How to cite a journal article

To cite an article from an academic journal, you need an in-text citation and a corresponding reference listing the name(s) of the author(s), the publication date, the article title and journal name, the volume and issue numbers, the page range, and the URL or DOI.

Different citation styles present this information differently. The main citation styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago style.

You can use the interactive example generator to explore the format for APA and MLA journal article citations.


Citing an article in APA Style

In an APA Style journal article reference, the article title is in plain text and sentence case, while the journal name appears in italics, in title case.

The in-text citation lists up to two authors; for three or more, use “et al.

APA format Author last name, Initials. (Year). Article title. Journal Name, Volume(Issue), Page range. DOI or URL
Reference entry Pinchot, R. (2020). Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux’s joyous rebellion: Modeling transnational protest through lyric and song. Latin American Music Review, 41(2), 196–225. https://doi.org/10.7560/LAMR41203
In-text citation (Pinchot, 2020, p. 199)

When citing a journal article in print or from a database, don’t include a URL. You can still include the DOI if available.

You can also cite a journal article using our free APA Citation Generator. Search by title or DOI to automatically generate a correct citation.

Citing an article in MLA Style

In an MLA Works Cited entry for a journal article, the article title appears in quotation marks, the name of the journal in italics—both in title case.

List up to two authors in both the in-text citation and the Works Cited entry. For three or more, use “et al.”

MLA format Author last name, First name. “Article title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month Year, pp. Page range, DOI or URL.
Works Cited entry Pinchot, Ryan. “Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux’s Joyous Rebellion: Modeling Transnational Protest Through Lyric and Song.” Latin American Music Review, vol. 41, no. 2, Fall/Winter 2020, pp. 196–225, doi:10.7560/LAMR41203.
In-text citation (Pinchot 199)

A DOI is always included when available; a URL appears if no DOI is available but the article was accessed online. If you accessed the article in print and no DOI is available, you can omit this part.

You can also use our free MLA Citation Generator to create your journal article citations.

What can proofreading do for your paper?

Scribbr editors not only correct grammar and spelling mistakes, but also strengthen your writing by making sure your paper is free of vague language, redundant words and awkward phrasing.

See editing example

Citing an article in Chicago Style

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, you include a bibliography entry for each source, and cite them in the text using footnotes.

A bibliography entry for a journal article lists the title of the article in quotation marks and the journal name in italics—both in title case. List up to 10 authors in full; use “et al.” for 11 or more.

In the footnote, use “et al.” for four or more authors.

Chicago format Author last name, First name. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume, no. Issue (Month Year): Page range. DOI or URL.
Bibliography entry Pinchot, Ryan. “Calle 13 and Ana Tijoux’s Joyous Rebellion: Modeling Transnational Protest Through Lyric and Song.” Latin American Music Review 41, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2020): 196–225. https://doi.org/10.7560/LAMR41203.
Footnote 1. Pinchot, “Joyous Rebellion,” 199.

A DOI or URL (preferably a DOI) is included for articles consulted online; for articles consulted in print, omit this part.

If you don’t include a bibliography, the first note for each article includes full publication details.

Chicago also offers an alternative author-date style of citation. Examples of how to cite journal articles in this style can be found here.

Frequently asked questions about citations

What are the main elements of a journal article citation?

The elements included in journal article citations across APA, MLA, and Chicago style are the name(s) of the author(s), the title of the article, the year of publication, the name of the journal, the volume and issue numbers, the page range of the article, and, when accessed online, the DOI or URL.

In MLA and Chicago style, you also include the specific month or season of publication alongside the year, when this information is available.

How do I find the DOI of an article?

The DOI is usually clearly visible when you open a journal article on an academic database. It is often listed near the publication date, and includes “doi.org” or “DOI:”. If the database has a “cite this article” button, this should also produce a citation with the DOI included.

If you can’t find the DOI, you can search on Crossref using information like the author, the article title, and the journal name.

When should I use “et al.” in citations?

The abbreviationet al.” (Latin for “and others”) is used to shorten citations of sources with multiple authors.

In APA Style, “et al.” is used in in-text citations of sources with 3+ authors, e.g. (Smith et al., 2019). It is not used in reference entries.

In MLA style, use “et al.” for 3+ authors in in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

In Chicago style, use “et al.” for 4+ authors in an in-text citation, and for 10+ authors in a bibliography entry.

Which citation style should I use?

Check if your university or course guidelines specify which citation style to use. If the choice is left up to you, consider which style is most commonly used in your field.

Other more specialized styles exist for certain fields, such as Bluebook and OSCOLA for law.

The most important thing is to choose one style and use it consistently throughout your text.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
March 9, 2021 at 9:07 PM

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