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ESL 33: Oral Communications I - Endangered Species (AL): Citing Sources

Guide by Katie Hoskins. Please direct any comments to

Citations in MLA Style

When you use information from a source, such as a book or a website, you need to cite your source.  This mean that you provide basic information about the source, including the author, the title of the source, and when it was published.

There are rules for how to provide this information.  These rules tell you what order, what punctuation to use, and what should be capitalized.  Most English and ESL classes use rules from the Modern Language Association (MLA).  This is called MLA style.

Below are examples for how to cite encyclopedias and websites in MLA style.

Encyclopedias (Print)

Gurbani, Barkha.  “India.”  Encyclopedia of Global Health.  Ed. Yawei Zhang.  Vol. 2.  Los
         Angeles:  Sage Publications, 2008.   Print.


Hopper, Kim.  “Homelessness.”  World Book Encyclopedia.  2002 ed.  Print.

Encyclopedias (Online)

Newton, David.  "Asthma." The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Ed. Laurie J.
 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2009.  Gale Virtual Reference Library. 
2 Mar. 2010.


“About Malaria.”  Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute.  Johns Hopkins
         University, 2011.  Web.  1 Nov. 2011.


Franklin, Curt.  “How Cable Modems Work.”  How Stuff Works 2009.  Web.  8 July 2009.

Online Images


Artist's last name, first name or username. Photograph title or description.
       Date of publication (substitute N.d. if there is no date listed). Museum/Collection
       if applicable. Name of website/database. Web. Date of access. <URL optional>.


Hofman, Justin. Photographer Taking Pictures. N.d. The Guardian

        Web. 12 Sept. 2013. < images/




Why and When to Cite

Citing your sources means listing the sources (books, websites, articles) you used for your research.

Why to Cite:

  • Give credit to the authors of the sources you used.
  • Provide evidence you did research -- good, credible sources give your work more authority.
  • Allows your reader to locate the sources you used.
  • Avoid plagiarism.

When to Cite:

You should cite a source if you reproducequoteparaphrase, or summarize ideas created by others. When in doubt, cite!

Plagiarism Has Consequences:

Plagiarism may not seem like a big deal, but there can be some severe and/or long lasting effects:

  • Failing grade (assignment and/or course)
  • Note on transcript for academic dishonesty
  • Loss of financial aid
  • Academic probation or expulsion
  • Limited career opportunities (can become a barrier to getting a job or can cause loss of employment)


Plagiarism Resources

The following websites may help you better understand and avoid plagiarism.  Remember that there are serious consequences for plagiarizing.