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A Detailed Guide on How to Make Citations in an MLA Format Thesis

When writing a thesis in liberal arts or humanities, you should credit the information that you use in compliance with the MLA (Modern Language Association) formatting rules. The basic guidelines for citing the sources in your text using MLA style are provided below.

Basic Rules

In MLA style, in-text citations are parenthetical, e.g. the information about a source is provided in parentheses immediately after a quote or a paraphrase.

  • Consider the source medium (print, the Internet, DVD) when deciding what information should be placed in a citation.
  • Make sure that the information in the in-text citation corresponds to the data on the works cited page of your thesis.
  • Remember that the author’s last name and the page number are essential components of MLA in-text citations. Namely, if you want to learn more about the source, you should find the necessary author on the works cited page. The page number will tell where exactly the necessary information can be located in the source.

Citations for Print Sources

Print sources include books, magazines, newspapers, and journals. The author’s last name can be provided either in the text or after the quoted sentence. If the author’s name is mentioned in the sentence, put only the page number in the parenthetical citation. Otherwise, write the author’s name and follow it with the page number in parentheses.

  • If it is a source with a corporate author, mention the corporation name and follow it with the page number.
  • If it is a source with an unknown author, place a shortened title of the piece and follow it with a page number. Italicize the title of a long work and use quotation marks if it is a short piece.
  • If you refer to a book from a multi-volume edition when writing your thesis, remember to provide some additional details in your citation. Namely, remember to provide the volume number, followed by a colon and the page number.
  • If it is a source with up to three authors, provide the authors’ last names in your parenthetical citation. However, if there are more authors, only the first author’s name should be provided and followed by “et al.”

Citations for Non-Print or the Internet Sources

Electronic and the Internet sources usually do not require that you make parenthetical citations.

  • If you refer to a non-print source in the text of your thesis, provide the first thing as it is mentioned in the works cited page (the website name, the article name, etc.)
  • Don’t give any page numbers or paragraph numbers.
  • If necessary, provide a partial URL.

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