MLA Style is a standard for writing research papers. The guidelines of MLA Style cover formatting, grammar and language usage, and citing sources. There are other standards for writing research papers, such as APA and Chicago Style. In this and other English courses, you will use MLA.
Any source you use for your paper can and must be cited. This includes any of the sources covered in this guide, as well as interviews, YouTube videos, tweets, and books.
Citing your sources shows the path of your research. It shows your work. Your professor or anyone else reading your paper can see where you found the information you include in your paper.
Citing sources gives credit to the authors who did the work that you learned from, and is an essential part of academic writing and academic integrity. Not using citations usually looks like plagiarism - like you took an idea from someone else's work and are pretending it's your own idea. We all learn from the work of others, and giving citations show who you learned from.
There are two steps to citing a source.
For example, if I write a paper about college entrance exams and use one of the sources we saw on the Types of Sources page, I could have the following text in my paper:
"Fina et al." is the in-text citation. How did I determine this?
If you are reading my paper, you can learn more about this source by going to the Works Cited page and looking for an entry that starts with "Fina", which is an author's last name.
If there isn't a named author, use the title of the source for this. If I have used a webpage without a specific author and the title "About the Digital SAT", then I use "About the Digital SAT" as the in-text citation.
Each in-text citation points to a works cited page entry.
The works cited page entry looks like this:
Watch this video tutorial for an introduction to using and citing outside sources in your writing. Navigate between sections with the four-line menu in the upper right corner. This tutorial is part of ProQuest Research Companion.