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Free Guide on Journal Article Citation in MLA

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Why Quote the Chapter of a Book in MLA

MLA, aka the Modern Language Association, is a style of documentation that is typically reserved for writers and students engaged in Cultural Studies, English Studies, and Literature. Despite such a narrow focus, MLA style is widely used in other research fields, making it one of the most popular formats employed in academia. 

It often happens that a piece is written by different authors or such that collects dozens of self-contained papers. In such regard, students have nothing else to do except for citing a chapter in a book MLA. If you were long wondering how to cite such sources properly, our following guide would shed light on all the details and nuances. Stay tuned.

When You Need to Use Citing a Chapter in Book MLA

It often happens that students or scholars have to cite books in MLA format to supplement their findings. But when is it correct to cite a book or a chapter? The main reason to cite a part of a book instead of the whole piece is an abundance of authors. Without a doubt, dozens of books have different editors or self-contained pieces of writing, which are different from the other content. 

Once you see that a single author or two wrote all of the chapters or papers, there is no need to cite sections. In turn, any self-contained paper or a section written by different authors or editors have to be cited separately. Once we made it clear when to cite chapters in MLA format, let’s take a closer look at how to do it properly. Stay tuned.

General Requirements for Citing Book Chapter MLA

When it comes to the general requirements on how to cite a chapter in a book MLA, one has to recognize that citing a chapter still requires to comply with general MLA requirements, as follows:

  • You have to indicate both the in-text and work cited citations, alongside mentioning both the author and the editor. 
  • Note all the pieces of data about both the authors and the editors.
  • With regard to specific sections that are written by a book’s editor or another writer, such as Foreward or Introduction, they also can be cited. 
  • Be sure to include the writer of that section, followed by the name of the section, the title of book, and the editor’s name. 
  • A citation has to include the author, title, publisher, and publication year.
  • All references are formatted in Times New Roman or Arial, whereas the font size equals 12.

Later on, we will disclose examples of how different MLA book chapters are cited, including edited writings, anthologies, encyclopedia articles, and pieces with no editor.

MLA Cite a Chapter in a Book: Differences Between 7th and 8th Editions

Although both seventh and eights editions of MLA are still used, a few differences should be outlined in relation to the chapters. 

Differences

7th edition

8th edition

City of publication

Always displayed

Omitted

Medium of source

Print/Web

Omitted

Anthologies or edited volumes (Larger works)

Page range not indicated

‘pp.’ used to indicate page ranges in larger works

URLs

http:// is needed

Omitted

Pseudonyms

Can’t be used

Acceptable to use instead of author’s names

These minor differences are still relevant for proper formatting of chapters in MLA, something you have to master to polish your bibliography.

How to Cite MLA Chapter in a Book: What to Look For

If you are hesitant about what to look for and how to find all the relevant details required for references, be sure to read the following recommendations carefully. Commonly, you will need the following pieces of information:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Publication Year
  • Editor

These pieces of data are essential to format and proceed with the MLA citation chapter in a book. Regardless of whether you have a book in print or on the Web, you still need a copyright page. There, you will find the information about the publisher and publication year. Other sections, including the title, author, and editor, can be found on a book’s title page as well as near the section beginnings.

Formats of MLA Book Chapter Citation

As we have partially covered above, articles can take different formats, depending on the source you are working with. The most common ones include edited books, anthologies, encyclopedia articles, and pieces with no editors. That’s why we are about to cover them briefly, showing the main differences between them, as follows.

Cite a Chapter in MLA: Edited books

An edited book incorporates chapters that are completed by authors different from editors. When citing a piece from an edited book, the writer’s name is displayed first, followed by the title of the section. If you are looking for an in-text citation example, be sure to include the chapter’s author name: (Davidson 200). 

Structure:

Author’s Last name, First name, “Title of the Chapter,” Book Name, edited by Editor Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Example:

Davidson, Bob. “What do we know about biology.” Biological Guide for Newbies, edited by John Travis, University Press of Arizona, 2019, pp. 200-214.

You see, all you have to remember about is to indicate both the chapter’s author and the editor ones in your citation.

Citation Guide for Anthologies

Anthologies, unlike edited books, are the collections of literary works. They usually incorporate the works of dozens of authors, whereas an editor commonly writes only a foreword or introductory piece. 

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Chapter (Essay, Poem).” Book Name, edited (translated) by Editor (Translator) Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Example:

Donne, John. “The Funeral.” The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of England, edited by Charles Tsing, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 23-25.
 

Article in an Encyclopedia

Encyclopedia, unlike a biography, works not with dozens of personal quotes, but instead with summaries of information from all branches of knowledge. Entries in these encyclopedias often have a title with no author. When you cite a section of an encyclopedia, the section name is listed first.

Structure

“Section’s Name.” Encyclopedia Name, edited by Editor Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Example:

“Photosynthesis.” Encyclopedia of Biology, edited by John Barnouw, Oxford University Press, 2002, 5 vols.
 

No Editor

It might happen that you will have to cite a chapter in a written piece with no editor. Thus, just follow the standard citation format, alongside omitting the editor element.

Structure:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the Chapter (Essay, Poem).” Book Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Example:

Donne, John. “Love’s Alchemy.” The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne, University of Minnesota Press, 2007, pp. 294-298.
 

Multiple editors, but no author

Some books, the chapters of which you have to cite have no authors at all, which means you have to indicate the names of editors. The good news is that all you have to do is to replace the authors’ names with the editors’ ones.

Structure:

Editor’s Last Name, First Name and Editor’s Last Name, First Name, editors. “Title of the Chapter.” Book Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Example:

Davidson, Bob and Frank, John, editors. “What do we know about biology.” Biological Guide for Newbies, University Press of Arizona, 2019, pp. 200-214.

If you have more than two editors, but no author, the following example has to be used.

Example with more than two editors:

Davidson, Frank, et al., editors. “What do we know about biology.” Biological Guide for Newbies, University Press of Arizona, 2019, pp. 200-214.

FAQ

How do I cite a chapter in an edited book?

If you comply with the following structure, you will cite a chapter in an edited book. Here, take a look:
Author’s Last name, First name, “Title of the Chapter,” Book Name, edited by Editor Name, Publisher, Year, Pages.

Why do I have to cite a chapter but not a book itself?

If chapters are completed by different authors, it is a must to cite a specific chapter you are referring to.

Do I always have to indicate the page numbers?

Yes. If you are citing a chapter, indicating page numbers is required.

Are the in-text citations of chapters any different from the ordinary ones?

No. The only recommendation is not to forget to indicate the chapter’s author name in the in-text citations, but not the editor’s one.

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