October 17, 2003
The MLA Documentation Style
A variety of documentation styles exist for report preparation. Each style includes the same basic elements; the differences among the various styles relates to how they present the information. The Modern Language Association of America style, abbreviated as the MLA style, is a popular documentation style for research papers (Shelly, Cashman, and Vermaat WD 74). With the MLA style, text on all pages of the paper is double-spaced. The top, bottom, left, and right margins should be set at one inch. The first word of each paragraph is indented one-half inch from the left margin. The writer’s last name and a page number should be placed one-half inch from the top-right margin of each page. Instead of a title page, the MLA style specifies to place your name and course information at the left margin one inch from the top of the page. The paper title should be centered one double-space below the name and course information. Author references in the body of the paper are to be placed in parentheses, called parenthetical citations, and should contain the page number(s) of the referenced information. In the MLA style, notes are used only for optional explanatory notes. If used, explanatory notes elaborate on points discussed in the body of the paper. A superscript (raised number) is used to signal that an explanatory note exists. Explanatory notes are to be positioned either at the bottom of the page as footnotes or at the end of the paper as endnotes. The first line of each explanatory note should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. One space should be placed following the superscripted number before beginning the note text. The note text should be double-spaced. The MLA style uses the term works cited for the bibliographical references. Works should be listed by each author’s last name, or, if the author’s name is not...
Cited: Auel, Doreen L. “An Introduction to The MLA Documentation Style.” Research Monthly Mar. 2005: 2-4.
Ferguson, Peter D., and Jean P. Gandy. MLA for the Beginner. New York: Bantam Books, 2005.
Shelly, Gary B., Thomas J. Cashman, and Misty E. Vermaat. Microsoft Word 2003 Comprehensive Concepts and Techniques. Boston: Course Technology, 2005.
 Information that commonly is known or accessible to the audience constitutes common knowledge and does not need to be listed as a parenthetical citation or in a bibliography.
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