Apa Style Citation Bibliography Mla

APA stands for the American Psychological Association. You’ll most likely use APA format if your paper is on a scientific topic. Many behavioral and social sciences use APA’s standards and guidelines.

What are behavioral sciences? Behavior sciences study human and animal behavior. They can include:

  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Science
  • Neuroscience

What are social sciences? Social sciences focus on one specific aspect of human behavior, specifically social and cultural relationships. Social sciences can include:

  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Human Geography
  • Archaeology
  • Linguistics

Many other fields and subject areas regularly use this style too. There are other formats and styles to use, such as MLA format and Chicago, among many, many others. If you’re not sure which style to use for your research assignment or project, ask your instructor.

While writing a research paper, it is always important to give credit and cite your sources, which acknowledge others’ ideas and research that you’ve used in your own work. Not doing so can be considered plagiarism, possibly leading to a failed grade or loss of a job. This style is one of the most commonly used citation styles used to prevent plagiarism.

In this guide, you’ll find information related to writing and organizing your paper according to the American Psychological Association’s standards. You’ll also learn how to form proper in-text citations that correspond to an entry in a “Reference List.” Click here for further reading on the style.

Writing and Organizing Your Paper in an Effective Way

This section of our guide focuses on proper paper length, how to format headings, and desirable wording.

Paper Length:

Since APA style format is used often in science fields, the belief is “less is more.” Make sure you’re able to get your points across in a clear and brief way. Be direct, clear, and professional. Try not to add fluff and unnecessary details into your paper or writing.  This will keep the paper length shorter and more concise.

Using Headings Properly:

Headings serve an important purpose – they organize your paper and make it simple to locate different pieces of information. In addition, headings provide readers with a glimpse to the main idea, or content, they are about to read.

In APA format, there are five levels of headings, each with different sizes and purposes

  • Level 1: The largest heading size
    • This is the title of your paper
    • The title should be centered in the middle of the page
    • The title should be bolded
    • Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary (called title capitalization)
  • Level 2:
    • Should be a bit smaller than the title, which is Level 1
    • Place this heading against the left margin
    • Use bold letters
    • Use uppercase and lowercase letters where necessary
  • Level 3:
    • Should be a bit smaller than Level 2
    • Indented in from the left side margin
    • Use bold letters
    • Only place an uppercase letter at the first word of the heading. All others should be lowercase. The exception is for pronouns as they should begin with a capital letter.
  • Level 4:
    • Should be a bit smaller than Level 3
    • Indented in from the left margin
    • Bolded
    • Italicized
    • Only place an uppercase letter at the first word of the heading. All others should be lowercase. The exception is for pronouns as they should begin with a capital letter.
  • Level 5:
    • Should be the smallest heading in your paper
    • Indented
    • Italicized
    • Only place an uppercase letter at the first word of the heading. All others should be lowercase. The exception is for pronouns as they should begin with a capital letter.

Here is a visual example of the levels of headings:

Bullying in Juvenile Detention Centers    (Level 1)

Negative Outcomes of Bullying in Detention Centers (Level 2)

Depression (Level 3)

Depression in School (Level 4)

Withdrawal from peers (Level 5)

Withdrawal from staff

Depression at Home (Level 4)

Anxiety

Positive Outcomes of Bullying in Detention Centers

Resiliency

Writing Style Tips:

Writing a paper for scientific topics is much different than writing for English, literature, and other composition classes. Science papers are much more direct, clear, and concise. This section includes key suggestions, from APA, to keep in mind while formulating your research paper.

Verb usage:

Research experiments and observations rely on the creation and analysis of data to test hypotheses and come to conclusions. While sharing and explaining the methods and results of studies, science writers often use verbs. When using verbs in writing, make sure that you continue to use them in the same tense throughout the section you’re writing.

Here’s an example:

We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants.

It wouldn’t make sense to add this sentence after the one above:

We tested the solution to identify the possible contaminants. Researchers often test solutions by placing them under a microscope.

Notice that the first sentence is in the past tense while the second sentence is in the present tense. This can be confusing for readers.

For verbs in scientific papers, the manual recommends using:

  • Past tense or present perfect tense for the explantation of the procedure
  • Past tense for the explanation of the results
  • Present tense for the explanation of the conclusion and future implications

Tone:

Even though your writing will not have the same fluff and detail as other forms of writing, it should not be boring or dull to read. The Publication Manual suggests thinking about who will be the main reader of your work and to write in a way that educates them.

Reducing Bias & Labels:

The American Psychological Association strongly objects of any bias towards gender, racial groups, ages of individuals or subjects, disabilities, and sexual orientation. If you’re unsure whether your writing is free of bias and labels or not, have a few individuals read your work to determine if it’s acceptable.

Here are a few guidelines that the American Psychological Association suggests:

  • Only include information about an individual’s orientation or characteristic if it is important to the topic or study. Do not include information about individuals or labels if it is not necessary to include.
  • If writing about an individual’s characteristic or orientation, make sure to put the person first. Instead of saying, “Diabetic patients,” say, “Patients who are diabetic.”
  • Instead of using narrow terms such as, “adolescents,” or “the elderly,” try to use broader terms such as, “participants,” and “subjects.”
  • Be mindful when using terms that end with “man” or “men” if they involve subjects who are female. For example, instead of using “Firemen,” use the term, “Firefighter.” In general, avoid ambiguity.
  • When referring to someone’s racial or ethnic identity, use the census category terms and capitalize the first letter. Also, avoid using the word, “minority,” as it can be interpreted as meaning less than or deficient.
  • When describing subjects, use the words “girls” and “boys” for children who are under the age of 12. The terms, “young woman,” “young man,” “female adolescent,” and “male adolescent” are appropriate for subjects between 13-17 years old. “Men,” and “women,” for those older than 18. Use the term, “older adults.” for individuals who are older. “Elderly,” and “senior,” are not acceptable if used only as nouns. It is acceptable to use these terms if they’re used as adjectives.

Spelling, Abbreviations, Spacing, and other Word & Number Rules:

  • Use one space after most punctuation marks unless the punctuation mark is at the end of a sentence. If the punctuation mark is at the end of the sentence, use two spaces afterwards.
  • If you’re including an acronym in your paper (like “APA”), it is not necessary to include periods between the letters.
  • Use abbreviations sparingly. If too many abbreviations are used in one sentence, it may become difficult for the reader to comprehend the meaning.
  • Prior to using an unfamiliar abbreviation, you must type it out in text and place the abbreviation immediately following it in parentheses. Any usage of the abbreviation after the initial description, can be used without the description.
    • Example: While it may not affect a patient’s short-term memory (STM), it may affect their ability to comprehend new terms. Patients who experience STM loss while using the medication should discuss it with their doctor.
  • If an abbreviation is featured in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as is, then it is not necessary to spell out the meaning. Example: AIDS
  • Use an oxford comma. This type of comma is placed before the words and OR or in a series of three items. Example: The medication caused drowsiness, upset stomach, and fatigue.
  • Use the same spelling as words found in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (American English)
  • If the word you’re trying to spell is not found in Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a second resource is Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.
  • If attempting to properly spell words in the psychology field, consult the American Psychological Association’s Dictionary of Psychology
  • When writing a possessive singular noun, place the apostrophe before the s. For possessive plural nouns, the apostrophe is placed after the s.
    • Singular: Linda Morris’s jacket
    • Plural: The Morris’ house
  • For hyphens, do not place a space before or after the hyphen: custom-built
  • For numbers, use the numeral if the number is more than 10. If it’s less than 10, type it out.
    • 14 kilograms
    • seven meters

Use of Graphics:

  • If you plan to add any charts, tables, drawings, or images to your paper, number them using Arabic numerals. The first graphic, labeled as 1, should be the first one mentioned in the text. Follow them in the appropriate numeral order in which they appear in the text of your paper. Example: Chart 1, Chart 2, Chart 3.
  • Only use graphics if they will supplement the material in your text. If they reinstate what you already have in your text, then it is not necessary to include a graphic.
  • Include enough wording in the graphic so that the reader is able to understand its meaning, even if it is isolated from the corresponding text. However, do not go overboard with adding a ton of wording in your graphic.

Fundamentals of an APA Citation

Generally, APA citations follow the following format:

Contributors. (Date). Title. Publication Information.

Click here to find additional information about citation fundamentals.

Contributor Information and Titles:

The main contributor(s) of the source (often the name of the author) is placed before the date and title. If there is more than one author, arrange the authors in the same order found on the source. Use the first and middle name initials and the entire last name. Inverse all names before the title.

One author:

Smith, J. K. (Date). Title.

Two authors:

Smith, J. K., & Sampson, T. (Date). Title.

Three authors:

Smith, J. K., Sampson, T., & Hubbard, A. J. (Date). Title.

Eight or more:

Smith, J. K., Sampson, T., Hubbard, A. J., Anderson, J., Thompson, T., Silva, P.,…Bhatia, N. (Date). Title.

