When it comes to writing academic papers, following a specific citation style is crucial for maintaining credibility and ensuring that your research is properly documented. The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is one of the most commonly used citation styles for humanities disciplines, such as literature, language, and cultural studies. Understanding what you must include according to MLA style is essential for any student or researcher who wants to produce high-quality academic work.
1. Title Page
In MLA style, a title page is not required for most papers, unless specifically requested by your instructor. If you are asked to include a title page, it should contain your name, the instructor’s name, the course title, and the date. The title of your paper should be centered and formatted in standard MLA style (no bold, underline, or quotation marks).
2. In-text Citations
In-text citations are an essential part of MLA style as they help to acknowledge the sources of your information and ideas. In MLA style, in-text citations usually include the author’s last name and the page number where the information can be found. If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, you only need to include the page number in parentheses.
For example: According to Smith, “quote here” (45).
3. Works Cited Page
The Works Cited page is a crucial component of any paper written in MLA style. This page lists all the sources you have cited in your paper and provides detailed information about each source to allow readers to locate them. The Works Cited page should be arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name or the title of the source if there is no author.
Each entry in the Works Cited page should include the author’s name, the title of the source, the publication date, the publisher, and the location of the publication (for books) or the URL (for online sources). The format for citing different types of sources, such as books, articles, and websites, may vary so it is important to consult the official MLA handbook for specific guidelines.
4. Formatting Guidelines
MLA style has specific formatting guidelines that must be followed to ensure consistency and readability in your paper. The text should be double-spaced, with one-inch margins all around, and a legible font such as Times New Roman in 12-point size.
The first line of each paragraph should be indented by 0.5 inches, and there should be a header with your last name and page number in the top right corner of each page. Section headings should be centered and formatted in the same font and size as the rest of the paper.
5. Additional Elements
Aside from the title page, in-text citations, Works Cited page, and formatting guidelines, there are other elements that should be included in your paper according to MLA style. If you are using tables, figures, or illustrations, they should be labeled and numbered accordingly with a descriptive caption. Any appendices should be labeled and included after the Works Cited page.
It is also important to pay attention to details such as abbreviations, punctuation, and italics when formatting your paper in MLA style. Consistency and accuracy are key when following MLA guidelines to maintain the integrity of your research.
Following MLA style guidelines is essential for any student or researcher who wants to produce well-documented and credible academic work. By including all the necessary components such as in-text citations, a Works Cited page, formatting guidelines, and additional elements, you can ensure that your paper is properly cited and formatted according to MLA standards.
Remember to consult the official MLA handbook or online resources for specific instructions on citing different types of sources and formatting your paper. With attention to detail and adherence to MLA style guidelines, you can present your research in a professional and scholarly manner.
Overall, understanding what you must include according to MLA style is crucial for academic success and proper citation practices. By following these guidelines, you can demonstrate your integrity as a researcher and contribute to the scholarly conversation in your field.