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MLA Citation Style

This research guide will help students format their research papers using MLA citation style.

Which pieces do you need?

To better understand MLA 8, click the image to watch this video by English professor, Kyle Stedman, from Rockford University. 

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What You Need From Your Source

Most citations require the same basic information - the name of the source, the author, the date, the place you found it, and the overall container you found it within.

Information Needed

Explanation of Containers

Core Elements of a MLA Citation

Container Example

The above image is an example of the kinds of information you probably need for your citation.You may be confused by "container." Many of the sources you will choose to put in your projects will be part of a whole. For example, perhaps you will only use one part of a book - the chapter. The source is the chapter. The container (the whole) is the book. This is true also for articles: articles are part of magazines, journals, and newspapers. The article is the part. The magazine, journal, or newspaper is the container (the whole). 

This is a visual aid to show a container. The above image is a book about the works of Jane Austen. It shows chapter 8 being pulled out of the book. If someone only used information from chapter 8, they would cite "Money" as their source, and "The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen" as the container.

Images kindly provided by the Modern Language Association