Creating proper citations in a written document, such as a research paper, term paper, report or even government documents avoids the appearance of plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you use direct words and ideas belonging to another while passing them off as your own. By correctly placing a parenthetical citation within the text and a full reference on the 'Works Cited' page, you can avoid any improprieties or accusations of stealing someone else's hard work or research.
The Modern Language Association, or MLA, formatting style uses in-text or parenthetical citations that are then reflected in full format in the alphabetized 'Works Cited' section at the end of the document. The formatting is comprehensive and covers committee reports as part of the citation process. In many cases, the committees are governmental; however, the same rules apply to organizational committees that compile a document without a set author. In all cases, the abbreviations used help shorten long or repetitive names but still help the reader identify the source documents. The punctuation in the citations separates each entity; for example, 'United States. Cong.' The session of Congress is lowercase because it is preceded by the number of the congressional session, such as '2nd sess.'
The general format for citing a committee report is:
Organization. Document Title. # Congress. [if applicable], # Session. [if applicable]. Report Number [or other number, if applicable]. Place: Publisher, Date. Medium.
United States. Cong. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. The Future of the Independent Counsel Act Hearings (Italics). 106th Cong., 1st sess. Washington: GPO, 1999. Print.
Another type of committee's works cited-type of formatting may look like this:
Committee on Scholarly Editions. “Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions.” Modern Language Association (Italics). MLA. 25 Sept. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2007.
In the examples above, the committee is designated in the organizational spot, so that there is no confusion as to what type of document is being cited. The title of the report is done in quotations to separate it from the overall committee section in italics. In the example, the title of the work the Committee produced while working for the Modern Language Association appears in the periodical MLA.
Place the citation close to the language that you are quoting or paraphrasing, generally at the end of a sentence. If you are using a direct quotation, place the citation at the end of the quote. Because you are citing a committee report that does not have a designated author, the in-text citation must include the organization name and a page number if you have one, such as: (UNESCO 6).
Electronic Committee Report Citations
When you cite a committee report through a governmental or company website, you need to format your 'Works Cited' entry with the following:
United States. Cong. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Proposed Western Hemisphere Passport Rules: Impact on Trade and Tourism (Italics). 109th Cong., 1st sess. Report No. 109-275. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 2006. Web. 25 June 2009.
Note that the medium is listed as 'Web,' and that the access date when you found the information and used it is included in the text. Because there are no page numbers on a website, you will only need to cite the committee as your source.
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