Documentation
in MLA Format
Fred Meijer Center for
Writing and Michigan Authors
DEV Building C, Student Study
Area (Pew Campus)
LOH 120 (Allendale Campus)
Overview of MLA Formatting
Used in humanities fields, such as English,
writing, philosophy, and modern
languages
 Expressed by in-text, parenthetical
documentation
 Includes a Works Cited page

Definitive Source: MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers, 7th Edition, 2009.
Why Document Sources
in MLA Format?
To give credit where credit is due: avoid
plagiarism
 To establish your credibility as a careful
scholar within the field
 To ensure consistency within the
discipline: readers know what to expect
 To give readers access to the sources you
cite

How Documentation Works

In-text citations refer to a Works Cited
page

Works Cited page gives readers
bibliographic information to locate sources
themselves
Works Cited Page

Provides bibliographic information so readers can
find sources themselves

Each entry includes this basic information:
 Name of author, editor, compiler, or translator
 Title of work
 Publication information: Source of work, date
published, volume and issue numbers, page
numbers, and medium of publication consulted
Quick Tip: All sources cited in the paper must be
listed on the Works Cited page. All sources listed
on the Works Cited page must have been cited in
the paper itself.
A Sample Works Cited Page
Works Cited
Davis, Barbara, Michael Scriven, and Susan Thomas. The Evaluation of
Composition Instruction. New York: Teachers College P, 1987. Print.
Hanson, F. Allan. Testing Testing: Social Consequences of the Examined Life.
Berkeley: U of California P, 1993. Print.
Huot, Brian A. “The Literature of Direct Writing Assessment: Major Concerns
and Prevailing Trends.” Review of Educational Research 60 (1990): 237-63.
Print.
Yancey, Kathleen. “Looking Back as We Look Forward: Historicizing Writing
Assessment.” College Composition and Communication 50.3 (1999): 483503. Print.
Sample Citation

Book:
Davis, Barbara, Michael Scriven, and Susan Thomas. The
Evaluation of Composition Instruction. New York:
Teachers College P, 1987. Print.
Quick Tip: Simply write “P” to stand for “Press.” Although you
should begin the entry with the last name of the first author, you
should write the names of the other authors in first-name/lastname format, for easier readability.
Sample Citation

Article in a scholarly journal:
Yancey, Kathleen. “Looking Back as We Look
Forward: Historicizing Writing Assessment.”
College Composition and Communication 50.3
(1999): 483-503. Print.
Sample Citation

Scholarly article from a database:
Walstad, William. “Improving Assessment in University
Economics.” Journal of Economic Education 32.3 (2001):
281-94. Proquest. Web. 20 July 2009.
Quick Tip: Include a URL only if readers probably cannot locate the source without it
or if your instructor requires it. See page 182 in the MLA Handbook for Writers
of Research Papers for further web documentation information.
Quick Tip: Each type of electronic source is documented differently. Consult the MLA
Handbook for information about how to format correctly each source you cite.
Sample Citation

A source with no known author:
“Squeezing the Poor for Votes.” New York
Times on the Web. New York Times,18
February 2004. Web. 20 July 2009.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/18/
opinion/18WED2.html>.
In-Text, Parenthetical Citations
Use them to:
Quote directly
 Summarize material
 Paraphrase material

Quick Tip: Plagiarism is using someone’s words or
ideas without giving the source proper credit.
In-Text, Parenthetical Citations

Are brief

Refer readers to the Works Cited page

Avoid repetition
Formatting An In-Text,
Parenthetical Citation

There are two common ways of writing an
in-text citation:

Integrate the author’s name into the
sentence itself

Include the author’s name in a parenthetical
citation at the end of the passage in which
you quote, summarize, or paraphrase the
work
Sample In-Text Citation
Example 1:
Paulson and Paulson concede that their
student-teachers “discovered that the need to
tailor a portfolio was influenced by how much
personal risk could result were they to bare
their own perspectives” (289).
The author’s name appears within the text of
the sentence itself; the page on which the
quotation can be found is in parentheses at the
end of the quotation.
Sample In-Text Citation
Example 2:
One study found that teachers “discovered that
the need to tailor a portfolio was influenced by
how much personal risk could result were they
to bare their own perspectives” (Paulson and
Paulson 289).
The author’s name, the publication date, and
the page number on which the quotation
appears are included in the parentheses after
the quotation.
Special Cases
More than one author with the same last
name:
 (K. Sutherland 255); (D. Sutherland
440)
 Two or more works within the same
parentheses:
 (Cruise 24; Cruz 58; and Kidman 600)
 A work by more than three authors:
 (Brady et al. 25)

--Adapted from Purdue’s OWL presentation on MLA
documentation
Special Cases

Source has unnamed author
 Use first key word from the title
 “Squeezing the Poor for Votes” is the title of
the article, so (“Squeezing” para. 4) is the
parenthetical citation

General reference to a web site
 GVSU’s Writing Center is the source, so (Grand
Valley State University Writing Center para. 7)
is the parenthetical citation
--Adapted from Purdue’s OWL presentation on MLA
documentation
Sample Passage with
Parenthetical Citations
More recently, however, scholars have begun to
register possible concerns about teaching portfolio use.
Robert Yagelski, for instance, cautions that teacher
educators should make careful choices about the design of
their portfolio systems in order to address the tensions
teachers experience in an evaluative context. P. R. Paulson
and F. L. Paulson concede that their student-teachers
“discovered that the need to tailor a portfolio was
influenced by how much personal risk could result were
they to bare their own perspectives” (289). Another study
found that it is desirable to use separate portfolios for
development and credential purposes, suggesting “that
efforts to combine the dual purposes of support and
accountability in a single portfolio do not always result in
constructive tension” (Snyder, Lippincott, and Bower 139).
And Leverenz and Goodburn warn teacher educators about
the problems with professionalizing teaching too quickly.
Where Can You Find
MLA Documentation Help?

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,
7th Edition, 2009.
 All GVSU libraries—noncirculating
 Writing Center, Allendale & Pew campuses
 GVSU bookstore

The Diana Hacker website
(http://www.dianahacker.com/writersref/p
df/Hacker-DocSources.pdf)
 Updated information about citing electronic
sources
GVSU Writing Center




Allendale, LOH 120:
o Monday-Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
o Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
o Sunday, 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Pew Campus, DEV Building C,
Student Study Area:
o Monday-Thursday, 2:00-7:00 p.m.
Meijer Campus, Holland:
o See www.gvsu.edu/wc for hours
CHS Building, Grand Rapids, Frey Learning
Center, 4th Floor:
o Tuesday, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Questions?
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Documentation in APA Format