Several major documentation styles can be employed for academic projects, each style common to certain disciplines. In the past, you may have employed MLA style in your own English papers. MLA, maintained by the Modern Language Association, is generally used for writing in the humanities, particularly on language and literature topics. However, it is important to be aware of the other major styles for use in projects in other areas. APA (established and maintained by the American Psychological Association) is usually used for writing in the social sciences. Chicago Manual Style (or CMS) is often used in the field of history, though it is employed by various publications across the humanities. CSE, established and maintained by the Council of Science Editors, is employed in biology and other sciences. As a student moving among the disciplines, keep in mind that conventions vary among fields. You can find guidelines for each of these documentation styles online at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) website: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/. Below is a list of the basic rules for MLA documentation style to guide you as you compose your literary research paper.
9.4.1 In-Text Citations
A common way to cite your in-text sources is parenthetically, as in the following example:
Jake participates in “gossip” about his peers’ activities (Adair 114) perhaps as a means to get revenge for their engagement in intimacy, which he cannot enjoy.
Here, the writer includes the last name of the article’s author and the page number from which the information or concept comes. The writer might alternatively mention the author and then in parenthesis include only the page number:
Jake participates in “gossip” about his peers’ activities, as Adair notes, perhaps as a means to get revenge for their engagement in intimacy which he cannot enjoy (114).
MLA emphasizes the avoidance of footnotes and endnotes unless absolutely necessary. Consequently, we have omitted footnote and endnote formating information. Please refer to the latest MLA guide for further information regarding proper formatting: https://style.mla.org/2016/02/29/ using-notes-in-mla-style/.
After you provide a full “note” on a source in your paper, if you refer to that source again, you do not need to provide the full “note” again. Instead, include just the author’s name (or the work’s title, if there is no author) and the page number(s) being referenced, as demonstrated below: Adair 116.
9.4.2 Work Cited Page
You will likely need to provide a Bibliography, or Works Cited page, in addition to footnotes or endnotes; such a list will certainly be required if you have employed parenthetical notes. These entries require a somewhat different format than the footnotes/endnotes, so pay close attention to the differences. For the Works Cited Page, arrange the entries for your sources in alphabetical order according to the authors’ last names, or if there is no author listed, by the article title’s first word. List authors by last name first. Also, note that unlike in a paragraph or a footnote, which indents the first line and brings the rest of the text back to the margin, a bibliography entry does exactly the opposite!
Print Journal Article
Author’s last name, first name. “Article Title.” Journal Title, vol. number, issue number, Date of Publication, page numbers of entire article.
William, Adair. “Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: The Novel as Gossip.” The Hemingway Review, vol. 3, no.1, Spring 2012, pp. 114-118.
Journal Article from an Electronic Database
Author’s last name, first name. “Article Title.” Journal Title, vol. number, issue number, Date of Publication, page numbers if available. Database from which the article was retrieved (such as JSTOR). DOI or URL. Date on which it was retrieved.
Adair, William. “Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: The Novel as Gossip.” The Hemingway Review, vol. 3, no. 1, Spring 2012, pp. 114-118. ProQuest. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1022331888/ abstract/D8BB688BB6264584PQ/2?accountid=159965. Accessed 28 Feb. 2013.
Author’s last name, first name. Title of the Book. Publisher, Date of Publication, page numbers used if applicable. Boehrer, Bruce Thomas. Animal Characters: Nonhuman Beings in Early Modern Literature. U of Pennsylvania P, 2010, pp. 32-3.
A Work in an Anthology
Author’s Last Name, and First Name. “Work Title.” Anthology Title, Editor’s Name, Publisher, Date of Publication, Page numbers on which the work appears.
Locke, Alain. “The New Negro.” The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Nellie Y. McKay, W.W. Norton, 1997, pp. 961-970.
Article from Online Reference Book (no author)
“Article Title.” Publication title. Website, Date posted, URL address. Date accessed. “The Nobel Prize in Literature 1954.” Nobelprize.org, 2014, https://www. nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1954/. Accessed 30 July 2014.