For a research paper, it is common for you to collect information from different sources to present your arguments. To give credit to the authors who wrote all those sources, you must provide references, both in your document and at the end, on what is called a works cited page. A reference is precisely a collection of information about the original source, including the author's name, publication date, title, and editorial information. The format of the page and the references depend on the style rules you are going to use, which are usually assigned by a teacher or the school. The MLA style of the Modern Language Association is most often used in the humanities arena.
Method 1 of 2: Format a Works Cited Page
Step 1. Sort the references alphabetically by the author's last name
If the source does not have a specific author, use the title for alphabetical order.
Step 2. Use the French sangria
In the text editing program, highlight the writing. Move the pointer to the top of the page where two tiny triangles sit, one on top of the other, on a ruler.
Move the bottom one by itself to create the French indentation (1, 25 cm, or 1/2 inch), so that the second and subsequent lines of the reference are indented, and the first line is completely aligned to the left
Step 3. Use double space and choose a font wisely
Make sure the works cited page and the rest of the document are in a readable font. Times New Roman is pretty standard.
- Formats the font to 12 point size.
- All margins on the Works Cited page, like the rest of the document, should be 2.5 cm (1 inch).
Step 4. Create the title
The title should be centered and also have a 12 point font. It should simply be “Works Cited”, without writing it in bold or italics.
Always start the works cited page on a new page, after finalizing the document
Method 2 of 2: Create Basic References
Step 1. Make a book reference
An example input could be: French, Joe. City of Lights. Akron: Ohio Books, 1994. Printed.
- In this case, "Joe French" is the author's first name, which is reversed for reference because it is sorted alphabetically by last name.
- "City of Lights" is the title of the book, while "Akron" is the city of publication.
- "Ohio Books" is the publisher and "1994" is the publication date. Information about the publication can be found on the back of the cover, although if you use a catalog to search for books, you can usually find it there as well.
- "Printed" is the medium of publication.
Step 2. Create a reference to an academic article
For an academic paper, use this basic format: Smith, George, and Jessica Handler. "Kitten Sleeping Patterns". Cat Behaviors 4.3 (2012): 22-43. Printed.
- As the first example, the first author's name, which would normally be "George Smith," is reversed. However, when you include the second author, their name is written in typical Western format after the "y."
- The title of the article is "Kitten Sleeping Patterns." Keep in mind that titles are capitalized and lowercase, that is, important words are written in uppercase. "Cat Behavior" is the title of the magazine in which the article was published, while "4" and "3" are the volume and edition numbers.
- The magazines are divided by year, and each year is a volume. Therefore, the first year is volume one, the second year is volume two, and so on.
- Each edition in the year also receives a number, which starts with one and starts anew each year. "2012" is the publication date, while "22-43" are the numbers of the pages of the magazine in which the article is. In other words, the edition has a series of articles and those page numbers indicate where they are located within the book, not the pages you have used.
- You must indicate the page numbers used within the document, not on the works cited page.
- Finally, "Printed" is again the medium of publication.
Step 3. Add additional data for articles found on the internet
For an article from an online database, the reference would be: Smith, George, and Jessica Handler. "Kitten Sleeping Patterns". Cat Behaviors 4.3 (2012): 22-43. JSTOR. Web. November 18, 2014.
The only additions to the reference are the name of the database (JSTOR), the change of the medium to "Web", and the date of access
Step 4. Cite a web page
For a page on a website, use this format: "How to Find Cats." AlltheAnswers. Big Internet Company, 2011. Web. November 18, 2014.
- In this case, "How to Find Cats" is the name of the web page. If it has an author, place it before the title as in the other cases.
- "AlltheAnswers" is the title of the website.
- "Big Internet Company" is the publisher, and "2011" is the date of the website (use "n.d.", which means "no date" if you can't find one). Be as specific as possible.
- "Web" is the publication medium, while "November 18, 2014" is the date you accessed the page.
The information above covers how to format a works cited page and the basics of references. However, these can vary greatly, so you should consult a reliable source if you are unsure. You can visit Purdue’s Online Writing Lab or use the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers