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8.5 Learning proper attribution and citation in literary analysis

4 min readmarch 15, 2023

Sylvia Rodriguez

Sylvia Rodriguez


AP English Literature 📚

145 resources
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When conducting literary analysis of poetry, it is important to properly attribute and cite the sources you are using in your analysis. This includes both the poem itself and any secondary sources you may be using. Proper attribution and citation help to give credit to the original source of the material, avoid plagiarism, and provide the reader with the necessary information to locate the source for further study.
In this study guide, we will explore the following topics related to proper attribution and citation in literary analysis poetry:
  • Understanding the Importance of Proper Attribution and Citation
  • Understanding MLA and APA citation styles
  • Citing the Poem in Your Analysis
  • Citing Secondary Sources in Your Analysis
  • Common Issues to Avoid
  • Understanding the Importance of Proper Attribution and Citation
Proper attribution and citation are essential components of academic writing and are used to establish credibility and demonstrate the reliability of your work. They also help to prevent plagiarism, which is the use of someone else's work without giving proper credit. When conducting literary analysis, it is important to give credit to the original source of the material you are using in your analysis, whether it is the poem itself or a secondary source.

Understanding MLA and APA citation styles

In literary analysis, two of the most commonly used citation styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). Both of these citation styles have specific guidelines for how to format and cite sources, including poetry.

Citing the Poem in Your Analysis

When citing the poem in your analysis, it is important to provide information about the poem's title, author, and publication information.
In MLA style, you would typically include the author's last name, the title of the poem in quotation marks, the title of the collection (if applicable), and the publication information, including the publisher and publication date.
Example:
In the poem "The Tyger," Blake explores the duality of creation and destruction through the image of the titular tiger.
(Blake, William. "The Tyger." Songs of Experience, 1794. Print.)
In APA style, you would typically include the author's last name, the publication year in parentheses, the title of the poem in quotation marks, and the publication information, including the publisher and publication date.
Example:
In the poem "The Tyger" (Blake, 1794), the author explores the duality of creation and destruction through the image of the titular tiger.
(Blake, W. (1794). "The Tyger." Songs of Experience. Print.)

Citing Secondary Sources in Your Analysis

In addition to the poem itself, you may also be using secondary sources, such as critical articles, in your analysis. When citing secondary sources, it is important to provide information about the author, title, publication information, and page number(s) of the material you are using.
Example:
In his article "The Duality of Blake's Tiger," Smith argues that Blake's use of the tiger symbolizes the duality of creation and destruction in the universe. (Smith, John. "The Duality of Blake's Tiger." Journal of Literary Analysis, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 123-126. Print.)
It is also important to properly format the citation according to a specific style guide, such as MLA or APA. This ensures that your analysis is accurate, clear, and professional.
For example, in MLA style, the citation for the above example would look like this:
Smith, John. "The Duality of Blake's Tiger." Journal of Literary Analysis, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 123-126, Print.
In APA style, the citation for the same example would look like this:
Smith, J. (Year). The duality of Blake's tiger. Journal of Literary Analysis, 3(2), 123-126.
It is essential to be consistent in the citation style you use throughout your analysis and to make sure that all sources are properly cited to avoid any accusations of plagiarism. Additionally, including a Works Cited or References page at the end of your analysis will provide a comprehensive list of all the sources used in your analysis, making it easy for your reader to find and verify the information you have used.

Common Issues to Avoid

When conducting literary analysis and citing sources, it is important to avoid the following common issues:
Plagiarism: Make sure to give proper credit to the original source of the material you are using inyour analysis. This includes not only direct quotes, but also paraphrased material and ideas that are not your own. Plagiarism not only goes against academic integrity, but it can also have serious consequences.
Misattribution: Ensure that you are accurately attributing quotes and ideas to the correct source. Double-check the author and publication information before including it in your analysis.
Incorrect citation format: Make sure to follow the appropriate citation format, such as MLA or APA, consistently throughout your analysis. Incorrect citation format can result in a lower grade or, in more serious cases, accusations of plagiarism.
Failure to quote: It is not enough to simply list the source of an idea or quote in a bibliography. You must also include the specific page number or location of the material in the text of your analysis.
Not including enough information: Make sure to include enough information in your citations so that the reader can locate the original source. This typically includes the author, title, publication date, and publishing information.
    By avoiding these common issues, you can ensure that your literary analysis is not only accurate and well-researched, but also ethical and credible.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🤔Exam Skills
🌱Unit 1 – Intro to Short Fiction
Unit 2 – Intro to Poetry
🎭Unit 3 – Intro to Longer Fiction & Drama
⚔️Unit 4 – Character, Conflict, & Storytelling in Short Fiction
🌈Unit 5 – Structure & Figurative Language in Poetry
🛠️Unit 6 – Literary Techniques in Longer Works
🏛️Unit 7 – Societal & Historical Context in Short Fiction
🤾🏾‍♀️Unit 8 – Advanced Techniques in Poetry
🚣🏾Unit 9 – Nuanced Analysis in Longer Works

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