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Prof. Justice: MLA Style

For students in Debbie Justice's ENG courses.

What is "Style"?

Research "style" is very simply the set of instructions and format that a particular discipline uses when writing papers and citing resources.  Different areas of study do things a little bit differently.  For ENG 101 (and other English/Humanities courses), MLA Style is used.  MLA stands for the Modern Language Association, an organization of professionals who study and teach languages and literature.

What is MLA Style?

MLA 8th Edition

Previous versions of the MLA Handbook were created based on the publication format of the source.  Citations looked different and followed different rules depending on whether the source being cited was a book, a journal article, a website, etc.  Now, users identify 9 pieces of information about the source, regardless of format, and put those pieces of information into a prescribed order with simplified punctuation.  The core elements are, in order and with punctuation:

  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.

In the Works Cited, citations should still be formatted using a hanging indent.  Please note, not ever citation will contain all 9 core elements.  Provide as much information as is available and pertinent to your source.  They should appear in alphabetical order based on the core element that appears first (usually author or title) and should end with a period regardless of the last core element that appears.  See examples below:

Book:

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. HarperCollins, 1999.

Article:

Peet, Lisa. "To Kill a Mockingbird Author Harper Lee Dies." Library Journal, vol. 141, no. 5, 15 Mar. 2016, pp. 18-19.