Citing your sources is a way to demonstrate academic honesty and is a way to avoid plagiarism.
Citing your work shows that you have:
Completed quality research by listing the sources that you used to get your information.
Are a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas.
Provided a way for your reader to easily find the sources that have you used by citing them accurately in your paper using a bibliography, works cited page or reference list.
WHAT IS MLA?
MLA is short for Modern Language Association. MLA Style is used to format papers and to cite sources within the Liberal Arts and Humanities.
There are many other citation styles such as APA (American Psychological Association) for Psychology and Sciences, and the Chicago Manual of Style for Anthropology and History. Please note that there are many other citation styles available. Citations styles may vary with disciplines, with publishers, etc. Please consult your instructor about which citation style you should use. Be consistent with your citation style; use only one citation style throughout your paper.
WHEN TO CITE SOURCES
When you are writing your research paper, any information you quote, summarize or paraphrase must be cited and documented. You must document all of your sources to avoid plagiarism.
GENERAL FORMAT FOR CITING SOURCES
To properly document the sources used for your research, you need to include:
In-text citations - use the parenthetical citation format throughout the body of your paper when you quote or paraphrase from researched information.
Works Cited - include a list of sources used in your paper at the very end, as a separate page. Each will be a full citation.
MLA Style has different editions. This guide is for the current edition - MLA Style 8th (released in 2016). There is an old edition, MLA Style 7th edition (released in 2009). You should always aim to use the newest edition of your citation style.
Citation Managers are tools to help you keep track of your citations as you research and to create/format your citations and bibliography. For example, Zotero allows you to keep citations, full text articles, and other research resources organized in one place. You can also use these tools to format your bibliographies and the notes/citations in your papers according to the appropriate style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).
Zotero is a free open source application that works with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, you can also download a client to your computer. It is a good choice if you use just one computer when researching. You can access citation information when online or offline.