Tenth Step in Essay Writing: Creating Works Cited Pages

If you are ready to create a works cited page, then you may congratulate yourself because your writing project is almost done! A works cited or reference page is the last section of an essay and it is where you should list all sources used. The primary purpose of these pages is to acknowledge any author whose words or quotes you used as support material in the body of your essay. It is crucial that every source is listed so that you do not fail because you used the words of another person without attributing credit to the rightful source. Don’t forget that if you’re having difficulty or need advice on the formatting requirements of a works cited page, WritingLeader offers a professional writing service. Althout you might not need ot - the following guide may just answer any questions you have. First, you will need to know the style of citation you are expected to use.

Type of assignment
Academic level
Total price:

A lot of college courses stipulate the MLA style, but you need to check. If the MLA formatting style applies to your assignment, then your works cited section will need to begin from a new page with the title centered at the top. Then you will need to create an alphabetical list of the sources used in the paper. With MLA you will also need to provide specific information about each individual source in a prescribed format. One of the aspects of writing a research paper or essay that students dread the most is, perhaps, listing sources. This is because a lot of students find the rules and formatting requirements to be confusing, particularly since there is more than one way to design these pages. Despite the difficulty of formatting rules and the information required, however, this page is very important because it demonstrates the amount of research work you have done.

Every quote and/or research resource used in your paper, no matter where it comes from, must be listed. This send a clear message to everyone that you have undertaken high-quality research and that you have given credit to the appropriate people. If you don't have a works cited/reference page then you have failed to attribute credit to other authors whose words and ideas you used to shape your essay. Very often a works cited or reference page will account for a significant portion of your essay’s grade and if it is absent or incorrect you may find your grade lower than expected.

You may also be interested in reading our article: "Professional Formatting Service"

It is All about Style

When they give you an assignment, your tutor will let you know what style you should apply. APA and MLA (the American Psychological Association and the Modern Language Association respectively) are the most common citation styles. The former style - APA – is commonly used for science and social science courses and MLA mostly for English courses and humanities studies. Apart from these two there are also some other styles, such as Chicago and Turabian as well as styles for particular academic institutions and specific disciplines. However, the styles that the majority of students are likely to come across are APA and MLA. Furthermore, each given style determines the title of the referencing section of an essay.

With APA a list of sources is titled “References” whereas with the MLA style the sources section bears the title “Works Cited.” It is a good idea to equip yourself with a style guide before you start writing an academic assignment. A lot of English classes demand that a style manual or handbook will be used to help with citations. This guide should suffice for all classes because most handbooks contain examples of the different styles. These can be purchased or rented through various online sources, usually at a nominal price. There are also many online resources explaining how to format citations properly and show what details need to be listed along with some examples you can follow. If you purchase a second-hand book, check that it has the latest style rules as these are regularly updated as citation rules sometimes change.

APA Referencing

With APA the References section always begins on a new page following the final page of your essay’s concluding paragraph. Sources should be listed alphabetically under the author’s last name. When an author does not exist, the citation will be listed under its name or title (e.g. the name or title of an article or book). References should be typed in double spacing with a hanging indent. This means the first line of the citation should not be indented, but the next ones are indented by half an inch.

You may also be interested in reading our article: "Quotes and Citations in an Essay"

Citing Books

It is quite easy to cite a book. The example below demonstrates the most common way of citing a book – these are anthologies or textbooks with only one author.

  • Books (Print Version) Author’s last name, Author’s first name initial. (Publication Date). Book title with only first word capitalized, proper noun usage, and with a colon preceding the title. Publication Place: Publisher. (The following example contains not real information). Example: Jones, J. (1990). Raging Storm. Washington: Smith & Smith.
  • Anthology (Print Version) Author’s last name, Author’s first name initial. (Publication Date). Title of the work from book non-italicized. First initial capitalized, Last Name (Ed). Book title, (Edition or Volume No and/or page number(s)). Publication Place: Publisher. Example: Jones, J. (1992). He names them. In L Cooper and P Holmes (Eds.), The Green anthology of women’s literature: The English traditions (1st ed., pp. 1951-1956). Washington: P.R. Green and Partners.
  • Anthologies and Books (Online Version) Example: Jones, J. (1992). He names them. In L Cooper and P Holmes (Eds.), The Green anthology of women’s literature: The English traditions (5th ed). Retrieved from [provide url].
  • Citing from Journals and Newspapers Frequently used in research projects journal and newspaper articles can make very good sources. The way these are cited differs slightly from books, but are no more complex. Specific topic information can often be found in academic journals. The way extracts from a journal article, whether in print or .pdf format, are cited is more similar to the method used for an anthology rather than a single-author book.
  • Journals (Print Version) Author’s last name, Author’s first initial. (Publication Date). Article Title, non-italicized, Volume No(Issue No), page numbers. Example: Jones, J. (1993). Improving sports facilities in schools. School and University of America, 60(3), 20-26. If you were to have a newspaper article listed on your reference page you would do similar things as for a journal. The main difference would be in the way the publication date and page numbering are listed. In this case the publication year should precede the month and day. Additionally, the page number shows the section of the newspaper where the information was located.
  • Newspaper (Print Version) Example: Jones, J. (1993, June 20). Improving sports facilities in schools. New York Herald, p. B10. The primary difference between an online and print source (journal and newspaper articles) is where the information was retrieved from and perhaps in the way the page numbers are shown.
  • Newspaper and Journal Articles (Online Version) Example: Jones, J (2013, May 10). US president hints at widening sanctions on Russia. The Washington Post. Retrieved from [provide URL]. Another feature known as Digital Object Identifier (DOI) exists for identifying online content and these would be used instead of the term “retrieved from.” However, some online sources do not use DOIs for listing sources, but you should use it where one does exist.
  • Using DOI in Citation Example: Jones, J. (2013). US president hints at widening sanctions on Russia. Science and Humanities, 55,320-352. doi: [insert doi here]. Citation for a standard web page is much the same as book citation: the author’s name, date of publication, page title, website title (if different) and the retrieval information.
  • Web Page Citation Example: Jones. J. (2012, May 4). Improved injury treatment for tennis players. World Sports. Retrieved from [provide URL].

