How to Do the Works Cited Page on a Research Paper

A works cited page for a research paper is a bibliography of every source you pulled from in your paper. To do the works cited page on a research paper properly, take careful notes on every source you consult. Check with your instructor or intended publisher to see which style guide you need to use. For example, your works cited list will look noticeably different if you accidentally use MLA (Modern Language Association) style when APA (American Psychological Association) is required.

Step 1

Copy all major publication information for each source you use or think you might use in your research paper. For example, let’s say you’re using an article from a scholarly journal. Depending on which style guide you use, you will need some combination of the author’s name, the article’s title, the journal’s title, publisher, volume number, issue number, date of publication and relevant page numbers. Some writers prefer to store this information on paper note cards, placing one source per card. If you would prefer to keep track of sources electronically, use a commercial citation software product. Be sure to note which pieces of information in your paper are quoted or drawn from each source.

Step 2

Confirm the style guide you are required to use and format your citations accordingly. If you are using MLA, the most common style guide for high school students and college students in the humanities, alphabetize your sources by the author’s (or first author’s, if there are several) last name. Use the relevant style guide, available in book or electronic form depending on which guide you need, or format your citations using a free service like

Step 3

Format your works-cited page according to the guidelines in your style guide. Place “Works Cited” at the top of the first new page after the final page of your paper or end notes. Whether the title is centered or in bold font depends on the guide you use. Check whether you need to use double or single spacing and whether margins need to be one inch all around.


When in doubt about whether or not to include a source, include it. Double-check every citation for possible errors, and refer to your style guide for how to handle atypical citation issues such as an anonymous work, for example, or a book without a publication date.

Things You'll Need

  • Original sources
  • Note cards or electronic database
  • Style guide
  • Computer with word processing software