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Academic writing needs the author to support their arguments regarding other published work or experimental results or findings. A reference system will accomplish three fundamental tasks:

  • Allow you to avoid plagiarism and acknowledge other authors idea.
  • Intimate to the reader the scope and extent of your research.
  • Permit a reader to speedily locate the source of material you refer to so they can confer with it if they wish.

The MLA or Modern Language Association style is a widely used referencing system to help you achieve these objectives. The citation style evolved by the Modern Language Association to help researchers accurately cite their sources when it is time to write their final paper is referred to as MLA citation. This citation style is frequently used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities.

Why is referencing essential?

Referencing or citing your sources is an essential part of academic writing. It lets you recognize the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work and helps to circumvent plagiarism. When books, official publications, journals, newspapers, etc. are used to strengthen ideas in an essay, you must give credit to these sources.

Referencing also demonstrated that you had read relevant background literature and you can provide authority for statements you make in your assignments. Every academic discipline has a preferred format or style for citing sources. MLA documentation style is a widely accepted method used in the humanities.


Overview of MLA referencing guide

Start by discussing the list of core elements when determining how to cite your source. These are the standard pieces of information that MLA suggests including in each work cited entry. In your citation, the details should be listed in the following order:

  • Author- Begin the entry with author’s last name, followed by a comma and the rest of the name. End this element with a period. Title of source- The title of the source should follow the author’s name. Depending upon the type of source, it should be listed in italics or quotation marks.
  • Title of the container- It is usually written in italics and backed by a comma since the data that follows next illustrates the container.
  • Other contributors- Also, to the author, there may be other contributors to the source who should be recognized, such as illustrators, editors, translators, etc. If the contributions are relevant to your research, or critical to identify the source, include their names in your documentation.
  • Version- If a source is listed as an edition or version of work, include it in your citation.
  • Number- If a source is composed of a numbered sequence, such as journal with book volume and issue numbers, these figures must be listed on your citation.
  • Publisher- The publisher produces or distributes the sources to the public.
  • Publication date- When the source has more than one date, it is sufficient to use the date which is most relevant to your use of it.
  • Location- You should be as accurate as possible in identifying a work’s location.

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