft. Even to appropriate another person’s ideas without acknowledgement is entirely alien to the spirit of academic study, which must be based on the responses of the individual reader, refined and developed through an exchange with others. The published critics and scholars are voices in that dialogue, and are to be read and used critically. Merely copying from them—or from anyone else—is educationally futile, because it is passive. Such plagiarism— unacknowledged copying and borrowing—turns the cooperative enterprise of study into deception on one side and suspicion on the other, and no university can accept it. Copying from fellow students or submitting your own assessed work on more than one occasion also constitutes forms of plagiarism. Students are, on the contrary, encouraged to pursue an active independence. Even in the rare case where you believe a single critic to be so overwhelmingly in the right that you wish to adopt the argument as a whole, it is important that you thoroughly assimilate and assess what he or she has to say. Seek out and analyse fresh examples, and this should help you to extend or refine the original case in an individual way. But acknowledge your debt even as you do this. Note: Reproducing arguments given by tutors as your own work is also considered to be plagiarism. You can supply a reference to lecture notes (e.g. Christie Carson, ‘Lecture on Macbeth’, EN1106, 6 November 2015). But you really should try to develop any arguments you derive from lectures and seminars, e.g. apply them to different textual examples, consider qualifications or ramifications. Your mission as students is to build on – not simply to reproduce – what you have been taught or have learnt from your research.