Country Report (Pro)

 

Put Your 1st Source in Your Works Cited Page

A common mistake that students make is to "wait until later" to put sources into their Works Cited page. At best, they may save the link somewhere so that they can find their source again. But they can't be bothered with writing up their source properly, at least not right now.

There is a word for students like that: Stupid.

Don't be stupid. As soon as you find a source that you can use, put it into your Works Cited page. Properly. And while you can leave the "final" cleaning up until the end, the fewer shortcuts you take now, the easier your work will be later.

How to Put Sources on Your Works Cited Page.

Note: Do not use an online "citation generator." Using an online generator to format your citations is like using a fire hose to extinguish a cigarette. Yes, you'll probably get the job done, but was it really worth it?

Honestly, citation generators are more trouble than they're worth. That is because they have to consider every possibility, such as the possibility that you are citing an advanced academic journal that has page numbers and multiple authors and multiple editors and multiple volumes, etc. But you are simply citing a webpage, and looking for all those pieces of information is going to be a waste of time.

So do it the easy way, and follow the seven steps listed below.

Lesson Steps

 
1

Name of Author

Find the name of the author. It's usually at the beginning of the article or the end of the article. Occasionally, you may have to click a link that says "About Me" or something like that to find the name.

On your Works Cited page, write the name of the author, last name first. After the name, put a period. Your Works Cited page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John.

2

Name of Article

Next comes the name of the article. Place it within quotation marks and follow it with a period. Your Works Cited page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Title of Article."

 

Notice that the closing quotation mark (called the end quote) comes after the period.

3

Name of Website

Usually you will find this in the banner ribbon at the top of the page. You can also look at the URL (the address bar at the top of your browser). The name of the website is almost always the first part of the URL, the part that comes before the ".com".

For example, if the URL of the webpage is "jeffstravelblog.com", you can be pretty sure that the name of the website is "Jeff's Travel Blog."

Put the name of the website into your Works Cited Page. Websites always get italicized, and don't forget the period.

Your Works Cited Page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Title of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog.

4

Date of Article

You can usually find the date of the article at the top of the article or at the bottom of the article.

Note the proper format for writing the date:

  • 8 June 2016.

In other words, the day comes first, followed by the month, followed by the year, followed by a period. There are no commas anywhere in the date.

Furthermore, months with more than four letters get abbreviated after the first three. For example, the date "3 September 2014" would get abbreviated to:

  • 3 Sep. 2014.

Your Works Cited page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Title of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog. 8 June 2016.


Sometimes you may have an article with only a year. That's fine. If all you have is a year, then just put down the year.

At other times you won't be able to find any date at all. In this case, you indicate this fact with the abbreviation "n.d." which stands for "no date."

  • Note that the abbreviation n.d. is written in lower case letters. If your computer tries to capitalize it, fix it. (You might also want to go to "preferences" and change your settings so that your computer stops automatically capitalizing things).

In the case of an article without a date, your Works Cited page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Name of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog. n.d.

5

Web

Next you're going to type the word "Web." That's right, just type the word "Web" with a capital "W". This means that you found your article on the Web.

If your source is not online (for example, if your source is a book or a magazine or a DVD) then you'll put something else in this slot. For example, you might write the word "Print" to indicate that it is a book.

But these days, most of your research will be done online, on the web. And the exceptions are easy enough to deal with. Just go online and do a search for "MLA how do I cite a book" or "MLA how do I cite a TV show."

But don't worry about that now. Let's assume that your article was found on the web, so just type the word "Web" with a capital "W" and follow it with a period.

Your Works Cited Page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Title of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog. 8 June 2016. Web.

6

Date You Accessed the Article

Web pages get put up and taken down all the time. The fact that a webpage is up today is no guarantee that it will still be online tomorrow. By writing the date you saw the article, you are, in effect, affirming:

"I can't guarantee that this article will still be there when you try to find it online, but I give you my word of honor that it was here today."

So the "date you accessed the article" is always the date that you saw it online. In other words, it's today's date.

Don't forget to format the date properly.

Your Works Cited Page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Title of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog. 8 June 2016. Web. 17 Sep. 2016.

7

URL

Last comes the URL (the web address). Put it between angle brackets (the little brackets that are over the comma and the period on your keyboard). They look like this: <>.

Just copy and paste it into your paper, then add the angle brackets and the final period.

Your Works Cited page should now look like this:

Works Cited

Smith, John. "Name of Article." Jeff's Travel Blog. 8 June 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2017. <http://jeffsblog.com/jamaica.html>.

8

And that's it! Almost. You still have to double-space it and add a hanging indent and alphabetize your sources—but you can do that later. At least you've done most of the work of putting your source into your Works Cited page.

Take a deep breath. It's a moment for celebration. I like to think of it this way: I now have permission to "steal" anything I want from that webpage. Of course, it's not really stealing because I'm going to cite it properly.

But it sure makes me happy to think that any words on that webpage that I want to incorporate into my own paper—all I have to do is to copy and paste those words onto my page, slap a few quotation marks around it, and add a parenthetical citation with the name "Smith" at the end of the quote. And nobody can accuse me of plagiarism, because I haven't plagiarized anything. I'm simply citing a source.

Anyway, take a deep breath. You have just put your first source into your Works Cited page. It's a moment for celebration.

9

Congratulations! You're done with this lesson.

 

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the questions.

Quiz