The following overview should help you better understand how to cite sources using MLA eighth edition, including the list of works cited and in-text citations. MLA is a style of documentation based on a general methodology that may be applied to many different types of writing. Since texts have become increasingly mobile, and the same document may often be found in several different sources, following a set of rigid rules no longer suffices.
Thus, the current system is based on a few guiding principles, rather than an extensive list of specific rules. While the handbook still describes how to cite sources, it is organized according to the process of documentation, rather than by the sources themselves. This gives writers a flexible method that is near-universally applicable. Once you are familiar with the method, you can use it to document any type of source, for any type of paper, in any field.
When deciding how to cite your source, start by consulting the list of core elements. In your citation, the elements should be listed in the following order:. Each element should be followed by the punctuation mark shown here. Earlier editions of the handbook included the place of publication and required different punctuation such as journal editions in parentheses and colons after issue numbers.
In the current version, punctuation is simpler only commas and periods separate the elements , and information about the source is kept to the basics. End this element with a period. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks. Unlike earlier versions, the eighth edition refers to "containers," which are the larger wholes in which the source is located.
For example, if you want to cite a poem that is listed in a collection of poems, the individual poem is the source, while the larger collection is the container. The title of the container is usually italicized and followed by a comma, since the information that follows next describes the container.
Interview by Gareth Von Kallenbach. In some cases, a container might be within a larger container. You might have read a book of short stories on Google Books , or watched a television series on Netflix. It is important to cite these containers within containers so that your readers can find the exact source that you used. Accessed 27 May In addition to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be credited, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc.
If their contributions are relevant to your research, or necessary to identify the source, include their names in your documentation. In the eighth edition, terms like editor, illustrator, translator, etc. A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Annotated and with an introduction by Vara Neverow, Harcourt, Inc.
Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. If a source is part of a numbered sequence, such as a multi-volume book, or journal with both volume and issue numbers, those numbers must be listed in your citation. Musical illustrations are labeled Example usually abbreviated Ex. Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, Symphony no. Use a high-quality printer.
Proofread and correct your research paper carefully before submitting it. If you are checking a printout and find a mistake, reopen the document, make the appropriate revisions, and reprint the corrected page or pages.
Be sure to save the changed file. Spelling checkers and usage checkers are helpful when used with caution. They do not find all errors and sometimes label correct material as erroneous. Do not use the margins or write a change below the line it affects. If corrections on any page are numerous or substantial, revise your document and reprint the page. Pages of a printed research paper may get misplaced or lost if they are left unattached or merely folded down at a corner.
Many prefer that a paper be secured with a simple paper or binder clip, which can be easily removed and restored. Others prefer the use of staples. There are at present no commonly accepted standards for the electronic submission of research papers.
If you are asked to submit your paper electronically, obtain from your teacher guidelines for formatting, mode of submission e. Designed to be printed out and used in the classroom. From the MLA Handbook , 8th ed. Need assistance with this form? Formatting a Research Paper. The top of the first page of a research paper. The running head of a research paper. The top of the first page of a works-cited list.
That is, each level 1 heading should appear in the same style and size, as should each level 2 heading, and so on. In a project that is not professionally designed and published, headings should be flush with the left margin, to avoid confusion with block quotations. The exception is the paper or chapter title, which is centered in MLA style.
No internal heading level should have only one instance. For example, if you have one level 1 heading, you need to have a second level 1 heading. The exceptions are the paper or chapter title and the headings for notes and the list of works cited.
Here is a sample of the first page of a paper in MLA style: The First Page of an MLA Paper. Section Headings. MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books (for more information on headings, please see page in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition). If you are only using one level of headings.
How to properly format the MLA Format Heading? This page contains general guidelines on how to properly format the heading on your research paper using the MLA format.
Do not use a period after your title or after any heading in the paper (e.g., Works Cited). Begin your text on a new, double-spaced line after the title, indenting the first line of the paragraph half an inch from the left margin. From the MLA Handbook, 8th ed., published by the Modern Language Association. MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
The paper or chapter title is the first level of heading, and it must be the most prominent. Headings should be styled in descending order of prominence. After the first level, the other headings are subheadings—that is, they are subordinate. Section Headings. If you need to write a long paper in MLA format, you have to use section headings to improve the overall readability of your paper.