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MLA Citation Style

Citing Sources

Why Cite?

There are several reasons why crediting sources is necessary in academic writing. First, it shows the reader that the author has researched the background of the problem and is able to discuss previous research. Secondly, it gives credit to past researchers whose research has added to the body of knowledge on the topic. 


When to Cite?

Work should be cited if the work, ideas, theories, or research have influenced the current author's work.  This also shows the current author has read the work.

Core Elements and Paper Format

1. Author 2. Title of Source 3. Title of Container
4. Contributors 5. Version 6. Number
7. Publisher 8. Publication Date 9. Location

*Note – most sources don't have all the elements. The idea is to include as many as the source has. Also, if the source has more than one container, such as a journal article contained in a journal contained in a database, elements 3 through 9 will appear more than once. Each source will be slightly different, but the general format for each will resemble the examples below.

Electronic Articles

Example 1: Electronic Article from a Database

Author, First and Second Author. Title of Article. Title of the Journal in Italics, volume, issue, publication date, page numbers. Database Name in italics, doi:(or Access date optional. 

Rauer, Amy, and Brenda Volling.“More Than One Way to be Happy: A Typology of Marital Happiness.” Family Process, vol.52, no.3, 2013, pp. 519-534. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1111/famp.12028. Accessed 13 Apr. 2018. 

Example 2: Electronic Article without DOI

Author, First. Title of Article. Title of the Journal in Italics, volume, issue, publication date, page numbers, Database Name in italics, article's stable URL. Access date optional. 

Pollard, Stephen.“Mathematics and the Good Life.” Philosophia Mathematica, vol. 21, no. 1, Feb. 2013, pp. 93-109, Academic Search Complete, Accessed 6 Aug. 2018. 

Print Articles

Example 1: Article from a print publication

Author, First. Title of Article. Title of the Journal in Italics, volume, issue, publication date, page numbers. 

Verschoor, Curtis C. "How Colleges Hide Investments to Avoid Taxes: Should Universities Use Tax Haven Corporations?" Strategic Finance, vol. 99, no. 9. Mar. 2018, pp. 21-22. 


Example 1: Book by a single author

Author, First.Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date. 

Brettell, Caroline. Anthropological Conversations: Talking Culture Across Disciplines. Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. 

Example 2: Book by two authors

Author, First and Second Author.Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Berger, Kathleen S. and Ross A. Thompson. The Developing Person Through Childhood. Worth Publishers, 2003. 

Example 3: Books with three or more authors

Author, First, et. al. (Year). Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Verdier, Thierry, et al. The Organization of Firms in a Global Economy. Harvard UP, 2008. 

Example 4: Electronic book (eBook) from a library database

Author, First.Title of Book. Database Name, Publisher, Publication Date, DOI or permalink.

Arthur, Charles. Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet. eBook Collection,
Kogan Page, 2012,