Overall Format Works Cited
- Title: In MLA style, all the sources you cite throughout the text of your paper are listed together at the end, in a section titled Works Cited.
- Alphabetical order: Starting on the next line after the Works Cited title, list your references in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Multiple sources by the same author should be listed chronologically by year within the same group.
- Hanging indents: Each reference should be formatted with what is called a hanging indent. This means the first line of each reference should be flush with the left margin (i.e., not indented), but the other lines of that reference should be indented 0.5 inches. Any word-processing program will let you format this automatically so you don’t have to do it by hand. (In Microsoft Word, for example, you simply highlight your citations, click on the small arrow right next to the word “Paragraph” on the home tab, and in the popup box choose “hanging indent” under the “Special” section. Click OK, and you’re done.)
Formats for Different Types of Sources in the Works Cited List
Regardless of the source type, you need certain “core elements” from your sources placed in a standard order in order to create citations. These core elements are explained in detail below. Note that you do not need to memorize this process, but should take this opportunity to understand how citations are created. You can always return to this page, to the MLA handbook, the MLA Style Center, or to other online resources to help you create the citations you need for your paper.
Click through the following slides to learn more about each component and to see examples of MLA end-of-text citations.
You can also download the presentation here.
Watch this video to see examples of how to identify the core elements needed in a Works Cited citation:
Note: Some content in the video “MLA Style, 8th Edition: An Introduction” is presented visually. You may listen to this video with audio description.
Link to the following sites for additional information on MLA formatting style for the whole research paper, and to see sample research essays in MLA format.