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ENC1101 Gaspary: Citing Sources

Current Issues Research Guide

Why we cite

The proper citation of sources is how researchers acknowledge the work of earlier scholars. Citation allows you to avoid plagiarism by giving credit when you use the original ideas of others. Ideally, citation allows us to track down the research of others by providing information about the original source so it can be easily found. Citations typically include things like article or book titles, journal titles, authors, dates, and publication information. 

MLA Style

MLA style is a commonly used style found in the humanities including language and literature. MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association.

MLA Style Online Guides

MLA Style Guide Book

MLA Formatting: The Basics

MLA Formatting: The Basics

Papers constructed according to MLA guidelines should adhere to the following elements:

  • Double-space all of the text of your paper, and use a clear font, such as Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides, and indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch from the left margin.
  • List your name, your instructor’s name, the course, and the date in the upper left-hand corner of the first page. This is your heading. There is no cover page.
  • Type a header in the upper right-hand corner with your last name, a space, and then a page number. Pages should be numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
  • Provide in-text citations for all quoted, paraphrased, and summarized information in your paper.
  • Include a Works Cited page at the end of your paper that gives full bibliographic information for each item cited in your paper.

Adapted from: Excelsior Online Writing Lab

MLA Formatting

MLA formatting can seem a little confusing at first, and it can be helpful to view a sample MLA paper when you are new to this documentation style. The following short videocasts are designed to give you an overview of the basic requirements for page set up, in-text citations, and works cited in MLA format.

This first video will demonstrate the requirements for the MLA heading, headers, and page set up.

MLA In text citations

This second video will show you what in-text citations should look like and explain why you must use them.

MLA Works Cited

In this third and final video on MLA format, you’ll see a sample Works Cited page with some tips on creating a works cited list of your own.

Videos courtesy of Excelsior Online Writing Lab


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