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ENGL 100 - Pierstorff - Spring 2024: Home

A guide for students researching social media.

Your Assignment

Your Assignment

Social Media: Research Unit Argumentative Essay

Based on your reading and research, write an essay that argues whether or not social media has had a positive or negative effect on society.

You may choose to take a specific side, pro or con, and argue for that position, or you may take a more balanced approach and discuss both sides. Whichever you choose, however, you will want to narrow your scope to only 2-3 main points.

Step One: Familiarize Yourself With Your Text and Your Issue

Begin your project by doing some background reading on your topic. Preliminary reading helps you:

  • achieve a basic understanding of your issue. 
  • begin to identify interesting specific questions that will form the backbone of your research; and
  • start to acquire vital search terms you need in order to explore your subject more fully. 

Featured Resources

Online Resources

Step Two: Find, Read, and Reflect on Your Sources

Find sources on the topics that you identified in Step 1.

  • Do a comprehensive search utilizing all the sources below; leave no stone unturned
  • Print/save/email the sources you find as you go to avoid backtracking
  • Read your sources several times, highlighting relevant information and making notes as you go.
  • If you find sources that will help others in your team, SHARE THEM.
  • If you have trouble finding the appropriate type or number of sources: MEET WITH A RESEARCH LIBRARIAN-- you can make an appointment in Canvas under Research Help; there are slots available JUST FOR YOU on Mon & Weds nights 5-9 or Fri-Sat-Sun mornings 8-11. 

Step Three: Start Writing a Draft

  • Make an appointment with writing center staff at least once. They will help you get started, proceed, and/or finish. This is a free service that you should always utilize to maximize your success.
  • Utilize the MJC Library & Learning Center's FORMAT & CITE page to aid with MLA. A research librarian can provide face-to-face assistance with formatting and citing as well. 

Works Cited Examples

Citation Examples and Template:

 MLA Core ElementsEach citation in your list of works cited is composed of elements common to most works -- author, title, publication date, etc. These are called the MLA core elements. The core elements are assembled in a specific order as shown to the left.

Use the links below to see examples of source citations and practice using one of the templates.

If you don't find what you need below, check out the MLA's, Ask the MLA.


Citation Examples by Format:

In-Text Citation Basics

What Are In-Text Citations?

In-text citations are brief references within the body of your paper that tell your readers that a) you've used an outside source, and b) point them toward that source in your Works Cited list. Where relevant, the in-text citation also points your reader to the location in the source being cited (e.g. page number).

The in-text citation can appear within the body of your paper, within a parentheses, or a combination of the two.

You need to cite all direct quotations, paraphrased information, and summarized ideas.

What To Include in an In-Text Citation

  • An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that di­rects your reader to the entry in the Works Cited list. Therefore, it begins with what ever comes first in the entry: the author’s name or the title of the work.
  • Most often, an MLA in-text citation begins with the author's last name followed by the page number: (Jones 14).
  • If there is no author, use the "Title" of the source:  ("Global Warming" 129).

If page numbers are available, they MUST be listed. This often means examining the pdf version of database articles to locate page numbers.

Detailed Rules

  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation:

Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty 42).

  • Direct quotes longer than 4 lines are indented an extra 1/2 inch, the quotation marks are removed, and the parenthetical comes AFTER punctuation.

A preliminary study presented recently at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting found that getting enough sleep was associated with greater protection of death from all causes.If magnesium does work to help someone get a little shuteye, that may be because it is acting on certain receptors on the surface of brain cells to quiet down brain cell activity.The nutrient acts on the benzodiazepine receptor, which is the same receptor used by Valium-type drugs and the sleep medication Ambien. (Gurubhagavatula)

  • If author name or title is used within the text, do NOT list it again within parenthesis. 

Haggerty notes magnesium is effective at relieving some symptoms of PMS (42).

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