The most common way to cite sources is to use a bibliography or "Works Cited" list at the end of your paper. The works cited list includes a citation for each of the sources you used to write your paper. The citations are formatted in a consistent style according to one of several standard citation formats. The two most common citation formats for college research papers are: (1) The APA Publication Manual (American Psychological Association) - predominately used in Social Sciences and (2) The MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association) - predominately used in Humanities and Liberal Arts. A third citation format is CMS Handbook (Chicago Manual of Style) and is used primarily in History, but also in Humanities and Social Sciences. Copies of the MLA Handbook (LB 2369 M52 2021), the APA Manual (BF76.7 .P83 2020), and the CMS Handbook (Z253 .U69 2017) are available in the Library stacks and the reference collection. Assistance with writing your paper is available at the VVC Writing Center. Always check with your instructor for the required citation format.
Source: MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
The MLA 9 style states that the following elements should be used in the order indicated (see left) for creating a citation for all types of sources. When citing sources, the new style organizes elements 1 – 9 in the order. Notice the punctuation marks indicated for each element. Basic commas and periods should follow each element accordingly. The use of the term “container” refers to the larger whole where the source is found, such as an article located in a magazine.
Example of print book citation using core elements:
Caution: Depending on the screen size of your computer or device, the formatting in the examples may not display correctly. Note that all citations should be double-spaced and indented five spaces after the first line.
***Be careful to distinguish italicized sections in citations***
Book by one author
Greenfield, Susan. Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark on Our Brains. Random House,
Book by two authors
Haugen, David M., and Susan Musser. Media Violence. Greenhaven P, 2009.
Book by an organization or corporate author
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. 5th ed., American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Article in a reference book
Richardson, James T. "New Religious Movements and the Law." Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in
America, edited by Eugene Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft, vol. 1, Greenwood P, 2006, pp. 65-83.
Book with an editor
Eastin, Matthew S., editor. Encyclopedia of Media Violence. Sage Publications, 2013.
Work in an anthology
Park, Ruth. “Playing Beatie Bow.” Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature, edited by Jack Zipes, et al., W.W. Norton, 2005, pp.
Article from a Periodical (Magazine)
Specter, Michael. "DNA Revolution." National Geographic, vol. 230, no. 2, Aug. 2016, pp. 30-55.
Article from a scholarly journal
Howland, Robert H. "Oxazepam for the Treatment of Substance Abuse and Depression." Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and
Mental Health Services, vol. 54, no. 5, May 2016, pp. 21-24.
Article from "Taking Sides" (3 or More Authors)
Williams, Kaylene, et al. "Product Placement Effectiveness: Revisited and Renewed." Taking Sides: Clashing
Views on Media and Society, edited by Alison Alexander and Jarice Hanson, McGraw-Hill, 2014, pp. 91-96.
Entry from the "Gale Literary" Publications (Literary Criticism Reprinted from a Book)
Hedrick, Joan D. "Journeying Across the Ghostly Wastes of a Dead World." Solitary Comrade: Jack London and His
Work, U of North Carolina P, 1982. Short Story Criticism, edited by Justin Karr, vol. 49, Gale, 2002, pp. 340-43.
Trottman, Melanie, and Brody Mullins. “Labor Fears Partisan Defections.” The Wall Street Journal, 2 June 2016, p. A4.
Note: MLA recommends including the web address or URL for online sources (do not include the http://). Databases or web sites may offer “permalinks” which are stable URLs. Use a DOI (digital object identifier) when available in a database. MLA recommends including the date of access if the source does not have a publication date. Check with your instructor about the need to include web addresses and/or access dates.
Periodical (Magazine) article from an online database - Academic Search Premier
Knopf, Alison. "Incarcerated Children More Likely to Have Experienced Trauma." Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, vol.
