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MLA Citation Guide: Journal Articles

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (9th edition) MLA style

Journal Articles

The examples provided below aim to illustrate only basic principles of citing journal articles using MLA citation style. Please refer to the Handbook for more details.

Basic Format for a Journal Article:

  • Name of the author as it appears in the journal 
  • Title of the article in "quotation marks." Capitalize first and last word, and all principle words in article title (For more information, see the Handbook's sections 5.23-5.37, pp. 121-145.)
  • Title of the journal (italicized)
  • Volume number, issue number (include issue number when available)
  • Date of publication (abbreviate all months except May, June, and July)
  • First and last page numbers

Single Author

Xue, Susan. "'Prey to Unknown Dreams': The Plague of Doves and the Disavowal of History." Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory, vol. 25, no. 2, 2020, pp. 108-127.

Athanos, Ryan. "Architecture." Kansas Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 3-4, 2021, pp. 77-80.

Two and More Authors

  •  List in order of appearance on title page
  •  Use a comma and an and to separate authors

Hong, Joann, and Suzanne B. Roth. "Storytelling and Cultural Identity: Exploration of the German/American Connection in The Master Butchers Singing Club." European Journal of American Culture, vol. 25, no. 3, 2021, pp. 189-203.

Three and More Authors

  • When a source has three or more authors, only the first one shown in the source is normally given. It is followed by et al.

Horres, Theresa, et al. "Louise Erdrich: Love Medicine." Studies in American Indian Literatures: The Journal of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures, vol. 9, no. 1, 1985, pp. 1-29.

Articles from Databases

  • The formatting for online articles from online databases as the same as the print periodical formatting above; however, to aid in locating the article, the container (name of database) and the location (url, doi, or persistent link) should be added unless otherwise instructed by your professor.
  • Citing the date when an online work was consulted is optional. MLA 9 does not require that you include a date of access—the date on which you consulted a work—when you cite an online work from a reliable, stable source. However, an access date for an online work should generally be provided if the work lacks a publication date or if you suspect that the work has been altered or removed.

See the Handbook's section 5.111 p. 211 for more information on providing date of access.

With access date:

Rapecis, Richard T. "Native Storytelling and Narrative Innovation: Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine as Fictional Ethnography." Brno Studies in English, vol. 41, no. 1, 2020, pp. 175-193. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.5817/BSE2015-1-11. Accessed 24 Apr. 2021.

Without access date:

Rapecis, Richard T. "Native Storytelling and Narrative Innovation: Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine as Fictional Ethnography." Brno Studies in English, vol. 41, no. 1, 2020, pp. 175-193. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.5817/BSE2015-1-11.

Tips

Author

It can be difficult to determine who authored a website or other online content. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not just a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website, often at the footer of the landing page.

If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the website.

Publisher

The publisher or sponsoring organization can often be found in a copyright notice at the bottom of the home page or on a page that gives information about the site. When the page is authored and published by the same corporation/group/organization, begin your citation with the section title (see the Handbook's sections 5.54-5.59, pp. 164-172). 

According to p. 165 of the MLA Handbook, publisher information may be omitted for:

  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • works published by an author or editor
  • websites whose title is the same as the name of the publisher
  • a website not involved in producing the work it makes (e.g. user-generated content sites like WordPress or YouTube)

Date

The best date to use for a website is the date that the content was last updated. Otherwise, look for a copyright or original publication date. This is not always provided, or may be hard to find. Date information is often placed on the bottom of the landing page..

If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example, you may have a year but no month or day,

Access Date

Date of access is optional in MLA 9th edition. If no publication date is included, or if the website no longer exists, we recommend including the date you last accessed the site. This is sometimes useful to your reader, given the amorphous nature of the Internet.

For more information, see the Handbook's section 5.111, p. 211, and Figures 5.42 & 5.43, p. 144.