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MLA Style Guide

MLA Style Guide

MLA Style

MLA citations are recommended for students, scholars, and writers in the humanities, such as literature, languages, art history, and cultural studies. The Modern Language Association (MLA) format emphasizes the authorship and pagination of sources, making it ideal for disciplines that engage heavily with textual analysis and critique. This citation style facilitates the clear and consistent documentation of sources ranging from books and journal articles to films and digital media, enabling writers to credit original ideas while allowing readers to track down the referenced material. As such, individuals involved in writing essays, research papers, or any scholarly documentation within the humanities are advised to use MLA citations to adhere to the conventions of their academic and professional communities.

Primo Search

Find Books, eBooks, Articles, DVDs, and Streaming Videos

Visit our Primo Research Guide if you have any questions.

General Search Tips

  • Begin your research with an initial search in Primo, and then explore subject-specific databases for more targeted results.
  • Utilize Boolean search terms to enhance your search effectiveness: AND narrows results to those containing both search terms; OR expands results to include either search term (not necessarily both); and NOT eliminates results containing the specified term.
  • Commence with a general search, refining it to become more specific as needed. If you possess a basic understanding of your desired focus, search using a broad term and narrow it down based on available resources.
  • Examine the subject terms and keywords used in the articles you discover. If they appear relevant, consider incorporating them into your search terms. Should your results be too extensive, add supplementary search terms to refine your inquiry further.
  • To search for a specific phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. This ensures the search engine looks for the exact phrase, rather than each word individually. For instance, searching "To be or not to be" will yield that precise phrase, rather than individual words.
  • To locate a word or phrase within an article PDF, e-book, or webpage, use the CTRL and F keys to open a search box that scans the text within a document. Remember to maintain a formal tone and employ an informative writing style in English throughout your research process.

If you need more, check our advanced guide to Database Search Tips.