Other contributor types

Sometimes the main contributor is not an author, but another contributor type, such as an editor for a book, a conductor for a musical piece, or a producer for a film. In this instance, follow the contributor with the contributor type (abbreviate Editor(s) as Ed. or Eds. and most other roles can be spelled out in their entirety).

One contributor examples:

Smith, J. K. (Ed.). (Year published). Title.

Lu, P. (Producer). (Year published). Title.

Two contributors examples:

Smith, J. K., & Sampson, T. (Eds.). (Year published). Title.

Lu, P., & Winters, U. (Producers). (Year published). Title.

Corporate or group authors

Some sources may have corporate or group authors. Write these organizations in their entirety, and place them where you would write the author. If the organization is also the publisher of the source, write “Author” instead of repeating the publisher name.

Corporate author:

American Psychological Association. (Date). Title. Washington, DC: Author.

Government author:

Illinois Department of Industrial Relations. (Date). Title. Springfield, IL: McGraw-Hill

No contributor information

Sometimes you will come across sources with no contributor information. In this instance, do not write the date first. Instead, write the name of the title and then the date, then followed by the remaining appropriate bibliographic data.

Webster’s dictionary. (1995). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.

Title Rules – Capitalization and Italics

Article titles and works within larger works, such as chapters and web pages, as well as informally published material are not italicized. Main titles that stand alone, such as those for books and journals, are italicized. Generally, capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title or any subtitles, and the first letter of any proper nouns. For titles of periodicals, such as journals and newspapers, capitalize every principal word.

Publication Information

After the contributor information and title comes the publication information. Below are different publication templates.

Book:

Last, F. M. (Date Published). Book title. City, State: Publisher.

Journal:

Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Journal Title, Volume(Issue), Page(s).

Magazine:

Last, F. M. (Date Published). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue), Page(s).

Website:

Last, F. M. (Date Published). Web page title. Retrieved from Homepage URL

Newspaper:

Last, F. M. (Year, Month Day published). Article title. Newspaper Title, Page(s).

Note: If there is no date, use “n.d” in parentheses, which means “no date.

Note: Page numbers for chapters of books and newspapers are preceded by “p.” or “pp.” [plural], while those of magazines and journals are only written with numbers.

Additional information

For less conventional source types, you can add descriptions about the source after the title, in brackets, immediately after the title. For example, you can add [Brochure] after the title of a brochure (separated by a space) to clarify the type of source you are citing.

Getty Images. (2015, September 19). David Wright #5 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.gettyimages.com/license/489162016

When citing nonperiodical sources, advanced information such as the edition and series information comes before the publication information and immediately after the title, grouped in the same parentheses. See the example below:

Smith, J. (2002). Power. In R. C. Richardson (Ed.), The time of the future (5th ed., Volume 3). Philadelphia, PA: Sage.

Here’s a useful site to help you understand citations a bit more.

How to Format In-Text, or Parenthetical Citations:

Researchers include brief parenthetical citations in their writing to acknowledge references to other people’s work. Generally, parenthetical citations include the last name of the author and year of publication. Page numbers are also included when citing a direct quote.

If some of the information is included in the body of the sentence, exclude it from the parenthetical citation. In-text APA citations typically appear at the end of the sentence, between the last word and the period.

Example of a parenthetical citations without the author’s name in the text:

Harlem had many artists and musicians in the late 1920s (Belafonte, 2008).

Example of a parenthetical citation when author is mentioned in the text:

According to Belafonte, Harlem was full of artists and musicians in the late 1920s (2008).

For parenthetical citations with two authors, format your parenthetical citation like this:

Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart & Colbert, 2010).

For parenthetical citations with three to five authors:

  • Include all names in the first in-text parenthetical citation, separated by commas and then an ampersand (&).
    • Rallying to restore sanity was a revolutionary undertaking (Stewart, Colbert, & Oliver, 2010).
  • For all subsequent in-text parenthetical citations, include only the first author, followed by “et al.” and the publication year if it is the first citation in a paragraph.
    • The event resulted in thousands of participants flocking to the National Mall in support of the cause (Stewart et al. 2010).

OR

    • Stewart et al. (2010) state that the event resulted in thousands of participants flocking to the National Mall in support of the cause.

For parenthetical citations for six or more authors, include only the last name of the first author, followed by “et al.” and publication year in ALL parenthetical citations.

The study did not come to any definitive conclusions (Rothschild et al., 2013).

For parenthetical citations for sources without an author:

  • If a work has no author, include the first few words of the bibliography entry (in many cases, the title) and the year.
  • Use quotation marks around the titles of articles, chapters, and/or websites.
  • However, unlike in your reference list, parenthetical citations of articles and chapters should have all major words capitalized.
  • Italicize the titles of periodicals, books, brochures, or reports.

Example:

    • Statistics confirm that the trend is rising (“New Data,” 2013).
    • The report includes some bleak results (Information Illiteracy in Academia, 2009).

Citing a part of a work:

When citing a specific part of a work, provide the relevant page number or section identifier, such as a chapters, tables, or figures. Direct quotes should always have page numbers.

Example for citing part of a source in your in-text or parenthetical APA citation:

One of the most memorable quotes is when he says, “You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!” (Green, 2012, p. 272).

If the source does not include page numbers (such as online sources), you can reference specific parts of the work by referencing the:

  • Paragraph number (only use if the source includes actual paragraph numbers. Do not count paragraphs) with the abbreviation “para.” (Klein, 2017, para. 7).
  • Tables and figures spelled out, starting with capital letters (Klein, 2017, Table 1) or (Klein, 2017, Figure A).
  • Chapters spelled out, starting with capital letters (Klein, 2017, Chapter 19).
  • Official headings can be spelled out, starting with a capital letter. If they’re lengthy, use the first few words of the title. (Klein, 2017, Methodology section).
  • These specific parts can be combined. (Klein, 2017, Chapter 19, para. 8).

Citing groups or corporate authors:

Corporations, government agencies, and associations can be considered the author of a source when no specific author is given.

  • Write out the full name of the group in all parenthetical citations
    Example:
    The May 2011 study focused on percentages of tax money that goes to imprisonment over education funding (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 2011).
  • You may abbreviate the group name if the group’s name is lengthy and it is a commonly recognized abbreviation in all subsequent parenthetical citations.
    Example:
    The report found that over a half billion of taxpayer dollars went to the imprison residents “from 24 of New York City’s approximately 200 neighborhoods” (NAACP, 2011, p. 2).

Parenthetical citations for classical, biblical, or religious works:

  • It is not necessary to create a full APA reference list citation at the end of your project for these source types. Only include in-text, or parenthetical citations, for these sources.
  • Cite the translation or version used.
    • (Homer, trans. 1998).
    • (King James version).
  • When citing specific content from these sources, include the paragraph/line numbers that are used in classical works. This information is consistent across versions/editions, and is the easiest way to locate direct quotes from classical works.
    • The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Cor. 13:4 New International Version).

Citing and formatting block quotes:

When directly quoting information from sources in your writing, you may need to format it differently depending on how many words are used.

If a quote runs on for more than 40 words:

  • Start the direct quotation on a new line
  • Indent the text roughly half an inch from the left margin
  • If there are multiple paragraphs in the quotation, indent them an extra half inch
  • Remove any quotation marks
  • Double-space the text
  • Add the parenthetical citation after the final sentence

Example:
Packer (2017) states that:

The future of fantasy sports depends on the advocacy of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association to work with various state government agencies on legislation and reform. With over ten executive board members on the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s team, we regularly attend various state legislation sessions when fantasy sports is on the agenda. This ensures that we’re aware of and ready to take action on any changes in legislation. (p.34).

Click here to learn more about parenthetical citing.

Web Rules

When citing electronic or online sources, keep these things in mind:

  • When including URLs in the citation, do not place a period at the end.
  • If a URL runs across multiple lines of text in the citation, break the URL off before punctuation (e.g., periods, forward slashes) – except http://.
  • For journal articles, include the DOI (digital object identifier) in the citation, if there is a DOI number available. DOI numbers are preferred over URLs because DOIs never change, they remain static. URLs on the other hand can become broken or outdated links. Format it as follows: http://dx.doi.org/xxxx
    • If no doi is provided, include the URL of the homepage for the journal that published the article. Format it as follows: Retrieved from http://www.xxx
    • Do not include database information, such as the name of the database or its publisher.

Plagiarism Basics:

We include citations in our research projects to prevent plagiarism. Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work in your own project, but do not acknowledge that author and their original work. You may pretend it’s your own work or change the original author’s work to make your own project seem valid.  Plagiarism, while preventable, can result in serious consequences. Click here to learn more about plagiarism.

How to Format an APA Bibliography

  • Label the page References and center it at the the top of the page
  • Double space the entire list
  • Every line after the first line of a citation should be indented one-half inch from the left margin (also known as hanging indentations)
  • Alphabetize your entire bibliography list
  • Note that on EasyBib.com, when using the EasyBib citation generator, it will format your references list, alphabetized and indented, and ready to hand in!

