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Research 101

In this guide, you’ll learn about the steps in the research process including how to develop a research question, identify keywords, find, evaluate, and cite information sources and more.

Signal Phrases in MLA Style

Signal Phrases 

Readers should be able to move from your own words to the words you quote without feeling an abrupt shift. Signal phrases provide clear signal to prepare the readers for the quotation.
Choose a verb that is appropriate in the context. Here are some example signal phrases:

  • argues
  • asserts
  • believes
  • claims
  • comments
  • disputes
  • illustrates
  • implies
  • points out
  • reports
  • suggests
  • thinks
  • writes

Ease the Reader Out of a Quotation

When you use a quotation, help the reader make a smooth transition back into your own words. To do this, follow up the quotation with a sentence or two of your own that reinforces or expands upon it

Signal Phrases in MLA Style courtesy of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2020. 

Quoting and Paraphrasing - what's the difference?

There are two ways to integrate others' research into your assignment: you can paraphrase or you can quote.

Paraphrasing is used to show that you understand what the author wrote. You must reword the passage, expressing the ideas in your own words, and not just change a few words here and there. Make sure to also include an in-text citation.

Quoting is copying a selection from someone else's work, phrasing it exactly it was originally written. When quoting, place quotation marks (" ") around the selected passage to show where the quote begins and where it ends. Make sure to include an in-text citation.

About In-text citations

In MLA, in-text citations are inserted in the body of your research paper to briefly document the source of your information. Brief in-text citations point the reader to more complete information in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper.

Type of Citation

In-Text Parenthetical Format

1 work by 1 author

(Harris 23)

1 work by 2 authors

(Harris and Ramirez 23)

1 work by 3 or more authors

(Peet et al.198)

Corporate author

(American Dental Association 42)

Unknown author (use the title)

("A New Deal" 121)


Chart courtesy of Indian River State College, 2020

Am I plagiarizing Infographic


Quoting Directly

When you quote directly from a source, enclose the quoted section in quotation marks. Add an in-text citation at the end of the quote with the author name and page number, like this:

"Here's a direct quote" (Smith 8).

"Here's a direct quote" ("Trouble" 22).


When you write information or ideas from a source in your own words, cite the source by adding an in-text citation at the end of the paraphrased portion, like this:

​This is a paraphrase (Smith 8).

This is a paraphrase ("Trouble" 22).