Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts
MLA Works Cited Page: Basic Format
Welcome to the Purdue OWL
This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.
MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.
According to MLA style, you must have a Works Cited page at the end of your research paper. All entries in the Works Cited page must correspond to the works cited in your main text.
- Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number header as the rest of your paper.
- Only the title should be centered. The citation entries themselves should be aligned with the left margin.
- Double space all citations, but do not skip spaces between entries.
- Indent the second and subsequent lines of citations by 0.5 inches to create a hanging indent.
- List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed. If you refer to a journal article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your Works Cited page as pp. 225-50 (Note: MLA style dictates that you should omit the first sets of repeated digits. In our example, the digit in the hundreds place is repeated between 2 25 and 2 50, so you omit the 2 from 250 in the citation: pp. 225-50). If the excerpt spans multiple pages, use “pp.” Note that MLA style uses a hyphen in a span of pages.
- If only one page of a print source is used, mark it with the abbreviation “p.” before the page number (e.g., p. 157). If a span of pages is used, mark it with the abbreviation “pp.” before the page number (e.g., pp. 157-68).
- If you're citing an article or a publication that was originally issued in print form but that you retrieved from an online database, you should type the online database name in italics. You do not need to provide subscription information in addition to the database name.
- For online sources, you should include a location to show readers where you found the source. Many scholarly databases use a DOI (digital object identifier). Use a DOI in your citation if you can; otherwise use a URL. Delete “http://” from URLs. The DOI or URL is usually the last element in a citation and should be followed by a period.
- All works cited entries end with a period.
Additional basic rules new to MLA 2021
New to MLA 2021:
- Apps and databases should be cited only when they are containers of the particular works you are citing, such as when they are the platforms of publication of the works in their entirety, and not an intermediary that redirects your access to a source published somewhere else, such as another platform. For example, the Philosophy Books app should be cited as a container when you use one of its many works, since the app contains them in their entirety. However, a PDF article saved to the Dropbox app is published somewhere else, and so the app should not be cited as a container.
- If it is important that your readers know an author’s/person’s pseudonym, stage-name, or various other names, then you should generally cite the better-known form of author’s/person’s name. For example, since the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is better-known by his pseudonym, cite Lewis Carroll opposed to Charles Dodgson (real name).
- For annotated bibliographies , annotations should be appended at the end of a source/entry with one-inch indentations from where the entry begins. Annotations may be written as concise phrases or complete sentences, generally not exceeding one paragraph in length.
Capitalization and punctuation
- Capitalize each word in the titles of articles, books, etc, but do not capitalize articles (the, an), prepositions, or conjunctions unless one is the first word of the title or subtitle: Gone with the Wind, The Art of War, There Is Nothing Left to Lose .
- Use italics (instead of underlining) for titles of larger works (books, magazines) and quotation marks for titles of shorter works (poems, articles)
Listing author names
Entries are listed alphabetically by the author's last name (or, for entire edited collections, editor names). Author names are written with the last name first, then the first name, and then the middle name or middle initial when needed:
Do not list titles (Dr., Sir, Saint, etc.) or degrees (PhD, MA, DDS, etc.) with names. A book listing an author named "John Bigbrain, PhD" appears simply as "Bigbrain, John." Do, however, include suffixes like "Jr." or "II." Putting it all together, a work by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be cited as "King, Martin Luther, Jr." Here the suffix following the first or middle name and a comma.
More than one work by an author
If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author's name for every entry after the first:
Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives . [...]
---. A Rhetoric of Motives . [...]
When an author or collection editor appears both as the sole author of a text and as the first author of a group, list solo-author entries first:
Heller, Steven, ed. The Education of an E-Designer .
Heller, Steven, and Karen Pomeroy. Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design.
Work with no known author
Alphabetize works with no known author by their title; use a shortened version of the title in the parenthetical citations in your paper. In this case, Boring Postcards USA has no known author:
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulations. [...]
