Instructional Materials for Craig White's Literature Courses


 MLA Documentation

adapted from

UHCL Writing Center

All college-level students need to use documentation when writing research papers for university classes. Among several styles of documentation, the most common are APA and MLA.

For WRIT 3037 spring 2014 UHCL-Ramsey, you may use either MLA or APA documentation. Your instructor is more familiar with MLA style, which prevails in Literature and Humanities courses, but can make sense of APA style, so use the style that best suits your interests.

This handout briefly describes some basic MLA documentation procedures. It is not inclusive, nor is it intended to replace the MLA handbook.

  • MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most often used in humanities courses such as literature, composition, fitness & human performance, and cross-cultural studies. Unless specified differently, history courses may also use MLA. It is always best to consult your professor for preference before implementing any type of documentation.
  • If you are required to use MLA style, you may need to purchase The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition. This manual can be found in public libraries, university libraries, university writing centers, many bookstores, and book services. If you officially purchase the MLA Handbook, you also gain access to the MLA Handbook's website, which provides additional examples and updates.
  • The URL for the MLA website is

How to create citations within the text:

If you've used the author's name in your sentence, put only the page numbers in parentheses after the segment you are citing.

  • Example: Johnson argues for the continuation of... (189-94).

If you have not named the author in your sentence, put both the name and page numbers in parentheses at the end of the sentence.

  • Example: The heroine's character is often described as . . . (Johnson 189-94).

Quoted material in your text: Enclose quotations of less than four lines in double quotation marks.

  • Example: Johnson describes Tess as "a wonder of the real world" (294).

Preparing the Works Cited section

"Works Cited" takes the place of the old-fashioned Bibliography. (Bibliography could include sources you read but didn't cite in your essay.)

The Works Cited appears as the last page of a research essay, or immediately following your final paragraph. 

Guidelines for writing a Works Cited section:

  • Place the words Works Cited in the center of the first page of this section, an inch from the top.
  • Double-space all lines. (Note: To save space, the examples on this tip sheet are not double-spaced.)
  • Begin the first line of all entries at the left margin and indent all subsequent lines 1/2 inch.
  • Alphabetize the list by the last names of authors. If no author is given, alphabetize by title. Ignore articles (A, An and The).
  • Include the author's name as it appears in the publication you are citing. For example, while you would probably list the author of The Waste Land as Eliot, T.S., you would list the author of Beloved as Morrison, Toni.
  • Shorten publisher's names. You can find a list of appropriate abbreviations listed in section 7.5 of the MLA Handbook.

Examples of how to list selected materials (Works Cited):

Books: Typically include the relevant information in this order:

Author. "Article Title." Book Title. Editor. Edition. City: Publisher, Year. Publication Medium: Print, web, etc. Page numbers.


Book with one author:

Clark, Irene. L. Writing in the Center: Teaching in a Writing Center Setting. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1998. Print.

Moncrieff, A.R. Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece. NY: Gramercy, 1995. Print.

Book with two or three authors:

Broadhead, Glenn J., and Richard C. Freed. The Variables of Composition: Process and Product in a Business Setting. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1986. Print.

Citations of They Say / I Say

Graff, Gerald, & Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. NY: Norton, 2010.

Article in an encyclopedia:

"International Working-class Movement." Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Ed. A.M. Prokhorov. 31 vols. NY: McMillan, 1977. Print.

Article or chapter in a book:

Hartwell, Patrick. "Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar." A Sourcebook for Basic Writing Teachers. Ed. Theresa Enos. 2nd ed. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1987. Print. 348-372.

Articles from The Norton Reader

Bronowski, Jacob. "The Nature of Scientific Reasoning. The Norton Reader. Ed. Linda H. Peterson, John C. Brereton, & Joan E. Hartman. 9th ed. NY: Norton, 1996. Print. 1011-1015.


Periodicals (i.e., journals, magazines, newspapers)

Typically include the relevant/available information in this order:

Author. "Article TItle." Periodical Title Volume Number. Issue Number (Year): pages. (For daily or weekly publications, use exact dates instead of volume/issue/year.)

Journal Article, with continuous pagination:

Elbow, Peter. "Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting out Three Forms of Judgment." College English 55 (1993): 187-206. Print.

Journal Article, paginated by issue (i.e., includes both volume and issue numbers):

White, John R. "The Way to Use APA: Insider's Guide." Writing Center Market 12.3 (1999): 21-23. Print.

Magazine Article:

Himes, Geoffrey. "Back in the Saddle." Rolling Stone 18 Apr. 1996: 34-36. Print.

Tyre, Peg. "The Writing Revolution." The Atlantic October 2012.

Newspaper Article:

Smith, James. "The APA Recovery Guide." Chronicle of Higher Education 10 Mar. 1999: B2. Print.

Web Sites:

Typically include as much of the following information as possible in this order: Author (may be an organization). "Article Title." Title of Website. Names of any editors. Website publisher or n.p. Date of publication, page number or n. pag. Date of access. Add URL if the site will be difficult to find without it.

Professional site:

Eaves, Morris, Robert Essick, and Joseph Vescomi, Eds. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Cong., 28 Sept. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2007.

Scholarly journal:

Landauer, Michelle. "Images of Virtue: Reading, Reformation and the Visualization of Culture in Rousseau's La nouvelle Heloise." Romanticism on the Net 46 (2007): n. pag. Web. 8 Nov. 2007.

Online Database:

Evangelista, Stefano. Rev. of Victorian and Edwardian Responses to the Italian Renaissance, ed. John E. Law and Lene Ostermark-Johansen. Victorian Studies 46.4 (2006): 729-31. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Mar. 2007.

Special citations for our course

(see also above)

(These are somewhat improvised but operate under the documentation principle of providing as much information as possible or helpful. Even if your reader might never have access to the "instructor's responses to your essays," you can make a convincing case that you're not making these up, that they really exist.)


White, Craig. "Check-Sheet for Essay Organization." Instructional Materials for Craig White's Literature Courses.

(For the example above, you don't really need to write out the web URL address beginning with http. For convenience in our situation only, write something like White Coursesite.)

Instructor's responses to essays:

White, Craig. "Essay 1 Rewrite." Personal note. 17 March 2014.

Most of this information can be located in the following publication:

MLA. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.