Research papers generally build on the work of previous writers and researchers. Whenever you write a paper and use the material of another author, you must document that source.
Documentation credits the author and publisher of the original work and provides the necessary information for readers to consult the same sources. Documentation is generally in the form of a bibliography that is a list of works cited at the end of the paper.
MLA citation style does not use footnotes or endnotes, so all in text citation is parenthetical. MLA in text citations must include the author’s last name and the page references from where the information was acquired, even if the information is paraphrased. There are several ways that this information can be stated, as in these examples taken from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th edition).
Not all quotations require quotation marks. “If a quotation runs to more than four lines in your paper, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting…from the left margin, and typing it double-spaced, without adding quotation marks” (Gibaldi 110).
In the MLA Handbook, Gibaldi notes that quotations that are longer than four lines are generally offset from the rest of the text by writing it as a block quotation. To do this one would begin the quotation on a new line and indent the entire quotation one inch. No quotation marks are required (110).
If a quotation runs to more than four lines in your paper, set it off from your text by beginning a new line, indenting one inch… from the left margin, and typing it…without adding quotation marks. A colon generally introduces a quotation displayed in this way, though sometimes the context may require a different mark of punctuation or none at all. If you quote only a single paragraph or part of one, do not indent the first line more than the rest. (110-11)