How to Format an APA Style Paper:

Your teacher may want you to format your paper using the Publication Manual’s guidelines. If you were told to create your citations in APA format, your paper should be formatted using these guidelines.

General guidelines:

  • Use 8 ½ x 11” paper
  • Make 1 inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides
  • The first word in every paragraph should be indented one half inch
  • Use Times New Roman font, size 12
  • Double space the entire paper
  • Include a page header known as the “running head” at the top of every page. (To make this process easier, set your word processor to automatically add these components onto each page)
    • To create a running head/page header, insert page numbers justified to the right-hand side of the paper (do not put p. or pg. in front of the page numbers)
    • Then type “TITLE OF YOUR PAPER” justified to the left using all capital letters
    • If your title is long, this running head title should be a shortened version of the title of your entire paper.

  • APA Format Papers Components: Your essay should include these four major sections:
    • An APA format Title Page:
      • This page should contain four pieces: the title of the paper, running head, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and an author’s note. Create the page header/running head as described above. *Please note that only on the title page, your page header/running head should include the words “Running Head” before your title in all capital letters. The rest of the pages should not include this in the page header. It should look like this on the title page:

  • The title of the paper should capture the main idea of the essay, but should not contain abbreviations or words that serve no purpose.
  • It should be centered on the page and typed in 12-point Times New Roman font. Do not underline, bold, or italicize the title.
  • Your title may take up one or two lines, but should not be more than 12 words in length.
  • All text on the title page should be double-spaced in the same way as the rest of your essay.
  • Do not include any titles on the author’s name such as Dr. or Ms.
  • The institutional affiliation is the location where the author conducted the research.

Abstract

On the following page, begin with the Running title.

  1. On the first line of the page, center the word “Abstract” (but do not include quotation marks).
  2. On the following line, write a summary of the key points of your research. Your abstract summary is a way to introduce readers to your research topic, the questions that will be answered, the process you took, and any findings or conclusions you drew.
  3. This summary should not be indented, but should be double-spaced and less than 250 words.
  4. If applicable, help researchers find your work in databases by listing keywords from your paper after your summary. To do this, indent and type Keywords: in italics.  Then list your keywords that stand out in your research.

APA Sample Paper Abstract page:

The Body

On the following page, begin with the Body of the APA paper.

  1. Start with the Running title
  2. On the next line write the title (do not bold, underline, or italicize the title)
  3. Begin with the introduction. Indent.
  4. The introduction presents the problem and premise upon which the research was based.  It goes into more detail about this problem than the abstract.
  5. Begin a new section with the Method. Bold and center this subtitle The Method section shows how the study was run and conducted. Be sure to describe the methods through which data was collected.
  6. Begin a new section with the Results. Bold and center this subtitle.  The Results section summarizes the data. Use charts and graphs to display this data.
  7. Begin a new section with the Discussion. Bold and center this subtitle. This Discussion section is a chance to analyze and interpret your results.
    1. Draw conclusions and support how your data led to these conclusions.
    2. Discuss whether or not your hypothesis was confirmed or not supported by your results.
    3. Determine the limitations of the study and next steps to improve research for future studies.

** Throughout the body, in-text citations are used and include the author name(s) and the publication year.

   Ex: (Wilkonson, 2009).

Sample Body page:

APA Referencing

On a new page, write your references.

  1. Begin with a running title
  2. Center and bold the title “References” (do not include quotation marks, underline, or italicize this title)
  3. Alphabetize and Double-space all entries
  4. Every article/source mentioned in the paper and used in your study should be referenced and have an entry.

Sample Reference Page:

How to Cite Various Source Types:

Books

A book is a written work or composition that has been published – typically printed on pages bound together.

Book citations contain the author name, publication year, book title, city and state or country of publication and the publisher name.

Much of the information you need to create a print book citation can be found on the title page. The title page is found within the first couple of pages of the book.

Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Title of work. Publisher City, State: Publisher.

James, H. (2009). The ambassadors. Rockville, MD: Serenity.

If you need further assistance with citing books, EasyBib’s APA format generator will automatically cite them for you. See more across the site.

Chapter in a Print Book:

A chapter is a specific section, or segment, of a book. Chapters often have their own title or they are numbered.

Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Title of chapter. In F. M. Editor (Ed.), Title of book (pp. xx-xx). Publisher City, State: Publisher.

Much of the information you will need to create a chapter in a print book citation can be found on the title page. The title page is found within the first couple of pages of the book. You will also need some of the information found on the table of contents. The chapter title, author, and page numbers can be found there.

Shuhua, L. (2007). The night of MidAutumn Festival. In J. S. M. Lau & H. Goldblatt (Eds.), The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature (pp. 95-102). New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

E-Books:

An e-book is a written work or composition that has been digitized and is readable through computers or e-readers such as Kindles, iPads, Nooks, etc.

Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Title of work [E-reader version]. Retrieved from URL

Stoker, B. (2000). Dracula [Kindle HDX version]. Retrieved from http://www.overdrive.com/

Chapter in an E-book:

Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Title of chapter. In F. M. Editor (Ed.), Title of book [E-reader version] (pp. xx-xx). Retrieved from URL or http://dx.doi.org/xxxx

The Bible and Other Classical Religious Texts:

The Bible and other classical religious texts (such as the Torah, the Qur’an, and others) do not require a citation in the reference list. However, you must include an in-text citation anytime you reference these texts in your writing.

For the in-text citation, when quoting or paraphrasing specific excerpts from the text, include the information about the specific verse, line, page, etc.

If the version of the religious text you are using is relevant, mention it in the first reference in your writing. This can be as either a general reference or a formal in-text citation.

Example:

The Bible extols the virtues of love; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Cor. 13:4 New International Version).

Remember, you only need to cite the version of the religious text used in the first general reference or in-text citation of the source. In all other instances, leave it out.

Journals

Scholarly, or academic, journals are often created for specific fields or disciplines. They are issued periodically throughout the year and feature scholarly articles, research studies, and/or reviews.

In journal citations, journal titles are written in title case and followed by the volume number. Both of these fields should be italicized.

Journals found on a database or online:

Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), pp.-pp. http://dx.doi.org/xxxx or Retrieved from homepage URL

Database information and the retrieval date are not required in journal article citations.

If no DOI is listed, use the periodical homepage URL. Example: Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1936-2706

Trier, J. (2007). “Cool” engagements with YouTube: Part 2. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 50(7), 598-603. http://dx.doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.50.7.8

Journals found in print:

Author, F. M., Author, F. M. & Author, F. M. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number), page range.

Lin, M.G., Hoffman, E.S., & Borengasser, C. (2013). Is social media too social for class? A case study of Twitter use. Tech Trends, 57(2), 39-45.

If you need help citing your journal articles, EasyBib’s APA generator cites them automatically for you.

Newspapers

A newspaper is a daily or weekly publication that contains news; often featuring articles on political events, crime, business, art, entertainment, society, and sports.

Newspapers found in print:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title, pp. xx-xx.

If the article is printed on discontinuous pages, list all of the page numbers/ranges and separate them with a comma (e.g., pp. C2, C4, C7-9.)

Bowman, L. (1990, March 7). Bills target Lake Erie mussels. Pittsburgh Press, p. A4.

Newspapers found online:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title. Retrieved from newspaper’s homepage URL

The URL of the newspaper’s homepage is used to avoid broken links

Kaplan, K. (2013, October 22). Flu shots may reduce risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com

If you are using a bibliography tool, like EasyBib’s APA citation machine, make sure you are citing a newspaper article – not a website!

Magazines

A magazine is a periodical that often contains text and/or graphics that revolve around a specific topic or subject. Most articles in magazines are relatively short in length (compared to journals) and often contain colorful images.

Magazines in print:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume number(Issue number), page range.

The volume number can be found on the publication information page of the magazine. Page numbers are typically found on the bottom corners of an article. If issue number is not provided, omit it from the citation.

Luckerson, V. (2014, January). Tech’s biggest promises for 2014. TIME, 183, 23-25.

Magazines found online:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume number(Issue number). Retrieved from URL of magazine’s homepage or DOI number.

The volume and issue number may not be on the same page as the article. Browse the website before omitting it from the citation.

Luckerson, V. (2014, January). Tech’s biggest promises for 2014. TIME. Retrieved from http://time.com/

Need further help with your magazine citations? Try EasyBib’s APA formatter.

Blogs

An online blog generally revolves around one specific subject matter and contains text or graphics that are added by an individual, group, or organization. Individual blog posts are regularly added to a blog site.

Author, F. M. (Year, Month, Day of Publication). Title of blog post [Blog post]. Retrieved from URL

If the author’s full name is not available, the author’s screen name or handle is acceptable to use.