Boring Postcards USA [...]
Burke, Kenneth. A Rhetoric of Motives . [...]
Work by an author using a pseudonym or stage-name
New to MLA 9th edition, there are now steps to take for citing works by an author or authors using a pseudonym, stage-name, or different name.
If the person you wish to cite is well-known, cite the better-known form of the name of the author. For example, since Lewis Carroll is not only a pseudonym of Charles Dodgson , but also the better-known form of the author’s name, cite the former name opposed to the latter.
If the real name of the author is less well-known than their pseudonym, cite the author’s pseudonym in square brackets following the citation of their real name: “Christie, Agatha [Mary Westmacott].”
Authors who published various works under many names may be cited under a single form of the author’s name. When the form of the name you wish to cite differs from that which appears on the author’s work, include the latter in square brackets following an italicized published as : “Irving, Washington [ published as Knickerbocker, Diedrich].”.
Another acceptable option, in cases where there are only two forms of the author’s name, is to cite both forms of the author’s names as separate entries along with cross-references in square brackets: “Eliot, George [ see also Evans, Mary Anne].”.
Generate accurate MLA citations for free
- Knowledge Base
- A complete guide to MLA in-text citations
MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition)
Published on July 9, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on May 19, 2022.
An MLA in-text citation provides the author’s last name and a page number in parentheses.
If a source has two authors, name both. If a source has more than two authors, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. ”
If the part you’re citing spans multiple pages, include the full page range. If you want to cite multiple non-consecutive pages at the same time, separate the page numbers with commas.
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, where to include an mla in-text citation, citing sources with no author, citing sources with no page numbers, citing different sources with the same author name, citing sources indirectly, frequently asked questions about mla in-text citations.
Place the parenthetical citation directly after the relevant quote or paraphrase , and before the period or other punctuation mark (except with block quotes , where the citation comes after the period).
If you have already named the author in the sentence, add only the page number in parentheses. When mentioning a source with three or more authors outside of parentheses, use “and others” or “and colleagues” in place of “et al.”
- MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) .
- According to Smith and Morrison , MLA is the second most popular citation style (17–19) .
- APA is by far “the most used citation style in the US” (Moore et al. 74) , but it is less dominant in the UK (Smith 16) .
- Moore and colleagues state that APA is more popular in the US than elsewhere (74) .
If a sentence is supported by more than one source, you can combine the citations in a single set of parentheses. Separate the two sources with a semicolon .
Livestock farming is one of the biggest global contributors to climate change (Garcia 64; Davies 14) .
Consecutive citations of the same source
If you cite the same source repeatedly within a paragraph, you can include the full citation the first time you cite it, then just the page number for subsequent citations.
MLA is the second most popular citation style (Smith and Morrison 17–19) . It is more popular than Chicago style, but less popular than APA (21) .
You can do this as long as it remains clear what source you’re citing. If you cite something else in between or start a new paragraph, reintroduce the full citation again to avoid ambiguity.
Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting
Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:
- Academic style
- Vague sentences
- Style consistency
See an example
For sources with no named author , the in-text citation must match the first element of the Works Cited entry. This may be the name of an organization, or the title of the source.
If the source title or organization name is longer than four words, shorten it to the first word or phrase in the in-text citation, excluding any articles ( a, an, and the ). The shortened title or organization name should begin with the word the source is alphabetized by in the Works Cited.
Follow the general MLA rules for formatting titles : If the source is a self-contained work (e.g. a whole website or an entire book ), put the title in italics; if the source is contained within a larger whole (e.g. a page on a website or a chapter of a book), put the title in quotation marks.
If a source does not have page numbers but is divided into numbered parts (e.g. chapters, sections, scenes, Bible books and verses, Articles of the Constitution , or timestamps), use these numbers to locate the relevant passage.
If the source does not use any numbering system, include only the author’s name in the in-text citation. Don’t include paragraph numbers unless they are explicitly numbered in the source.
