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MLA Formatting and Style Guide

mla citation help for research paper
How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher
Text Formatting

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources. Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information.

Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used.

Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism. There are many examples of plagiarism. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism.

Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Re-using a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it is new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

A citation shows the reader or viewer of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote into your project. These citations that are found in the body of a research paper are called in-text, or parenthetical citations. These citations are found directly after the information that was borrowed and are very brief in order to avoid becoming distracted while reading a project.

Included in these brief citations is usually just the last name of the author and a page number or the year published. Scroll down below for an in-depth explanation and examples of in-text and parenthetical citations.

In-text and parenthetical citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, it doesn't include the title and other components.

Look on the last page or part of a research project, where complete citations can be found in their entirety. Complete citations are found on what is called an MLA Works Cited page, which is sometimes called a bibliography. All sources that were used to develop your research project are found on the Works Cited page. Complete citations are created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text, but also any sources that helped you develop your research project.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Click here to see more across the site. Also, check out this article to see MLA citation in the news. Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It also shows that you were able to locate appropriate and reputable sources that helped back up your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference. The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism.

Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. Liberal arts is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social science such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities specifically focuses on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations was developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in the literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and recognize and understand the different components of a source.

From looking at a citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information. Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Currently in its 8th edition, the 8th version is a citation style that is much different than the previous formatting style.

In the 7th version, which is the format, or structure, that was previously used, researchers and scholars found it grueling to put their citations together. Each source used a different citation structure. Researchers and scholars were required to look up the citation format that matched the type of source they used.

So, if a person used a book, a website, a journal article, a newspaper article, and an e-book, all in one research project, they were required to look up how to cite each one of those sources because each was structured differently. Now, with the new version of MLA formatting, which is version 8, all source types use the same citation structure. The Modern Language Association enacted this new format due to the many new and innovative ways of obtaining information.

We are no longer receiving information through traditional means, such as books, websites, and articles.

We can now obtain information through apps, advertisements, Tweets, other social media posts, and many other creative ways. To make the process of creating citations easier for researchers and scholars, the Modern Language Association decided to have one MLA citing format, which works for all source types. There are two types of citations. There are regular or complete citations, which are found at the end of research projects.

Regular citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:. Last name of the author, First name of the author. Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? See the next section to find out how to create in text citations. As stated above, in text citations, also called parenthetical citations, are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source.

We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information. These in text citations are found immediately after the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project.

Too much fire and you have a bad temper We want them to focus on our work and research, not necessarily our sources. If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a paragraph number use the abbreviation par. And I saw you and Mommy. Footnotes and endnotes are not used in this style. Use in-text, or parenthetical citations, in the body of your work.

In addition, create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project on the Works Cited list. If you need help with in text and parenthetical citations, Citation Machine can help. A period closes this information. When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source.

Place their names in this format:. There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This happens often with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

The other authors are accounted for by using et al. In Latin, et al. Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed. Is there no author listed on your source? Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? We want to share the libraryofcongress collection. While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors.

Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. Directed by James Cameron. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks! The titles are written as they are found on the source, and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it sits in, in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics. However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. It is important to account for all containers, so that readers are able to locate the exact source themselves. When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix.

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation. If the source has more than two containers, add on another full other section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves. Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found on a database. This source has two containers, the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris. Project Muse , muse. Many sources have people, besides the author, who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word by, and then their name in standard order. If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word edition to ed. The publisher produces or distributes the source to the public. Museum of Modern Art, New York. Problems of the Digestive System. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Daniels, Greg and Michael Schur, creators.

The same source may have been published on more than one date, such as an online version of an original source. For example, a television series might have aired on a broadcast network on one date, but released on Netflix on a different date.

When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date that is most relevant to your use of it. This is the way to create a general citation for a television episode. However, if you are discussing, for example, the historical context in which the episode originally aired, you should cite the full date. The location of an online work should include a URL. The eighth edition is designed to be as streamlined as possible.

The author should include any information that helps readers easily identify the source, without including unnecessary information that may be distracting.

If a source has been published on more than one date, the writer may want to include both dates if it will provide the reader with necessary or helpful information. The seventh edition handbook required the city in which a publisher is located, but the eighth edition states that this is only necessary in particular instances, such as in a work published before When you cite an online source, the MLA Handbook recommends including a date of access on which you accessed the material, since an online work may change or move at any time.

Accessed 4 May As mentioned above, while the eighth edition recommends including URLs when you cite online sources, you should always check with your instructor or editor and include URLs at their discretion.

A DOI, or digital object identifier, is a series of digits and letters that leads to the location of an online source. Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Wiley Online Library, doi: The in-text citation is a brief reference within your text that indicates the source you consulted.

It should properly attribute any ideas, paraphrases, or direct quotations to your source, and should direct readers to the entry in the list of works cited. When creating in-text citations for media that has a runtime, such as a movie or podcast, include the range of hours, minutes and seconds you plan to reference, like so Again, your goal is to attribute your source and provide your reader with a reference without interrupting your text. Your readers should be able to follow the flow of your argument without becoming distracted by extra information.

The current MLA guidelines teach a widely applicable skill. Once you become familiar with the core elements that should be included in each entry in the Works Cited list, you will be able to create documentation for almost any type of source.

If you include the core elements, in the proper order, using consistent punctuation, you will be fully equipped to create a list of works cited on your own. Contributors' names and the last edited date can be found in the orange boxes at the top of every page on the OWL. Russell, Tony, et al. Purdue Online Writing Lab. According to Edward W. Common Words that Sound Alike Numbers: Text Elements Visual Rhetoric: Process and Materials Overview: An Introduction Researching Programs: Practical Considerations Researching Programs: Drafting Your Statement Statements of Purpose: The Basics In-Text Citations: Basic Rules Reference List: Articles in Periodicals Reference List: Other Print Sources Reference List: Electronic Sources Reference List: Organization and Structure Graduate Writing Workshops:

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Formatting a Research Paper If your instructor has specific requirements for the format of your research paper, check them before preparing your final draft. When you submit your paper, be sure to keep a secure copy.

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This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page. The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA eighth edition, including the list of works cited and in-text citations.

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Feb 24,  · MLA is the formatting style of the Modern Language Association. It is used in areas such as English studies, comparative literature and foreign language. Writing a research paper using MLA style is a bit different from other formats. dissertation de philosophie sur le langage Mla Citation Help For Research Paper online tutors to help with homework custom law essays.

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Transcript. This presentation covers how to create MLA citations, both in-text and in the Works Cited list. It will take about 5 minutes. The Modern Language Association developed MLA citation style to help you document your sources in a research paper or other project. Research and Citation Resources. These OWL resources will help you conduct research using primary source methods, such as interviews and observations, and secondary source methods, such as books, journals, and the Internet. as well as MLA sample papers, slide presentations, and the MLA classroom poster.