Skip to Main Content


Analytical Reading and Writing

What Is a Citation?

In academic writing, you're asked to recognize those who've helped build your knowledge and ideas. This is done in the form of a citation and it tells your reader (usually your instructor) where you got your information.

It’s important to cite your sources every time you’re using ideas or information from someone else. This includes when you summarize information, paraphrase (put things into your own words), or use a direct quote.

Paraphrasing means you restate what an author said in your own words; summarizing is when you talk about the main concepts or points. A direct quote is when another person's exact words into your own writing.

Why You Must Cite Your Sources

Citing sources adds credibility to your argument. Citing is proof that you did research and that your conclusions are based on reliable information.

It helps you avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the people whose ideas and research you used to make your argument.

Citing shares the sources you discovered by presenting information about your sources in a standardized format that any scholar can use to track down the very same sources you consulted.

MLA Handbook

When to Cite










You will always cite your sources twice. The first time is in the body of the paper with a short note called an in-text citation. In MLA style, it's the author’s last name and the page number of where you found the information.

Then you cite a second time at the end of your paper with a list of works cited. These citations have all the details your reader would need to get back to the original source like author name(s), article or book titles, dates, and a few other key elements. 

Citing Sources



MLA Citation Style


MLA Style is a set of standards and guidelines to properly write and format papers. Developed by the Modern Language Association, MLA Style is the style typically used in the arts and humanities departments, including English and Literature classes.

MLA guides you on:

  1. the format & page layout of your paper
  2. stylistic technicalities in your writing (e.g. abbreviations, footnotes, quotations)
  3. how you cite other authors within the body of your paper
  4. how you compile a references page at the end of your paper

The MLA Style Center can show you how to do "In-text Citations" and how to create your "Works Cited" list.  The site also answers to common MLA questions and provides other great resources, including practice templates and sample papers.


Video Guides


MLA In-text Citations MLA Works Cited List


Temple University Japan Campus Library   1-14-29 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 154-0004
Tel: 03-5441-9867 Fax: 03-5441-9811   Email:   Web: