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Chariho Middle School Library: Citing Sources

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Formatting Your Research Paper

Learn more about formatting your research project from the Modern Language Association. 

Basic Model for a Citation in MLA 8th Editioin

Alphabetize each entry in a works cited list by the first letter, ignoring the articles A, An, and The. Indent subsequent lines of entries one-half inch. Citations should be double-spaced.

The MLA 8th edition no longer uses publication type to format citations. Instead it provides a list of core elements which should be presented when available in the following order. Each element is followed by the punctuation mark shown unless it is the final element. All citations should end with a period.

  1. Author (followed by a period) where there is no known author do not include one.
  2. Title of Source (followed by a period)(Titles that require italics: books, magazines, journals, movies, website, databases, TV series. Titles that require quotation marks: short stories, articles, songs, a webpage as part of a larger website. )
  3. Title of Container (followed by a comma) A container is the larger souce in which the items appears. A website may contain mulitple pages. A magazine may contain multiple articles.
  4. Other contributors (followed by a comma) Only used if necessary.
  5. Version or Edition (followed by a comma) Only include if listed.
  6. Number (followed by a comma) This applies to multi-volume books like encyclopedias.
  7. Publisher(followed by a comma) Do not include for magazines, newspapers, and journals. Do not include for websites if the name of the publisher and the website are the same.
  8. Publication Date (followed by a comma) If there are multiple dates use the date on the source you consulted.
  9. Location (followed by a period) Include the URL, permalink, page or page range. Use p. to show an item is only on one page; use pp. to show the page range.

When the work is part of a larger whole, the larger whole is a container. For example if citing an article in a journal, the journal is a container. Works can have multiple containers. For example an article in a journal may also be in a database, in this case both the journal and the database are containers for that article. All containers for a work should be included in the citation. Core elements 3 – 9 should be listed for each container followed by a period to mark the end of elements related to that container.

MLA 8th Editon

Why do I have to include a works cited page?

A works cited page allows your readers to verify the sources you have used to gather research. Most importantly, it gives credit to the authors and researcher whose work you've used. A detailed works cited helps to avoid plagiarism! 

Guides on how to use MLA 8th edition

Check your assignment...

Before your hand in your works cited page, check yourself: 

  • Do you have the required number of sources for your project?
  • Are your source organized in alphabetical order? 
  • Is the second line of each source indented? 
  • Is each source single spaced?
  • Are your entries correctly punctuated? 
  • There should be no number or bullets on your works cited page 

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to use academic quality sources! If you can't verify the quality of the source with the CRAAP test, don't use it!
  • Don't just add sources to make your biography look long. Only add the ones you've actually used in your paper or project.
  • Make note of bibliographic information as you reasearch! This will save you time when you create the works cited page at the end.