Skip to main content

MLA Citation Guide (8th Edition): Journal Articles

This guide shows you how to cite using MLA 8th edition

What is a DOI?

DOI Numbers for Journal Articles

Some electronic content like journal articles are assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The DOI gives a way to find an article. If a DOI is provided for a journal article, include it after the page numbers of the article as "doi:doi number". 

Abbreviating Months

In your works cited list, abbreviate months as follows: 

January = Jan.
February = Feb.
March = Mar.
April = Apr.
May = May
June = June
July = July
August = Aug.
September = Sept.
October = Oct.
November = Nov.
December = Dec.

Spell out months fully in the body of your paper. 

Formatting

Note: For your Works Cited list, all citations should be double spaced and have a hanging indent.

A "hanging indent" means that each subsequent line after the first line of your citation should be indented by 0.5 inches.

How Can I Tell if it's a Journal?

Journals on a shelf - photo from Flickr by the.Firebottle

Photo from Flickr under Creative Commons license, created by the.Firebottle

Not sure whether your article is from a journal? Look for these characteristics:

  • Main purpose is often to report results of original search
  • Articles usually have a very specific subject focus
  • May see sections such as abstract, discussion, results, and conclusion
  • Author of the article is an expert or specialist in the field and often their credentials are listed
  • Article is intended for students, scientists, researchers and/or professionals instead of the general public
  • Usually includes a References list at the end

Articles may also come from newspapers or magazines.

Tips: Articles from Websites

Author

It can sometimes be difficult to find out who the author of a website is. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not only a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website.

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

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. Unfortunately this information may not be provided or may be hard to find. Often date information is put on the bottom of the pages of a website.

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 now optional in MLA 8th edition. If no publication date is included, we recommend including the date you last accessed the site.

Journal Article From Library Database With a DOI Number - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database, doi:DOI number.

Works Cited List Example

Guillen, Jorge. "Does Financial Openness Matter in the Relationship Between Financial Development and Income Distribution in Latin America?" Emerging Markets Finance & Trade, vol. 52, no. 5, 2016, pp. 1145-1155. Business Source Complete, doi:10.1080/1540496X.2015.1046337.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Guillen 1146)

Journal Article From Library Database With a DOI - Two Authors

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database, doi:DOI number.

  Note: Only the first author listed appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. Authors' names are separated by a comma. And the word "and" before the second author's name.

Works Cited List Example

Salafia, Elizabeth Blodgett, and Jessica Lemer. "Associations Between Multiple Types of Stress and Disordered Eating Among Girls and Boys in Middle School." Journal of Child and Family Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, 2012, pp.148-57. Academic Search Complete, doi:10.1007/s10826-011-9458-z.

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name and Second Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Salafia and Lemer 149)

Journal Article From Library Database Without a DOI Number - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database.

Works Cited List Example

Leichty, Toni. "Yes I Worry About My Weight... But for the Most Part I'm Content with My Body: Older Women's Body Dissatisfaction Alongside Contentment." Journal of Women & Aging, vol. 24, no. 1, 2012, pp. 70-88. Academic Search Complete.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Leichty 71)

  Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, Columbia College Library recommends that URLs be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends. If your instructor requires a URL, look for the "Permalink" icon in the article description and place the URL generated after the name of the database. 

Journal Article From Library Database Without a DOI Number - Two Authors

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number-Last Page Number. Name of Database. 

Note: Only the first author listed appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. Authors' names are separated by a comma. And the word "and" before the second author's name.

Works Cited List Example

Larr, Allison S., and Matthew Neidell. "Pollution and Climate Change." The Future of Children, vol. 26, no. 1, Spring 2016, pp. 93-113. Academic Search Complete. 

  Note: Give as complete a date of publication as given. Because the season for the journal, "Spring" is given this is included as part of the date.

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name and Second Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Larr and Neidell 96)

  Note: While MLA 8th edition recommends including URLs, Columbia College Library recommends that URLs be left out when citing a work found in a library database. Because library databases require a login most URLs will stop working after the session ends. If your instructor requires a URL, look for the "Permalink" icon in the article description and place the URL generated after the name of the database. 

Journal Article From a Website - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number if Given, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

Works Cited List Example

Elson, Peter. "A Comparative Analysis of Nonprofit Policy Network Governance in Canada." Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research, vol. 6, no. 2, 2015, pp. 42-64, anserj.ca/anser/ index.php/cjnser/article/view/201/127. Accessed 27 Jun. 2016.

 Note: Give as complete a date as is provided. In this example only the year was given.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Elson 44)

Journal Article From a Website - Two Authors

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number if Given, URL. Accessed Day Month Year site was visited.

 Note: Only the first author listed appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. Authors' names are separated by a comma. Put the word ",and" before the second author's name.

Works Cited List Example

Sadig, Husam, and Ahmed Banany. "The Impact of Non-Response Weighting: Empirical Evidence From Modelling Residential Mobility." Journal of Social Research & Policy, vol. 5, no. 1, July 2014, pp. 91-99, www.jsrp.ro/site/jrspone/content/JSRP_Vol5_Iss1_Sadig. Accessed 27 Jun. 2016.

 Note: Give as complete a date as is provided. Both month and year were provided for this journal.

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name and Second Author's Last Name Page Number)

(Sadig and Banany 91)

Journal Article in Print - One Author

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number.

Works Cited List Example

Kushkova, Anna. "At the Center of the Table." Russian Studies in History, vol. 50, no.1, 2011, pp. 44-96.

 Note: Give as complete a date as is provided. In this example only the year was given.

In-Text Citation Example

(Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Kushkova 79)

Journal Article in Print - Two Authors

Author's Last Name, First Name, and Second Author's First Name Last Name. "Title of Article: Subtitle if Any." Name of Journal, vol. Volume Number, no. Issue Number, Date of Publication, pp. First Page Number- Last Page Number.

Note: Only the first author listed appears in "Last Name, First Name" format. Put a comma and the word "and" before the second author's name.

Works Cited List Example

Ki, Eyun-Jung, and Linda Childers Hon. "A Measure of Relationship Cultivation Strategies." Journal of Public Relations Research, vol. 21, no. 1, 2009, pp. 1-24.

 Note: Give as complete a date as is provided. In this example only the year was given.

In-Text Citation Example

(First Author's Last Name and Second Author's Last Name Page Number)

Example: (Ki and Hon 12)

How to Cite When You Have Three or More Authors

If you have three or more authors cite only the name of the first author listed with their Last Name, First Name Middle Name followed by a comma et al.

Example: Smith, James, et al.

In-Text Citation For Two or More Authors/Editors

Number of Authors/Editors In-Text Citation Example
Two

 (Author's Last Name and Author's Last Name Page Number)

 Example: (Case and Daristotle 57)

Three or more

 (Author's Last Name et al. Page Number)

 Example: (Case et al. 57)