Silver, N. (2013, July 15). Senate control in 2014 increasingly looks like a tossup [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/senate-control-in-2014-increasingly-looks-like-a-tossup/

Websites

A website is a group of online pages, placed together, that can contain text and/or images for informational or entertainment purposes. Most websites revolve around a topic or theme. There are news websites, sports, research, shopping, and many other types of websites.

Note that many sources have citation structures for their online versions (e.g., online newspapers, dictionaries, magazine or journal articles). Check the other formats on this page to see if there is a specific citation type in an online format that matches your source.

Website with an author:

Author, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Title of web page [Format]. Retrieved from URL

Only include information about the format in brackets if the website is a unique type of document, such as a PDF.

Limer, E. (2013, October 1). Heck yes! The first free wireless plan is finally here. Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/heck-yes-the-first-free-wireless-plan-is-finally-here-1429566597

Website without an author:

Title of web page [Format]. (Year, Month Day of Publication). Retrieved from URL

Only italicize the title if it stands alone (such as a singular online document or complete report). If you’re unsure of whether or not to italicize, then do not italicize the title.

Mongolia. (2016, December 5). Retrieved from https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/mongolia.html

Tweet:

A tweet is a post that is made on the social media site, Twitter.

Last name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Day of Posting). Text of tweet [Tweet]. Retrieved from URL

If the author’s full name is unavailable, only include the username at the beginning of the citation, without brackets.

RealTalkRaph. (2017, September 2). The Patriots are always many moves ahead of every other NFL team. Extreme organizational depth at all skilled positions & a fearless leader [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/RealTalkRaph/status/904061814278955008

YouTube Video:

YouTube is a popular website that displays videos that are uploaded by individuals and companies.

Uploader’s Last name, F. M. [Username]. (Year, Month Day of Posting). Video title [Video file]. Retrieved from URL

If the author’s full name is unavailable, only include the username at the beginning of the citation, without brackets.

305 Fitness. (2017, August 18). When I grow up [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/a8-svSALTmk

Musical Recording:

Musical recordings are musical audio clips, songs, or albums. Many are found online and listened to digitally.

Songwriter’s Last name, F. M. (Publication year). Song title [Recorded by F. M. Singer’s Last Name]. On Album title [Audio file]. Retrieved from URL

Only include the information about the individual or band who performs the song if it is different than the name of the author, or songwriter.

Red Hot Chili Peppers. (2006). Tell me baby. On Stadium arcadium [Audio file]. Retrieved from open.spotify.com/track/0itNMuBHye9fu392b4e9oa

Don’t forget, our EasyBib APA reference generator cites your musical recordings and songs for you!

Sheet Music or a Musical Score:

The American Psychological Association’s guidelines do not specify how to cite sheet music. We suggest following the book format when citing sheet music. After the title of the piece, indicate that you are citing sheet music by way of using a descriptor like [Sheet music], [Libretto], or [Musical score]. One major difference between a book and sheet music is that sheet music is written by a composer, not an author. You can specify this fact if you would like, by formatting the beginning of the citation like this:

Composer’s Last name, F. M. (Composer).

Or, treat the composer like an author by not including the word composer in parentheses.

Additionally, sheet music can come as individual work or it can be part of a collection or book.

Sheet music found in print:

Composer’s Last name, F. M. (Year of Publication). Sheet music’s title [Format]. Publisher’s Location: Publisher.

Beethoven, L. (2002). Fur Elise [Sheet music]. New York: Random House.

Sheet music found online:

Composer’s Last name, F. M. (Year of Publication). Sheet music’s title [Format]. Retrieved from URL

Beethoven, L. (Composer). (2002). Fur Elise [Sheet music]. Retrieved from https://www.8notes.com/scores/7063.asp

Films:

Producer’s Last name, F. M. (Producer), & Director’s Last name, F. M. (Director). (Year of publication). Title of film [Format]. Retrieved from URL

The format is placed in brackets directly after the title. It can be either DVD, video file, or another medium that the film is found on.

Thomas, E. (Producer), & Nolan C. (Director). (2017). Dunkirk [Video file]. Retrieved from https://watchmovie.info/watch-movie-operation-dunkirk/h0Eq

Remember, you can cite your movies quickly and easily with EasyBib’s APA citation maker. Looking for a free APA citation creator? Trial EasyBib’s APA formatter.

TV/Radio Broadcast/Podcast:

To cite an individual television episode or radio podcast or broadcast streamed online, use the following structure:

Writer’s Last name, F. M. (Writer), & Director’s Last name, F. M. (Director). (Year published). Title of individual episode or podcast [Television series episode or podcast]. In F. M. Producer’s Last name (Executive producer), Television or Podcast series name. Retrieved from URL

Dick, L. (Writer), & Yaitanes, G. (Director). (2009). Simple explanation [Television series episode]. In P. Attanasio (Producer), House, M.D. Retrieved from https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4y4g93

To cite a full television series or podcast/radio broadcast in its entirety, use the following structure:

Producer’s Last name, F. M. (Producer), & Creator’s Last name, F. M. (Creator). (Year aired). Title of television series or podcast series [Television series or podcast series]. Retrieved from URL

Benihoff, D. & Weiss, D. B. (Producers & Creators). (2017). Game of thrones, season 7 [Television series]. Retrieved from http://www.hbo.com/game-of-thrones

The EasyBib citation builder automatically cites your TV, radio broadcast, and podcast sources for you!

Thesis or Dissertation:

A thesis is a document submitted to earn a degree at a university. A dissertation is a document submitted to earn an advanced degree, such as a doctorate, at a university.

Many theses and dissertations can be found on databases. For this specific source type, include the name of the database in the citation. In most other source types, the name of the database isn’t included in the citation.

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of dissertation or thesis (Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis). Retrieved from Database Title. (Order number or Accession number).

Knight, K.A. (2011). Media epidemics: Viral structures in literature and new media (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from MLA International Bibliography Database. (Accession No. 2013420395)

If the thesis or dissertation is found on a website, use this structure:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of dissertation or thesis (Doctoral dissertation or Master’s thesis). Retrieved from URL

Wilson, P.L. (2011). Pedagogical practices in the teaching of English language in secondary public schools in Parker County (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://drum.lib.umd.edu/bitstream/1903/11801/1/Wilson_umd_0117E_12354.pdf

Conference Paper:

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year presented, month). Title of conference paper. Paper presented at the meeting of Name of Organization, Place of Meeting. Retrieved from URL

Briden, J., Burns, V., & Marshall, A. (2007, March). Knowing our students: Undergraduates in context. Paper presented at ACRL National Conference, Baltimore, MD. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/conferences/confsandpreconfs/national/baltimore/papers/184.pdf

Interview:

Reference lists only include works that can be found by the reader. As a personal interview is not published or “findable,” it should not be included in the reference list. Instead, a personal interview should be referenced as a parenthetical citation. For example: (J. Smith, personal communication, June 18, 2017).

If you would like to include a personal interview as part of your reference list, then include the interviewee, the date of the interview, and the type of interview.

Last name, F. M. (Year, Month Day of Interview). Interview by F. M. Last name [Format of Interview].

Mobile App:

Apps are often used on digital devices such smartphones, tablets, and wearables such as smartwatches. Apps are downloaded from an app store by the user. Some apps correlate with a website and some apps stand alone.

Creator’s Last name, F. M. or Company. (Year version was published). App’s Title (Version). [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from URL’s homepage

SoundCloud. (2017). SoundCloud – Music & Audio (Version 5.12.0). [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/

Encyclopedia:

Encyclopedias are reference works that focus on a specific discipline or they may contain information about all general topics. Encyclopedias are often organized in alphabetical order and contain entries, which are brief overviews, of a topic.

Author’s Last name, F. M. (Year published). Title of entry. In F. M. Editor’s Last name (Ed.), Title of encyclopedia (Version). Retrieved from URL

Davis, A. S., & Landis, D. A. (2011) Agriculture. In D. Simberloff & M. Rejmanek (Eds.), Encyclopedia of biological invasions. Retrieved from https://books.google.com

Dictionary:

Dictionary entry. (Year published). In Title of dictionary (Version). Retrieved from URL

Donkey. In Oxford English living dictionary. Retrieved from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com

Our EasyBib APA citation generator cites your dictionary entries automatically for you!

Need more information? Click here to learn more about crediting sources.

What is an Abstract?

An abstract is a summary of a scholarly article or scientific study. Scholarly articles and studies are rather lengthy documents and abstracts allow readers to first determine if they’d like to read an article in its entirety or not.

You may come across abstracts while researching a topic. Many databases display abstracts in the search results and also often display them before showing the full text to an article or scientific study. It is important to create a high quality abstract, that accurately communicates the purpose and goal of your paper, as readers will determine if it is worthy to continue reading or not.

If you’re planning on submitting your paper to a journal for publication, first check the journal’s website to learn about abstract and paper requirements.

