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Ethel K Smith Library

*Citation Basics Guide: MLA Citation Guide

Interactive Guide

How To: Capturing Evidence

The 3 Basic Ways to Capture Evidence

  1. Direct Quote
  2. Paraphrase
  3. Summary

Direct Quote
A direct quote is information taken from a source verbatim, or exactly as it appears in the source. In MLA, it is standard to put quotation marks around your direct quote. The writer must include an in-text citation.

For example: In Jurassic Park, Dr. Wu explains, "We don't want [the dinosaurs] to survive in the wild. So I've made them lysine dependent" (Crichton 113). 

Paraphrase
When paraphrasing information/an idea from a source, a writer uses his or her own words to represent the information taken from the source. Keep in mind that although the writer is using their own words, the information/ideas are not his or her own information/ideas, so the paraphrase must have an in-text citation.

For example: The scientists in Jurassic Park created a gene in the dinosaur DNA that would make them dependent on lysine to survive; this way, the dinosaurs must eat the food provided to them by the park staff, and they can't survive off the island (Chrichton 113). 

Summary
A summary is similar to a paraphrase because the writer is using his or her own words, but unlike a paraphrase, a summary condenses an entire source into a sentence. Again, although the writer is using their own words to summarize the source, the information/ideas are not his or her own information/ideas, so the summary must have an in-text citation.

For example: Although the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are biologically engineered to stay on the island, some of the dinosaurs nevertheless escape and wreak havoc (Chichton). 

Additional Resources

Google Web Search

MLA Citations

How to Format a Works Cited Page

At the end of an MLA style paper, a writer will include a list of all the sources used in the paper; this list is called Works Cited. The Works Cited page needs:

  • To begin on its own separate page
  • A title that reads Works Cited
  • Full citations for every source used in the essay, double spaced with handing indents, sorted alphabetically

Books

Last, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, year of publication. 

Chrichton, Michael. Jurassic Park. Ballantine Books, 1990. 

eBooks

Last, First Name. Title of Book. e-book. Publisher, year of publication. 

Chrichton, Michael. Jurassic Park. e-book. Ballantine Books, 1990. 

Journal Articles

Last, First Name. "Title of Article." Tittle of Journal, volume number, issue number date of publication, pages. Database, doi (preferred) or URL. 

Gresham, Robert M. "Dinosaur Dentition: The Tribology of Jurassic Park." Tribology & Lubrication Technology, vol. 71, no. 8, August 2015. pp. 24-26. OmniFile Full Text Mega, https://login.proxy200.nclive.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ofm&AN=110030662&site=eds-live. 

Web Page

Last, First name. "Title of Web Page." Title of Website, date of publication, URL.  

Buchanan, Kyle. "You'll Never Guess How the Dinosaur Sounds in Jurassic Park Were Made." Vulture, 9 June 2015, http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/how-the-dino-sounds-in-jurassic-park-were-made.html. 

Multiple Authors

If there are 2 or 3 authors credited to a source, list them both in the order they appear in the source.

Briggs, Laura and Jodi Kelber-Kaye "'There Is No Unauthorized Breeding in Jurassic Park': Gender and the Uses of Genetics." The Johns Hopkins University Press, vol. 12, no. 3, 2000, pp. 92-113. ProjectMUSE, doi:10.1353/nwsa.2000.0050.

If there are 4 or more authors credited to a  source, use the name of the first author listed followed by et al. 

Bishop, P. J., et al. "The Influence of Speed and Size on Avian Terrestrial Locomotor Biomechanics: Predicting Locomotion in Extinct Theropod Dinosaurs." PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 2, 21 Feb. 2018, pp. 1-40. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192172.

No Author/No Date

This is most common for websites; if you find a book or journal article with no author or date listed, please find a librarian for assistance.

"Title of Web Page." Title of Website, URL. Date of access. 

"Jurassic Park (1993)." Internet Move Database, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107290/. Accessed 21 June 2018.

If a corporate or government author is available, you may use it as the author. For example:

Smithsonian Institution. "The Last American Dinosaurs: Discovering a Lost World." Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. https://naturalhistory.si.edu/fossil-hall/last-american-dinosaurs/. Accessed 23 June 2018. 

How to Cite In-Text

In-text citations are made of signal phrases and parenthetical references, and there are two major ways to cite a source in-text.

  1. By using a signal phrase and parenthetical reference
  2. By using only a parenthetical reference

Normally, a writer will use option 1 when using a source for the first time in the paper. In these cases, the signal phrase will contain the author's name and the parenthetical reference will only contain the page number(s). 
For example: Michael Chrichton considers the desires of theme park attendees through a conversation between Dr. Wu and John Hammond (121).  

In most other cases, a writer will use option 2 when using the source again later in the paper. In these cases, the parenthetical reference will contain both the author's last name and the page number(s).
For example: In Jurassic Park, Dr. Wu and John Hammond debate whether or not theme park attendees want to see "real" dinosaurs (Chrichton 121). 

Work with Multiple Authors

If there are 2 or 3 authors credited to a source, list them both in the order they appear in the source.
For example: (Briggs and Kelber-Kaye 111)


If there are 4 or more authors credited to a  source, use the name of the first author listed followed by et al.
For example: (Bishop et al. 30)

Work with No Author

Sometimes writers encounter sources that do not name an author. In such cases, determine whether the source lists a corporate author, such as a government body, association, company, etc. OR if the source is entirely anonymous.

If the source has a corporate author, you will use the organization's name as the author's name.
For example: (Smithsonian Institution)

If the source is entirely anonymous, use the full or shortened title in place of an author.
For example: ("Jurassic Park")

Work with No Pages or Page Numbers

If a writer is using a source that does not contain pages or page numbers, including paragraph numbers in the in-text citation is optional but not necessary. Paragraph numbers are preceded by par. in the parenthetical reference.
For example: (Smithsonian Institution par. 4)