The Modern Language Association (MLA) has existed since 1883 sharing ideas and research. In 1951, an official MLA style guide for citations was introduced so that researchers could give credit were deserved, point back to original ideas and establish your own credibility.
Improved technologies have drastically changed the way that researchers locate and publish information. MLA style does not set out strict rules to use depending on the type of resource, but now provides a guideline for all citations regardless of where that information was found. This guide covers the 8th edition of the MLA style.
In an academic paper, there are two places where you need to provide citations:
In-text. When you use a quote, paraphrase, data, or other evidence found in research, you should include an in-text citation at the end of the sentence.
Works Cited. The last page of a research paper lists all citations used to support your writing alphabetically.
When you begin the research process, open a blank document to save citation information. Having this information ready before you even begin your paper can save you time trying to track it down later.
On this document, record your own notes about the resources. What did you learn from this resource? How does this resource support your main points?
As you're writing your research paper, information for your in-text citations will be readily available. Then once you've completed your research paper, you can delete your notes notes and transform the document into your Works Cited page.
This guide itself is our first recommendation for learning how to use MLA Style. Moving on from there, we'd recommend that you check out the MLA Handbook or the MLA FAQs. Finally, many people find the Purdue OWL to be a helpful resource.
You can also meet with a reference librarian through Jefferson's tutoring services or Ask a Librarian who can help you format your citations.
Learn more about citations in general or view a different citation style.