Here are some helpful suggestions to create a dynamic abstract:

  • Feature the main keywords of your project or paper in the abstract. In addition, use the keywords or keyword strings that you think readers will type into the search box. Individuals who are researching the same or similar topics may come across your abstract and find it useful to read or use for their own research purposes.
  • Use concise, brief, informative language. You only have a few sentences to share the summary of your entire document, so be direct with your wording.
  • Use an active voice, not a passive voice. When writing with an active voice, the subject performs the action. When writing with a passive voice, the subject receives the action.

Example:

Active voice: The subjects reacted to the medication.

Passive voice: There was a reaction from the subjects taking the medication.

  • Instead of evaluating your project in the abstract, simply report what it contains.
  • If a large portion of your work includes the extension of someone else’s research, share this in the abstract and include the author’s last name and the year their work was released.

Categories of Papers:

  • Empirical Studies
    • Empirical studies take data from observations and experiments to generate research reports. It is different from other types of studies in that it isn’t based on theories or ideas, but on actual data.
  • Literature Reviews
    • These papers analyze another individual’s work or a group of works. The purpose is to gather information about a current issue or problem and to communicate where we are today. It sheds light on issues and attempts to fill those gaps with suggestions for future research and methods.
  • Theoretical Articles
    • These papers are somewhat similar to a literature reviews, in that the author collects, examines, and shares information about a current issue or problem, by using others’ research. It is different from literature reviews in that it attempts to explain or solve a problem by coming up with a new theory. This theory is justified with valid evidence.
  • Methodological Articles:
    • These articles showcase new advances, or modifications to an existing practice, in a scientific method or procedure. The author has data or documentation to prove that their new method, or improvement to a method, is valid. Plenty of evidence is included in this type of article. In addition, the author explains the current method being used in addition to their own findings, in order to allow the reader to understand and modify their own current practices.
  • Case Studies:
    • Case studies present information related an individual, group, or larger set of individuals. These subjects are analyzed for a specific reason and the author reports on the method and conclusions from their study. The author may also make suggestions for future research, create possible theories, and/or determine a solution to a problem.

 

The Complete Guide to MLA & Citations

What You’ll Find on This Guide:

This page provides an in-depth overview of MLA format. It includes information related to MLA citations, plagiarism, proper formatting for in-text and regular citations, and examples of citations for many different types of sources.

Looking for APA? Check out Citation Machine’s guide on APA format.

How to Be a Responsible Researcher or Scholar:

Putting together a research project involves searching for information, disseminating and analyzing information, collecting information, and repurposing information. Being a responsible researcher requires keeping track of the sources that were used to help develop your research project, sharing the information you borrowed in an ethical way, and giving credit to the authors of the sources you used. Doing all of these things prevents plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using others’ information without giving credit or acknowledging them. There are many examples of plagiarism. Completely copying another individual’s work without providing credit to the original author is a very blatant example of plagiarism. Plagiarism also occurs when another individual’s idea or concept is passed off as your own. Changing or modifying quotes, text, or any work of another individual is also plagiarism. Believe it or not, you can even plagiarize yourself! Re-using a project or paper from another class or time and saying that it is new is plagiarism. One way to prevent plagiarism is to add citations in your project where appropriate.

What is a Citation?

A citation shows the reader or viewer of your project where you found your information. Citations are included in the body of a project when you add a quote into your project. Citations are also included in the body when you’re paraphrasing another individual’s information. These citations that are found in the body of a research paper are called in-text, or parenthetical citations. These citations are found directly after the information that was borrowed and are very brief in order to avoid becoming distracted while reading a project. Included in these brief citations is usually just the last name of the author and a page number or the year published. Scroll down below for an in-depth explanation and examples of in-text and parenthetical citations.

In-text and parenthetical citations provide us with a brief idea as to where you found your information, it doesn't include the title and other components. Look on the last page or part of a research project, where complete citations can be found in their entirety.

Complete citations are found on what is called an MLA Works Cited page, which is sometimes called a bibliography. All sources that were used to develop your research project are found on the Works Cited page. Complete citations are created for any quotes or paraphrased information used in the text, but also any sources that helped you develop your research project. Included in complete citations is the author’s name, the title, publisher, year published, page numbers, URLs, and a few other pieces of information.

Looking to create your citations in just a few clicks? Try Citation Machine’s MLA formatter! The Citation Machine MLA generator, which is an MLA citation website, will create all of your citations in just a few clicks. Click here to see more across the site. Also, check out this article to see MLA citation in the news.

Why Does it Matter?

Citing your sources is an extremely important component of your research project. It shows that you’re a responsible researcher. It also shows that you were able to locate appropriate and reputable sources that helped back up your thesis or claim. In addition, if your work ends up being posted online or in print, there is a chance that others will use your research project in their own work!

Scroll down to find directions on how to create citations.

How the Modern Language Association Helps You Become a Responsible Researcher

What is MLA format?

The Modern Language Association is an organization that was created to develop guidelines on everything language and literature related. They have guidelines on proper grammar usage and research paper layouts. In addition, they have English and foreign language committees, numerous books and journal publications, and an annual conference.

What are citations?

The Modern Language Association is responsible for creating standards and guidelines on how to properly cite sources to prevent plagiarism. Their style is most often used when writing papers and citing sources in the liberal arts and humanities fields. Liberal arts is a broad term used to describe a range of subjects including the humanities, formal sciences such as mathematics and statistics, natural sciences such as biology and astronomy, and social science such as geography, economics, history, and others. The humanities specifically focuses on subjects related to languages, art, philosophy, religion, music, theater, literature, and ethics.

Believe it or not, there are thousands of other types of citation styles. While this citation style is most often used for the liberal arts and humanities fields, many other subjects, professors, and schools prefer citations and papers to be styled in MLA format.

Why do we use this style?

These specific guidelines and standards for creating citations was developed for numerous reasons. When scholars and researchers in the literature, language, and numerous other fields all cite their sources in the same manner, it makes it easier for readers to look at a citation and recognize and understand the different components of a source. From looking at a citation, we can see who the author is, the title of the source, when it was published, and other identifiable pieces of information.

Imagine how difficult it would be to understand the various components of a source if we didn’t all follow the same guidelines! Not only would it make it difficult to understand the source that was used, but it would also make it difficult for readers to locate it themselves. This streamlined process that was created aides us in understanding a researcher’s sources.

How is the new version different than previous versions?

This citation style has changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Currently in its 8th edition, the 8th version is a citation style that is much different than the previous formatting style.

In the 7th version, which is the format, or structure, that was previously used, researchers and scholars found it grueling to put their citations together. Why? Each source used a different citation structure. Researchers and scholars were required to look up the citation format that matched the type of source they used. So, if a person used a book, a website, a journal article, a newspaper article, and an e-book, all in one research project, they were required to look up how to cite each one of those sources because each was structured differently.

Now, with the new version of MLA formatting, which is version 8, all source types use the same citation structure. The Modern Language Association enacted this new format due to the many new and innovative ways of obtaining information. We are no longer receiving information through traditional means, such as books, websites, and articles. We can now obtain information through apps, advertisements, Tweets, other social media posts, and many other creative ways. To make the process of creating citations easier for researchers and scholars, the Modern Language Association decided to have one MLA citing format, which works for all source types.

Other changes were made as well. This includes:

  • removing http:// and https:// from URLs.
  • not including the city where a source was published or the name of the publisher from some source types (such as newspapers).
  • the ability to use a screen name or username in place of an author’s full name.
  • using the abbreviations vol. and no., for volume and number, when including information from a periodical.

A Deeper Look at Citations

What do they look like?

There are two types of citations. There are regular or complete citations, which are found at the end of research projects. These citations are usually listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last names and include all of the information necessary for readers to be able to locate the source themselves.

Regular citations are generally placed in this MLA citation format:

Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range).

There are times when additional information is added into the regular citation.

Not sure how to transfer the information from your source into your citation? Confused about the term, “containers?” See below for information and complete explanations of each component of the citation.

The other type of citation, called an “in text citation,” is included in the main part, or body, of a project when a researcher uses a quote or paraphrases information from another source. See the next section to find out how to create in text citations.

What are in text and parenthetical citations?

As stated above, in text citations, also called parenthetical citations, are included in the main part of a project when using a quote or paraphrasing a piece of information from another source. We include these types of citations in the body of a project for readers to quickly gain an idea as to where we found the information.

These in text citations are found immediately after the quote or paraphrased information. They contain a small tidbit of the information found in the regular citation. The regular, or complete, citation is located at the end of a project.

Here’s what a typical in text or parenthetical citation looks like:

Throughout the novel, the mother uses a vast amount of Chinese wisdom to explain the world and people’s temperaments. She states, “each person is made of five elements….Too much fire and you have a bad temper...too little wood and you bent too quickly...too much water and you flowed in too many directions” (Tan 31).

