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MLA Works Cited Lesson

Create Works Cited entries for books, articles, and websites!

Lisa Nuku

on 13 May 2015

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Transcript of MLA Works Cited Lesson

So, you’ve been asked to conduct research and need to develop a Works Cited page and provide in-text citations in MLA format. What do you do?
Ideally, you would find this book—the most current edition of the MLA Handbook.
There are other resources that we’ll examine at the end, but this presentation is a good place to start.
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
find bibliographic information for three types of sources.
identify key elements within bibliographic information.
develop a sample Works Cited page.
What this presentation does NOT cover:
How to effectively conduct research
How to choose credible and relevant sources
How to do in-text or parenthetical documentation
Let’s look at three common sources that
you’re likely to use in your research essays:
this presentation
will require you to
do a little bit of work.
Let’s say you are writing a research paper about the impacts of livestock on global climate change, and you are quoting material from a book by Spencer R. Weart called
The Discovery of Global Warming
. You need to create a Works Cited entry. Where would you start?
First, you need to collect some basic information including the:
author’s name.
title of the book.
name and location of the publisher.
publication date.
medium of publication.
Fortunately, publishers provide two very handy reference pages with this kind of information—the title page and the publication page. Both of these can be found early on in the book.
Let’s take a look at The Discovery of Global Warming’s reference pages:
These two pages provided us with us all of the information we needed to create an entry in our Works Cited page.
Now we have to arrange that information in the proper order, as dictated by the most current version of MLA format.
Author Last Name, Author First Name. Full title.
Publication city: publisher name, date of publication. Medium of publication.
For example:
Weart, Spencer R. The Discovery of Global Warming. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 2003. Print.
Now I’d like you to try it on your own. In your notes, develop a Works Cited entry for Howard F. Lyman and Glen Merzer’s Mad Cowboy. Here are the two pages you’ll need:
And here’s what you should have come up with:
Lyman, Howard F. and Glen Merzer. Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat.
New York City: Touchstone, 1998. Print.
Well done! Let’s look at another source you may likely use: an article.
There are many types of articles: journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, etc. While there are slight variations among these in terms of MLA documentation, the basic elements are the same.
author’s name.
title of the article.
title of the periodical.
issue, volume, or date information.
page numbers.
database information (if found online).
medium of publication.
date accessed (if found online).
Let’s take a look at a PDF of an article from EBSCO. If you had the article in front of you, you would easily be able to tell that the pages went from 28-31, so keep that in mind.
Here’s how you would compile that information:
Adler, Ben. “Are Cows Worse Than Cars?” The American Prospect
Dec. 2008: 28-31. EBSCO. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
Notice the lack of punctuation between the magazine title and the dates of publication (which are abbreviated).
Okay, it’s time to try it out again. Please write up a Works Cited entry for the following article, which is on pages 20-22 and was found in EBSCO:
And here’s what you should have come up with:
Wolfson, Marisa Miller. “An Inconvenient Food: The Connection Between Meat and Global Warming.”
USA Today Sep. 2007: 20-22. EBSCO. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
Finally, let’s look at the third (and probably most common) source you’re likely to find: websites.
Websites can be great resources for research writing, when used appropriately. However, citing websites can be a challenge because not all the necessary information may be available to you on the site.
Ideally, you’d be looking for the:
author’s name (if available).
title of the webpage.
name of the website.
name of the publisher (or write "n.p." if not available).
posting or most recently updated date (or write "n.d." if not available).
medium of publication.
date of access.
Let’s try to find what we need to know about the following website it by looking at two screenshots of the webpage:
Given this information, what would our Works Cited entry look like?
“Fight Climate Change with Diet Change.” GoVeg.com. PETA, n.d.
Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
You’ll notice that we’re missing some information: the author’s name and the posting date. They are not listed on this website, but if they were, they might be at the bottom of the page, so make sure you’re looking everywhere on the site to find it.
Also, keep in mind that you no longer need to put the URL in the entry.
Let’s try developing a Works Cited entry for another website.
Please visit the following webpage and develop an entry for it:
Here’s what your entry should look like:
“Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms.” Natural Resources Defense Council.
Natural Resources Defense Council, 21 February 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
Excellent job! Now that we’ve successfully created six Works Cited entries, what do we need to do?
Keep in mind a few things when formatting the Works Cited page:
Alphabetize entries by the authors’ last names or title (if names are not available)
Double-space everything, but don’t include extra spaces
Write the words “Works Cited” at the very top, no bolding, no underlining, no italics
Place the Works Cited at the very end of your paper
So for the six Works Cited entries we used, our Works Cited page would look like this:
That’s it!
We certainly didn’t cover everything in this presentation, so if you have further questions, please send me a message through the internal messaging system.
When in doubt, visit the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, which has more detailed information about MLA documentation and Works Cited pages.
You need the:
And this is what an in-text citation would look like if you used this source in a paper or presentation:
"blah, blah, blah" (Lyman and Merzer 45).
And this is what an in-text citation would look like if you used this source in a paper or presentation:
"blah blah blah" (Wolfson 21).
And this is what an in-text citation would look like if you used this source in a paper or presentation:
"blah, blah, blah" (“Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms").
Full transcript