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Step 10: Works Cited Page

If you are at the works cited page then pat yourself on the back because you are almost finished! An essay works cited page is the last page with a list of the references or sources that you used in your paper. Its purpose is to attribute credit to the author's whose quotes and words you have used as support in your body paragraphs. It's really important to list each and every source you used in your essay so that you don't end up with failing because you used other author's words without proper attribution. If you have any questions about how to properly format a Works Cited page, Ultiusessay writers and the guide below should be more than sufficient to answer them.

Firstly, you will want to know which citation style you have to use. Most college classes require MLA format, but you should check to be sure. If the format is MLA, then you will need to create a separate works cited page and then put the title at the top and centered. Next, you will need to list each of your sources in alphabetical order. MLA style also requires you to list the source information in a specific format. The link below outlines how to reference these items:

Perhaps one of the most dreaded parts of an essay or research paper assignment is the page listing all the sources used in a paper. For many students, the format and rules are confusing, especially considering there are a few different ways this page can be constructed. However, despite the finicky rules for how entries are formatted and what information they include, this is an important page for you because it shows the information you have found and, when done correctly, points others to that research. Every resource you use or quote in your paper—whether it is a Web site, journal article, or newspaper report—needs to be documented. It signals to other academics (such as your professor) that you have both done quality research for your topic and you gave credit to the correct people.  

Without a reference or works cited page, nobody will have the information they need to check the claims and assertions you make in your paper, and you fail to acknowledge the other people whose ideas helped influence and shape your own. Often the references or works cited page will constitute a major portion of the paper’s grade, and some instructors will fail assignments that do not use correct citation or include a works cited or references page. 

It’s a Matter of Style

When you receive your assignment, your instructor will tell you which style the paper needs to follow. The most common styles are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). APA is often the most common for science and social science classes, while MLA is predominantly the form most English classes and many humanities use. There are other styles, too, including Chicago, Turabian, and styles for particular schools or disciplines, but APA and MLA will likely be the styles most students will encounter. Additionally, the style dictates what you call this last page. APA refers to it as the “References” page, while MLA calls it a “Works Cited” page.  

Before writing any academic paper, you should have a style guide. Most English courses or courses that emphasize writing will require a style guide or handbook that helps you with citation. You can keep this book for all of your classes, as most handbooks have examples of all styles (MLA, APA, and sometimes Chicago and others), and they are available online for rental or purchase, often for a nominal charge. You can also find many resources online that will tell you how to correctly format your citation and what information to include, as well as examples to follow. If you do buy a used book, make sure it references the most recent style guide, as they are updated every few years, and sometimes the rules for citation will change. 

APA: References Page

The References page is always started on a new page after the last page of the body of your paper. References are listed in alphabetical order, according to the last name of the author. If there is no author, your citation will begin with the name of the source you’re referencing, such as the title of a book or newspaper article. 

References are doubled spaced and have a hanging indention, which means the first line is not indented, but each following line is indented ½ an inch. There are many tutorials for how to create hanging indent, as well as paper templates you can download that have already been formatted. 

Book Citation

Citing a book is relatively easy. The following entries show the most common types of books: books with just one author and textbooks or anthologies.   

Printed Book

Last Name, First initial. (Date of Publication). Title that capitalizes only the first word, proper nouns, and the word directly following a colon. Place of publication: Publishing Company.

Nabokov, V. (1989). Pale fire. New York: Vintage International.  

Printed Anthology

Last Name of Author, First initial. (Date). Title of work in the book, not italicized. In First Initial, Last Name (Ed.), Title of book. (Volume or Edition AND/OR page numbers). Place of Publication: Publishing Company.

Le Guin, U. (1996).;She unnames them. In S. Gilbert and S. Gubar (Eds.), The Norton anthology of literature by women: The traditions in English (2nd ed., pp. 1943–1945). New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

Online Books and Anthologies

Le Guin, U. (1996). She unnames them. In S. Gilbert and S. Gubar (Eds.), The Norton anthology of literature by women: The traditions in English (7th ed). Retrieved from http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?id=11622

Journal and Newspaper Citation

Journals and newspapers can be incredibly good sources of information and often used in research papers. They have slightly different formats from books, but they are not any more complicated.

Academic journals often contain specific information about a topic. Printed or a PDF from a printed journal articles are treated more like an anthology than a book by a single author.

Print Journal

Last, F. (Date of Publication). Title, not italicized. Title of journal, italicized, Volume Number(Issue Number), pages.

Kennedy, M. (2003). Building better schools. American School & University, 75(5), 30–35.

Newspapers give the same information as a journal, but notice the differences in how the date and page numbers are listed. The date gives the year, followed by the month and day, while the page number includes the section of the paper where it was found. 

Print Newspaper

Jones, T. (2014, May 18). The end of the line for old subways. The New York Times, p. A08.

Again, the main difference between a print source and online source is where the source was retrieved and possibly page numbers, which are sometimes not present in online sources.

