Skip to Main Content Saint Mary's Libraries

Citing Your Sources

Why cite your sources?

  • To give credit to authors/researchers/writers and ideas that are not your own
  • Using high quality sources helps support your argument
  • To allow readers/researchers to locate the sources you used
  • To maintain academic integrity and avoid academic dishonesty and plagiarism

When in doubt, cite!

  • If you read it and use the idea or a quote, cite it
  • If it is in a research paper, cite it
  • If it is in a reflection paper, cite it
  • If you are using past research, cite it

When in doubt, cite!

Citing properly requires:

1. An in-text citation

When you use the work of another person, you must make note of this in the text. Do this by including an in-text citation which gives a brief reference and helps the reader locate the full citation that you'll include as part of your References list.

2. A list of works referenced

The last page of your paper is typically a list of resources you used/utilized/consulted.

What is MLA?

MLA Style, as published in the MLA Handbook (print) and MLA Style Center (online), is developed and maintained by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the main professional organization in the United States for scholars of language and literature. MLA is most commonly used in the humanities, primarily language and literature studies, cultural studies, media studies, and related disciplines.

MLA Examples

Template: AuthorLastName, FirstName. Book Title. Publisher, Year.

One author: Morrison, Toni. Beloved. Knopf, 1987.

Multiple authors: Mann, Jill, and Piero Boitani. The Cambridge Chaucer Companion. Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Chapter in an edited book: Mayfield, Julian. "James Baldwin: Voice of a Revolution." Critical Essays on James Baldwin, edited by Fred L. Stanley and Nancy V. Burt, G.K. Hall, 1988, 188-201.

Template: AuthorLastName, FirstName. "Article Title." Journal Title, vol. #, no. #, date, pages. [doi/url if available]

Journal article (with DOI): Bisschoff, Lizelle. "African Cyborgs: Females and Feminists in African Science Fiction Film." Interventions: The International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, vol. 22, no. 5, 2020, pp. 608-623. EBSCO MegaFILE, doi:10.1080/1369801X.2019.1659155.

Journal article (no DOI): Williams, Linda. "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess." Film Quarterly, vol. 44, no. 4, 1991, pp. 2-13.

Template: AuthorLastName, FirstName. "Article Title." Website Publisher, Date, URL.

Article on a website: Wabuke, Hope. "'Caste' Argues its Most Violent Manifestation is in Treatment of Black Americans." NPR, August 10, 2020,

Streaming Video: Yuan, Eric. "How to Connect While Apart." TED, July 2020,

Need More Information?

See our Citation Styles guide to learn more about citing your sources.