Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citing Bibliographic Sources: MLA: Introduction

The Recommended Style Manual for English Majors

Online Style Manuals

For more information on how to cite sources using MLA, visit the following resources:


MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed.

Form and Style : Research Papers, Reports, Theses, 12th ed.

Principles of Writing Research Papers, 2nd ed.


The purpose of this guide is to familiarize you with the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed (MLA Handbook). It offers a sampling of bibliographic citations, but does not address all possible citation examples. If you don’t see an example here of the type of citation you need, consult the complete handbook at the Reference Desk, or refer to one of the tools listed in the box to the left.

MLA  documentation style requires writers to link brief parenthetical citations in their text to an alphabetical list of works that appears at the end of the paper. This list is entitled "Works Cited."  For example, text reads:

A 2016 study suggests “that dialogue of pedagogies provides a means of coming to know yourself and your teaching.” (Tannehill 105).

The citation "(Tannehill 105)" tells you that the information in the sentence was found on page 105 of a work by Tannehill.  For more information about this source, you can turn to the list of works cited, where, under Tannehill, you would find the following:

Tannehill, Deborah. "My Journey to Become a Teacher Educator." Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy vol. 21, no. 1, 2016, pp. 105-120.

A citation in MLA contains only the information necessary to direct the reader to the Works Cited page. For example, if the sentence above had read "In Tannehill’s 2016 report...," the citation at the end of the sentence would have been (105). If more than one work by Tannehill was in the Works Cited list, the citation would have been (Tannehill, “My Journey” 105).


Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Jeanne Stierman
217 Malpass Library
375 Malpass Library