The Use of Other Sources

Whenever you use sources from a television program, movie, audio recording or comments from an online channel, these must be cited too. Your citation should include the same details as books and newspaper or journal articles, but with slight differences. Refer to your style guide for further information or examples on how these sources should be listed. Essay writing and citing sources can be difficult. Therefore, WritingLeader is always on hand to assist if you need a helping hand.

MLA Citation

Like APA referencing, the purpose of the Works Cited page in the MLA system is to provide readers with a means of identifying and locating any source information referred to in your written work. Therefore, it includes much or most of the information you would find in an APA reference, such as the author’s name, publication date, book/journal or article title, relevant page numbers, etc. While there is some difference in the way the information is formatted, it really is not any more complex. The examples below use the same fictitious information as above. The first name of the author is provided instead of just the initial, more capitalization is used, titles are inserted in quotation marks, date of publication is in a different place and the citation medium is noted.

  • Citing Books Example: Jones, Jonathan. Raging Storm. Washington: Smith & Smith. 1990. Print. An anthology is cited in similar fashion but note that the editors are listed a little differently and page numbers appear near the end.
  • Citing an Anthology Example: Jones, Jonathan. “He names them.” The Green anthology of women’s literature: The English traditions, 1st ed. Eds. L Cooper and P Holmes. Washington: P.R. Green and Partners. 1992. 1951-1956. Print.
  • Citing from Journals and Newspapers Once again, the author’s name appears in full with the date moved to the end. Abbreviations are used where a month’s name is longer than three letters e.g. Sep and Oct. Example: Jones, Jonathan. “Improving sports facilities in schools.” School and University of America, 20 June 2012: B10. Print Example: Jones, Jonathan. “Improving sports facilities in schools.” School and University of America 60.3 (1993): 20-26. Print. When citing from websites the author’s name, source title and information about publication should be included as well. That is where MLA differs from APA insofar as you are not required to provide website addressses. Neither does MLA use Digital Object Identifiers.
  • Web Page Citation Example: Jones, Jonathan. “Improved injury treatment for tennis players.” World Sports. 4 May 2012. Web. 5 May 2015.

The Use of Other Sources

Where sources from a television program, movie, audio recording or comments from an online channel are used, the MLA citation rules apply. You will find examples and further information on these rules in your style guide.

Need Further Assistance with Citation?

Some tutors and/or instructors do not have the time or inclination to help students with citation, but they will review every essay for the citation accuracy. They might advise you on formatting but most likely they will just recommend referring to your style guide as you go along. Another good source of help is librarians, particularly if you require assistance with research or finding sources. Often librarians will help with creating a works cited or reference page. Most schools and colleges provide access to online database facilities (e.g. EBSCOHost, which has features for creating works cited pages or reference lists for any research material you locate). In most cases a librarian will provide you with access, help you find this feature and show you how to use it. Usually, it is just a question of selecting the option labelled “Export,” which will give you a new screen that enables you to export a citation in various formats. Indeed, some of the writers at WritingLeader use EndNote Web, which allows them to compile reference lists using EBSCOHost’s Export feature.

Once the sources are imported to EndNote Web, our writers can just select their required citation style and the list will be automatically formatted, thus excluding human factos mistakes. There are writing centers at most universities and colleges. Students generally have access to these because their operation is partially financed by annual course fees. The tutors at these centers are quite knowledgeable in most if not all of the main citation styles, including APA and MLA. They will have other resources at their disposal such as style manuals and guides.

It is usually possible to schedule an appointment at your writing center and ask the tutors there for help with citations. It is helpful to take your sources along because this will allow a tutor to assist you more effectively, especially if any citations in your work are are absent or incorrect. Lastly, there are a number of online resources that will automatically create referencing pages for book and website sources.  To use these you will need to have a website address or an ISBN, which is a sequence of numbers located next to a publication’s barcode. However, you need to be cautious using those online tools. You may not always get an accurate citations from such automated services so you should not entirely rely on them.

It is highly recommended to check all citations for accuracy against the appropriate style guide.