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How do you cite a summary of a work in MLA style?

In MLA style, when you cite a summary of a work, you should generally mention the name of the work you are summarizing and its author in your prose and include the work in your works-cited list. The author’s name in your prose will direct the reader to the works-cited-list entry. Page numbers are not normally needed, since you are discussing the work as a whole rather than quoting or paraphrasing a passage from it:

In Obedience to Authority, Stanley Milgram argues that people who are normally kind to others will act otherwise when they are under the influence of a person in a position of power.

Published 18 June 2019

How do I cite an abstract?

Very few circumstances call for citing an abstract.
Never cite an abstract as a short-cut, a way of avoiding reading and citing the full published work. This is akin to citing the summary of a work that you would find on a book jacket or on a site like CliffsNotes. If you cite an abstract in lieu of the work it summarizes, you are shortchanging both the author and yourself: you are not accurately representing the author’s complete work, which may contain key information that is missing from the abstract, and you lose the experience of reading and engaging with the author’s extended argument and the evidence that supports it.

Published 1 May 2019

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