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Research Guides

MLA Citation Guide: What is MLA?

Download the MLA Citation Guide

Click here for the printable PDF file:

The MLA Handbook

This is the official MLA Handbook. The latest edition is the 7th edition.

This handbook will provide all formatting details for each specific types of information sources you use for your research.

Brief Overview

MLA is short for Modern Language Association.  

MLA is used to format papers and to cite sources within the Liberal Arts and Humanities.  There are many other citation styles such as APA (American Pyschological Association) for Pyschology and Sciences, and the Chicago Manual of Style for Anthropology and History.

When to Cite Sources

When you are writing your research paper, any information you quote, summarize or paraphrase must be cited and documented.  You must document all your sources to avoid plagarism.

General Format for Citing Souces

To properly document the sources you used for your research, you need to include:

  • In-text citations - use the parenthetical citation format throughout the body of your paper when you quote or paraphrase from researched information.
  • Works Cited - include a list of sources used in your paper at the very end, as a separate page.

MLA Basics

The video below provides an overview of the basics of MLA citation:
Video courtesy of Kirkwood Community College Library

Subject Guide