This specific in text citation, (Tan 31), is included so that the reader sees that we are quoting something from page 31 in Tan’s book. The complete, regular citation isn’t included in the main part of the project because it would be too distracting for the reader. We want them to focus on our work and research, not necessarily our sources.

If the reader would like to see the source’s full information, and possibly locate the source themselves, they can refer to the last part of the project to find the regular citation.

The regular citation, at the end of the project looks like this:

Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. Penguin, 1989, p. 31.

If your direct quote or paraphrase comes from a source that does not have page numbers, it is acceptable to place a paragraph number (use the abbreviation par. or pars.), sections (sec. or secs.), or chapters (ch. or chs.). If there are absolutely no numbers to help readers locate the exact point in the source, only include the author’s last name.

More About Quotations and How to Cite a Quote:

  • Use quotes from outside sources to help illustrate and expand on your own points, but the majority of your paper should be your own writing and ideas.
  • Include the quote exactly as you found it. It is okay to pull and use only certain words or phrases from the quote, but keep the words (spelling and capitalization) and punctuation the same.
  • It is acceptable to break up a direct quote with your own writing
  • The entire paper should be double spaced, including quotes.

Example: Dorothy stated, “Toto,” then looked up and took in her surroundings, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore“ (Wizard of Oz).

  • If the quote is longer than four lines, it is necessary to make a block quote. Block quotes show the reader that they are about to read a lengthy amount of text from another source.
    • Start the quote on the next line, half an inch in from the left margin
    • Do not use any indents at the beginning of the block quote
    • Only use quotation marks if there are quotation marks present in the source
    • If there is more than one paragraph in the block quote, start the next paragraph with the same half inch indent
    • Add your in-text citation at the end of the block quote

Example:

While his parents sat there in surprise, Colton went onto say

“Cause I could see you,” Colon said matter-of-factly. “I went up and out of my body and I was looking down and I could see the doctor working on my body. And I saw you and Mommy. You were in a little room by yourself, praying; and Mommy was in a different room, and she was praying and talking on the phone” (Burpo xxi).

Confused about whether footnotes and endnotes should be used?

Footnotes and endnotes are not used in this style. Use in-text, or parenthetical citations, in the body of your work. In addition, create full, or regular citations, and place them at the end of your project on the Works Cited list.

If you need help with in text and parenthetical citations, Citation Machine can help. Citation Machine’s MLA citation generator is simple and easy to use!

Specific Components of a Citation

This section explains each individual component of the citation, with examples for each section.

Name of the Author

The author’s name is usually the first item listed in the citation. Author names start with the last name, then a comma is added, and then the author’s first name (and middle name if applicable) is at the end. A period closes this information.

Here are two examples of how an author’s name can be listed in a citation:

Twain, Mark.
Poe, Edgar Allan.

Wondering how to format the author’s name when there are two authors working jointly on a source? When there are two authors that work together on a source, the author names are placed in the order in which they appear on the source. Place their names in this format:

First listed author’s Last Name, First name, and Second author’s First Name Last Name.

Here are two examples of how to cite two authors:

Clifton, Mark, and Frank Riley.
Paxton, Roberta J., and Michael Jacob Fox.

There are many times when three or more authors work together on a source. This happens often with journal articles, edited books, and textbooks.

To cite a source with three or more authors, place the information in this format:

First listed author’s Last name, First name, et al.

As you can see, only include the first author’s name. The other authors are accounted for by using et al. In Latin, et al. is translated to “and others.” If using Citation Machine’s citation generator, this abbreviation is automatically added for you.

Here’s an example of a citation for three or more authors:

Warner, Ralph, et al. How to Buy a House in California. Edited by Alayna Schroeder, 12th ed., Nolo, 2009.

Is there no author listed on your source? If so, in MLA formatting, exclude the author’s information from the citation and begin the citation with the title of the source.

Was the source found on social media, such as a tweet, Reddit, or Instagram post? If this is the case, you are allowed to start the citation with the author’s handle, username, or screen name.

Here is an example of how to cite a tweet:

@CarlaHayden. “I’m so honored to talk about digital access at @UMBCHumanities. We want to share the @libraryofcongress collection.” Twitter, 13 Apr. 2017, 6:04 p.m., twitter.com/LibnOfCongress/status/852643691802091521.

While most citations begin with the name of the author, they do not necessarily have to. Quite often, sources are compiled by editors. Or, your source may be done by a performer or composer. If your project focuses on someone other than the author, it is acceptable to place that person’s name first in the citation. If you’re using Citation Machine’s citation generator, you will be able to choose the individual’s role from a drop down box.

For example, let’s say that in your research project, you focus on Leonardo DiCaprio’s performances as an actor. You’re quoting a line from the movie, Titanic, in your project, and you’re creating a complete citation for it in the Works Cited list.

It is acceptable to show the reader that you’re focusing on Leonardo DiCaprio’s work by citing it like this in the MLA Works Cited list:

DiCaprio, Leonardo, performer. Titanic. Directed by James Cameron. Paramount, 1997.

Notice that when citing an individual other than the author, place the individual’s role after their name. In this case, Leonardo DiCaprio is the performer.

This is often done with edited books, too. Place the editor’s name first (in reverse order), add a comma, and then add the word editor.

If you’re still confused about how to place the authors together in a citation, Citation Machine can help! Our website is easy to use and will create your citations in just a few clicks!

Titles and Containers

The titles are written as they are found on the source, and in title form, meaning the important words start with a capital.

Here’s an example of a title written properly:

Practical Digital Libraries: Books, Bytes, and Bucks.

Wondering whether to place your title in italics or quotation marks? It depends on whether the source sits by itself or not. If the source stands alone, meaning that it is an independent source, place the title in italics. If the title is part of a larger whole, place the title of the source in quotation marks and the source it sits in, in italics.

When citing full books, movies, websites, or albums in their entirety, these titles are written in italics.

However, when citing part of a source, such as an article on a website, a chapter in a book, a song on an album, or an article in a scholarly journal, the part is written with quotation marks and then the titles of the sources that they are found in are written in italics.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to format titles and their containers.

To cite Pink Floyd’s entire album, The Wall, cite it as this:

Pink Floyd. The Wall. Columbia, 1979.

To cite one of the songs on Pink Floyd’s album, cite it as this:

Pink Floyd. “Another Brick in the Wall (Part I).” The Wall, Columbia, 1979, track 3.

To cite a fairy tale book in its entirety, cite it as this:

Colfer, Chris. The Land of Stories. Little Brown, 2016.

To cite a specific story, or chapter, in the book, it would be cited as this:

Colfer, Chris. “Little Red Riding Hood.” The Land of Stories, Little Brown, 2016, pp. 58-65.

More About Containers:

From the section above, you can see that titles can stand alone or they can sit in a container. Many times, sources can sit in more than one container. Wondering how? When citing an article in a scholarly journal, the first container is the journal. The second container? It’s the database that the scholarly journal is found in. It is important to account for all containers, so that readers are able to locate the exact source themselves.

When citing a television episode, the first container is the name of the show and the second container is the name of the service that it could be streaming on, such as Netflix.

If your source sits in more than one container, the information about the second container is found at the end of the citation.

Use the following format to cite your source with multiple containers:

Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

If the source has more than two containers, add on another full other section at the end for each container.

Not all of the fields in the citation format above need to be included in your citation. In fact, many of these fields will most likely be omitted from your citations. Only include the elements that will help your readers locate the source themselves.

Here is an example of a citation for a scholarly journal article found on a database. This source has two containers, the journal itself is one container, and the site it sits on is the other.

Zanetti, Francois. “Curing with Machine: Medical Electricity in Eighteenth-Century Paris.” Technology and Culture, vol. 54, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 503-530. Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/520280.

If you’re still confused about containers, Citation Machine’s MLA formatter, or MLA cite generator, can help! MLA citing is easier when using Citation Machine’s website.

Other contributors

Many sources have people, besides the author, who contribute to the source. If your research project focuses on an additional individual besides the author, or you feel as though including other contributors will help the reader locate the source themselves, include their names in the citation.

To include another individual in the citation, after the title, place the role of the individual, the word by, and then their name in standard order.

If the name of the contributor comes after a period, capitalize the first letter in the role of the individual. If it comes after a comma, the first letter in the role of the individual is lowercased.

Here’s an example of a citation for a children’s book with the name of the illustrator included.

Rubin, Adam. Dragons Love Tacos. Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, Penguin, 2012.

The names of editors, directors, performers, translators, illustrators, and narrators can often be found in this part of the citation.

Versions

If the source that you’re citing states that it is a specific version or edition, this information is placed in the “versions” section of the citation.

When including a numbered edition, do not type out the number, use the numeral. Also, abbreviate the word edition to ed.

Here is an example of a citation with a specific edition:

Koger, Gregory. “Filibustering and Parties in the Modern State.” Congress Reconsidered, edited by Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer, 10th ed., CQ Press, 2013, pp. 221-236. Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=b7gkLlSEeqwC&lpg=PP1&dq=10th%20edition&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=10th%20edition&f=false.

