MLA journal citation

An MLA journal article citation includes key information such as the author(s); source title; publication title; volume, issue and page numbers; and publication date. If the journal article is published online, you may also need to include a permanent URL or DOI.

In the in-text citation, as with other MLA parenthetical citations, include the author’s last name and the page number.

Format for an MLA journal article citation

Author. Article title. Name of publication, other contributors, volume, number, publication date, page number(s). Database name, DOI.

Examples of MLA journal citation

Works Cited listKerkhove, Ray. “Aboriginal Camps as Urban Foundations? Evidence from Southern Queensland.” Aboriginal History, vol. 42, 2018, pp. 141-172.
In-text citationThe first activities of the Black Panther party were documented in 1971 (Kerkhove 145).

Examples of MLA journal citation

The format and first example shown above can be applied for the majority of journal entries in an MLA Works Cited list. If the journal article you are citing does not include certain information, such as a volume or issue number, simply omit this part.

MLA citation for articles in online journals

Pienaar, Elsje. “Multifidelity Analysis for Predicting Rare Events in Stochastic Computational Models of Complex Biological Systems.” Biomedical Engineering and Computational Biology, Jan. 2018. doi:10.1177/1179597218790253.

MLA citation for an article in a database

For sources in a scholarly publication located on a database like JSTOR or SAGE, include the database name along with the DOI or permanent URL.

Geidel, Molly. “Building the Counterinsurgent Girl.” Feminist Studies, vol. 44, no. 3, 2018, pp. 635–665. JSTOR,​stable/10.15767/​feministstudies.44.3.0635.

MLA citation for articles in special issue journals

Special issue journals focus on a specific theme, are written by a specific group of authors or are compiled from a special event.

In these cases, include the special issue name, the phrase “special issue of” and the journal’s regular name.

Font, Sarah. A. and Jamie Cage. “Dimensions of Physical Punishment and Their Associations with Children’s Cognitive Performance and School Adjustment.” Child Abuse & Neglect, special issue of Highlighting Education and Learning in the Context of Childhood Abuse, Neglect, and Related Stressors, vol. 75, Jan. 2018, pp. 29-40.

MLA citation for articles with other contributors

If a publication lists editors or other contributors, their names should be included in the source reference.

Gringe, Lea. “Science Fiction Works for the Development of the Aerospace Sector.” The Popularisation of Space, special issue of Space Policy, edited by Thomas Hoerber and Harald Köpping Athanasopoulos, vol. 41, Aug. 2017, pp. 42-47.

Author order and titles in MLA journal citations

For journal articles with more than one author, learn how to order the names in our guide to the MLA author element. For more instructions on titles, including capitalization, read our guide to the MLA title element.

Where to find information for journal article citations

Every journal is different, but all clearly provide the information necessary to create MLA citations. You will usually see the information clearly visible once you land on the article page.

In the example below, from multidisciplinary database JSTOR, you can see that each piece of information used in the citation is clearly marked.

Journal information

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Courtney Gahan

Courtney has a Bachelor in Communication and a Master in Editing and Publishing. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2013, and joined the Scribbr team as an editor in June 2017. She loves helping students and academics all over the world improve their writing (and learning about their research while doing so!).

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