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Speech Research: MLA citation style

How to find information for speeches and the library assignment.

MLA Basics

View a tutorial -- Why you need to cite sources 

The 8th edition of MLA has been released, making some of the information on this page incorrect. Revision coming soon. See the MLA 8th ed Quick Guide, or our Citations Guide for correct examples.

How MLA citing works:

In MLA style papers, acknowledge your sources by providing brief parenthetical citations in your text that leads the reader to an alphabetical list of works at the end of the paper entitled "Works Cited." In speeches or other presentations, a list of works cited in the speech is prepared to submit before the speech is given.

In papers, the parenthetical citation in the text cites the author's last name, a comma, then the page number on which the information appears. For example: (Anderson, 25) at the end of a sentence or paragraph refers to page 25 of a book or article by Anderson. In speeches, citations are stated orally. For example: "In his article (or book) about ___, on page 25, Anderson states that ..." or something similar.

Where to find source information for citations: Keep careful track of source information while doing your research. You might not be able to easily find it again to create your "Works Cited" list.

Books: If you have the actual printed book in hand, look on the main title page for authors, editors, title and subtitle, edition, publication place and publisher. Look on the back of the title page for the publication year.

If you are using a catalog record for a book found in our catalog, look at the Title line on the catalog record tab. The complete title and subtitle are there, followed by a slash (/), then all authors and/or editors are shown after the slash. If there is an Edition line below the Title line, the edition is probably greater than the first edition. If so, it needs to be cited after the title as 2nd ed., 3rd ed., etc. Then look at the Publication Info line. City of publication, publisher name, and year are there. Omit state names and give only the essential name of a publisher. (omit words such as Press, House, Books, etc.) If the book is in print format finish the citation with: Print.

EBooks: Ebooks found by a catalog search are cited the same way as the printed books above, except that you need to cite a database name where it is located. Currently, anything found in the catalog is from the database EBooks on EbscoHost. For other eBooks, note the name of the database while using the database. If an eBook is found on the open Web, note the Web site, for example, Google Book Search, in italics. Give the medium as Web. and include the date of access in day-month-year format. Months are abbreviated as three letters except for May, June, July and Sept. For example: EBooks on EbscoHost. Web. 12 Dec. 2014

Articles from print periodicals: The article will show author name/s, usually under the title of the article. Magazines and newspapers need the name of the publication and the publication date, day, month and year, usually found on the cover or title page, and the page range of the article. Some articles may not show the authors if they are staff writers. Journals need the volume and issue numbers and year instead of the date of publication.

Articles from databases: Vary somewhat as to what and how citation information is provided, and you might find some missing information such as a page number. Capture the citation information as given on the citation page of the database, or as the source information at the end of an article. Some databases attempt to give an MLA style citation, but there are often errors, so you need to know how to correct these, especially capitalization of words in titles.

Web information: If you have something on the Web that was previously published in print and the print publication data is available, such as a book or periodical article, cite as you would the print version omitting the medium word, Print. Substitute the medium  word Web. Give the date the information was accessed. If you have a Web page, find the page author, page title, site name, site publisher/sponsor and the publication date. These are usually available somewhere on the page. End the citation with the medium Web. and the date the page was accessed. A full Web address is not and MLA requirement, but can be provided so that your instructor can check your information.  

Click each of the sub-tabs on the "Cite in MLA" tab for details and examples for each type of citation. You may find our MLA Quick Guide helpful as well. 

Formating MLA "Works Cited" lists

1. Title the list:  Works Cited   Center this title at the top of the list.

2. Alphabetize the list using the first word of each citation, usually the last name of the first author. If the first word is a title, (if there is no known author) ignore the words "the, "a" or "an" and alphabetize using the first main word of the title.

3. Double space the entire list. Our guide examples are not double-spaced to save space.

4. Use Times New Roman 12 point font, (unless your instructor requires something else). Our guide examples are all in this font.

5. Each citation should be in the "hanging indent format." This means that the first line is at the left margin, and the next lines are indented 1/2 inch. MSWord users can highlight the citation, go to the paragraph menu and open the pargaraph dialog box. (click the small arrow in the lower right corner) Look under "Indentation", under "Special," select "Hanging." Click OK. The citation should now be in hanging indent format. Our guide examples are all in hanging indent format.

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