Citing Sources in MLA Essay Format: Works Cited Page

Your essay is the collaboration between you and the outside sources. You need to give the credit and acknowledge the authors whose works you incorporate into your paper. You also need to provide the source of information so that your readers can access it if required. This is where the MLA essay format recommendations will help you make the paper well-organized and easily understood.

MLA guidelines require you to mention each of the sources in the text (as in-text citations where you quote a fact, idea, etc.) and in the Works Cited page (where you specify all of the sources that were cited throughout the text). The match between the in-text citations and Works Cited page needs to be easily established. That is why, in the MLA format essay, the in-text citation generally acknowledges the author’s name (and if the name is not indicated, then the title of the book, article or webpage has to be provided). The same principle is maintained in the Works Cited page when listing the sources in the alphabetic order. For more information, please read “Formatting In-Text Citations.”

Works Cited page is meant to give the readers an easy way to locate the source if they decide to use the idea that was spotted in the text for their own research or reference. In the MLA citation format, each of the sources has to specify the complete information about the cited work which makes it easy for the readers to retrieve it if required. This is also an excellent writing tool to avoid plagiarism in your paper: if a writer does not acknowledge the source of the information in the text and / or does not replicate the complete source in the Works Cited page, the paper is considered plagiarized. The full citation of the source also allows establishing the credibility of the information used in the paper.  For example, the brief look at the Works Cited page gives the reader a superb idea about the content of the paper. If Cambridge or Harvard university press sources are listed on the Works Cited page, it surely shines a good light on the paper. On the contrary, if some poor sources (blogs or any other unreliable sources of information) were used, the reader might question the quality of the essay. Thus, properly maintained in-text citations and Works Cited page are not only ethical but also beneficial for the writer.

Placement

In the MLA format template, the works cited page has to be located after the text of your paper (and any endnotes if used). Works Cited page should appear on a new page that should be numbered in compliance with the pagination maintained in the paper. For instance, if the Works Cited page appears on page 9, then it means that the essay comprises 8 pages.

General Format

After all, what is MLA format? Other important guidelines require using double spacing throughout the text, including the Works Cited page. The beginning of each entry should be flush with the left margin while the ensuing lines need to be ½ inch indented from the left margin. The page should be titled as Works Cited, which is a mandatory prescription in the MLA style. Words in the title have to be capitalized and centered, with regular font maintained as throughout the paper, while no bold, italic or large font or quotation marks are used.

Entries

In MLA essay format, the Works Cited page should present sources in the alphabetic order based on the author’s last name. Each of the entries should start with the author’s last name, then give the details such as the title and place of publication while in the end giving the type of media. If some information is missing, then the idea is to provide as much information as possible. If the author’s name is missing, then the entry should start with the title of the book, just like in the in-text citations.

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