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MLA Works Cited | Mastering References and Formatting

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Are you a humanities student in need of expert guidance for MLA-style citations? In addition to your in-text citations, it is crucial that you know how to create a list of comprehensive cited works that provide detailed information about each source referenced in your text. This article will serve as your comprehensive guide, explaining the essential elements and order of an MLA reference entry and demonstrating how to format your cited works page (e.g. in Google Docs). If you are primarily seeking assistance with formatting, feel free to skip ahead to the relevant section.

Examples of MLA Works Cited Entry

To give you an impression of the required information and illustrate the typical MLA works cited format in difference to other popular citation styles such as Harvard, APA, or Chicago, let’s start with a practical example:

Author: Smith, John

Title: The Art of Writing

Publisher: ABC Publishing

Publication Year: 2022

In this case, the MLA works cited entry would be:

Smith, John. The Art of Writing. ABC Publishing, 2022.

By looking up the given information, You certainly noticed that this entry follows the MLA guidelines for formatting a book citation. The author’s name is listed with the last name first, followed by the first name. The title of the book is italicized, and the publisher is mentioned after the title. The publication year is included at the end of the entry.

Note: This is just one example, and the specific formatting varies depending on the type of source being cited (e.g., book, journal article, website). Make sure to collect all the relevant information n a source already when conducting your search for relevant literature and setting up your Literature Review. Further, the correct format and information needed for your cited entry should match the requirements of your university or publisher. Note: Always refer to the MLA guidelines for the correct format for each source type.

To provide an alternative example, let’s consider a different source:

Author: Johnson, Emily

Title of Article: The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

Title of Journal: Environmental Studies Review

Volume: 24

Issue: 2

Year: 2023

Page Range: 57-73

In this case, the MLA works cited entry would be:

Johnson, Emily. “The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity.” Environmental Studies Review, vol. 24, no. 2, 2023, pp. 57-73.

As gets clear from the cited information, this entry follows the MLA guidelines for formatting a journal paper. Here, the author’s name is listed with the last name first, followed by the first name. The title of the article is enclosed in quotation marks, while the title of the journal is italicized. The volume and issue numbers are included, followed by the publication year. Finally, the specific page range of the article within the journal is provided.

Source Entry Components and  Essentials

As your academic support, I am here to help you achieve your scholarly goals! Let’s dive into the essentials of each source entry and get clear, what you should always keep in mind.

Relevant Details for your MLA-Citation

Remember to begin with the name of the author or creator. The first author’s name should be inverted, with the last name appearing first, followed by the first name. However, if there is a second author, their name should not be inverted. In cases where a source has three or more authors, only the first author is listed, followed by “et al.

Remember to include the full title of the source, including any subtitles, using title case. The formatting of the title depends on the type of source. Self-contained sources, such as books, movies, and websites, should be italicized, while sources that are part of a larger whole, like a book chapter, a web page, or a journal article, should be enclosed in quotation marks. A container refers to the larger work that encompasses the cited source. For instance, a chapter is part of a book, a web page is part of a website, and an article is part of a journal. Don´t forget to  italicize the container, unless the source itself is self-contained, like a book.

How to deal with Publishers, Contributors and Editions

If there are any other contributors involved, such as translators or directors, include their names immediately after the container title. Omit this element if there are no other contributors. In cases where multiple versions of a source exist, make sure to specify the version you utilized, such as a second-edition book or a director’s cut of a movie. Additionally, certain sources like journal articles, magazines, etc. are often numbered, so include this element if applicable. The publisher is responsible for producing and distributing the source and thus typically mentioned for book publishers (e.g., Oxford University Press or Cambridge University Press) or movie production companies (e.g., Warner Brothers).

Always include the publication year, and if you know the month and day, include that information as well. If a source does not specify a publication date, add the date on which you accessed the information (online) at the end of the reference (e.g., Accessed 22 Sep. 2018).

The location element’s content depends on the type of source being cited. It could include a page range for a book chapter or journal article, a URL or DOI for an online source, or the location of a physical object or performance.

Formatting the Works Cited Page in 4 Steps

Once you have entered all the references, you can copy the entire list. The final step is to format the works cited page, adhering to the general MLA formatting guidelines. Now, let’s walk through the four steps of the setup process:

  1. Font: Select the 12-point Times New Roman font. (Typical font)
  2. Header: For the page header, double-click at the top of the page, enter your last name, insert automatic page numbering, and align it to the right.
  3. Margin & Spacing: Set 1-inch page margins and double line spacing.
  4. Title: Place the section heading “Works Cited” in plain text, centered at the top of the page.

Formatting the works cited page wasn’t too challenging, was it? If you need further assistance with MLA style, we’ve got you covered with additional comprehensive guides and helpful tools in our related Articles on Citing and Referencing and the Literature Review. It contains everything you need to excel. So feel free to move on! See you there!

About the author:

Picture of Dr. Friederike Jurth
Dr. Friederike Jurth

Possibly you already heard of me through different media channels. My name is Dr. Friederike Jurth, and I hold a certificate from Harvard in Higher Education Teaching. Since 2010, I have given lectures on Methodology, Empirical Research, Anthropology, and Transcultural (Music) Studies in collaboration with universities in the United States, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. In 2010, I began a 7-year-long fieldwork project in Rio de Janeiro and have since presented my research at conferences worldwide, including in Japan, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, and many other countries. Additionally, I have worked as a lecturer and researcher with Germany’s renowned UNESCO Chair.

After completing my doctoral dissertation with summa cum laude, I aimed to unite, condense, and share the steps, ways, and details of my unique methodological and structural approach that I developed during my Ph.D. and that ultimately helped me achieve this result. By concentrating and putting them together into an elaborate academic conception, MyThesis Academy was born. Motivated by the sole aim and objective to help my students through all steps and stages of their thesis journey, MyThesis Academy enables them to achieve their best possible results in the shortest time, independent of their specific area of research.

In addition to my extensive teaching and research experience, I am part of the authors of the Cambridge Companion to Music in Brazil 2024, published by Cambridge University Press & Assessment, where I contribute as a Cambridge Author. This work is a co-operative project conducted remotely from Cambridge, England, United Kingdom.

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