Project Resources: How To Write An Effective MLA-Formatted Bibliography

Project Resources: How To Write An Effective MLA-Formatted Bibliography

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This guide is provided for the benefit of Modern Language students at Finger Lakes Community College. However, the counsel here is probably good enough to satisfy most other academic endeavors. Enjoy!

Look at all of my research! Now what?

Make sure you have a variety of sources. Diversity is good. Books, magazines, newspapers, (legit) blogs, (legit) websites, videos, interviews, journals, Photos, etc. The internet is great, but it doesn’t have everything!

Need help finding more sources? Need help finding BETTER sources?
Click here to connect with a librarian ASAP!

Keep track of where you got your sources from! Especially web sources! if you’re printing out a lot of information, always write or highlight web addresses, search terms, meta tags, or anything else to help you keep track of your data!

Why do I have to cite stuff?

1. Plagiarism concerns (cheating). You’ve got to be honest about where your information comes from, especially when building upon previous ideas/concepts/philosophies. It’s great to use research, just gotta be legit about it. It’s not really possible to create an academic paper, project, experiment using nothing but your own thoughts. Give props to the inspiration!

2. “Bread crumbs”. If someone wanted to continue your research, they should be able to look at your bibliography, EASILY find all of your sources, and then continue on the same path of information. Want to find more information about your topic? Use the sources of your sources!

3. When in doubt… CITE EVERYTHING!

Different Types of Academic Citation Styles

There are many different types of “Academic Citation Styles”.

MLA: Modern Language Association (Humanities)

APA: American Psychological Association (Social Sciences)

CSE: Council of Science Editors (Sciences/Math)

Chicago: University of Chicago Manual of Style (History)

and more … yes, more …

A Note About MLA Citation Styles

There is a group of people (mostly professors, etc.) who sit on the MLA council and edit/revise MLA citation guidelines.

We are currently in the 8th Edition. This edition does account for web media in a variety of flavors. If you cite your sources in MLA-format, make sure you’re following 8th Edition guidelines.

Many, many, online “citation engines/programs/websites” don’t follow 8th edition guidelines. Be careful!

Examples of MLA Citations

Examples borrowed from Purdue OWL – MLA Style Guide (one of the best sites on the internet for citation!)

Book – One Author:

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

Book – More Than One Author:

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000. Print.

Web Site/Resource:

“How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2009.

Examples of MLA IN-TEXT Citations

Yes, these are different than regular “works cited” citations!

MLA IN-TEXT citations are used in the middle of papers and projects to identify sources without constantly using terms like “he said, she said, etc.” They’re actually pretty easy.

Oranges are round and orange (Lastname, Page Number – If any).
Oranges are round and orange (Navel, 12).

1. So, sourced information goes first.
2. First bracket
3. Either the last name of the author, website title, or major identifier.
4. Comma
5. Page number if applicable.
6. Close bracket.

That’s it!

Online MLA Citation Guides / Resources

If you’re going to be in college for a while, writing a lot of papers, I’d study up on these. They can be a lifesaver.

The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
The best-of-the-best for learning how to write and cite stuff!

The Write Place @ FLCC (Research and Writing Center)
Our in-house writing tutors!