MLA Referencing Guide

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MLA Referencing Overview

A Brief Guide to MLA Referencing Style

Every student takes help from already published articles, books, or e-books while writing an academic paper. But, failing to acknowledge the original sources may be tagged as plagiarism, which is a serious offense. It can have a negative effect on your scorecard and can even lead to rejection of your assignment. So to be on the safe side, it is always advised by professor to mention all the names of original sources. Apart from saving you from any embarrassing situation, it also supports your arguments and proves the authenticity of your work.

There are number of citation styles that are used by different Australian universities, and MLA is one of them. It stands for Modern Language Association, and is considered the best amongst all as scholars can trace the exact sentences. This style guide is now in its 8th edition and this version has been altered a bit regarding format, especially in terms of citations.

Importance of referencing

Citing a source provides three benefits:

  •  Allows students to acknowledge the idea of other authors and at the same time avoids plagiarism.
  •  Readers can easily and quickly track down the original source and consult it if they wish.
  •  Proves your in-depth research and knowledge to the reader.

Key-points of MLA referencing style

  • This style is mostly used in the fields like literature and linguistics.
  • A brief citation is used in the text of the document. And alphabetical list of works is mentioned at the end of the write-up.
  • Earlier editions included the provisions for footnote referencing. But, they are no longer in use.
  • The eighth edition states universal set of guidelines. The MLA core elements' of the citation include:
  1. Author.
  2. Title of source.
  3. Title of container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,

While listing the references, these elements should be in mentioned order and follow by the punctuation mark shown above.

In-text citation

Rules for in-text citation are as follows:

Author's last name only without the year of publication.
Mentioned before the punctuation mark like comma or full stop.
If a specific page is to be listed, then it comes after the name in the citation.
In case author's name already appears in the text, no need to repeat it, only the page number is required.
*For more than one reference at the same time in the document, semicolon is used to separate them.

Citing different literary works

1. Book

Book with one author

Format: Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book, Place of Publication, Publisher, Year of Publication, Medium of Publication.

For example:

McKenzie, H, "Explaining the Complexities and Value of Nursing Practice and Knowledge."Knowledge as Value: Illumination through Critical Prisms, Eds. I, Morley and M Crouch, New Jersey, Rodopi, 2008. 209-24. Print.

Books with two or more authors

Lastname, Firstname, and Firstname Lastname. Title of Book. Place of Publication, Publisher, Year of Publication, Medium of Publication.

For example:

Beuving, Joost, and Gert C. de Vries. Doing Qualitative Research: The Craft of Naturalistic Inquiry. Amsterdam University Press, 2015, Print.

Books with more than four authors

When a book has four or more authors, only the name of first author should be listed followed by 'et al.', which means 'and others'. All other authors should be listed in the order of credit in the original work.

For example:

Zarrilli, Phillip B., et al. Theatre Histories: An Introduction. 2nd ed, New York, Routledge, 2010, Print.

Or, Zarrilli, Phillip B., Bruce McConachie, Gary Jay Williams and Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei. Theatre Histories: An Introduction. 2nd ed, New York, Routledge, 2010, Print.

Books without author

Title of the book shifts to the place of author's name.

For example:

The New Zealand Official Year Book. 12th ed., Government Printer, 1987.

A chapter from an edited book

Format: Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Chapter." Title of Book. Ed, Editor's Name(s), Place of Publication, Publisher, Year, Page range of entry. Medium of Publication.

For example:

Banks, Miranda J. "A Boy for All Planets: Roswell, Smallville and the Teen Male Melodrama." Teen TV: Genre, Consumption, Identity. Ed. Glyn Davis and Kay Dickinson, London, British Film Institute, 2004, 17-28. Print.

2. Article in Journal

Format: Lastname, Firstname. "Title of Article." Title of Journal Volume, Issue (Year), pages, Medium of publication.

For example:

McGowan, Todd. "Finding Ourselves on a Lost Highway: David Lynch's Lesson in Fantasy." Cinema Journal 39.2 (2000), 51-73. Print.

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