Online Journals and Newspapers

Baker, T. (2014, June 5). Obama warns an absent Russia of broader sanctions. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/06/world/group-of-7-condemns-its-absent-partner-russia.html?hp&_r=0 

There is also a feature called the DOI, or Digital Object Identifier. DOIs act as stable identifiers for online content and would replace the “retrieved from” information. Not all online works have a DOI, so don’t panic if you cannot find one, but if there is a DOI listed for a source in your APA paper, use it. 

Citing with DOI

Romero, E. (2008). Humor and group effectiveness. Human Relations, 61, 395–418. doi: 10.1177/0018726708088999 

Citing a basic web page is much like citing a book. Include the author, publication date, title of the page, title of the site if it is different, and the retrieval information. In the example below, the page title is Improved Peyton Manning, and it is part of the larger CBS Sports site. 

Web Pages

Eisenberg, J. (2014, June 2). Improved Peyton Manning could play three more years. CBS Sports. Retrieved from http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/players/playerpage/12531/peyton-manning 

Other Resources

Films, audio recordings, television shows, interviews, and even online comments should be cited when you use them. They include the same basic information as books, journal articles, and newspapers, but also have some specific differences. Use a style guide or search online for examples of how to format these types of sources.  

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MLA: Works Cited Page

Similar to APA, the MLA Works Cited page is intended to give readers a way to identify and find the information you used in your paper. Thus it includes most of the same information as an APA citation, including the name of the author(s); date of publication; title of articles, journals, books; page numbers; and so on. The formatting is different, but not really any more complicated. 

Using the same book as above, notice how it is presented differently in MLA. The author’s first name is spelled out, more words in the title are capitalized, quotation marks are used around the title, the publication date is moved, and the medium of the citation is mentioned. 


Nabokov, Vladimir. Pale Fire. New York: Vintage International, 1989. Print.

It is similar for an anthology. Notice that the book’s editors are listed slightly differently and the page numbers move toward the end of the entry.


Le Guin, Ursula. “She Unnames Them.” The Norton Anthology Literature by Women: The Traditions in English, 2nd  ed. Eds. S. Gilbert and S. Gubar. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996. 1943–1945. Print.  

Journals and Newspaper Articles

Again, the name is fully spelled out and the date moves toward the end of the entry. For months longer than three letters, abbreviations are used (Aug., Sep., Oct., etc.) 

Jones, Trevor. “The End of the Line for Old Subway Cars.” The New York Times, 18 May, 2014: A08. Print. 

Kennedy, Michael. “Building Better Schools.” American School & University 75.5 (2003): 30–35. Print

For Web pages, include the author, title page, publication information such as the larger website and date, the medium and the date you accessed the resource. Unlike APA, MLA does not require you to give the web address. Also, MLA does not use DOIs as APA does. 


Eisenberg, Jamey. “Improved Peyton Manning Could Play Three More Years.” CBS Sports. 2 Jun. 2014. Web. 3 Jun. 2014. >

Online Newspaper and Journal

Jones, Trevor. “The End of the Line for Old Subway Cars.” The New York Times. 18 May 2014. Web. 3 Jun. 2014. 

Kennedy, Michael. “Building Better Schools.” American School & University 75.5 (2003): 30–35. Web. 3 Jun. 2014.  

Other Resources

Films, audio recordings, television shows, interviews, and the like also follow rules in MLA for citation. A style guide or online search will yield the rules and some examples to follow for your own paper.  

Additional Help With Citations 

Not every instructor has the time or the disposition to help you with your citations, but your instructor is always a good person to ask to review your work, particularly to make sure you have cited your journals as journals, web pages as web pages, and so on. Your instructor will probably not check your formatting and will expect you to read your style guide or find some other resource for that.   

Librarians can be very helpful, especially if you need help finding research. Often a librarian can help you find resources for your assignment and help you create a citation in your reference or works cited page.

Many online databases that your school has access to, such as EBSCO, have functions to create reference or works cited citations for the research you find. Your librarian can help you find and use this function. Check out the image below for an example on how to export a citation in EBSCOHost.

Once you select the "Export" option (outline in the red box above), you'll see the following screen. 

From here, you can export the citation in many different formats. Many of our writers use EndNote Web, which enables the writer to easily compile his list of references with the "Export" feature of EBSCOHost. Once the references are imported into EndNote Web, the writer can then simply choose which citation style he requires and the bibliography will be formatted accordingly.

Most colleges and universities have a writing center that students have access to. Your course fees pay for your writing center, so the writing center is usually free to use. The tutors are trained in APA, MLA, and other major forms of citations as well as have access to resources such as style guides. You can make an appointment at a writing center and ask your tutor to help you with your citations. It is a good idea to bring your sources with you, as it can help your tutor in case you do a citation incorrectly or leave out information that should be in your citation.  

Finally, there are online sites that will create citations for books and websites automatically if you provide the ISBN (the string of numbers on a book near its barcode) or a website address. A WORD OF CAUTION: These automatic citation sites do not always get a citation correct, so they should not be depended on as a replacement for the work. It is always a good idea to check the citation against your style guide to make sure it was created correctly.

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