Reference & Citation Style Guide

Audience and Purpose:

This resource is for anyone who needs information to assist them in citing MLA resources in a research paper. In addition to basic citation format information, we have included many learning objects in various formats to address different learning styles.


Goals and Objectives:

  • Students will recognize MLA format and why it is used in their research paper assignments.
  • Students will be able to check their MLA citation format by comparing it to a correctly cited example.
  • Students will have a quick reference guide to multiple MLA learning objects all in one resource.


What is MLA format?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) is a professional association for scholars, teachers, and librarians in the United States and globally. Their MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is now in its seventh edition published in 2009. MLA style is best known for its simplicity and formulaic approach to organizing information in citations for research papers. Additionally, their method of handling in-text citations makes research papers easier to read because they are minimally intrusive, allowing the reader to focus on the content rather than the citation.

Increasingly the use of online resources and new media has made formatting citations correctly a challenge for many students. Many citations don’t exactly fit any of the traditional categories. MLA’s modular format can provide consistency and clarity to almost any resource.