How to Cite your Sources in MLA format

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Citing the sources is a vital part of the research paper writing exercise. This serves the purpose of giving due credit to the sources who have assisted you and contributed to your research. The MLA style of documentation offers very simple methods for citing your sources. An MLA style manual should be used for reference while writing a research paper in this style.

The MLA style of documentation offers various methods of citing the sources including in-text citations or parenthetical references, footnotes or end notes and the separate section of ‘works cited’ listings. The method of citation to be used for your assignment should be determined after studying the guidelines of the assignment. Each of these methods has a different format. It may not be easy to memorize each of these clauses. There is also the fact that the manual keeps getting updated once in a while. Even though no major changes would be made in the style, it is always ideal to refer to an updated manual while handling an MLA style research paper assignment.

The in-text citations or parenthetical references in MLA style are made by mentioning the surname of the author of the book and the page number next to the cited information, in brackets. If you do not know the page number of if it is an article which is being cited, you just need to give the name of the author in the parenthetical reference. The complete bibliographical data would be given in the works cited page. In-text citations are only meant to make it possible for the reader to link the information given in the ‘works cited’ page, to the respective citation.

The use of footnotes and endnotes is not mandatory in the MLA style of documentation. However, if the assignment guidelines ask you to include footnotes or endnotes, MLA has a format for that as well. Footnotes and endnotes should not both be included in the same assignment. It should either be footnotes or endnotes. The format for a footnote would be that of “name of the author, the title of the book (the place of publication: name of publisher, year of publishing) page number.” The number which links the footnote to the citation would appear as a superscript at the end of the citation after the period.

MLA style does not require you to cite the sources in a separate page unless your research paper ends at the bottom of a sheet. You can add the references as a continuation of the research paper document, with the heading of ‘Works Cited’. The information given in the ‘works cited’ page should be arranged in the alphabetical order with reference to the surname of the author. The details to be cited depend on the type of the source used. A complete list of citing various types of sources would be available in the style manual. Please not that the author’s name is to be reversed in the works cited page but not so in the footnotes.

If you are not confident about citing the sources as per MLA style guidelines, you can opt to take help from professional academic writers for the purpose. You may also choose to get a custom research paper done according to the specifications given in your assignment guidelines.

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