MLA Journal Article Citation – Format & Examples

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MLA-Journal-Article-Citation-Definition

Periodicals, magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals should be referenced in the MLA style.

Learn how to create an MLA journal article citation from print and online sources below.

MLA Journal Article Citation – In a Nutshell

  • An MLA journal article citation consists of two parts: an in-text citation and a Works Cited entry.
  • Provide the author’s last name and the page reference within your in-text MLA journal article citation only.
  • For the Works Cited page, provide the full bibliographic information in the order described in this guide. You must always provide a DOI when available.

Definition: MLA journal article citation

An MLA journal article citation is the correct way to cite a journal in the MLA style.

It is made up of an in-text MLA journal article citation, which includes:

  • Author’s last name
  • Page reference
  • Works Cited entry

The Works Cited entry provides the full bibliographic information and should follow this format:

MLA Journal Article Citation Example

Online MLA journal article citation

Most articles are published online. These contain a unique DOI or digital object identifier, that easily locates the specific article.

Always provide this in an MLA journal article citation where available, preceded by “https://”.1

Example:

Gu, Ming Dong. “Lu Xun and Modern Chinese Literature in the Context of World Literature.” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 44 no. 2, Winter 2021, p. 76-92. https://doi.org/10.2979/jmodelite.44.2.07.

If there is no DOI, you can use an official URL for the article’s publication page or database entry.

Database articles

Legitimate databases are valid sources as they contain solely scholarly and credible material.

In lieu of a DOI, you can link directly to article listings at official databases like JSTOR or EBSCO. Add the URL to the end of your Works Cited entry, with the database’s name in italics.

Example:

Gu, Ming Dong. “Lu Xun and Modern Chinese Literature in the Context of World Literature.” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 44 no. 2, Winter 2021, p. 76-92. JSTOR, https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jmodelite.44.2.07.

MLA journal article citation with multiple authors

Two authors can be named in an MLA journal article citation.2 List these authors exactly as they appear in the article.

The Works Cited listing should include the first author’s name inverted (last name first), with the second author listed normally.

MLA format
Author last name, First name, and Author first name last name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month/Season Year, Page range. DOI/URL.
MLA Works Cited entry
Mingming, Yang, and Yang Xin. “Modern Chinese Literature under the Russian-Soviet Influence.” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 44, no. 2, Winter 2021, pp. 19–33. https://doi.org/10.2979/jmodelite.44.2.03.
MLA in-text citation
(Mingming and Yang 20)

When it comes to making an MLA journal article citation with more than two authors, include only the first followed by “et al.”

MLA format
Author last name, First name, et al. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month/Season Year, Page range. DOI/URL.
MLA Works Cited entry
Davila, Federico, et al. “A Systemic Assessment of COVID-19 Impacts on Pacific Islands’ Food Systems.” Human Ecology Review, vol. 26, no. 1, 2020, pp. 5–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2021.103099.
MLA in-text citation
(Davila et al. 5)

MLA journal article citation: Special issues

Special issues are unique scholarly journal issues that are published on specific themes. This could be a follow-up from a conference or a curated selection on a particular topic.

Include the special issue’s title followed by “special issue of+ the journal’s regular title. Include any editor names as listed, following previous conventions for naming.

MLA format
Author last name, First name. “Article Title.” Special Issue Title; special issue of Journal Name, edited by First name Last name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, Month/Season Year, Page range. DOI/URL.
MLA Works Cited entry
López, Alfred J. “Intentions, Methods, and the Future of Global South Studies.” New Critical Directions in Global South Studies; special issue of Comparative Literature Studies, edited by Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra and Anne Garland Mahler, vol. 58, no. 3, 2021, pp. 485–508. https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.58.3.0485.
MLA in-text citation
(López 485)

FAQs

Include an in-text MLA journal article citation when you quote a source by providing the last name and page number. This should correspond with the MLA Works Cited entry.

Only italicize the journal name in a Works Cited entry.

Yes, when available. All modern journal articles should include a DOI.

Sources

1 Purdue University. “MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications).” Accessed January 05, 2023. https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_electronic_sources.html.

2 University of West Florida. “MLA Citation Style, 9th Edition.” July 28, 2022. https://libguides.uwf.edu/c.php?g=1167515&p=8525507.