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Biology 205 (Keating)

MLA Citation Guidelines (9th ed.)

About MLA 9th edition

This guide is a quick introduction to the Modern Language Association 9th edition citation style. It covers the core elements of a MLA paper, in-text citations and works cited entries. Be sure to consult the MLA Handbook at your campus library or the online resource MLA Style Center for detailed standards and procedures. 

If you are unfamiliar with MLA documentation style, below is a sample paper from OWL Purdue.

Sample MLA paper from OWL Purdue:

Courtesy of The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University ©2021

MLA Headings, Headers and Page Set-Up

MLA Format General Guidelines

  • Times New Roman 12-point font (or other easily readable font 11-13 points)
  • Double spacing throughout
  • 1-inch margins
  • A running head with your last name in the top right corner
  • Page numbers to the right of your name in the running head
  • Heading with your name, your instructor's name, the class, and the date formatted Day Month Year
  • Paper title underneath the heading
  • Works Cited page in alphabetical order by the first element in the citation

First Page - MLA Format Title, Heading & Header

MLA format has basic requirements you must follow when it comes to creating your paper's title, heading, and header. 

  • Your name should be on the left.
  • The title of the paper is centered.
  • A header in the upper right that includes your last name and page numbers.

 MLA headers are identifiers found on every page of your paper. To create a header in Word 365, select the Insert option at the top your document. Select the Header & Footer Page Number option. A drop-down menu appears. Select the option that places the page number at the top right of the page.

MLA In-Text Citation

Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list. MLA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the page number from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken, for example: (Smith 163). If the source does not use page numbers, do not include a number in the parenthetical citation: (Smith).

An example paragraph with in-text citations

A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al. 246; Thomas 15). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech. Derwing and others conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program (258).

Additional examples

Source type With page # Reference in text + page # No page #
Source with one author (Smith 23).  According to Smith...(23). (Smith). 
Source with two authors  (Smith and Johnson 9) According to Smith and Johnson...(9). (Smith and Johnson).
Source with three or more authors (Smith et al. 327).  According to Smith et al. (327).  (Smith et al.).
No author  ("The Black Death" 21).  According to "The Black Death"...(21). ("The Black Death")

MLA Works Cited

The format of your MLA Works Cited page follows the below guidelines:

  • Last name and page number ½” down from top of page and right aligned
  • ‘Works Cited’ title is centered and 1” down from top of page
  • Use a hanging indent for citations that are more than one line Include doi (or url) at the end of citation when referenced
  • Place a period at the end of each citation
  • Double space Do not add additional line space between entries
  • ‘Works Cited’ page goes after the body of your research paper

MLA Cheat Sheet

Examples of work cited entries and related in-text citations. 

Citation Builder

NCSU Libraries Citation Builder

North Carolina State University Libraries Citation Builder for MLA 9th ed. and APA 7th ed. 

MLA Template (Office 365 Word)

Use the attached template to help you follow the proper MLA guidelines.

MLA Sample Essays

Sample MLA paper from OWL Purdue:

Courtesy of The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University ©2021

An annotated bibliography is a list of cited sources about a particular topic, in which each citation (which adheres to MLA guidelines) is followed by a brief paragraph that discusses aspects of the source. The bibliography is useful for documenting your research in a specific area, exploring varying viewpoints, and summarizing main points from different sources.