Numbers

Many sources have numbers associated with them. If you see a number, different than the date, page numbers, or editions, include this information in the “numbers” section of the citation. This includes volume and/or issue numbers (use the abbreviations vol. and no.), episode numbers, track numbers, or any other numbers that will help readers identify the specific source that you used. Do not include ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) in the citation.

Publishers

In MLA format citing, it is important to include the name of the publisher (the organization that created or published the source), so that readers can locate the exact source themselves.

Include publishers for all sources except for periodicals. Also, for websites, exclude this information when the name of the publisher matches the name of the website. Furthermore, the name of the publisher is often excluded from the citation for second containers, since the publisher of the second container is not necessarily responsible for the creation or production of the source’s content.

Publication dates

Publication dates are extremely important to include in citations. They allow the reader to understand when sources were published. They are also used when readers are attempting to locate the source themselves.

Dates can be written in one of two ways. Researchers can write dates as:

Day Mo. Year
OR
Mo. Day, Year

Whichever format you decide to use, use the same format for all of your citations. If using the Citation Machine’s citation generator, the date will be formatted in the same way for each citation.

While it isn’t necessary to include the full date for all source citations, use the amount of information that makes the most sense to help your readers understand and locate the source themselves.

Wondering what to do when your source has more than one date? Use the date that is most applicable to your research.

Location

The location generally refers to the place where the readers can find the source. This includes page ranges, URLs, DOI numbers, track numbers, disc numbers, or even cities and towns.

When MLA citing websites, make sure to remove the beginning of the URL (http:// or https://) as it is not necessary to include this information.

For page numbers, when citing a source that sits on only one page, use p. Example: p. 6.
When citing a source that has a page range, use pp. and then add the page numbers. Example: pp. 24-38.

Since the location is the final piece of the citation, place a period at the end.

Looking for an online tool to do the work for you? Citation Machine can help! Our site is simple (and fun!) to use.

Need some more help? There is further good information here

Common Citation Examples:

ALL sources use this format:

Last name of the author, First name of the author. “Source’s Title.” Container’s Title, roles and names of any other individuals who helped contribute to the source, the version of the source, any numbers associated with the source, the name of the publisher, the date the source was published, the location where individuals can find the source themselves (usually a URL or page range). *Title of Second Container, roles and names of any other contributors, the version of the second container, any numbers associated with the second container, the name of the second container’s publisher, the date the second container was published, location.

*If the source does not have a second container, omit this last part of the citation.

Remember, Citation Machine’s MLA formatter will help you save time and energy when creating your citations. Check out our MLA Citation Machine page to learn more.

Books:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008.

Chapter in an Edited Book:

Khan, Maryam. “Co-branding in the Restaurant Industry.” Managing Tourism and Hospitality Services: Theory and International Application. Edited by B. Prideaux et al., CABI, 2005, pp. 73-82.

Print Scholarly Journal Articles:

Zak, Elizabeth. “Do You Believe in Magic? Exploring the Conceptualization of Augmented Reality and its Implications for the User in the Field of Library and Information Science.” Information Technology & Libraries, vol. 33, no. 3, 2014, pp. 23-50.

Online Scholarly Journal Articles:

Kuzuhara, Kenji, et al. “Injuries in Japanese Mini-Basketball Players During Practices and Games.” Journal of Athletic Training, vol. 51. no. 2, Dec. 2016, p. 1022. Gale Health Reference Center Academic, i.ezproxy.nypl.org/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=HRCA&sw=w&u=nypl&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA484460772&it=r&asid=91b1a34dda62a32f4cd82c768e8a6a97.

How to Cite a Website:

When citing a website, individuals are often actually citing a specific page on a website. They’re not actually citing the entire website.

Here is the most common way to cite a page on a website:

  • Start the citation with the name of the author who wrote the information on the page. If there isn’t an author listed, do not include this information in the citation. Start the citation with the title.
  • The title of the individual page is placed in quotation marks, followed by a period.
  • Next, place the name of the website in italics, followed by a comma.
  • If the name of the publisher matches the name of the author or the name of the title, do not include the publisher’s information in the citation.
  • The date the page or website was published comes next.
  • End the citation with the URL. When including the URL, remove http:// and https:// from the URL. Since most websites begin with this prefix, it is not necessary to include it in the citation.

Last name, First name of author. “Title of Web Page.” Title of Website, Publisher, Date published, URL.

Rothfeld, Lindsay. “Smarter Education: The Rise of Big Data in the Classroom.” Mashable, 3 Sept. 2014, mashable.com/2014/09/03/education-data-video/#hViqdPbFbgqH.

(When citing websites, remember to remove http:// and https:// from the URL.)

Print Newspaper Articles:

Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara. “Medium Cool.” New York Observer, 2 Mar. 2015, pp. 14-17.

Online Newspaper Articles:

Skiba, Katherine. “Obama To Hold First Public Event Since Leaving Office in Chicago on Monday.” Los Angeles Times, 24 Apr. 2017, www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-obama-speech-20170424-story.html.

Television Shows:

“Three Turkeys.” Modern Family, produced by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, ABC, 19 Nov. 2014.

Movies:

Home Alone. Performance by Macaulay Culkin, directed by Chris Columbus, 20th Century Fox, 1990.

YouTube Videos:

DJ Mag. “Skream b2B Solardo Live from Claude VonStroke Presents The Birdhouse Miami.” YouTube, 29 Mar. 2017, youtu.be/4Q448x-LHGg.

Tweets:

Gates, Melinda. “Today, Bill and I were deeply humbled to accept France’s Legion of Honour award on behalf of all our foundation’s partners and grantees.” Twitter, 21 Apr. 2017, 2:36 p.m., twitter.com/melindagates/status/855535625713459200.

How to Cite an Image:

There are a variety of ways to cite an image. This section will show how to cite a digital image found on a website and an image in print

How to cite a digital image:

Use this structure to cite a digital image:

Last name, First name of the creator (if available). “Title or Description of the Image*. Title of the Website, Publisher**, Date published, URL.

*if the digital image does not have an official title, create a brief description. Do not place the description in quotation marks or italics. In addition, only capitalize the first letter in the description and any proper nouns.
**If the name of the publisher is the same as the author or the same name as the website, do not include the publisher in the citation.

Example:

“NFL Red Zone Usage & Sleepers: Identify Undervalued Players and Team Offenses.” RotoBaller, www.rotoballer.com/nfl-fantasy-football-cheat-sheet-draft-kit?src=bar.

Wondering how to cite an image found through a search engine, such as Google? Head to the site where the image “lives,” by clicking on the link that leads you to the website. Cite the image using the information from the original site.

How to cite an image in print:

Last name, First name of the creator (if available). "Title" or Description of the Image*. Title of the Container, such as a the Book Title, Magazine Title, etc., Publisher**, Date published, page or page range.

*if the digital image does not have an official title, create a brief description. Do not place the description in quotation marks or italics. In addition, only capitalize the first letter in the description and any proper nouns.

**If the name of the publisher is the same as the author or the same name as the website, do not include the publisher in the citation.

Example:

Photograph of Kate Middleton. Metro New York, 19 July 2017, p.17.

How to Cite a Magazine in Print:

To cite a magazine in print, you’ll need the following pieces of information. They can be found on the cover of the magazine and on the article itself:

  • The name of the magazine
  • The date the magazine was published
  • The title of the magazine article
  • The name of the author of the article
  • The page or page range the article is found on.

On the cover of most magazines, you can find the title of the magazine as well as the date the magazine was published. On the article itself, you can find the name of the article’s author(s), the title of the article, and the page or page range that the article is found on.

If the article appears on nonconsecutive pages, include the page number for the first page the article is found on, and then add a plus sign after it. Example: 61+

Place the information in this format:

Last name, First name of the Article’s Author. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Magazine, Date published, page range.

Example for the print magazine article above:

Gopnik, Adam. “A New Man: Ernest Hemingway, Revised and Revisited.” The New Yorker, 3 July 2017, pp. 61-66.

How to Cite an Essay

An essay is an analytic writing piece that is generally short in length (compared to books and journal articles) and focuses on a specific topic or subject. Citing an essay is similar to citing a chapter in a book or a story in an anthology. Include the name of the individual author or the group of authors, the title of the essay (placed in quotation marks), the title of the book, collection, or site the essay is found on (in italics), the name of the editor (if there is one), the volume and issue number (if they are available), the publication date, and the location. The location can be either a page range or a URL.

Here is an MLA formatting example of how to cite an essay:

Hasen, Richard L. “Race or Party? How Courts Should Think About Republican Efforts to Make it Harder to Vote in North Carolina and Elsewhere.” Harvard Law Review Forum, vol. 125, no. 58, 7 Jan. 2014, harvardlawreview.org/2014/01/race-or-party-how-courts-should-think-about-republican-efforts-to-make-it-harder-to-vote-in-north-carolina-and-elsewhere/.

