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How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA: A Quick Guide

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Many scholars use information with a reference to scientific journal. To do this, it is necessary that you know how to cite a journal article in MLA. First of all, let us understand what journal articles are. These are publications that come out with a certain periodicity. They are published by universities or research organizations. These articles contain scientific information and research results which can be used to quickly learn more about a particular topic.

By using information from some journal, you are reinforcing your work with new information that has already been verified by experienced researchers. To correctly cite sources in your paper, you should get acquainted with some basic MLA journal citation rules.  

Citing a Journal Article in MLA: Definition and Examples

If you take information from other sources, you should specify an author. This is done by citing a journal article in MLA. You should not use someone else’s research. Your readers should know who has researched a similar topic. The information on how to cite an article can be found in the following sections. You will also find examples of citation formatting for your reference.

When you select a part of published material, you should indicate the author of that piece (it may be one person or more). Your citation should also include a scholarly journal’s title, a page number or page range and proper MLA format date. If the text is written online, then add a reference to this publication.  

Journal Article Citation in MLA from an Online Database

How to cite an article in MLA when it is available in digital format? You need to specify a DOI number if it’s available. If you can’t find the DOI, include the URL of the site from which information was taken. No protocol (https://) should be specified, it will be automatically added to your link when it is copied into the search box.

Let’s see a general formula for online journal article citations in MLA.  

Works Cited reference

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article's Title.” Journal Title, vol. #, no. issue #, Month and Year, pp. page range, DOI or URL.

Now, let’s see an example of an online journal article citation formatted in MLA.

MLA online journal article citation example

Journal Article Citation With One Author

Many research papers are written by a single author. The principles of their citation are slightly different from cases where more than one person participates in a scientific research. When it is necessary to cite only one author in the journal article citation in MLA, it is necessary that you first specify the last name followed by comma and the first name.

You can use information available on the Internet. To do so, you should pay special attention to the DOI – a digital identifier. DOI is necessary to identify a particular source published online. While using the DOI, you shouldn’t include URL separately.

So, you should specify the name and surname of the author, name of the journal, volume and issue numbers, pages, date of publication followed by DOI or link to the site from which information was taken. An example above can be used for reference.

If you are dealing with an in text citation of journal article in MLA, just mention an author's last name and page number. No comma is needed in between.  

MLA journal article citation with one author in text example

If you have mentioned an author in your sentence, there is no need to specify them again in the parentheses. Just leave a page number – as simple as that. Or you can seek help from our term paper writing service at any time. We'll show how it's done in practice. 

Journal Article Citation With Two Authors

If you want to use some research articles of two authors in your work, you should know the principles of journal citation in MLA. Some papers are created by more than one author. Sometimes, two authors work on the same topic and offer detailed information on some subject matter.

The structure of such citation is similar. The only thing is that the first author’s name should be inverted, while the second one follows a first-name-last-name format. Here’s a general formula:  

Works Cited reference

First Author’s Surname, First Name, and Second Author’s First Name and Surname. “Article's Title.” Journal Title, vol. #, no. issue #, Month and Year, pp. page range, DOI or URL.

In-text citation

(First Author’s Surname and Second Author’s Surname page number)

Take a closer look at an example:

MLA journal article citation with two authors example

Journal Citation in MLA With Multiple Authors

You may need to use an MLA journal citation with multiple authors. This means that three or more authors have participated in research. Such articles allow to fully develop a research topic. You can highlight the main aspects that are related to your topic and provide relevant information in your essay or other type of academic work.

To cite multiple authors, you just should mention the first author and add et al. which means “and others”. Here’s a general formula:  

Works Cited reference

First Author’s Surname, First Name, et al. “Article's Title.” Journal Title, vol. #, no. issue #, Month and Year, pp. page range, DOI or URL.

In-text citation

(First Author’s Surname et al. page number)

Below you can see an example.

MLA journal article citation with multiple authors example

How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA with Unknown Author

Sometimes, online journal articles don’t have any authors listed. If such research will be useful, you should place the journal article citation in MLA. Use information in the same way as usual, inserting in your text all necessary citations that guided you during your study.

In this case you just should start your citation with the article’s title. Then, mention a journal name, when the material was published, pages and a link to this publication.

Citing the sources will help readers to review the information you offer in your paper. Try to specify all data that was taken from third-party sources.  

If your source is not a journal article and it belongs to a famous author, such as William Shakespeare, it would be great. There is a special blog that will help you cite Shakespeare MLA.

How to Cite a Printed Journal Article in MLA

Libraries in any city provide many print journals that contain important research data in different fields of science. You can borrow them at your university or another educational organization. Once you have chosen the appropriate information for your own article, you need to integrate a citation of journal articles in MLA.

Print publications share unique research that may not yet be available online. In order to indicate information about printed journal articles, you will need much less details. Here’s a general format you can use:  

Works Cited reference

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Article's Title.” Journal Title, vol. #, no. issue #, Year, pp. page range

In-text citation

(Author’s Last Name page number)

Below is an example of such citation.

MLA printed journal article citation example

It may happen you should use a dictionary citation in your work. Just keep in mind that we have the whole blog about in text citation dictionary MLA. It contains all the rules every student should know.

How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA: Conclusion

The citation for article in MLA is an important part in writing every research paper. New scholars will be guided by research of more experienced colleagues, so using a third-party source is unavoidable. If you don't know how to cite journal article in MLA, then you can use our citation generator or simply entrust the whole task to professionals. Remember that should you need any hands-on assistance, a real human research paper writer will be of immense use.


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Article posted on:May 4, 2022
Article updated on:Dec 13, 2022


Leave your comment here:
6/24/2022 11:08 AM
Hi. How can you distinguish between the first and last names of authors in a journal article so you can cite them correctly? I don't want to get confused or get my prof confused.
6/24/2022 12:34 PM
Hi Lisa,

Basically, the last (family) name comes before a comma, first (given) name comes after it. For example: Jones, Jacob. If you have problems with distinguishing between Asian last and first names, then the general rule of thumb is first names are often two syllables, and last names are one syllable. For example: Li, Chongan.

Hope that helps!
7/6/2022 4:43 PM
Hello! I tend to use verified sources, and some of them are peer-reviewed journals. How do I cite a peer-reviewed journal? Or is the principle the same as common journals?
8/2/2022 11:26 AM
Hello Charlie,

Citations for scholarly articles should follow the general format: Name of Author(s). Year of Publication. Full Title of Article. Title of Journal. Volume (or Issue). Page Numbers. Retrieved from http://website.com

In case you need to do an in-text citation, use format (Last Name of Author Page Number). This can look like (Jones 17).