Citation – MLA and APA

MLA citation style is commonly used by students from elementary school onward.  It is the style reinforced by the Modern Language Association for research papers in the “Humanities,” i.e., English, History, Art, etc.  (See our checklist for completing an MLA style Works Cited List.) APA citation style is commonly used by students involved in certain science competitions and for research papers in the sciences, including social sciences such as Psychology.  It is promoted by the American Psychiatric Association.

Resources for building citations:

  • Completed Bibliographies are exemplified in the following sample research papers in MLA, 8th edition and APA, 7th edition. Scroll to the end of those papers to note indentation, punctuation and spacing rules that apply.
  • Citation Generators: Our favorite in 2021 is MyBib because it is the most free from ads. MLA citation templates are available at EasyBib… however, APA citation is available in EasyBib only for paying customers.
  • NoodleTools is software that APS libraries pay for in order to provide their students authoritative and up-to-date citation guidance for long term projects. Students use NoodleTools to build their bibliographies, annotate them, link them to their resources and record notes.  With a click, you can export your bibliography to Google Drive. (It supports electronic note-taking and outlining a paper, too.)  Log in using your APS Google email address and password or find NoodleTools in the “waffle menu” of your Google Drive.
  • Students in 10th grade are introduced by Jennifer to a browser-based tool called Zotero which can collect citations for many online resources.
  • The OWL at Purdue:  Expert advice and models for citing a variety of information formats in multiple styles.
  • Google is developing its Google Docs tools to insert in-text citations and create bibliographies. Check to see if your device/app supports it because the i-Pad app might not yet.
  • Learn the most recent updates to APA Citation guidance.
  • Almost all of the library’s database resources include citations that students can copy and paste onto bibliographies or the “Quick Cite” link in NoodleTools.  Look for the correct style of citation (MLA or APA) at the base of the article or linked in ways demonstrated in images here.
  • Gather complete citations from your APS library books in the details of the library catalog record.
  • HBW’s library has print books to support instruction of MLA and APA citation, including the MLA Handbook, 8th edition, and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.  Find them at 808 in our non-fiction section. They are useful to answering most questions and learning how in-text citations are constructed, how the various parts of a research paper are laid out and formatted, including how to properly supply captions for a diagram or image. Consult with the librarian to apply the rules if it will help speed your work.

In-text Citation:

In the paragraphs of your project, as you deliver information that you sourced, cite it with an in-text citation. It’s a short form of reference; your reader will be able to read the complete longer form of your citation in the bibliography at the end of your project. Refer to green image below to explore MLA examples.

Style Example for a 2019 article by Fred Jones Format More instruction


(Jones 22) Last name of author followed by the page number where the info appeared Different kinds of in-text citations in MLA format


(Jones, 2019) Last name of author then a comma and year of publication APA in-text citations


A sample paragraph of many sentences is shown. Following each quotation is parentheses, name of author, page number of the source of the quote, close parentheses period.

Things to notice in the final 2 MLA examples above:

  • The final example supplies qtd. in as an abbreviation for “quoted in” and this format is used to cite Saplin as the source where you found the quotation even if Saplin found it elsewhere. Saplin quoted Martin Luther King Junior’s words in her work, and the example demonstrates how you can quote that quote in your own paper.
  • 28 is used to cite Jones again (whose work was cited directly before hand) but with a new page number.
  • citing is done whether the wording is directly quoted or paraphrased/summarized to give credit for the source of the information that is not considered “common knowledge.”