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MLA Document Format The Hows and Whys

Mla document format

Jun 19, 2015




Documentation information for students
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Page 1: Mla document format

MLA Document Format

The Hows and Whys

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One peck at a time…

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Whereas before I allowed myself to play fast and loose, now I am meticulous, demanding, exact…Sue Grafton, mystery writer

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The formal acknowledgment of the outside sources used in your paper to backup or refute what you have to say. Used to add credibility and depth to a paper.


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Each academic discipline uses different documentation styles.

What is right for one, may not be right for another…

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MLA (Modern Language Association) format is required by teachers of English and other courses in the humanities.

APA (American Psychological Association) format is used for courses in the sciences and math professions.

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1. Internal parenthetical references in your text.

2. A list of Works Cited at end of paper

Required parts…

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Consists of author’s last name and page, paragraph or section number

But all sources are different…

Typical reference in parenthesis…

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The colony’s religious and political freedom appealed to many idealists (Ripley 12).

The author’s last name is Ripley and this information can be found on Page 12.

The idea is to get the reader to the Works Cited List, then to the source.


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Shorten the title of each work to one or two key words and include the appropriate shortened title in the parenthesis after the author’s name.

Ex. 1st work… (Ripley, Colonization 34)

2nd work by same author: (Ripley, History 45)

Two or more Sources by same author?

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Each type of source has a unique rule.

Pay close attention to this.

Use a handbook, the back of your textbook, or the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) to find the rules.


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Can be on own page, but doesn’t need to be

Each item has three divisions—author, title and publication information. Web sources are unique. Check what is needed carefully

Do not number sources, indent second line and double space between

The Works Cited List

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According to first letter of author’s last name

Anonymous? Use first letter of source information

Again, take time to look up proper information needed and in what order


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Find sample MLA Documented research paper models either in your textbook, a handbook or the or OWL site.

This aspect of writing is all about careful detailing and proofreading—not the fun part.

Sample Research Papers

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The final look in the mirror before heading to that all important job interview or to that day you upload your final materials for grading.


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Paying attention to details, rules and reviewing your assignment and study materials more than once.

Showing you care…

The Key to Success?

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Assume the reader is checking your Works Cited List first, then your use of in-text or internal documentation before beginning to read your paper.

What impression will they have of the writer and his/her work as they begin?

First Impressions Count…

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Ask yourself: What have I learned about myself as I go through this labor intensive aspect of writing?

And finally…

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Relax and be proud of your work. Ah…