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MLA Journal Article Citation

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How to cite a journal in a bibliography using MLA

The most basic entry for a journal article consists of the author’s name(s), the article title, the journal name, volume number, publication date, page number(s), and location.

Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. #, Date Published, pp.#-#. Location.

Smith, John. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798.

Reverse the first author’s name, placing a comma 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 authors, list them in the order they appear in the journal. Reverse only the first author’s name and write the other names in normal order. Separate author names with a comma and place the word “and” before the last author’s name.

Smith, John, and Jane Doe. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798.

For articles with three or more authors, only include the first author, followed by a comma and the abbreviation “et al.”

Smith, John, et al. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798.

Place the article title in double quotation marks. Unless the article title ends with a punctuation mark, place a period after the article title within the quotation marks. Follow the article title with the name of the journal, which is italicized. Omit any introductory articles (e.g., A, An, The) from the journal name, and separate the journal name from any volume or issue number details with a comma.

Include the volume number of the journal, not with the word “volume” but with 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, include the issue number, placing a comma after the volume number (vol. 12,) and then citing the issue number (vol. 12, no. 3).

Smith, John. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, no.3, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798.

Follow the volume and issue number information with the publication date details, separating the elements with commas after the volume number and the issue number. Then, include the page (p. 78) or page range (pp. 78-93) the article appears on, followed by 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, vol. 12, no.3, 2009, 78+.

If no page numbers are available, omit the page number element.

Smith, John. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, no.3, 2009. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798.

Next, cite the location details for the source container of the journal article (e.g., database name and URL, website name and DOI, etc.). Italicize the container name if it is a database or website title containing the smaller work, the journal article. For information found online, include a DOI or URL.

According to MLA’s 9th edition updated in 2021, you may usually leave out http:// or https:// from URLs unless you want to hyperlink them or unless instructed otherwise. When in doubt, ask your instructor. If a DOI is available, use that instead of the URL. For DOIs, use http:// or https:// before the DOI: https://doi.org/xx.xxxx/xxx.xxxx.xxxx. Use a period after the DOI.

If a publication or posting date isn’t available, include the accessed date after the location. Format the date using the international format of day-month-year. Follow the access date with a period. For an article found in a database, cite it the same way you would an article published online: cite the location with the database name in italics, followed by a comma, a DOI or URL, and ending with a period.

Smith, John. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, no.3, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/studies-in-pop-rocks-and-coke/docview/745668798. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

Smith, John. “Studies in Pop Rocks and Coke.” Weird Science, vol. 12, no.3, 2009, pp. 78-93. ProQuest, https://doi.org/12.3456/789.1011.1213.

If the article was published online, you may choose to include the web address of the page, but MLA prefers you include that online location, in order of preference, by using the DOI, permalink, or URL. MLA recommends using the DOI when it’s available because they are more reliable locators than URLs. DOIs are also more concise. When wondering whether to include a URL in your works-cited list or bibliography, follow the guidelines of your instructor, school, or publisher.

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