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MLA Citation: A Citation & My Own Work

Citing a Citation

Let's say there are results of an original study by Denton et al. that you want to cite, but you read about these study results in a book by Beaujot & Kerr. Ideally, you should try to find the original study by Denton et al. and quote or paraphrase from it directly. However, if it is not possible to find or to read Denton et al.'s, you need to do the following: 


In the Works Cited list, provide the citation of the source YOU are using, i.e. the book by Beaujot & Kerr::


Beaujot, Roderic P., and Donald W. Kerr, editors. The Changing Face of Canada: Essential Readings in Population. Canadian Scholars’ P, 2007.


In text citation: name the original source and provide a citation for the source YOU use, for example:


According to Denton et al., ....... (qtd. in Beaujot & Kerr 98). 

One study found .... (Denton et al., qtd. in Beaujot & Kerr 98).

Denton et al. (qtd. in Beaujot and Kerr 98) found that .... 

Citing Your Own Previous Work

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR IF YOU ARE ALLOWED TO USE PRIOR COURSE WORK, no matter for which course you did the work previously, or if you took the course at another institution.

Whenever you refer to your own previous work in your new paper, you will need to provide an in-text citation. You must also provide a reference list entry for your prior work, just like you would for any other source you are using.

Let's say your name is Mary Smith, and you wrote an essay for your English 1100 class in 2016 with the title "The effect of texting on literary skills". Now you want to write an essay for your Sociology class about "Texting and its impact on interpersonal communication". You want to refer to some of your thoughts and conclusions you wrote about in your English 1100 essay, and you also want to reuse an interview you conducted and cited in your previous work. You talked to your Sociology instructor and have received permission to do so.


In the Works Cited list, you need to put your previous English 1100 paper as a source, like this:


Smith, Mary. "The Effect of Texting on Literary Skills." 10 Oct. 2016. English 1100, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, student paper.


In text citations are structured depending on whether they refer to your own previous thoughts or to a citation to another source. Here are suggested ways of citing these:      


Citing your own previous thoughts: 

Smith concluded that ... (8)

In a previous paper I concluded that ... (Smith 8), but this view does not hold true in the present context.


Citing data/an interview from your prior work (note that although you conducted the interview yourself for your English essay, you are now reading about it, and thus you are citing a secondary source):

When interviewed, Brown revealed he was "stunned that..." (qtd. in Smith 8)