How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA Quickly and Accurately
Young people pick different education directions once they leave high school. Some choose popular universities like Harvard or Stanford while others prefer something more specialized, like medical colleges or Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But there is one thing all these places have in common despite their fundamental differences: they use the MLA formatting style and require students to know its basics. In research, students tend to use peer-reviewed academic articles because they offer invaluable information. How to cite a journal article in MLA, though, and why do it at all?
Referencing is essential for avoiding plagiarism, which is a tough issue that can result in drastic negative consequences. You might even be suspended if you fail to cite where you took your info from properly! That’s why knowing MLA essentials is so important.
What Is Needed For Journal MLA Citation?
MLA 9 is the latest version of this formatting style. When it comes to citing a journal article in MLA, students should remember that there are many types of them and logically, all of them must be referenced differently. The good news is, these differences are minor! In most cases, all MLA citations will require identical elements.
Author’s name. If there are several of them, all their credentials are needed. If an organization has created a source, then cite its title.
Article’s title. Note that it has to be put in quotation marks.
Journal’s title, which should be in italics.
Other contributors. This can include editors, translators, etc.
Details about your chosen journal: its version, if there is any of them mentioned, volume, issue, as well as publication year.
Location of your info, which is usually page #, database, link to the electronic source or DOI, a sort of unique referencing code for identifying it.
MLA Format for Journal Articles
General MLA journal article citation requires quite a standard formula. When you are using in-text citation by mentioning some information in the the text of the essay itself, you should follow (Author’s last name Page number) model. Journals have page numbers in most cases, so finding one won’t be a problem. This is how it should look like for MLA citation.
It has been established that fights between close family members result in heightened anxiety (Lyers 23).
no commas are needed.
When making a reference for Works Cited page, you’ll need to point out some of the elements mentioned in a list above.
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page numbers. Any additional information about location if needed.
Now, let’s see other, more detailed examples of MLA citation.
MLA citation of Journal article from a database
If you’ve found your scholarly article in some online database, this is the structure you should follow.
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, First name Last name of any contributors (if there are any), vol., issue, publication year, page numbers. Database, URL or DOI.
Sower, Sarah. “Understanding Friendship Dynamics.” Psychological Aspects of Behavior, vol. 4, no. 2, 2015, pp. 9-28. ProQuest, url/.
MLA citation of Journal Article From Library Database With a DOI Number
When you are going to library database, you are going to need a DOI number. Take a look at how research article should look in this case.
When there is one author, rules described above stay the same.
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue #, publication year, page number. Database, DOI number.
Welis, Anne. “Is Monogamy the Only Acceptable Relationship Form?” Complex Family Relations, vol. 32, no. 7, 2018, pp. 45-79. Psychological Center, doi:12.2345/3240457X.2018.1396842.
At the same time, you might wonder how to cite a journal article in MLA if there are two authors of an article taken from library database. Rules are still simple here, just use comma as well as conjunction “and.” Note that credentials of the second author are mentioned in another order for MLA citation.
Author 1 Last Name 1, First Name, and Author 2 First Name Last Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page number. Database, DOI.
Maskins, Valie, and Jessica Lowel. “Is Monogamy the Only Acceptable Relationship Form?” Complex Family Relations, vol. 32, no. 7, 2018, pp. 45-79. Psychological Center, doi:15.4768/7840597X.2017.8906862.
MLA citation of Journal Article From Library Database Without a DOI Number
Similar situation can be encountered when you are using library database but there is no DOI number assigned. Mention the same elements as above, just without including DOI. Also, make publication date as clear as possible — for example, mention a month when academic article was published, even if it’s just a season. This is important for MLA citation.
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, detailed publication year, page numbers. Database.
Torrens, Benjamin. “The Ability of a Universe to Constrict Itself.” Theoretical Space Foundations, vol. 16, no. 7, autumn 2016, pp. 67-89. Space Collection.
! The seasons are not capitalized in MLA 9th edition.
In case there are two authors, see the rules above. Don’t forget about the swapped order and punctuation:
“Author’s 1 Last Name, First Name, and Author’s 2 First Name Last Name”.
MLA 9 citation of Journal Article From a Website
When you need MLA citation for journal article found on a website, you will need to point out its URL as well as access date.
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page numbers, URL. Accessed Day month Year.
Kevins, Laurie. “Special Effects Usage in Hannibal.” TV Shows Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 2019, pp. 33-45, url/. Accessed 25 May 2019.
For two authors, everything stays the same, just mention authors in the order shown above:
“Author 1 Last Name, First Name 1, and Author 2 First Name Last Name”.
Citing a Journal Article in Print with One/Two/Three and More Authors
For print versions, rules become even simpler, losing some of location elements. MLA citation for journal article like this with one author will follow such model:
Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page numbers.
Burnam, Maurice. “Can Psychopaths Fall in Love?” Theoretical Psychology Concepts, vol. 15, no. 6, 2017, pp. 2-30
Sources with two authors will follow the same model as above: “Author 1 Last Name, First Name, and Author 2 First Name Last Name”. If there are three contributors, on the other hand, requires some exceptions. Look at the model below.
Author 1 Last Name, First Name, et al. “Article title.” Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page numbers.
Aniks, Mary, et al. “Pigeons as some of the most stereotyped birds.” American Zoology, vol. 10, no. 8, 2016, pp. 12-40.
Citing a Scholarly Journal MLA
Some scientific publications might be published in special issues. In such instances, citing journal articles in MLA should be done in the following way.
Author 1 Last Name, First Name. “Article title.” Special Edition’s Title, special issue of Journal Title, vol., issue, publication year, page numbers.
As you can see, you should mention the special edition’s title in addition. Put it in italics.
Michaelis, Sebastian Astre. “Demonology in the Modern World.” Paranormal Research, special issue of Journal of Parapsychology, vol. 6, no. 9, 2011, pp. 33-66.
If entry is found online, mention URL or DOI as in the previous examples for MLA citation.
Additional MLA Journal Citations Rules You Should Know
There can be other minor intricacies when you’re learning how to cite a journal article in MLA. Check this list below. You might find additional useful info there.
Page number clarification. When you’re indicating one page, underlining that your data were taken from it alone, use “p.” in a reference list before its #: p. 32. When several pages are used, use “pp.”:
More than 2 authors in in-text citations. When there are more than 2, mention others through “et al.” in in-text citations. This is how it should look like:
(Johns et al. 23).
Collections’ titles must be always put in italics. If a title represents a collection of something — for example, like a journal’s title covers all articles published in it, put it in italics. All other titles should be put in quotation marks.
Anonymous article. There might be cases when no author is present. If so, start MLA citation with the title and be detailed when writing down publication date. Mention day and month if they are present.
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