The following two sample research papers are typical of the papers that might be submitted in different kinds of courses.
Reading these papers will help you learn about organizing an argument and working with sources. The papers also demonstrate the use of MLA style to document sources and the formatting of the margins, line spacing, and other physical attributes of a printed paper. The MLA’s guidelines on formatting papers appear elsewhere on this site.
The sample papers were written by MLA staff members who are experienced college teachers. You may find that the writing and documentation seem polished. Because the sample papers serve as models, we aimed to make them free of errors in grammar and documentation. Nevertheless, we hope that the papers usefully represent good student work.
This paper, on Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, shows you how to incorporate figures into your text, style a block quotation, and cite a variety of sources. Read about block quotations in the MLA Handbook (1.3.2–3, 1.3.7).
This paper, on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park and the courtship novel, features examples of how to use notes in MLA style, cite a dictionary definition, and more.
Generic Citation Format
For further details on the core elements, see How to Format the Works-Cited List.
NW 340/341-2 in the first example is the record label's catalog number for the album.
The date of original release (1993 in this example) is an optional element. Include it when it gives your reader insight into the creation of the work. While MLA Handbook, 8th edition, does not require "DVD" to be included in the citation, you can add it to help your reader know how you accessed the film.
If you are writing about a television episode without focusing on a particular individual's contribution, start the entry with the title. If you are focusing on the creator or performer, start with their name and role.
In the examples above, the first example is writing about the first episode in general and it was watched on Netflix. The second example is writing about Gina Rodriguez's performance in a particular episode that was watched online during the season. The last example is writing about the first season in general, watched on DVD. While MLA Handbook, 8th edition, does not require "DVD" to be included in the citation, you can add it to help your reader know how you accessed the film.
In the examples above, the first one is seeing the artwork in person, the second is accessing the image from the museum's website, the third is accessing it through the library database ArtStor, and the last is using an image from a book.
Author Last Name, First Name. Title of Source. Title of Container, Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.
Schoenberg, Arnold. A Survivor from Warsaw For Narrator, Men's Chorus, and Orchestra. Op. 46, Bomart Music Publications, 1949.
Bernstein, Leonard. Candide: Opera House Version, 1982. Performance by the New York City Opera Chorus and Orchestra, NW 340/341-2, New World Records, 1986.
Beyoncé. "Sorry." Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2016, www.beyonce.com/album/lemonade-visual-album/.
Peck, Raoul. L'homme sur les quais [The Man by the Shore]. 1993. Velvet Film, 2013. DVD.
"TNC:172 Kennedy-Nixon First Presidential Debate, 1960." YouTube, uploaded by JFK Library, 21 Sept. 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbrcRKqLSRw.
"Chapter One: The Pilot." Jane the Virgin, created by Jennie Snyder Urman, season 1, episode 1, Poppy Productions, 2014. Netflix, www.netflix.com/watch/80060553.
Rodriguez, Gina, performer. "Chapter Forty-Four." Jane the Virgin, created by Jennie Snyder Urman, season 2, episode 22, The CW, 16 May 2016. www.cwtv.com/shows/jane-the-virgin/.
Jane the Virgin: Season 1. Created by Jennie Snyder Urman, performance by Gina Rodriguez, Warner Home Video, 2015. DVD.
Degas, Edgar. The Dance Class. 1874, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Degas, Edgar. The Dance Class. 1874. The Met, www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/438817.
Degas, Hilaire-Germain-Edgar. The Dance Class.1874. ArtStor, library.artstor.org.
Degas, Edgar. The Dance Class. 1875-1876. Impressionism: A Centenary Exhibition, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, December 12, 1974-February 10, 1975, edited by Anne Dayez, Michel Hoog, and Charles S. Moffett, [Metropolitan Museum of Art], 1974, p. 105.