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MLA Documentation Style


... come across in your research and used in your term paper. ... Chapter 4: Format of the Research Paper. Chapter 5: Preparing the ... detail on MLA format. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: MLA Documentation Style

MLA Documentation Style
  • Sandra Pesce, Librarian
  • San Diego Miramar College

What Were Going to Do
  • What This tutorial will cover the basics of
    in-text and Works Cited page citations using the
    Modern Language Associations guidelines, often
    referred to as MLA Style.
  • Why Your instructors may require you to follow
    this style (or something similar) when you quote
    other authors in your papers. Also, it gives your
    papers a consistent look, and makes it easier for
    your readers to understand what youve written.
  • How Explanations and active links will guide you
    through this tutorial.

Whats a Citation?
  • No, were not talking about a parking ticket or a
    moving violation.
  • A citation is a brief description of an
    information source (like an article, book, or web
    site). It includes such items as
  • the authors name, article title, publication
    title, volume, issue, page(s), and date of

What is a Style?
  • A style is a set of guidelines or a template for
    formatting the citations of sources youve come
    across in your research and used in your term
  • Using a style communicates to your reader that
    you used other peoples work to support your
    findings, and makes it easy for your reader to
    find the sources you used.

Why Styles?
  • When you use a style, you apply specific design
    rules to your paper. In doing so, you give your
  • Uniformity For example, all in-text citations
    are enclosed in parentheses, with the author name
    followed by a page number (Smith 48).
  • Consistency For example, titles of all journal
    articles are enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Readability For example, your reader always
    knows to look in the same part of a citation for
    author names.
  • Authenticity The better you describe your
    sources, the better you can prove to your reader
    they are real.
  • Reliability Your reader can find the full text
    of the exact source you used, to read it for

Life Without A Style Guide
  • Have you ever tried to bake a cake from scratch
    without a recipe?
  • What you finally end up with may confuse your

What is MLA?
  • The Modern Language Association is a group of
    English and foreign language teachers. Its style
    guide, the MLA Handbook For Writers of Research
    Papers, is used by many teachers as a standard
    for research papers.
  • Many other style guides exist, including the
    American Psychological Association (APA) and the
    Chicago Manual of Style. More style guides are
    found at
  • http// .

  • Here are some major concepts to keep in mind
  • In-text Citation in the body of your paper
  • Works Cited Citation at the end of your paper
  • Formatting how the text looks
  • Punctuation where the markings go
  • Capitalization thE importanCe of BeiNg cOnsiStenT
  • Citation Machine when to use one

In-Text Citation
  • This citation appears in the body of your paper.
  • Parts of an in-text citation include
  • Optional signal phrase authors name
  • Required parenthetical citation (page number in
  • Heres an example with a signal phrase
  • According to Sharon Brodie, energy drinks could
    be harmful to young children and exposure should
    be minimized (C3).
  • Heres an example without a signal phrase,
    putting authors last name and page number in
  • Energy drinks could be harmful to young
    children and exposure should be minimized (Brodie

Works Cited Citation
  • This citation is found at the end of your paper,
    on a separate page, called the Works Cited page.
    This citation gives full information about the
    source used in the body of your text.
  • The format of this citation will vary depending
    on the source (book, article, web site), which is
    why a style guide is necessary. Heres the full
    citation for the sample in the previous slide
  • Brodie, Sharon. To Your Health Be Cautious of
    Energy Drinks.
  •  Maryland Gazette  Glen Burnie, Md. 12 
    Oct. 2005, C3. 
  • ProQuest Newsstand. ProQuest.  San Diego
    Miramar College
  • Library/LRC, San Diego, CA. 14 Nov. 2005
    lt http//

Formatting Matters
  • All text on the Works Cited page should be in the
    same font family and size. If you copy and paste
    citations from web pages or other documents, make
    sure your end product looks uniform by doing the
  • copy the selected text from a document
  • go to your new Works Cited page and use Paste
    Special and pick unformatted text
  • once youve pasted a whole page of citations
    together like this, you can Select All and
    reformat the whole page at one time instead of
    each individual citation as you go.

Punctuation Punch
  • Make sure periods, commas, and colons are all in
    the correct place.
  • Check the location of any special characters,
    like ltangle bracketsgt around URLs.
  • Always end the citation with a period.
  • When in doubt, check your work against
  • examples in a style guide!

  • Per MLA style, you should capitalize the first
    letter of
  • an authors first and last name,
  • the first word of a works title,
  • major words (not articles like a, an, the)
    within the title of a work,
  • the publisher name,
  • the place of publication.

Citation Machine
  • Some electronic article databases,
  • like ProQuest, have a really neat
  • feature that will create citations
  • automatically.
  • You tell it what style guide to use and it will
    pull the descriptive information from the article
    for you and build the citation. Each product does
    this differently, so check the help screens in
    the product you are using. Most importantly, be
    sure to compare the finished product against a
    real style guide. A citation machine is helpful
    when you dont know what information is relevant
    to put into the citation, however, you still need
    to check the accuracy of the citation formatting
    against a style guide.

Take a Closer Look
  • Go to the following web site to see a sample
    paper http//
  • Open the sample humanities paper.
  • Look at the overall formatting of the manuscript,
    including margins, line spacing, indents,
    capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Look at the in-text citations.
  • Look at the Works Cited page.

Further Information Books
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.
  • By Joseph Gibaldi, 6th Edition.
  • Important Chapters
  • Chapter 4 Format of the Research Paper
  • Chapter 5 Preparing the List of Works Cited
  • Table of contents
  • Sample citations
  • Chapter 6 Citing Sources in the Text
  • Table of Contents
  • Sample references
  • Appendix B Endnotes Footnotes
  • Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age
  • By Diana Hacker, 3rd Edition.
  • Important Chapters
  • Part IV Documentation Styles
  • In-Text Citations
  • Directory
  • Sample citations/references
  • List of Works Cited/References
  • Directory
  • Sample citations/references
  • Manuscript Format
  • Sample Paper
  • Companion Web Site
  • http//

Further Information Web Sites
  • Companion to Research and Documentation
  • This site has citation examples and sample
  • Purdue University OWL
  • http//
  • This site has more detail on MLA format.
  • Chapman University Libraries page
  • This site has links to citation machines and
    style guides.

  • How much do you remember from this tutorial?
  • Match wits with the computer and find out!
  • Go to Rags to Riches
  • (Clicking the link will open a new window.)
  • Have Fun!