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The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides a method for source documentation that is used in most humanities courses. The humanities place emphasis on authorship, so most MLA citations involve recording the author’s name in the physical text. The author’s name is also the first to appear in the “Works Cited” page at the end of an essay.

Quick reference and examples can be found below in these guides created by several other universities:

Chicago/Turabian Style

The Chicago Manual of Style includes 2 documentation styles: the Notes-Bibliography System (NB), used by those in literature, history, and the arts, and the Author-Date System, which is similar in content, slightly different in form, and preferred in the social sciences.

In addition to consulting the The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) for more information, students may also find it useful to consult Kate L. Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations  (9th ed.). Often called "Turabian" style, it resembles the two patterns of documentation but includes alterations geared to papers written by students.

Full explanations, examples, and quick reference can be found below in the official guide, text, and guides created by other universities:

Chicago Style Online Resources

Chicago Style Print Manuals

APA 6th ed.

APA 7th ed.

Citation Managers

Citation Managers can help you create, gather, store, and organize citations.
Create an account and get started today!


A subscription service for Cal State LA students, faculty, and staff.


A free and open source program that anyone can use, therefore, you will retain access after graduation.

  • The standalone program that works with Windows, Mac, or Linux systems

  • Install the browser plug-in for Firefox, Chorme, and Safari.

  • When you download, a Microsoft Word plug-in will automatically install allowing you to easily add in-text citations and reference lists.

Quotes and Parapharasing

Researching, arguing a position, laying the foundation for scientific experiments, and all other academic pursuits begin with studying the work of others and using this work to inform our own. It is absolutely crucial to give credit to those who's work you use, and this is done using direct quotations and paraphrasing, and always citing your sources. Not to do so would be considered plagiarism. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are treated as extremely serious violations of ethical conduct and may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

A Quote is the exact wording used by the original author. Example:

  • "The primary reason we sentence individuals to jail or prison is to punish them for the criminal offense(s) they have committed against society." (Bayley 2009)

Paraphrasing, is rewriting another's words or ideas in your own words, often summarizing or synthesizing a larger text, while still giving the original author credit for their ideas. Example:

  • Bayley argues that prison should be thought of as a punishment, and not a deterrent for others not to commit a crime. (2009) 

Bruce Bayley, "Custody vs. Treatment Debate: Deterrence—The Two Great Lies," CorrectionsOne, July 1, 2009.

For more information view these guides on quoting and avoiding plagiarism: 

Quoting, Paraphrasing and Summarizing at Purdue OWL

Quoting and Paraphrasing at The University of Wisconsin

Quoting Materials at

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive / evaluative paragraph, called the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

  • Citation or Reference
    • In the style (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.) your professor assigns
    • Styles follow the conventions of the discipline and provide information about a source such as the creator, date, and location to lead the reader directly to the source. 
  • Annotation
    • A brief summary of the source (1-2 sentences), may include
      • Author's background
      • Argument or conclusions
      • Methods used or types of sources consulted
      • Limitations of the research
      • Evaluation or criticism of the work
    • Discussion of how the source is relevant to your research (2-3 sentences) may include how the source gives your paper:
      • Background and context
      • Evidence or examples
      • The scholar's argument supports or contradicts your argument

More examples:

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300