Quotations: Integrating them in MLA-Style Papers

I touched up an older handout on citing quotations in MLA style.

The MLA-style in-text citation is a highly compressed format, designed to preserve the smooth flow of your own ideas (without letting the outside material take over your whole paper).

See also: Academic WritingUsing Quotations EffectivelyThesis Statements

One engineer who figures prominently in all accounts of the 1986 Challenger accident says NASA was “absolutely relentless and Machiavellian” about following procedures to the letter (Vaughan 221).
The standard MLA citation uses just the author’s last name and the page number (or line number), separated by a space (not a comma).
Diane Vaughan cites an Challenger engineer who says NASA was “absolutely relentless and Machiavellian” about following procedures to the letter (221).
When your own sentence mentions the author, do not repeat the author in the parenthetical citation.

In high school, you may have been rewarded for introducing every quote with a full sentence identifying the author and mentioning the author’s credentials. In the examples below, the bold text is useless filler.

Diane Vaughan, a professor of psychology at Boston College and an expert in corporate reactions to emergencies, published an extensive study of the 1986 Challenger disaster, called The Challenger Launch Decision. In that book, on page 221, she cites a prominent engineer who says NASA was “absolutely relentless and Machiavellian” about following procedures to the letter.
In The Challenger Launch Decision, by Diane Vaughan, it says that an engineer who figures prominently in all accounts of the disaster believes NASA was “absolutely relentless and Machiavellian” about following procedures to the letter (Vaughan 221)..

An MLA-style paper does not ask you to give the full name and credentials of your sources in the body of your paper, or even the full title of your source. (Save that information for the Works Cited list.)