28, no. 13, 28 Mar. 2016, pp. 3-4. Academic Search Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&
Scholarly Journal article from an online database - Academic Search Premier
Pinsof, David, and Martie Haselton. "The Political Divide Over Same-Sex Marriage." Psychological Science, vol. 27, no. 4,
Apr. 2016, pp. 435-42. Academic Search Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&
Newspaper article from an online database - Newspaper Source Plus and LexisNexis Academic
Kepner, Tyler. “Bryant Turns Back the Clock, Then Exits.” New York Times, 15 Apr. 2016, p. B12. Newspaper Source
Svrluga, Susan. “George Mason Law School Officially Renamed in Honor of Antonin Scalia.” The Washington Post, 18
May 2016, p. B8. Lexis Nexis Academic, www.lexisnexis.com/ lnacui2api/api/version1/getDocCui?lni=5JT4-
Online Database- Opposing Viewpoints in Content (Article Reprinted from a Magazine and a Topic Overview)
Edelman, Peter. "The State of Poverty in America." American Prospect, vol. 6, no. 23, 22 June 2012. Opposing Viewpoints
in Context, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=true&
“Minimum Wage.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints in
Article from an Online Database – CQ Researcher
Wanlund, William. "Modernizing the Nuclear Arsenal." CQ Researcher, vol. 26, no. 27, 29 July 2016, pp. 625-48. CQ
Article from an Online Database – Literature Resource Center (Literary Criticism Reprinted from a Book and a Magazine)
Henthorne, Tom. "Dystopia with a Difference: The Lessons of Panem and District 13." Approaching the Hunger Games
Trilogy, McFarland, 2012, pp. 108-24. Literature Resource Center, go.galegroup.com/ps
Maio, Kathi. “Girl Power in Dystopia.” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, vol. 127, nos. 1-2, July-Aug. 2014,
p. 199. Literature Resource Center, go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA376073133&v=2.1&u=victorvcl&
Article from an Online Encyclopedia (Source with DOI and source with URL)
Strawson, Galen. “Free Will.” Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2011, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-V014-2.
"Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011". Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2016, www.britannica.com/event/Japan-
Electronic/Digital Book Citation—EBSCOhost E-Books
Harrold, Stanley. Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War. U of North Carolina P, 2010. EBSCOhost
E-book, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN =343662&site=ehost-live.
Internet Source – Special Collection or Scholarly Project (No Publication Date on Source, Includes Access Date)
“By Popular Demand: Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s.” Library of Congress,
loc.gov/collections/jackie-robinson-baseball/about-this-collection/. Accessed 9 June 2016.
Internet source - Document from professional site or information database
“Cancer Alternative Therapies.” MedlinePlus, United States National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 7
June 2016, nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/canceralternativetherapies.html.
Posting of an Article at a Website-Blog
Smith, Dakota. “Election 2016 Round-up: Rematches, Rivalries, and Big Money.” The Sausage Factory, Los Angeles
Daily News, 8 June 2016, blogs.dailynews.com/politics/.
Internet source - Article from a news service
Chrisafis, Angelique. “‘France is Not in Chaos’: PM Manuel Valls Says Labor Reforms Must Go Ahead.” Guardian, 2 June
Internet Source – Video from YouTube
D’Annunzio, Melissa Huseman. “The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism.” YouTube, TED-Ed, 14 June 2013,
MLA (8th ed.) style requires the use of parentheses (in-text citations) to cite sources rather than footnotes or endnotes. Use the following guidelines when applying in-text citations:
[Refer to MLA Handbook pages 54-58 and 116-128 for further details and examples].
In-text Citation Examples
As had been the case with Dada nearly sixty years earlier, "the instigators of the revolutionary avant-garde in music comprised a tiny number of people" (Bracewell 242).
[In this example, both author's name and page number are placed in parentheses.]
According to Bracewell, "the instigators of the revolutionary avant-garde in music comprised a tiny number of people" (242).
[In this example, the author’s name is used in the text, so only the page number is placed in parentheses.]
Roxy Music’s style has been described as artistic rock that combined “wistful romantic irony with initially archaic and later subdued, lush rock” (“Roxy” 855).
[In this example, there is no author and the title of the article “Roxy Music” is shortened to “Roxy” and followed by the page number.]
"Many of the best from the new crop of arty pop bands from that era owed a lot to Roxy's earlier incarnations, from the playfully quirky theatrical apparel to the emotionally detached, affected cool of some of their best music" (Clark).
[In this example, the quote is taken from a Web site without a page number designation and the author's name is included in parenthesis.]
Bracewell, Michael. Re-make, Re-model: Becoming Roxy Music.
Clark, Rick. "Roxy Music's Avalon." Mix. Penton Media, 6 Jan. 2004,
“Roxy Music.” New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.
edited by Patricia Romanowski and Holly George-Warren,
How Can You Avoid Plagiarism?
To avoid plagiarism you need to recognize when credit is due. Types of plagiarism include direct copying, paraphrasing, and using another person's idea, opinion, or theory. Take a look at the table below:
Examples of Plagiarism
Example One: Paraphrasing from the original source
Example Two: Quoting from the original source