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Citing Sources: Citing Sources: MLA

Where to Begin

There are two questions to ask before you begin.

1. What type of source am I trying to cite?

    Journal article? Book? Webpage? etc.

2. Where did I retrieve that source?

    Online database? Website? Was it a print source? etc.

Once you've answered these questions, select the most appropriate option from the dropdown menu above to see examples.

When to Cite Sources

The purpose of using citations is to let the reader know where you obtained your information so sources can easily be located and consulted. Because knowledge is a cumulative process built on the research and writing of others, you MUST give credit when using other’s research and information. Further, your instructor needs to see the quality of the sources you used and know how you developed your ideas. You must document your sources when you provide information that you ordinarily would not have known before conducting your research, and when you provide information that the reader cannot be assumed to know. You must cite when you:

  • Provide a direct quotation
  • Discuss or incorporate the ideas of another author
  • Use statistical or other data

Types of Citations

In-text citations appear in the body of your paper. The format is the same regardless of the source type. In-text citations indicate to the reader what information is being cited in your paper. The in-text citations also refer the reader to the corresponding reference citations in the Works Cited list at the end of your paper. See the In-text Citations Guide for more information.

This is a sentence of my research paper, and I am paraphrasing information that I read somewhere else...(Author's Last Name Page Number).

Reference citations appear in the Works Cited at the end of your paper. This is a list of all sources that were consulted and referenced in your paper. Select your source type from the dropdown menu above for specific rules about citing that source type.

Author's last name, author's first name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol. , no. , date,

     page number range. 

MLA Handbook

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Guides & Sample Papers

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