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Earth Sciences

Research tips & resources for Noah Hughes' classes

What is MLA Style?

Created by the Modern Language Association, MLA is most often used by the Humanities, which includes languages, literature, philosophy, visual & performing arts.

Formatting Your Paper

The Rules:

  • Margins: 1" all around (except for the page number)
  • Font:  Easily readable typeface set to a standard size (Times-New Roman 12pt is always safe)
  • Line-spacing: Double-space throughout the paper, including heading, title, block quotes, and Works Cited. 
  • Page Numbers: All pages are numbered in right hand corner, 1/2" from top. Last name appears before the page numbers.
  • Heading: Top left corner. Your name, your instructor's name, course number, date. Date must be written dd Month yyyy. 
  • Title: Centered. Plain (no italics, underlining, or font variation). Standard double-spacing between heading/title, and title/first line of paper.


Use Word to Format Your Paper:

This brief video will show you how to use Word 2010 to format your paper.


Examples of Papers:

Citing Your Sources

Get started by watching this excellent, short video from Hayden Memorial Library of Citrus College, that walks you through creating an MLA citation and corresponding in-text citation.

The Rules:

  • Placement: The Works Cited list appears at the end of the paper, on its own page(s). If your research paper ends on page 8, your Works Cited begins on page 9. 
  • Arrangement: Alphabetize entries by author's last name. If source has no named author, alphabetize by the title, ignoring A, An, or The.
  • Spacing: Like the rest of the MLA paper, the Works Cited list is double-spaced throughout. Be sure NOT to add extra spaces between citations.
  • Indentation: To make citations easier to scan, add a hanging indent to any citation that runs more than one line.
  • Title: The name of your bibliography will be Works Cited.


Citation Examples and Templates:

Use the links below to see examples of source citations. Beneath the yellow handout, you can use The MLA Style Center's, Works Cited: A Quick Guide to see how to create source citations then use their template to practice citing sources.

If you don't find what you need here, check out the MLA's, Ask the MLA.

Don't forget that when in doubt verify the accuracy of any citation example by using the MLA Handbook.


Example of Works Cited List:

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources you have used in the preparation of your research paper. Depending on your project or the assignment, in your annotations you may summarize, reflect on, or assess your sources. Your teacher should instruct you on the function of your annotations.

To learn more about annotated bibliographies click on the link below from Purdue OWL:


Example of an Annotated Bibliography: (Click the paper to see the full bibliography)


In-Text Citations


You create in-text or parenthetical citations within the body of your paper wherever you've integrated information from your outside research sources. Your in-text citations should point directly to the complete source information in your Works Cited list.

The Rules:

  • Cite all direct quotes, paraphrased information, and summarized ideas.
  • Each in-text citation should link to a specific source in the Works Cited list.
  • Basic entry is author's last name and page number. Example: (Jones 14)
  • If there is no author, use the "Title" of the source. Example: ("Global Warming" 264)
  • If page numbers are available, they MUST be listed. This often means examining the pdf version of database articles to locate page numbers.
  • For most citations, the parenthetical reference is placed BEFORE the punctuation. Example: Magnesium can be effective in treating PMS (Haggerty 42).
  • Direct quotes longer than 4 lines are indented an extra 1/2 inch, the quotation marks are removed, and the parenthetical comes AFTER punctuation.
  • If author name or title is used within the text, do NOT list it again within parenthesis. Example: Haggerty notes magnesium is effective at relieving some symptoms of PMS (42).


Examples of In-text Citations:

Direct Quote Example:

The quote below appears exactly as it does in Joanna Santa Barbara's article on child-rearing in the  Encyclopedia of Violence Peace and Conflict.

"Adjusted data from seven U.S. surveys between 1968 and 1994 show a decline in approval of discliplinary spanking from 94% to 68%, or 26 percentage points in 26 years" (Santa Barbara 243).

Paraphrase Example:

This sentence takes the information above and puts it into the author’s own words.

Studies show that Americans are becoming more critical of the concept of spanking children. Between 1968 and 1994 the so-called “approval rating” of spanking children dropped from 94% to 68% (Santa Barbara 243).

Summarize Example:

The sentence below distills the main idea of the original information.

Studies have shown that Americans just don't approve of spanking like they used to (Santa Barbara 243).




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