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  • 2. Cite Your Research

    This will help you find books at the Long Beach City College Libraries.

    Citation Formats for Common Sources

    Learn more and peruse specific examples at the MLA Blog.

    When citing a generative-AI chatbot, like ChatGPT, adhere to the criteria and format outlined by the MLA

    • Author, Title of Source, Title of Container. Version. Publisher. Date. Location (URL)
      • i.e. “Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023,

    Consider AI as Wikipedia v.2 -  we should never copy/paste Wikipedia information straight into our paper and claim it as our own. Similarly, we can use generative AI to learn more about a topic, brainstorm, and refine our ideas, but we should never copy/paste AI content into our assignments and say they are our own words.

    According to the Modern Language Association (MLA):we should cite a generative-AI chatbot when we...

    • paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
    • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 

    ChatGPT in particular will invent (or hallucinate) plausible-looking sources. This is why you should always double-check and vet the secondary sources the chatbot cites.

    Basic Books Format

    Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.


    Book by Multiple Authors

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


    Electronic Book

    Silva, Paul J. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.


    Electronic Book from a Scholarly Database

    Hohle, Randolph. The American Housing Question: Racism, Urban Citizenship and the Privilege of Mobility. Lexington Books, 2021. Proquest Ebook Central,

    Basic Article Format

    Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publisher Date, Location (pp.). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Pub date, Location (pp.).


    Electronic Article

    Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, Accessed 20 May 2009.


    Electronic Article from a Scholarly Database

    Hallion, Madeleine, et al. "Exploring the Association Between Physical Activity Participation and Self-Compassion in Middle-Aged Adults." Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, vol. 8, no. 3, 2019, pp 305-16. APA PsychNet,



    Brubaker, Bill. "New Health Center Targets County's Uninsured Patients." Washington Post, 24 May 2007, p. LZ01.

    Webpage with Known Author and Date

    Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.” eHow, Accessed 6 July 2015.


    A YouTube Video

    McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube, uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012,


    Speed Racer. Directed by Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski, performances by Emile Hirsch, Nicholas Elia, Susan Sarandon, Ariel Winter, and John Goodman, Warner Brothers, 2008.



    "The One Where Chandler Can't Cry." Friends: The Complete Sixth Season, written by Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen, directed by Kevin Bright, Warner Brothers, 2004.


    Musical Recording

    Music can be cited multiple ways. Reference the MLA OWL Guide for various detailed citations.


    Speeches, Lectures, Or Other Oral Presentations (Including Conference Presentations)

    Stein, Bob. “Reading and Writing in the Digital Era.” Discovering Digital Dimensions, Computers and Writing Conference, 23 May 2003, Union Club Hotel, West Lafayette, IN. Keynote Address.


    Personal Interview

    Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.


    Published Interview

    Gaitskill, Mary. Interview with Charles Bock. Mississippi Review, vol. 27, no. 3, 1999, pp. 129-50.

    Main Parts of an MLA Paper

    Formatting the Title Page

    • Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested or the paper is assigned as a group project. In the case of a group project, list all names of the contributors, giving each name its own line in the header, followed by the remaining MLA header requirements as described below. Format the remainder of the page as requested by the instructor.
    • In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.
    • Double space again and center the title. Do not underline, italicize, or place your title in quotation marks. Write the title in Title Case (standard capitalization), not in all capital letters.
    • Use quotation marks and/or italics when referring to other works in your title, just as you would in your text. For example: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Morality Play; Human Weariness in "After Apple Picking"
    • Double space between the title and the first line of the text.
    • Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number. Number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor or other readers may ask that you omit the last name/page number header on your first page. Always follow instructor guidelines.)

    General Guidelines

    • Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
    • Double-space the text of your paper and use a legible font (e.g. Times New Roman). Whatever font you choose, MLA recommends that the regular and italics type styles contrast enough that they are each distinct from one another. The font size should be 12 pt.
    • Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise prompted by your instructor).
    • Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides.
    • Indent the first line of each paragraph one half-inch from the left margin. MLA recommends that you use the “Tab” key as opposed to pushing the space bar five times.
    • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)
    • Use italics throughout your essay to indicate the titles of longer works and, only when absolutely necessary, provide emphasis.
    • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page. Entitle the section Notes (centered, unformatted).

    In-Text MLA Citations

    "In MLA Style, referring to the works of others in your text is done using parenthetical citations. This method involves providing relevant source information in parentheses whenever a sentence uses a quotation or paraphrase. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to put all of the source information in parentheses at the end of the sentence (i.e., just before the period)."

    Author-Page Style

    "MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the sentence itself or in parentheses following the quotation or paraphrase, but the page number(s) should always appear in the parentheses, not in the text of your sentence. For example:

    Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

    Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (Wordsworth 263).

    Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).

    Both citations in the examples above, (263) and (Wordsworth 263), tell readers that the information in the sentence can be located on page 263 of a work by an author named Wordsworth. If readers want more information about this source, they can turn to the Works Cited page, where, under the name of Wordsworth, they would find the following information:"


    More Information

    See the OWL Guide for in-text citations for other detailed examples, including 

    • In-Text Citations for Print Sources by A Corporate Author
    • In-Text Citations for Sources with Non-Standard Labeling Systems
    • In-Text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author
    • Author-Page Citation for Works In An Anthology, Periodical, Or Collection
    • Citing A Work by Multiple Authors
    • Citing Multiple Works by The Same Author

    Basic Rules for the Reference Page

    • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
    • Label the page Works Cited (do not italicize the words Works Cited or put them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
      • Only the title should be centered. The citation entries themselves should be aligned with the left margin.
    • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
    • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
    • List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as pp. 225-50 (Note: MLA style dictates that you should omit the first sets of repeated digits. In our example, the digit in the hundreds place is repeated between 225 and 250, so you omit the 2 from 250 in the citation: pp. 225-50). If the excerpt spans multiple pages, use “pp.”  Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
    • If only one page of a print source is used, mark it with the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 157). If a span of pages is used, mark it with the abbreviation “pp.” before the page number (e.g., pp. 157-68).
    • If you're citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.
    • For online sources, you should include a location to show readers where you found the source. Many scholarly databases use a DOI (digital object identifier). Use a DOI in your citation if you can; otherwise use a URL. Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation and should be followed by a period.
    • All works cited entries end with a period.

    New to MLA 2021

    • Apps and databases should be cited only when they are containers of the particular works you are citing, such as when they are the platforms of publication of the works in their entirety, and not an intermediary that redirects your access to a source published somewhere else, such as another platform. For example, the Philosophy Books app should be cited as a container when you use one of its many works, since the app contains them in their entirety. However, a PDF article saved to the Dropbox app is published somewhere else, and so the app should not be cited as a container.
    • If it is important that your readers know an author’s/person’s pseudonym, stage-name, or various other names, then you should generally cite the better-known form of author’s/person’s name. For example, since the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is better-known by his pseudonym, cite Lewis Carroll opposed to Charles Dodgson (real name).
    • For annotated bibliographies, annotations should be appended at the end of a source/entry with one-inch indentations from where the entry begins. Annotations may be written as concise phrases or complete sentences, generally not exceeding one paragraph in length.