Term Paper Writing Guide- Citations

Term Paper Writing Guide- Citations

It's important to remember that every single piece of information you obtain from a source must be cited in your paper. This applies not only to quotes, but to every single fact you incorporate. There are several methods for doing citations, but it's best just to choose one and remain consistent. Below are directions for doing citations in the MLA style, one of the most widely recognized formats.


The first step is to make a bibliography, inclusive of all works you've cited in your paper. What follows is a list of proper forms for various types of sources.

Vendler, Helen. Poems. Poets. Poetry. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1995. If the book you are using is an edition other than the first, include this information (e.g. "Id ed. ") directly after the title.

Article or other work in a Journal
Sedgwick, Eve. "Symbolism and Sexuality in Faulkner." Mississippi Quarterly 10 (1987): 69-78.

Article, chapter, excerpt, or work in an edited collection or anthology
Jonson, Ben. "Though I am Young." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Ed. M.H. Abrams et al. New York: Norton, 1993. 1240-1241.

Item in a collection of the author's work with no separate editor
Lawrence, D.H. "Tickets Please." In Collected Stories. London: Heinemann, 1974. 314-325.

Item in a collection of the author's work with no separate editor
Lawrence, D.H. "Tickets Please." In Collected Stories. London: Heinemann, 1974. 314-325.

Article or interview in a magazine or newspaper
Clift, Eleanor. "Clinton's Right Turn." Newsweek July 1999: 55-56.

Article in an encyclopedia or other reference work
"Aardvarks." Encyclopedia Britannica. 1975.

Review or editorial
Leys, Simon. "Balzac's Genius and Other Paradoxes." Rev. of Balzac: A Life, by Graham Robb. The New Republic 20 December 1994. 26-7.

Preface, introduction, forward
Lewis, C.S. Preface. Phantastes. By George MacDonald. New York: Penguin Books, 1945.

Letters or papers from an archive
Reagan, Ronald. Papers. Ronald Regan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, CA.

Personal Letter
Sheley, Erin L. Letter to the author. 10 January 2000.

Unpublished paper or dissertation
Borelli, Jessica. "Out of the Darkness: Dreams and their Relation to Childhood Sexuality." Diss. University of California, Berkeley, 1999.

Letter in a published collection
Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley. "To Alexander Pope." 7 September 1718. Selected Letters. Ed. Robert Halsband. New York: Viking-Penguin, 1986.

Legal Case
Watson v. Dunhill Inc. 135 USPQ 88 2d Cir 1967.

Book with an author and an editor
Dante Alighieri. The Inferno. Ed. Robert Pinsky. Boston: Boston University Press, 1996.

Book in several volumes
Keats, John. Collected Poems. Plays, and. Letters. 2 vols. Ed Jon Stallworthy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Books in a series
Peterson, Margaret Wallace Stevens and the Idealist Tradition. Studies in Modern Literature 24. Ann Arbor: Umi Research Press, t983.

Reprinted Book
Douglas, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas. 1857. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Translated Book
Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science. Trans. Walter Kaufman. New York: Vintage, 1974.86.

Work, article, information, or graphic on the Web
Sheley, Erin. "Strange Bedfellows: Should the Republican Party Cozy Up to the Homosexual Vote?" http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hpr cited 10 January 1999.

Telnet or FTP site
"Aardvark." Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed. 1971 [Online book]. .

Contribution to a listserv or newsgroup
Raner, Claude. raner@wiz.bristol.ac.uk (1995, May 3). Against guns. 3 May 1997. <alt.weapons.ops>.

E-mail message
Shankar, Ganesh. gshankar@leland.stanford.edu "I'M Sorry." Personal e-mail. 23 March 1999.

Class lecture, conference paper, speech, or performance
Eck, Diana. Lecture on Shaivism. Literature and Arts C-18, Harvard University. Cambridge, MA. 14 December, 1999.

Personal or telephone interview
Engell, James. Telephone interview. 6 March 1998.

Artwork, illustration, or cartoon
Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence. The Rite of Spring. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Musical recording, score, or liner notes
Gerswhin, George. Rhapsody in Blue. Cond. John Williams. Boston Pops Orchestra. DeccaDM-3988,1995.

Film, video, or television program
Stories of the City. Videocassette. Dir. Greg Stone. Narr. Paria Kooklan. Panorama Entertainment, 1999.

In-text Citations

The easiest way to cite your sources throughout your paper is by using the parenthetical technique.

For a humanities paper, you include the last name of the author, and the page in which the reference was found, at the end of the sentence.

Example: - "The Leviathan suggests that in a state (if nature, man looks out only for his own interests (Hobbes 56)."

For a social science or science paper, include the author's last name and the date.

Example: "The regressive motions of the planets were, for a time, explained in terms of epicycles (Koestler,1992)."


When using direct quotations less than three lines long, you may integrate them as described in the previous sections. When using a quote that is longer than three lines long, follow these guidelines:

  • Skip down two lines from the rest of your essay to begin the quote
  • Indent all lines 10 spaces from the left margin
  • Single space the quote
  • Don't put an indented block in quotation marks
  • Indicate the speaker and the context of the quote before you insert it
  • End the sentence directly before it with a colon
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