The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is the official style guide of the Modern Language Association of America, from whom the style takes its name. The Modern Language Association of America supports scholars who study the literature and culture of English and other languages. The MLA format documentation style is generally used by language, literature, and other humanities scholars, and it would be most appropriate to use when writing about topics related to these disciplines, such as literature, language usage, art, and various types of media.
Since scholars who use MLA style can be working from texts that are centuries old and are published in a variety of editions, the MLA citation style privileges the names of the author and the text; therefore, the last name of the author of the text is given in the in-text citations, but not the publication year. And on the works cited page, MLA’s name for the bibliography at the end of the paper, the author’s name and the title of the text come before any of the publication information.
Because many texts can be found in a variety of locations, it is important to write down all of the bibliographic information while researching and taking notes. When you are including a direct quotation from a text, people will want to find that particular passage; therefore. It Is Important to Include the specific publication information with the copyright year and any other relevant unique identifiers in your works cited (how many different editions of Shakespeare’s work have you seen in your academic studies?). Because the Internet is a dynamic medium and changes can occur so quickly. It is wise to print copies of your source documents. Also, in your works cited you must include both the date the page was posted and the date you accessed It. Type the URL after the date of access, enclose it in angle brackets, and end the citation with a period.
For example, if you found a copy of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew on the Internet, the full bibliographic citation according to MLA style would look like this:
MLA Book Found on Internet (static) • Citation Elements: book, single author, editor, digital, online
Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. Ed. Amanda
Author’s name and the title of the text. Name of the editor. The date the researcher accessed the Website.
Copyright years as listed by the Web site.
MLA format recommends that you note the URL to the specific Web site for easy access within brackets.
Headers and Page Numbers In the upper right corner of each page, include a header with your last name and the page number. All pages in the paper should be consecutively numbered. The header is placed one-half inch from the top of the page and one inch from the right side of the page. Including the header on the first page of the paper is optional, but it must be Included on all subsequent pages.
If your paper is long enough and It includes coherent sections, and even subsections, you might consider including section headings In your paper. MLA format does not prescribe specific guidelines for section headings. For each section use an Arabic numeral with a relevant title. Make sure that all of your section titles are syntactically parallel. In other words, if you start your first section title with a noun, start all of your section titles with nouns. For example, the following outline could represent section headings from a paper in MLA style. Ultimately, MLA format emphasizes that section headings be concise, well-organized, and above all, consistent.
MLA style divides visuals into two categories: tables and figures. Whenever you place visuals into your text, you must place them as close as possible to the paragraph referring to them.
If you are presenting numerical data in a table format, label the table with the word Table (not Italicized), an Arabic numeral, and a title. The label and title are placed on top of the table as it appears in your text. If you are reprinting the table from an outside source, you must include the full bibliographic citation for the table directly under the table (not at the end of your paper in the works cited list).
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