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WRIT 101: College Writing I: MLA Citations

This guide provides links to librarians' favorite databases (for articles) as well as recommended books and websites for students in WRIT 101.

In order to use and build on outside ideas and information in your research paper, you must cite where information comes from.

Credible HulkThere are 4 main reasons to cite information:

  1. Prevent plagiarism
  2. Provide enough information for your readers to find the source you used
  3. Give credit to the author
  4. Provide credible support to your writing

MLA Citation Guide

Click the image for MLA formatting and citation help from Purdue Online Writing Lab:

MLA Formating Guide at Purdue OWL

MLA examples not covered in the Hacker Guide

Available at Helena College Library

Citation Basics

Following a specific style for your citations makes it very clear when you are citing outside information AND helps the reader find your sources easily.

For each resource that is used in a paper, there are two parts to the citation: the in-text citation and the list of Works Cited

In-Text Citation

This is a very brief notation in the body of your paper that indicates you are using information or ideas that are not your own. It points your reader to the source's full citation in your list of Works Cited at the end of your paper. 

Every time you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information from an outside source, you must provide an in-text citation directly after it.

A basic in-text citation includes the author's name and the publication year (example: Kean, 2013).  When directly quoting a source or paraphrasing a specific passage, you will also need to provide a page number (example: Kean, 2013, p. 26). 

Use n.d. when there is no date. 

Works Cited

The list of works cited is an alphabetized list of all of the resources you used in your research paper or assignment. The list is double-spaced with a hanging indent, meaning that, for a citation on more than one line, each line after the first is indented 1" from the left margin. Highlight your list, then press Ctrl+T.

The first part of your in-text citation (usually author or title) should match the first part of the same resource in your list of works cited.

Works Cited: BOOK

To cite a book in MLA format, you can find most of the required information on the book's title page and verso (back of the title page).

Article from a Research Database (Journal Article)

When citing an article from a library database, pay attention to the article title versus the journal title.  All of the information for your citation is usually available on the first and last page of the article.

Visit the Purdue OWL MLA Style website to learn how to cite articles from an online magazine or newspaper found on the open web.

Web site

When you are citing a Web site, you have the option of including the URL, or web address, for the page, as well as the date you accessed it. This can help give the reader context for the citation, but neither are necessary.

Visit the Purdue OWL MLA Style website to learn how to cite documents that have the same organizational author and website name, or other types of sites.

Helpful Guides

Plagiarism Resources

Organize Your Research