MLA research paper: Works Cited Section

The Works Cited portion of your research paper is the place that you give credit to your sources. Correctly citing and crediting your sources is the way you avoid plagiarism and other pitfalls in the research paper creation process.

Unlike a Reference Page, the Works Cited list must contain only resources that you have included in your overall paper text. Reference Pages, alternately, include all of the sources that you have looked at to form an opinion or build more knowledge – and may include those that you never cited.

Basics to Consider

  • The Works Cited page must be at the end of your paper on its own page
  • It must be labeled as the Works Cited page – following instructor preference
  • All citations, like the text body, are double-spaced
  • All sources are indented on the page
  • All page numbers or corresponding locations must be listed within the citations
  • Capitalize title words, but not prepositions or conjunctions
  • Titles of large works should be italicized instead of underlined
  • List authors and creators with their last name first
  • Never list titles along with names – keep it to only the credited name
  • Additional authors can be noted with ellipses – as well as additional works
  • If there is no author, the entry must start with the title for proper categorization alphabetically

Before you cite a specific source, you must consider the medium with which it was published. There are different requirements for print sources and other types of sources – including online, or even film sources. If it’s a website, you do not need to include the URL, but you should always include the proper website so that the reader or instructor can go there easily. Some will still require the exact website URL – if so, follow their instructions for how to include that information.

Citation Requirements

Depending on your professor, instructor, or lead’s requirements, some of the citation information that is designed by the MLA format may be changed to meet their individual requirements. Make sure you check with your professor, ask questions when necessary, and review assignment specifics before finalizing your citation and paper information.

It is also important to research changes in the MLA style. Updated yearly, there are many things that will change over time (especially in relation to more technology-centered sources) and need to be updated as you continue writing papers. When in doubt, visit a tutor or writing center to learn if you’re completing the process completely. Citations and formatting using specific styles can be a difficult process – but, if you learn the process thoroughly the first time, it gets easier.