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Citation Styles

This Guide contains information on how to cite sources in-text and prepare a bibliography for your paper.

MLA Style

MLA style (created by the Modern Language Association) is a set of guidelines for organizing a paper and giving credit to sources used.  This style is most frequently used for papers in the humanities, especially for English literature research, but it may be used in any course. Always be sure to read your assignment guidelines carefully, as your instructor may have specific requirements that don't follow MLA guidelines. 

Check out these handy guides to MLA-style references.

A quick guide to Works Cited, provided by the MLA Style Center.

 This really neat MLA Citation Template from makes building citations a snap. Just fill in the blanks! 

9th Edition

8th Edition

About MLA 9th edition (from California State University) MLA Quick Guide
Changes in the 9th edition MLA Sample Paper
Interactive Practice Template Works Cited - Reference Book
MLA Style Center Works Cited: A Quick Guide


Building Your Works Cited

"MLA 8 approaches citing sources in a new way. Instead of specifying strict rules for each type of source, MLA has moved to a "container" system, where the elements of a citation are placed in a specific order. With no specific rules for types of sources, include as many elements from your source as you can.

The information you need is listed below. Please note that each item in the list ends with a comma or period. This is the punctuation you'll want to use for each element in your citation.

As you gather sources, make sure to keep an eye out for these pieces of information! Who created the source? What is the title? How was it published? Where did you find it? Where was it published?

The citation information should always appear in the order stated above. If you do not have information for one citation element, simply skip it.

The punctuation given above is accurate; a period will always appear at the end of a citation or citation section whether or not it specifies the location."

From Brandeis' Library

When You Cite — Do it Twice!

When you are writing a paper, you need to give credit to those you have borrowed ideas or quotes from two ways: 

  • List your sources in a Works Cited list at the end of your paper (see above)
  • Include citations within your paper (in-text citations)

1.   For in-text citations, you can: 

  • Place the author's name in your sentence 
  • Add the author's name in a reference at the end of the sentence.

Use the format that makes your sentence or paragraph easier to read. 

Examples of in-text citations:

Harvey argued that this is an inherited trait (225).

Franklin and Schimmer found that the amount of sleep has little effect on sociability (452).

Elwood found that students occasionally "invoked the greater good to rationalize poor study habits" (22).

Examples of reference citations:

Some research has indicated this to be an inherited trait (Harvey 225).

Others held that sleep has little effect on sociability (e.g., Franklin and Schimmer 452).

While some students may have "invoked the greater good to rationalize poor study habits" (Elwood 22), others took responsibility for their own achievement.


[For more information and examples, please see p. 216-219 of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (New York: Modern Language Assn. of America, 2009).  This book is kept at the desk in the library.]

  Source  In-text Citation (Source Page #)
  No Author     (Book Title 321) OR ("Article Title" 321)
  1 Author     (Jones 321)
  2 Authors     (Jones and Smith 321)
  3 Authors     (Jones, Smith, and Johnson 321)
  4+ Authors     (Jones et al. 321)
  Corporate     (Modern Language Association 321)
  Literary     (Hamlet 3.2) (Thoreau 11; ch. 1)
  Multiple     (Davis 52; Hill 87; Williams 254)
  Two Works     (Thoreau, Walden 8) (Thoreau, "Life" 9)
  Volume/Page     (Douglas 2: 251)

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