MLA & APA Style Guides

Guidelines for Formatting your Paper

Rules for Formatting Your Paper

The list of items below is crucial to a complete and well-written essay. Check to make sure that you have met all of the specifications:

  • all papers should be word processed (typed)
  • use 8.5 ” x 11” white paper
  • double space the document (with the exception of block quotes)
  • use 12 font (Times New Roman or Arial fonts)
  • use standard margins of 2.5 cm (1 inch)
  • the title on the title page is in 18 font, centred on the page; your name, the course, the date and the teacher’s name are to be in 12 font in the bottom right-hand corner
  • foreign terms or phrases are to be italicised
  • no titles, subtitles, indexes nor table of contents are to appear in the research project/essay
  • appendices are added at the end of the essay, but before the bibliography/works cited
  • appropriate appendices could include such material as maps, diagrams, charts, tables or pictures
  • all material in appendices is referenced with a parenthetical citation.
  • for appendices, only use information to which you have referred in your essay
  • use standard paragraphing with a five space indent, do not leave extra spaces between paragraphs
  • do not use any contractions (which means that you will NEVER use the word it’s in an essay/research project)
  • use Canadian/British spelling of words (i.e. neighbour and NOT neighbor).
  • titles in text follow the same rules as they appear in the bibliography/works cited
    • all pages after the first page must be numbered (excluding the bibliography/works cited)
    • in a formal essay, never write in the first person (me, I, my)

    General Notes regarding Major Research Projects/Independent Studies

    • At the senior level if a student fails to hand in the independent study or any part of its process, he/she is deemed not have met the expectations associated with that particular grading activity of the course. (See WCSS Assessment/Evaluation Policies).
    • The required PROCESS of the ISU must match the final paper.
    • An independent study handed in without a bibliography/works cited and parenthetical notation is considered incomplete.

    Proof-reading your Essay

    Here are a few tips on proof-reading your essay.

    • Do not leave proof-reading to the last minute. You should proof-read at least once out loud. You should proof-read on two or three different occasions, and not when you are over tired.
    • Take advantage of the feedback of your peers when they are editing your rough or final draft.
    • Do not rely on your spellchecker to correct all mistakes. i.e. the difference between words such as “its” and “it’s”!
    • Ask someone else to read your paper, not just for grammar and spelling, but also for style and fluidity.
    • Be sure to include transitional words and statements which refer back to your thesis.

Guidelines for a Works Cited Page in MLA Format

Works Cited Page

Basic Rules

  • Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper.
  • Label the page Works Cited DO NOT number your citations, Put all Citations in alphabetical order!!!!
  • Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
  • Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations five spaces so that you create a hanging indent.
  • list as Print or Web sources, but other possibilities may include Film, CD-ROM, or DVD.

Here are the most common type of Entries… for a complete list see web site!!!<>

Books Basic Format

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

Book with More Than One Author

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn, 2000. Print.

Book with No Author

Encyclopedia of Indiana. New York:Somerset, 1993. Print.

****Citing an Entire Web Site*****

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available). Medium of publication. Date of access. URL


Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. S. H. Butcher. The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomic and Massachusetts Institute of Technology,13 Sept. 2007. Web.4 Nov. 2008. ‹›.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo National del Prado. Web. 22 May 2006.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Kunka, Andrew. “Re: Modernist Literature.” Message to the author.15 Nov. 2000. E-mail.

Personal Interviews

Purdue, Pete. Personal interview.1 Dec. 2000.

Films or Movies

The Usual Suspects. Dir. Bryan Singer. Perf. Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, and Benecio del Toro. Polygram,

1995. Film.


Guidelines for Referencing in MLA Format for Essays and/or other Written Assignments

Parenthetical Citations (in-text)

Parenthetical Citations MUST be included in your research paper i.e. (Smyth 82).

Students are required to use the parenthetical citation style for referencing sources of information in a research paper/ISU essay or assignment. For a complete guide, you may consult:

Hacker, Diana. Humanities: Documenting Sources: in-text Citations. 2007.1 Sept. 2007 <>


Purdue OWL online writing lab <>

For parenthetical citations, use the following information as a guideline:

In almost all cases, the first word (s) of the bibliographic entry are used, as this is what the reader refers to, should he or she wish more information regarding a given author or source.

  • Never place a comma between the author/title and the page number.
  • Whether the citation comes in the middle of a sentence or at the end, the punctuation comes after the parentheses. Thus, the citation reads as part of the sentence.
  • The author and page number (if available) is included. The same format goes for print and electronic sources in order of precedence: author (if available), title (if author is NOT available), with page number.

Here are a few examples that are drawn from fictitious sources using the format for English and Social Science:

Based on the bibliographic entry: Smith, Joe. Violent Weather Phenomena. Ottawa:Canterbury Press, 2007. one would see a parenthetical citation in a geography paper of :

Research shows that winds inside a tornado may exceed 400 kilometres an hour (Smith 76).

Where the author’s name is stated in the essay, it would be redundant to include it a second time in parentheses:

Jones reports that most Third World deaths in children are due to malnutrition (176).

Where there is neither an author nor a page number provided, as is often found on the World Wide Web, one only includes the first few words of the bibliographic entry (title). Such an entry could be:

Supernatural Phenomenon.5 Feb. 1994. 9 Mar 2007

There were several hundred reported sightings of UFOs in Canada last year (Supernatural).

When a quotation is longer than four typed lines of prose or three lines of verse, set it off from the text by indenting the entire quotation one inch (or ten spaces) from the left margin. Quotation marks are not needed when a quotation has been set off from the text by indenting.


In a debate one advocate stated the following in favour of the reform of the Canadian Senate:

What does our Upper House actually offer, apart from a comfortable retirement package until the age of 75? When is the last time that this non-elected body rejected a bill from the

Lower House? Certainly the Senate should be one that is equal, effective and elected. Anything short of that is undemocratic, irresponsible and contrary to the regional interests of the country. (Burns 134)

When a quotation is less than four lines, quotation marks are used around the quotation and the period comes after the parenthetical notation.


In advocating stricter fines for dangerous driving, one observer describes being passed by another driver who “was holding a coffee cup and a cigarette in one hand, and a cellular telephone in the other, and appeared to have a newspaper balanced on the steering wheel” (Smith 80).


Need to write up your bibliography? Check with your teacher to find out which citation style they would like you to use. Handouts are available in the library or you can check out the links below.

Library Handouts Pink = MLA style Blue = APA style

Purdue University has an amazing site with very useful The Purdueinformation about writing, citation styles, plagiarism and more. Their Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a valuable resource for students.

MLA Style

APA Style

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