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MLA - Referencing Guide

Secondary Sources


  A secondary source is one where the author of the work you are reading (e.g. book, article, etc.) is referencing or quoting another author's work.

  Always try to locate the original source of information which is cited in a work that you have read.
   This is not always possible. For example, when the original work is:

  • out of print
  • unavailable through your usual sources
  • not available in English

  Refer to the source where you found the information you are citing, not the original source.

  Use the words Cited in or Quoted in to indicate how the information from the original source was been used in the article that you have read.

  Follow the citation format guidelines for each format type.

  Follow the In Text Citation Guidelines for Citing Secondary Sources when referring to a secondary source in text.


If you read an article by Hulya Ipek, in which she cites information from a previous study by Lantolf and Thorne, and you wish to refer to this information in your assignment:

You would acknowledge Lantolf and Thorne in the text:

Lantolf and Thorne’s study found that “what one can do today with assistance is indicative of what one will be able to do independently in the future..." (qtd. in Ipek 158).

In your Works Cited list at the end of your assignment, your entry would be a reference for Ipek's article because that is where you sourced the information:

Ipek, Helya. "Comparing and Contrasting First and Second Language Acquisition: Implications for Language Teachers." English Language Teaching, vol. 2, no. 2, 2009, pp. 155-63.

See the All Examples page for examples of in-text and reference list entries for specific resources such as secondary sources, articles, books and web pages.

Works Cited List Entries

For ease of use, this guide divides Works Cited list entries into different formats.
Select the format you require from the Works Cited List Entries menu or select from the links below: