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Religious Studies: Citing Sources in MLA

Subject Research Guide

A Quick Look at Elements and Containers

The core elements of any entry in the Works Cited list are shown below. They are in the order in which they should appear, followed by the appropriate punctuation mark. If an element cannot be found or does not apply to the source being cited, omit that element from the entry. End the entry with a period.

Note that the publication format is no longer considered because MLA no longer cares if your information comes from a book, magazine, streamed video, etc. The publisher is what is important, not the mode you use to access it.

MLA 9 Core Elements are:

  • Author
  • Title of source
  • Title of container
  • Other contributors
  • Version
  • Number
  • Publisher
  • Publication Date
  • Location

What is a Container?

The concept of containers is crucial to MLA style. When the source forms part of a larger whole, the larger whole can be thought of as container that holds the source. For example, a short story may be contained in an anthology. The short story is the source, and the anthology is the container. Another example would be a chapter in a book.

For a more detailed book example, review's webpages entitled Work Cited: A Quick Guide found at

Following are some examples

A Chapter in a Book

A Journal Article Retrieved from a Database

Work Cited Examples

Book (Print) One Author

Last Name, First Name. Title of Work. Publisher, year of publication.

Two Authors

Last Name, First Name, and First Name Last Name. Title of Work. Publisher, year of publication. 

E-Book (websites or databases)

Last Name, First Name, Title of Work, Publisher, year of publication. Database, URL (without http//).

Chapter or Article in an edited Book

Last Name, First Name.  "Title of chapter."  Title of Work, Editor Name, Publisher, Year of publication, page(s).


Last Name, First Name.  "Title of Article".  Title of Journal, volume number, issue number, date, page numbers, Name of database, doi.  Date of access is optional.


Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates.” Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest, doi:10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

Magazine Article found online

Last Name, First Name.  "Title of Article".  Title of Magazine, day month (abbr.), year of publication, page numbers.

Magazine Articles from Library Databases

Last Name, First Name. Title of Article". Title of Magazine, volume number, issue number, month and year of numbers. Name    of  database. DOI or permalink. Date of Access is optional.


Newspaper Article found online

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper. day, month and year of publication. URL. Date of Access is optional.

Newspaper Article found in a library database

Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper. day, month and year of publication. Name of database, URL.

Citing a page in a Website

Author/Editor "Page Title." Name of Website. Name of organization or publisher of website, date of resource creation (if available), URL (w/out http:), doi or permalink. (Date of Access if applicable).

MLA 9th Edition

In-Text Citations

To cite quotes and paraphrases in text use these formats:

Basic Format:  (Author page number).

Example:  Romantic poetry is characterized by the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"  (Wordsworth 263).

Two Authors:

Example:  It has been suggested that "meditation is an often overlooked but powerful option for dispute resolution in health care" (Tompkins and Benson 36).

Author stated in sentence:

  • Example:  Wordsworth extensively explored the role of emotion in the creative process (263).
  • Example:  Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" (263).

No known author:

  • Use the title instead.
  • Example:  We see so many global warming hotspots in North America likely because this region has "more readily accessible climatic data and more comprehensive programs to monitor and study environmental change ...." ("Impact of Global Warming" 6).

Courtesy of Cañada Library.

Formatting a Research Paper

If your instructor has specific requirements for the format of your research paper, check with him or her before preparing your final draft. You may have questions about margins, text formatting, heading, and title, running head with page numbers, or other rules.

For more information, see formatting papers

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a way to cite, collect, manage and organize your research papers, as well as collaborate with others. ​It is Iona College Library's preferred citation management tool.

  • It helps you create MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. reference lists.
  • It allows you to import citations directly and indirectly from Library databases and research websites, such as EBSCO, ProQuest, and WorldCat.
  • It enables you to share citations and lists.

For important detailed information and videos on using RefWorks, please visit the RefWorksguide.​

MLA: Handbook 8th Edition in Print

The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook rethinks documentation for the era of digital publication with a new model which recommends a universal set of guidelines that writers can apply to any source and gives writers in all fields. Entries in the works-cited list reflect recent changes in how works are published and consulted. 

In the new MLA Handbook, the work’s publication format is not considered. Instead of asking, “How do I cite a book [or DVD or Web page]?” the writer creates an entry by consulting the MLA’s list of core elements—facts common to most works—which are assembled in a specific order.                                                                                                                  from


front cover of MLA Handbook Eighth edition

ISBN: 9781603292627
Available at the Ryan Help & Research Desks and the Arrigoni Help Desk.
R 808.02 G437m-2  

More Help for Better Research Papers