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SER260: Supervision and Leadership in Human Services (Nolan): MLA

About MLA

Developed by the Modern Language Association, this style is most widely used for research papers in the humanities.

Each citation consists of two parts: the parenthetical reference, also known as in-text citation, which provides brief identifying information within the text, and the Works Cited, which provides full bibliographic information on a separate page at the end of the paper.

For help with this or any other writing questions, please visit your local campus Writing Center.

Formatting Parenthetical References (i.e. in-text citations)

In MLA, in text citations are called parenthetical references. They use the author's last name followed by the page number referenced in the work. The reference is placed in parentheses, usually at the end of the sentence before the period:

(Kurasawa 323).

 

Each parenthetical reference in the text corresponds to a source or article in the Works Cited list at the end of the paper. If the author's name is mentioned in the narrative, only the page number need appear in the parentheses:

Kurasawa (323) found that ….

 

For group or corporate authors, use full name of group or a shortened form:

(Modern Language Association 115)  or (MLA 115)

 

Unknown Author: Use a few words of the title. ("Recent innovations" 231)

 

Two or three authors: Use the last names of each.

(First, Second, and Third 323)

 

More than three authors: Give all the authors' last names or just use the first and "et al" for the rest. In any case, use the same form as the entry in your Works Cited list.

(Bia, Pedreno, Small, Finch, Patterson 161) (Bia et al. 161)

 

If the Works Cited list contains two or more authors with the same surname: In the parenthetical reference, include the first initial. (A. DeCarrera 213)

If the initial is also the same, use the whole first name. (Annette DeCarrera 213)

 

If the reference is to an exact quotation, the author and page number appear in parentheses after the quote.

It may be true that "the attitude of the observer is of primary importance" (Robertson 136).

 

For exact quotations from sources without page numbers, use paragraph numbers, if available. If the work does not have page numbers or paragraph numbers, include in the text the name of the person that begins the corresponding entry in the works cited list, instead of using a parenthetical reference. For more information see MLA Handbook sections 6.4.1 and 6.4.2.

(Smith para 17) As Smith points out....

 

Citations taken from a secondary source should generally be avoided; consult the original work whenever possible. If only an indirect source is available, put the abbreviation qtd. in (quoted in) before the indirect source in the parenthetical reference and include the indirect source in the Works Cited. (MLA Style, sec. 6.4.7)

Parenthetical reference: In a May 1800 letter to Watt, Creighton wrote, "The excellent Satanism reflects immortal honour on the Club" (qtd. in Hunt and Jacob 493).

Works cited list: Hunt, Lynn, and Margaret Jacob. "The Affective Revolution in 1790s Britain." Eighteenth-Century Studies 34.4 (2001): 491-521.

Formatting a Works Cited Page

Note: With all citations, regardless of format, the first line is flush to the left margin and all subsequent lines are indented one half inch (approximately 5 spaces).

Note: For space considerations, the citations shown below are single-spaced. However, MLA format calls for citations to be double-spaced, as illustrated in the Basic Format examples. To view a sample Works Cited page, as illustrated by the Purdue Online Writing Lab, click here.

Examples below reflect the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) For more information and sample citations, visit the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.

Books

Basic Format
Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.       
      Medium of Publication.
Single author
Perle, George. Serial Composition and Atonality: An Introduction to the Music of       
   Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. 6th ed. Berkeley: University of California Press,         1991. Print.
Multiple authors
Higonnet, Margaret R., and Joan Templeton, eds. Reconfigured Spheres: Feminist       Explorations of Literary Space. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1994.       Print.
Edited Book
Gibbons, Reginald, ed. The Poet's Work: 29 Masters of 20th Century Poetry on the       Origins and Practice of their Art. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979. Print.
Group or corporate author
World Bank. Transition - The First Ten Years : Analysis and Lessons for Eastern Europe       and the Former Soviet Union. Washington: World Bank, 2002. Web.
Chapter or essay in book
Calvino, Italo. "Cybernetics and Ghosts." The Uses of Literature: Essays. Trans. Patrick       Creagh. San Diego: Harcourt, 1982. 3-27. Print.
Article from a reference book
Loizou, Andros. "Theories of Justice: Rawls." Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics. Ed. Ruth       Chadwick. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998. Print.
 
Note: for standard, familiar reference works, such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, do not list the full publishing information, just the year of publication; for multi-volume works, give number of volumes (x vols.) before place of publication.

Articles

Note: When using library databases for journal articles, cite articles from online databases (e.g. Ebscohost, Gale, LexisNexis, ProQuest, etc.) the same as you would a print source, as these articles very often come from print periodicals. "In addition to this information, provide the title of the database italicized, the medium of publication, and the date of access." (Purdue Online Writing Lab, MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources).

Note: For space considerations, the citations shown below are single-spaced. However, MLA format calls for citations to be double-spaced, as illustrated in the Basic Format example. To view a sample Works Cited page, as illustrated by the Purdue Online Writing Lab, click here.

Basic Format

Author(s). "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume.Issue (Year): pages. Medium of   

      publication.

Article in a journal (one author)  
Wolff, Larry. "'The Boys are Pickpockets, and the Girl is a Prostitute': Gender and       Juvenile Criminality in Early Victorian England from Oliver Twist to London       Labour." New Literary History 27. (1996): 227-249. Print.

Note: If each issue of the journal begins with page number 1, include the issue number. For example ...27.1 (1996): 25-47.

Article in a journal (multiple authors)
Millán-Zaibert, Elisabeth and Leo Zaibert. "El Análisis Filosófico." Cuadernos       Hispanoamericanos 627 (2002): 29-35. Print.
Article in a popular magazine

Lerner, Barbara. "America's Schools: Still Failing After All These Years." National       Review 15 Sep. 1997: 42+.Print.

Note: use the + sign if the pages are not consecutive; 42-44 would be the correct way if this article ran on consecutive pages; do not give the volume and issue number, even if they are available.

Article in a newspaper

Kennedy, Louise. "Same Old Song." Boston Globe 9 March 2003, late ed.: N1+.       Print.

Article from a full-text database
Andreatta, Filippo. "Italy at a Crossroads: The Foreign Policy of a Medium Power       after the End of Bipolarity." Daedalus 130.2: 45-59. Academic Search Premier.       Web. 9 March 2003.
Article from a free web e-journal
Castle, Robert. "From Desperation to Salvation: Concealing and Revealing Nothing in       History." Archipelago 6.2-3 (2003): n.pag. (this means not paginated, since it's online) Web. 9 March 2003.

Web

Note on the use of URLs: According to the OWL at Purdue MLA Formatting and Style Guide, MLA no longer requires the use of URLs in citations. However, "For instructors or editors who still wish to require the use of URLs, MLA suggests that the URL appear in angle brackets after the date of access. Break URLs only after slashes."

Note: For space considerations, the citations shown below are single-spaced. However, MLA format calls for citations to be double-spaced, as illustrated in the Basic Format examples. To view a sample Works Cited page, as illustrated by the Purdue Online Writing Lab, click here.

Web page

Pilgrim, David. "The Brute Caricature." Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. Nov.               2000. Web. 20 May 2003.

MLA Style Manual