Citation Guide

How to cite a journal in a bibliography using MLA

The most basic entry for a journal consists of the author name(s), article title, journal name, volume number, year published, page numbers, and medium.

Last Name, First Name. "Article Title." Journal Name Volume Number (Year Published): Page Numbers. Medium.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. Print.

The first author's name should be reversed, with a comma being placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). The name should not be abbreviated and should be written exactly as it appears in the journal. Titles and affiliations associated with the author should generally be omitted. A suffix, such as a roman numeral or Jr./Sr. should appear after the author's given name, preceded by a comma.

For an article written by two or more authors, list them in order as they appear in the journal. Only the first author's name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma, and place the word "and" before the last author's name. For articles with three or more authors, you may either include each author in the citation or only include the first author, followed by the abbreviation "et al."

Smith, John, Jane Doe, and Bob Anderson. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. Print.

Smith, John, et al. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. Print.

The article title should be placed within quotation marks. Unless the article title ends with a punctuation mark, place a period after the article title within the quotation marks. The article title is followed by the name of the journal, which is italicized. Omit any introductory articles (e.g. A, An, The) from the journal name and do not place any punctuation after the journal name.

Include the volume number of the journal, but without the word "volume" or the abbreviation "vol." You may also need to include the issue number, depending on the journal. Issues published within a single year normally compose one volume. Volumes are normally numbered in sequential order, with each new volume having its number increment by 1, while issue numbering restarts from 1 for each new volume. Some journals do not continuously number pages throughout an annual volume, instead starting on page 1 for each new issue. In this case, you should include the issue number by placing a period after the volume number and then citing the issue number.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12.3 (2009): 78-93. Print.

Put the year of publication in parentheses, followed by a colon, the page numbers the article appears on, and a period. Cite all inclusive page numbers - if the article spans pages that are not consecutive, cite only the first page, followed by a plus sign.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78+. Print.

If no page numbers are available, include the abbreviation "n. pag." in place of page numbers.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): n. pag. Print.

Next cite the medium in which the article was published (e.g. Print, Web). If the medium is "Print", it should end the citation, along with a period. If the medium is "Web", also include the website name and the date on which you accessed the article online. The website name should be italicized and placed before the medium, along with a period. The accessed date should follow the medium (and be formatted using the international format of "day month year" as specified above), along with a period. For an article found in a database, cite it the same way you would an article published online: cite the medium as "Web" and place the database name in the same location as the website name.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. Weird Science Online. Web. 21 Feb. 2009.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. LexisNexis. Web. 21 Feb. 2009.

If the article was published online, you may choose to include the web address of the page, but only when the reader needs the URL to access the page or otherwise required by your professor. Although MLA guidelines previously recommended including URLs in a bibliography entry, that is no longer the case. In general, URLs are subject to change and can become outdated, refer to a session in use, and be very long. Users are more likely to find an article now by searching titles or author names. If you choose to include a URL, place it after the date of access (and its subsequent period) by enclosing it in angle brackets. Place a period after the angle brackets.

Smith, John. "Studies in pop rocks and Coke." Weird Science 12 (2009): 78-93. Weird Science Online. Web. 21 Feb. 2009. <http://www.weirdscience.org/articles/id=1212>.

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