Click here for additional information on essays

How to Cite an Interview:

To cite interviews:

  • Place the name of the person being interviewed at the beginning of the citation, in the author’s position
  • The title or description of the interview comes next. If there isn’t a formal title, only use the word Interview as the title and do not place it in quotation marks or italics.
  • If found online or in a book, include the title of the website or book after the title.
  • After the title, it is acceptable to include the name of the interviewer. Include this information especially if it will help readers locate the interview themselves or if it’s relevant to the research paper.
  • Include the publisher if it is a published interview and if it differs from any other information already found in the citation.
  • Include the date that the interview was either published or the date that the interview occurred.
  • If found online, include the URL. Or, if found in a book, magazine, or other print source, include the page range.

Here are two examples:

Gutman, Dan. “Interview with Children’s Author Dan Gutman.” The Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2011, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/08/AR2011030805468.html.

Lin, Brenda. Interview. By Michele Kirschenbaum. 17 July 2017.

How to Cite a PDF:

Check to see if the the PDF is written by an individual, set of authors, or an organization or company. If it is not written by an individual or a set of authors, use the name of the organization or company responsible for creating the PDF in place of the author’s name. Continue with the title of the PDF, version (if there are different versions available), the publisher (only include if the name of the publisher is different than the name of the author or the title), the publication date, and the location (usually a URL if found online).

Notice that in the example below, the name of the publisher (The American Podiatric Medical Association) is omitted since the name of the publisher is the same name as the author.

MLA format example:

American Podiatric Medical Association. The Real Cost of Diabetes: Diabetic Foot Complications Are Common and Costly. apma.files.cms-plus.com/ProductPDFs/APMA_TodaysPodiatrist_Infographic_8.5x11.pdf.

Click here for more on PDFs

How to Cite a Textbook in Print:

To cite a full textbook in print, you’ll need to find the following pieces of information:

  • The name of the author(s) or editor(s)
  • The title of the textbook, including any subtitles
  • The version of the textbook (such as a numbered edition or revised edition)
  • The name of the publisher
  • The year the textbook was published

Place the pieces of information in this format:

Last name, First name of the author or Last name, First name, editor. Title of the Textbook. Version, Publisher, Year published.

If the textbook was compiled by an editor, use this format at the beginning of the citation:

Last name, First name, editor.

Examples of how to cite a textbook in print:

Lilly, Leonard S. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: Review and Assessment. 9th ed., Elsevier Saunders, 2012.

Cherny, Nathan, et al., editors. Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. 5th ed., Oxford UP, 2015.

How to Cite a Chapter from a Textbook in Print:

To cite an individual chapter, you’ll need to find the following pieces of information:

  • The name of the author(s) of the individual chapter or section
  • The title of the individual chapter or section
  • The title of the textbook
  • The name of the editors of the textbook
  • The version of the textbook (such as a numbered edition or a revised edition)
  • The name of the publisher
  • The year the textbook was published

Place the pieces of information in this format:

Last name, First name of the chapter author. “Title of the chapter or section.” Title of the Textbook, edited by First name Last name of editor, version, Publisher, Year published, page or page range.

Example of how to cite a chapter from a textbook in print:

Riley, Simon C., and Michael J. Murphy. “Student Choice in the Undergraduate Curriculum: Student-Selected Components.” Oxford Textbook of Medical Education, edited by Kieran Walsh, Oxford UP, pp. 50-63.

How to Cite a Survey

Surveys can be found online or in print. Find the format below that matches the type of survey you’re attempting to cite.

To cite a survey found on a website, follow this structure:

Last name, First name of survey’s creator(s) OR organization responsible for its creation. “Title of the Survey.” Title of the Website, Publisher (if different than the author or website title), Publication date, URL.

Example:

International Food Information Council Foundation. “Food Decision 2016: Food & Health Survey.” Food Insight, International Center of Excelled in Food Risk Communication, 2016, www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2016-Food-and-Health-Survey-Report_%20FINAL_0.pdf.

To cite a survey found in print, follow this structure:

Last name, First name of survey’s creator(s) OR organization responsible for its creation. “Title of Survey.” Title of Publication, Publisher (if different than the author or website title), Publication date, page or page range that survey is found on.

Don’t see your source type on this guide? Citation Machine’s citation generator can create your citations for you! Our website will help you develop your works cited page and in text and parenthetical citations in just a few clicks.

Looking for APA? Check out Citation Machine’s guide on APA format.

Need some more help? There is further good information here

Check out this article to see it in the news.

How to Format and Write a Paper

When it comes to formatting your paper or essay for academic purposes, there are specific guidelines to follow. The section that follows will answer the following questions: How to format an MLA paper, How to create papers, and How to write in MLA format. If you’re trying to learn how to format your essay, this section will help you too.

  • Use paper that is 8½-by-11 inch in size. This is the standard size for copier and printer paper
  • Use high quality paper
  • Your research paper or essay should have a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, left, and right sides of the paper
  • While most word processors automatically format your paper to have one-inch margins, you can check or modify the margins of your paper by going to the “Page setup” section of your word processor. Click here for more on margins.

Which font is acceptable to use?

  • Use an easily readable font, specifically one that allows readers to see the difference between regular and italicized letters.
  • Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica are recommended options
  • Use 12 point size font

Should I double space the paper, including citations?

  • Double space the entire paper
  • There should be a double space between each piece of information in the heading
  • Place a double space between the heading and the title
  • Place a double space between the title and the beginning of the essay
  • The Works Cited page should be double spaced as well. All citations are double spaced

Justification & Punctuation

  • Text should be left-justified, meaning that the text is aligned, or lies flush, against the left margin
  • New paragraphs should be indented half an inch from the left margin
    • Indents signal to the reader that a new concept or idea is about to begin
    • Use the “tab” button on your keyboard to create an indent
  • Add one space after all punctuation marks

Heading & Title

  • Include a proper heading and title
    • The heading should include the following, on separate lines, starting one inch from the top and left margins:
      • Your full name
      • Your teacher or professor’s name
      • The course number
      • Date
        • Dates in the heading and the body of your essay should be consistent. Use the same format, either Day Month Year or Month Day, Year throughout the entire paper
        • Examples: 27 July 2017 or July 27, 2017
    • The title should be underneath the heading, centered in the middle of the page, without bold, underlined, italicized, or all capital letters.

Page numbers

  • Number all pages, including the Works Cited page
    • Place page numbers in the top right corner, half an inch from the top margin and one inch from the right margin.
    • Include your last name to the left of the page number
      Example: Jacobson 4

Works Cited

  • The Works Cited list should be at the end of the paper, on its own page.
    • If a citation flows onto the second line, indent it in half an inch from the left margin (called a hanging indent).
    • For more information on the Works Cited list, refer to “How to Make a Works Cited Page,” which is found below.

How to Create a Title Page:

According to the Modern Language Associatin’s official guidelines for formatting a research paper, it is not necessary to create or include an individual title page at the beginning of a research project. Instead, follow the directions above, under “Heading & Title,” to create a proper heading. This heading is featured at the top of the first page of the research paper or research assignment.

If your instructor or professor does in fact require or ask for a title page, follow the directions that you are given. They should provide you with the information needed to create a separate, individual title page. If they do not provide you with instructions, and you are left to create it at your own discretion, use the header information above to help you develop your research paper title page. You may want to include other information, such as the name of your school or university.

How to Make a Works Cited Page:

The MLA Works Cited page is generally found at the end of a research paper or project. It contains a list of all of the citations of sources used for the research project. Follow these directions to format the Works Cited list to match the Modern Language Association’s guidelines.

  • The Works Cited list has its own page, at the end of a research project
  • Include the same running head as the rest of the project (Your last name and then the page number). The Works Cited List has the final page number for the project.
  • Name the page “Works Cited,” unless your list only includes one citation. In that case, title it as “Work Cited.”
  • The title of the page (either Works Cited or Work Cited) is placed one inch from the top of the page, centered in the middle of the document.
  • Double space the entire document, even between the title of the page and the first citation.
  • Citations are listed in alphabetical order by the first word in the citation (usually the last name of the author or the first word in the title if the citation does not include the author’s name. Ignore A, An, and The if the title begins with these words.)
  • All citations begin flush against the left margin. If the citation is long in length, and rolls onto a second or third line, the lines below the first line are indented half an inch from the left margin. This is called a “hanging indent.” The purpose of a hanging indent is to make the citations easier to read.

Wai-Chung, Ho. “Political Influences on Curriculum Content and Musical Meaning: Hong Kong Secondary Music Education, 1949-1997.” Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, vol. 22, no. 1, 1 Oct. 2000, pp. 5-25. Periodicals Index Online, search-proquest-com.i.ezproxy.nypl.org/pio/docview/1297849364/citation/6B70D633F50C4EA0PQ/78?accountid=35635.

  • Works Cited pages can be longer than one page. Use as many pages as necessary.

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