MLA Citation

For knowledge to thrive, civility must be used while scholars are interacting with each other’s’ materials.  To ensure that civility is promoted, there are several sets of guidelines that have been formulated. Amongst them are the American Medical Association (AMA), the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date method, the Chicago/Turabian: Humanities, Havard, and Vancouver referencing styles. The two most commonly used styles are the MLA and the APA styles.  This paper seeks to show how the MLA guidelines assist in establishing guidelines that strive towards a more civil society in writing.

Different citation styles highlight different aspects of the works cited. While mostly the author is prioritized, the priority of other aspects like book title, pages, the publisher and the city of publication are different or eliminated altogether. In-text citations also vary from method to method and there exist three positions for in-text citations. First, they may exist within the text, second, they may exist as footnotes and finally they may exist as endnotes.

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Importance of Citation

Citation is the foundation of academics (Hunter 1). Authors of new materials often use old information to craft new knowledge. To be viable, new knowledge must be properly cited for four reasons. First, proper citation gives credit to the rightful owners of the idea. Academics want, and deserve, to get credit for the work they put into obtaining new knowledge. Proper citation provides for this. Second, failure to cite an idea properly violates its author’s rights (Hunter 1, Northwestern University, par 1).  The law protects ownership of ideas and requires that those who use other people’s ideas to acknowledge for them. Third, citation enables academics to watch how ideas evolve.  Citation enables people to see how ideas develop from one author to the next as researchers seek to explore a certain field. Finally, citations may be used to certify the work on which they have been used. Readers who appreciate certain authors are also likely to read books in which there exists ideas that originate from their preferred author. Authors also stand to be trusted more if they cite from trusted materials. Trusted materials include academic materials and peer reviewed journals among others.

MLA citation method

The MLA citation style uses the author-page method of in-text citation. In this method, one who borrows knowledge from works done by other people is required to provide the author’s name followed by the page number of the works cited immediately after the borrowed information. He may however avoid repeating the name if citing the article closely. Civilized persons respect each other’s work and highly regard it. Providing this information provides the reader with more information about the source in case they would need to consult for further information (“How to Avoid Plagiarism: Office of the Provost” par 4).

A list of works cited at the end of the document complements the in-text citation within the paper mentioned above. The purpose of this list is to provide even more information concerning the sources used in the paper. The works cited list contains enough information to obtain the source from a library or the internet.  It contains the names of the authors, the title of the document, article or book, name of the publisher and the city of publication. Again, this provides the information required by the reader to consult for in-depth understanding of something cited in the text if they choose to. The list also serves to populate the entire list of sources consulted in preparing the article, document or book.

Using standard formulations to make citations also makes work easier for everyone else. Standard means of citation make it easier to access information.  If someone needs to obtain a book you have cited properly, the search is going to be shorter.  The search becomes easier on several grounds. First, all the relevant information is usually provided. A reader, for example, who chooses to find the book from the library by author, just needs to go to the catalogue where the letter beginning the first name is located. A reader who needs to search by book title only has to use the book title provided.

Being standard, again, makes the users of the method more familiar with it hence making it easier to use. Using such standards to cite works shows care and concern for the reader. While the writer is able to concoct their own citation method, they opt for a more civilized and acceptable method for the sake of their readers.

Referencing gives the reader an idea of how much they can trust the information provided. References contain data about the books cited. Proper citations should always be relevant to the work being written, fall within a recent timeline and be peer reviewed. The works cited page gives this information hence enabling the reader a peek into the work hence enabling him to know what to expect. If works cited are relevant to the area of interest, they may opt to study the works in question. Civility makes it worthwhile to spend time referencing while one could get something else to do.

Referencing motivates a writing culture. People who are cited in works are more motivated and may therefore put more effort into writing in the future. Writers may who find their work plagiarized on the other hand become de-motivated and stressed. Civility is what makes the writer understand the need to encourage past and new authors to keep studying and producing more and better works.


In conclusion, academics and civility cannot be separated. Authors’ work must be respected and cited whenever used.  The MLA citation method also offers writers a chance to endorse their works. Properly cited work is more reliable and hence citing gives work credibility. It also gives academics a chance watch the evolution of ideas over time. MLA style also has in-text citation and a works cited list. These help to protect the rights of the authors of the works cited provide information required for use by readers and show concern for readers who may need to confirm certain issues cited in the work.

Works Cited

“CIVILITY AND HONESTY.” Oregon State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2014. <>.

“How to Avoid Plagiarism: Office of the Provost.” Northwestern University. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2014. <>.

Sally, Dr. “Academic Coaching & Writing :: VI. The Importance of Following Guidelines for Citing and Documenting Sources.” Dissertation Help | Dissertation Assistance | Academic Writing Help. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2014. <>.

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