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MLA Referencing Style

A Brief Guide to MLA Referencing Style

While writing an academic document such as assignment, dissertation, thesis, or lab report, we take help from various published sources such as books and articles. But do you know that using someone else’s work without acknowledging his/her effort is a serious offense known as plagiarism? This might lead to loss of marks or rejection of the document. To avoid such consequences, you must mention where that information came from. There are numerous formats prescribed by Australian universities for providing credit to the published materials that have been used within an academic document. For the student of arts and humanities, MLA referencing style is considered the best as it allows scholars to track down the exact sentences. The MLA format and style guide is now in its 8th edition. The newest version has radically altered some of its rules regarding format, especially in terms of citations. Take a look at those guidelines:

a) The list of references that you have used in the document should begin on a separate page, with the title "Works Cited."

b) Start the list alphabetically using the last name of the author. However, in case there is no author arrange them by writing title, eliminating any initial such as a, an, and the.

c) Begin each entry at the left margin. Indent the following lines one-half inch from the left margin. Double-space within each entry, and follow the punctuation and capitalization rules.

d) Write the name of the publisher by eliminating articles, descriptive words(Books, House, Press) and business abbreviation(Co., Inc.). However, in case you are using a document published by a university press, include the abbreviation "UP" (Monash UP). And, if the publisher’s name is the name of one or more persons, cite the first surname only (Abrams).

In-text Citation

Along with mentioning the list of books and literature that you have used at the end of your paper, you should also cite the text or ideas within the document. The in-text citation should consist the author's last name and the page number in the source. If the author's name has already been used in the sentence, do not repeat it in the citation.

For example:
  • Author’s name in the text- Sellers had expressed that the market changed in the 17th century (91-92)
  • Author’s name in reference- Sellers view on economic growth is not widely embraced among historians.
  • Multiple authors of work- The literature indicates (Hamilton and Spruill 231) that improvements have been made to employee training and development programs.

Here are some tips on referencing books, articles, and journals:

1. Referencing Books

A) Book with one author

Write author’s last name, first name, and middle name. And italicize the title, publishing company, year, and print.

For example:

Gloria. Iconic LA: Stories of LA’s Most Memorable Buildings. Glendale: Balcony, 2000. Print.

B) Book with two or three authors

In case the book has been written by two or three authors mention first author’s last name, first name, and middle initials. Along with this, include the first and last name of second and third authors. And, italicize the title, publication, location, publishing company, year, and print.

For example:

Robert, and John Pashdag. Outrageous L.A. San Francisco: Chronicle, 1984. Print.

C) Book with more than three authors

Write first author’s last name, first name, and middle initials et al. And, italicize the title, publication location, company, year and print.

For example:

David, et al. A Guide to Architecture in San Francisco & Northern California. Santa Barbara: Peregrine, 1973. Print.

Tools for creating MLA Book references:

2. Referencing Articles

A) Article from a newspaper

Mention author's last name, first name, and middle initial. And, italicize the title of news, date of publication, page number(s).

For example:

Ouroussoff, Nicolai. "Enduring Legacy: How the Spanish Missions Still Shape Modern California." Los Angeles Times 7 Sept. 1997, home ed.: B2+. Print.

B) Article from a popular magazine

Write author's last name, first name, and middle initial. And, italicize the title of the magazine, month and year of publication, page numbers.

For example:

Ben. "To Live and Die in L.A." Wired May 2003: 131-135. Print.

C) Article from a scholarly journal with continuous pagination

Mention the author's last name, first name, and middle initial. Italicize the title of the journal, volume, issue, and page number(s).

For example:

John Mack. "Bungalow and Ranch House: The Architectural Backwash of California." Western Historical Quarterly 32.2 (2001): 149-173. Print.

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