There are at least three reasons why writers cite their sources:
A style guide is document or book that specifies the formatting and other conventions that will be followed whenever an article is published by a member of an organization or a scholarly community. In the field of English Studies, the standard style guide is the MLA Handbook Ninth Edition (a copy is available to consult on the library's Ready Reference Shelf), and it is typical for English professors to expect essays to be turned in formatted according to MLA style.
Here are some resources that can help you format your essay according to MLA style:
To insert a footnote in Word, click on the References tab on the toolbar. Then place your cursor where you want to insert a citation (customarily right after the period at the end of the sentence or paragraph where you are using the source) and click Insert Footnote under the Footnotes box.
The first time you use a source, your footnote should take the form of a full citation of the source:
1. Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” in Selected Essays, ed. David Bradshaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 11.
After the first citation of the source, you can use the shortened citation (if you've just changed the page number) if you return to a source already used:
2. Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” 11.
However, if you are simply using the same source right after you have cited it for information on a different page, you can simply use the Latin abbreviation Ibid., [the new page number]. (This is short for ibidem, meaning "in the same place.")
Whatever style you use, citations typically include author, title of the work, and publication information (for books, publisher and year published; for articles, the journal, volume, date, and page numbers; for websites, a URL is needed).
The title of a larger unit of work (a book title, an album title, or the name of a magazine, newspaper, or journal) goes in italics, whereas the title of a smaller unit within the work (a chapter title, a song title, or the title of an article in the magazine, newspaper, or journal) goes in "quotation marks".
"Come on, I know how to use Microsoft Word." If you are already a pro at using word processing programs like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, good for you! However, you will achieve a higher degree of precision in your formatting (and save time) if you familiarize yourself with the Show/Hide button, the Paragraph menu (specifically the Before and After values and the line-height value), the use of page breaks and section breaks, how to edit the Header/Footer and add page numbers, and how to stop the header/footer for a section from being Linked with Previous.
One way to master formatting is to view a tutorial from InfoBase, which is accessible through the GTS website. There is one tutorial, for example, on "MLA (8th Ed) Research Paper Basics."