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Citing Sources

What's Included In this Guide?

Guides & Sample Papers

The OWL at Purdue provides resources that may useful for writing projects & citation help.

MLA Handbook

Basic Format: Crediting Sources in the Text of Your Paper

Citations to sources in the text allow the reader to consult the full reference citation in the Works Cited at the end of your paper. MLA style uses the author-date method of citation. See the MLA Handbook, pages 20-53.

  • Include the author's last name and page number of the reference.
  • If your source does not have an author, use an abbreviated version of the title.
  • Place the reference where a pause would naturally occur (preferably at the end of the sentence).

One Work by a Single Author

Include the author's last name and page number in parentheses after the information that should be cited:

A recent assessment of learning outcomes shows that...(Avellino 27).

 

When referring to the author in the text, use the author's full name and only include the page number in parentheses:

In a recent assessment of learning outcomes, Denise Avellino found that...(27).

One Work by 2 Authors

Include the last name of each author and page number in parentheses after the information that should be cited:

A recent assessment of learning outcomes shows that...(Avellino and Ruppel 27).

When referring to the authors' names in the text, only include the page number in parentheses. List the full name of the authors the first time you discuss them, and then use last names in subsequent references.

In a recent assessment of learning outcomes, Denise Avellino and Kathy Ruppel found that...(27).

One Work by 3 or More Authors

Include the last name of first author listed in the original source followed by "et al." and the page number:

A recent assessment of learning outcomes shows that...(Avellino et al. 27).

 

No Page Numbers

When citing a source that does not have page numbers (but includes specific paragraph numbers), use par.; it is preferable to include the author’s name in the text, rather than in the parenthetical reference.

Hawthorne laments the self-deception now characterizing the minister’s thoughts: “No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true” (par. 266).

If there are no page, paragraph, or section numbers, DO NOT count or number the paragraphs; rather cite the work completely. You can indicate in your paper the approximate location in the source of the citation, for example: in the last half of his article, Smith notes…

One Work Listed by Title (No Author)

If the source is listed by the title, use the title. Title may be abbreviated or in full form. Include page numbers, paragraph numbers, etc. if available:

The Chinese government announced that reporters must get permission to engage in news-gathering and reporting...("China's Crackdown" 33).

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