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MLA Style  

Last Updated: Mar 1, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is MLA

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition is typically used in Humanities fields, such as: the arts, literature, and philosophy. MLA style guide is published by the Modern Language Association.  MLA focuses on the field of Language & Literature.

What is a Citation?
A citation:

  • gives credit to the originator of an idea 
  • describes a book, journal article, website or other published or unpublished item
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date
  • enables your instructor to retrieve the item to which you refer

Why are Citations Important?

  • Citing or referencing your sources is an important part of academic writing.  It lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work and helps avoid plagiarism.
  • Citing also demonstrates that you've read relevant background literature and you can provide authority for statements you make in your assignments.
  • Citing is also important for credibility.  You many have a good idea but simply stating it does not make it true or believable.  It gives your ideas validity and support by citing established authors.

What Must I Cite?
Anything you write or create that uses of refers to the ideas of another person, including:

  • direct quotations
  • paraphrasing of passages
  • acknowledging another person(s) who originated an idea
  • use of another student's work
  • use of your own previous work--self-plagiarism
  • even a work of art or a tv program
"MLA Handbook 7th Edition - Citation Style Guides (Lancaster Campus) - LibGuides at Ohio University." Home - LibGuides at Ohio University . N.p., n.d. Web. 31 May 2012. <>.



    College Handout

    This Handout describes MLA in-text citations and Works Cited citations.

    Databases with Citation Options

    Listed below are a few databases that format citations for you.  Once an article is found, follow the instructions for each specific database.

    • EBSCO  Icon
      There are three options
      1. Click on "Print" icon and select from "Citation Format."
      - Pull down menu and choose MLA citation format.
      2. Click the Cite icon to the right under Tools.
      3. Select the article's "Title."
      - Select "Cite" icon under Tools.
    • Electronic Journal Center  Icon
      - Select the article's title.
      Click MLA on the drop down box on the left of the abstract page
    • LexisNexis Academic  Icon
      - Click on the book icon, top, far right of page to "Export" bibliographic
    • Sirs Knowledge Source  Icon
      - At bottom of the article, MLA format only.

    The Three Parts

    The three main parts that make up an MLA style paper are the formatting of the paper, the in-text citations, and the Works Cited page.  You will see tabs at the top of this page that will detail and show examples of how your MLA paper should look.

    Your instructors will usually give requirements as to how they prefer your assignment.  This guide follows the Modern Language Association  standards.  Not all instructors follow the MLA standards, so consult your instructor for more specific requirements.  For instance, MLA does not require a cover page, but your instructor may. 


      Citation Generators

      These online tools can create your citations for you!

      Always remember to check citations for errors.  It is YOUR responsibility to make sure that a citation is correct!

        Paste the ISBN number from a book or the URL address from a website.
      • Son of a Citation Machine
        Start by choosing MLA on the Home page. Creates the Works Cited and in-text citation for you. You can fill in the information yourself or search the ISBN or URL address.

      Belmont College Policy

      See Policy 750.0200 on ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT provided by the College President in the Student Handbook.  The policy states:


      Academic Misconduct

      The responsibility for academic honesty rests with the student. The College expects the student to submit papers, projects, and reports resulting from the student’s own efforts Work submitted in any form should reflect the effort of the student. It is assumed that cheating on quizzes, tests, or examinations is not practiced by mature learners.

      Plagiarism will not be tolerated at any time. Submitting another’s work as one’s own, in part or in whole, is a dishonest practice. A student may not appropriate another person’s ideas, whether published or not. Consequences for proven cases of dishonest practices may include:

      a. Zero percent being given for the test, examination, report, quiz, paper, project, or any other course requirement on which the cheating has occurred;


      b. Failure for the course in which the offense occurred;


      c. Dismissal from the College. The student shall have the right to present his/her case through the student appeals procedure.

      Even though the primary responsibility for academic integrity resides with the student, the instructor will endeavor to create a secure learning environment that inhibits cheating. The College encourages honest scholarship.


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