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Herron High School

Why do we cite?

There are many reasons why it is so important to cite the sources you use in your research.

  • You demonstrate to your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information.
  • You avoid plagiarism by quoting the words and ideas of other scholars.
  • You are being a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas.
  • You allow your reader to find the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by using in-text citations or footnotes in combination with a bibliography or works cited list.

MLA Citation Style

MLA 9th HandbookMLA (Modern Language Association) style is frequently used in arts and humanities disciplines. MLA uses an author-page method of in-text citations. For example, (Steinbeck 250).

MLA uses a style of documentation that is based on a general method that may be applied to every possible source. This is intended to be a flexible method that is universally applicable.

When deciding how to cite your source, refer to  the list of core elements (see chart below). These are the general pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each Works Cited entry. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order followed by the punctuation mark indicated in the chart.

MLA Citation Elements: 1) Author. 2) Title of source. 3) Title of container, 4) Other contributors, 5) Version, 6) Number, 7) Publisher, 8) Publication date, 9) Location.

Works Cited example of a citation from a journal article:

Duvall, John N. "The (Super)Marketplace of Images: Television as Unmediated Mediation in DeLillo's White Noise." Arizona Quarterly, vol. 50, no. 3, 1994, pp. 127-53.

The following is a video from Kyle Stedman, an assistant professor of English at Rockford University, that discusses the various changes in MLA style in the new, 8th edition. He talks quickly, so put on the Closed Captioning by clicking the "CC" button on the video when it starts playing.