How to Cite Your Sources in a Research Paper Properly

Every time you make the smallest error on your bibliography, you run the risk of being penalized. No matter how good your research paper proves to be in the end, if your citations are erroneous, there’s little that can save you. So to keep your score exactly where it should be, here are the correct ways to structure citations according to MLA guidelines. (Four of the most common material sources are provided here)

Website URLs

Start with the last name of the author, a comma, and then the author’s first name; then provide the title of the source in inverted commas; then the name of the website; the full date of publication; end with the URL itself in angular quote brackets below the reference.

Example: Erwin, Alan. “Marketing 101”. Marketing for beginners. 16th May 2004.


Citing a book as your resource will start with the author’s last name, followed by his or her first name; then the title of the book; the name of the publisher; and finally the date of publication after a comma.

Example: Edgar, Jamie. How to get your ducks in a row. Open Book Publishers, 2009.

Specific sections within books

Provide your reader with the last name, and then the first name of the author as the above examples; then provide the title of the book you are quoting from in inverted commas; follow this with the name of the chapter you got your quoted section from; provide the publisher’s name and the date of publication; end with the page number/s.

Example: Fredericks, Deborah. “Danny and the cheese factory”. Whiteboard Publishing House, 1998. 89-91.

Printed magazines

First you will start with the last name and the first name divided by a comma; name the title of the article; provide the name of the magazine and the year of publication in brackets; continue with the date and month of the issue; end with the page numbers the article is found.

Example: James, Eduardo. “Into the sunset.” Alaska Times Periodical (1979). 16 February, 27-32.

While these four are the most common citation sources, there are others. If you find that your source material is different to any of these mentioned, ask your professor to give you the standard citation structure for that source. Alternatively, contact a trusted academic company and get some advice from them.

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