Works Cited Essay Example

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Whenever you incorporate outside sources into your own writing, you must provide both in-text citations (within the body of the paper) and full citations (in the Works Cited page). The in-text citations point your reader toward the full citations in the Works Cited page.

That's why the first bit of information in your in-text citation (generally, the author's name; if no name is provided, the title of the article/book/webpage) should directly match up with the beginning of your Works Cited entry for that source. For further information about in-text citations, please read "Formatting In-Text Citations."

For example, let's say I have a quote from Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities in my research paper. Within the body of the paper, following the quote, I include the following in-text citation: (Anderson 56). This information points to the book's entry in my Works Cited page:

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 2006. Print.

When your reader sees the in-text citation in your essay, she may decide that the source might be valuable for her own research. When she looks at the Works Cited page, she can easily locate the source (because the Works Cited page is alphabetized and because she has the in-text citation as her referent) and then can use the full citation to retrieve a copy of the source for her own research. But aside from providing the reader with resources for her own research, the Works Cited page serves another function: it establishes the writer's credibility. If a writer fails to include in-text citations and/or a Works Cited page, that writer has plagiarized because he or she has neglected to provide the publication information of the source. In addition, when a reader locates undocumented information in an essay, she will likely think that the information was made up by the writer or that the information was stolen from a source, or plagiarized. And when a reader peruses a writer's Works Cited page, she can see the types of sources used by the writer, assessing those sources in terms of their credibility. For instance, if a reader reads my Works Cited page and sees I cite sources from university presses such as Oxford UP and Cambridge UP, she will know that I've incorporated credible sources into my research paper. Thus, including both in-text citations and a Works Cited page in a research paper provides the writer with ethos, or credibility.

Now let's take a look at how to properly format a Works Cited page according to MLA guidelines:

Placement

According to MLA style guidelines, the Works Cited page should appear after the body of your paper and any accompanying endnotes. It should begin on a new page, and the pagination should continue from the body of the paper. In the above example, the Works Cited page begins on page 38, which means that the essay concluded on page 37.

General format

The Works Cited page should be double-spaced throughout. The first line of each entry should be flush with the left margin; if the entry extends more than one line, ensuing lines should be indented 1/2 inch from the left margin. The first page of the Works Cited list should have the title "Works Cited," not "Bibliography." The Works Cited title should appear in the same manner as the paper's title: capitalized and centered—not bolded, within quotation marks, italicized, underlined, or in a larger font.

Works cited pages would appear at the end of a research paper. Works cited means the same as references but differs from a bibliography. A works cited page is a list of works that you referenced in the body of your paper, whereas a bibliography is a list of all sources you used in your research.  

Format for Work Cited Pages

The formats shown below for works cited pages reflect the MLA (Modern Language Association) style. This style is widely used by schools and colleges, especially in the Humanities departments. The formats shown for reference pages are from the APA (American Psychological Association) which is used for papers within the social sciences.

Works Cited

"Blueprint Lays Out Clear Path for Climate Action." Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund, 8 May 2007. Web. 24 May 2009.

Clinton, Bill. Interview by Andrew C. Revkin. “Clinton on Climate Change.” New York Times. New York Times, May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009.

Dean, Cornelia. "Executive on a Mission: Saving the Planet." New York Times.  New York Times, 22 May 2007. Web. 25 May 2009.

Ebert, Roger. "An Inconvenient Truth." Rev. of An Inconvenient Truth, dir.      Davis Guggenheim. Rogerebert.com. Sun-Times News Group, 2 June 2006. Web. 24 May 2009.

References

Begley, S. (1998, January 19). Aping language. Newsweek 131, 56-58.

Booth, W. (1990, October 29). Monkeying with language: Is chimp using

     words or merely aping handlers? The Washington Post, p. A3.

Eckholm, E. (1985, June 25). Kanzi the chimp: A life in science. The New York

     Times, pp. C1, C3.

Fouts, R. (1997). Next of kin: What chimpanzees taught me about who we

     are. New York: William Morrow.

In the examples of works cited pages, the header should be centered. It should start on a new page, be six spaces from the top, and be numbered consecutively. In other words, if your paper is eight pages long, the Works Cited page will be number nine. The heading needs to have a double space below it. Entries are in alphabetical order, are not numbered, and are flush with the left margin. The second line and subsequent lines need to be indented five spaces and all lines are doubled spaced. 

Entry Format Rules

The examples of works cited pages should help you see how to format your page. Here are some rules for the format of the entries:

  • Italicize the titles of books, magazines, films, etc.
  • Quotation marks go around titles of poems, articles, and short stories.
  • Authors are listed by their last name first.

Following are examples to further explain sources that are not covered by the previous rules. The examples are not double spaced as they would be in your paper.

Two authors: Caper, Charles and Lawrence T. Teamos (1986). How to Camp.

     Philadelphia:  Doubleday.

Three or more authors: Ellis, Doris et.al. (1989) History of Japan. New York:

     Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc..

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Twice-Told Tales. Ed. George Parsons Lathrop.

     Boston: Houghton, 1883. 1 Mar. 2002.

Introduction, Preface,  Foreword, or Afterword: Doctorow, E.L. Introduction.

     Sister Carrie. By Theodore Dreiser. New York: Bantam, 1985. v-xi.  
 
 

One volume of multivolume work: Stowe, Harriet Beecher. "Sojourner Truth,

     the Libyan Sibyl." 1863. The Heath Anthology of American Literature.

     Ed. Paul Lauter et al. Vol. 1. Lexington, Heath, 1994. 2425-33.

Computer Software: Maps 'n' Facts. Computer Software. Broderbund

     Software, 1995.

Poem online: Frost, James. "Strawberries in a Field." Literature Resource

     Center. Alabama Virtual Library. 15 March 2004. 
     .

Encyclopedia on the Internet: "Egypt." Encyclopedia Britannica Online.

     Vers. 97.1.1. Mar. 1997. Encyclopedia Britannica. 29 Feb. 2000.

George Lucas (Director). (1980) Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher

     (Performers). The Empire Strikes Back (Motion Picture). United States:

     Twentieth Century Fox.

Unknown (Director). (1990) Civil War Diary. (Videotape). United States: New

     World Entertainment.

Gale Literary Criticism Online (Signed): McCarron, Bill. "Images of War and

     Peace: Parallelism and Antithesis in the Beginning and Ending of Cold

     Mountain." The Mississippi Quarterly. 52.2 (1999): 273. Galegroup.com.

     Alabama Virtual Library. 25 February 2003.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Examples of Works Cited Pages

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Works cited pages would appear at the end of a research paper. Works cited means the same as references but differs from a bibliography. A works cited page is a list of works that you referenced in the body of your paper, whereas a bibliography is a list of all sources you used in your research.  

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