chat loading...
Skip to Main Content

The Research Process: Step-by-Step

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process

In-Text Citations

In-text citations in the body of your paper point the reader to specific sources listed on your Works Cited page. They usually include the author’s last name or title (if no author is given) and the relevant page numbers (if given). Since the Works Cited list is ordered alphabetically, the element that comes first in your Works Cited list is also the element used in the in-text (also known as parenthetical) citation.

  • The in-text citation usually includes the author's last name and the page number cited: (Kenner 125).
  • Don’t repeat the author or title in the in-text citation if you use it in your sentence: “Hugh Kenner defines Joyce's practice in terms of the Pound vortex (125).”
  • If your Works Cited list includes more than one work by an author, the parenthetical should also include a short form of the title: (Kenner, Pound 141).
  • If a work has more than one author, use the authors' last names as used in the Works Cited list: (Graham and Cook 53) or (Smith et al. 82).
  • If the work does not have an author, the parenthetical should include the first one or two words from the title: ("Venue's" 8A).
  • If the source doesn’t have page numbers or part numbers, you omit them: (Adichie).
  • Include the time or time range for audio and video with hours, minutes, and seconds: (“Eyes” 00:21:02-45).

Formatting the Works Cited Page

The Works Cited list provides references including complete bibliographic information for the sources you used, thereby allowing your reader to identify and locate those materials. To format the page:

  • begin the list on a new page at the end of your paper
  • use 1" margins
  • continue the page numbers of the text (i.e., if your paper ends with page 15, the list should start at page 16) and place in the upper right-hand corner a 1/2" from the top and flush with the right margin
  • center the Works Cited title
  • double space within and between entries
  • if an entry is longer than one line, indent the subsequent line 1/2" (hanging indent)
  • arrange the list alphabetically

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations followed by a descriptive summary and evaluation. Sometimes the annotation will reflect the applicability of the source to the needs of the researcher. The purpose of this type of bibliography is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Gurko, Leo. Ernest Hemingway and the Pursuit of Heroism. New York: Crowell, 1968. This book is part of a series called "Twentieth Century American Writers": a Brief Introduction to the Man and his Work. After fifty pages of straight biography, Gurko discussed Hemingway's writing, novel by novel. There's an index and a short bibliography, but no notes. The biographical part is clear and easy to read, but it sounds too much like a summary.

Example borrowed from the Writing Center at UNC- Chapel Hill.

MLA Guides

For specific examples on how to cite sources, print or download MLA guides below or visit the Works Cited Examples page.

MLA Handbook

Citation Generators

Following are several online citation builders that are geared towards helping students with the main academic citation styles: American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago Manual of Style. Even though these online citation builders have been developed to provide consistent citations with the rules set out by the citation style guides, users are ultimately responsible for the citations and should be sure to proofread them for accuracy.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries developed the Citation Builder. The Citation Builder does citations for books, chapters or essays from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles, and web sites. After filling out a form, only the bibliographic citation is provided.

KnightCite is maintained by the Hekman Library at Calvin College, Michigan. The service was created in 2004 and is available to members within and outside of the Calvin community. It generates bibliographic citations for MLA, APA and the Chicago Manual of Style, and it cites a variety of materials ranging from sacred texts to cartoons.

Scribbr offers a variety of tools and resources to assist individuals with academic writing, plagiarism checkers, and citations. 

MyBib offers tools to generate formatted bibliographies, citations, and works cited automatically in a variety of styles.

Research and Citation Managers- Zotero & Mendeley

Related guides

Contact a Campus:

478-471-2709 for the Macon campus library | 478-934-3179 for the Roberts Memorial Library at the Cochran campus | 478-275-6772 for the Dublin campus library

478-374-6833 for the Eastman campus library | 478-929-6804 for the Warner Robins campus library | On the Go? Text-A-Librarian: 478-285-4898

Middle Georgia State University Library

Book an Appointment With a Librarian