Note that if there are no numbered divisions and you have already named the author in your sentence, then no parenthetical citation is necessary.
If your Works Cited page includes more than one entry under the same last name, you need to distinguish between these sources in your in-text citations.
Multiple sources by the same author
If you cite more than one work by the same author, add a shortened title to signal which source you are referring to.
In this example, the first source is a whole book, so the title appears in italics; the second is an article published in a journal, so the title appears in quotation marks.
Different authors with the same last name
To distinguish between different authors with the same last name, use the authors’ initials (or, if the initials are the same, full first names) in your in-text citations:
A faster, more affordable way to improve your paper
Scribbr’s new AI Proofreader checks your document and corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes with near-human accuracy and the efficiency of AI!
Proofread my paper
Sometimes you might want to cite something that you found quoted in a secondary source . If possible, always seek out the original source and cite it directly.
If you can’t access the original source, make sure to name both the original author and the author of the source that you accessed . Use the abbreviation “qtd. in” (short for “quoted in”) to indicate where you found the quotation.
In these cases, only the source you accessed directly is included in the Works Cited list.
You must include an MLA in-text citation every time you quote or paraphrase from a source (e.g. a book , movie , website , or article ).
Some source types, such as books and journal articles , may contain footnotes (or endnotes) with additional information. The following rules apply when citing information from a note in an MLA in-text citation :
- To cite information from a single numbered note, write “n” after the page number, and then write the note number, e.g. (Smith 105n2)
- To cite information from multiple numbered notes, write “nn” and include a range, e.g. (Smith 77nn1–2)
- To cite information from an unnumbered note, write “un” after the page number, with a space in between, e.g. (Jones 250 un)
If a source has two authors, name both authors in your MLA in-text citation and Works Cited entry. If there are three or more authors, name only the first author, followed by et al.
If a source has no author, start the MLA Works Cited entry with the source title . Use a shortened version of the title in your MLA in-text citation .
If a source has no page numbers, you can use an alternative locator (e.g. a chapter number, or a timestamp for a video or audio source) to identify the relevant passage in your in-text citation. If the source has no numbered divisions, cite only the author’s name (or the title).
If you already named the author or title in your sentence, and there is no locator available, you don’t need a parenthetical citation:
- Rajaram argues that representations of migration are shaped by “cultural, political, and ideological interests.”
- The homepage of The Correspondent describes it as “a movement for radically different news.”
Yes. MLA style uses title case, which means that all principal words (nouns, pronouns , verbs, adjectives , adverbs , and some conjunctions ) are capitalized.
This applies to titles of sources as well as the title of, and subheadings in, your paper. Use MLA capitalization style even when the original source title uses different capitalization .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
McCombes, S. (2022, May 19). MLA In-text Citations | A Complete Guide (9th Edition). Scribbr. Retrieved November 6, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/in-text-citations/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to format your mla works cited page, block quoting in mla style, how to cite a book in mla, what is your plagiarism score.
All you need to know about citations
How to cite an online report in MLA
To cite an online report in a reference entry in MLA style 9th edition include the following elements:
- Author(s) name: If the report was published by an organization that is also its author, omit the author and start with the title.
- Title of the report: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
- Report number: Give the report number if available.
- Year of publication: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.
- URL: Copy URL in full from your browser, include http:// or https:// and do not list URLs created by shortening services.
Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of an online report in MLA style 9th edition:
Author(s) name . Title of the report . Report no. Report number , Year of publication . URL .
Take a look at our works cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:
A report by an international organization found online
Department of Making Pregnancy Safer . Annual report, 2005 . 2006 , apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/69505/WHO_MPS_07.01_eng.pdf .
A financial report by a government agency found online
Bureau of Fiscal Service, Department of Treasury . Financial Report of the United States Government . 2018 , fiscal.treasury.gov/files/reports-statements/financial-report/2018/03282019-FR(Final).pdf .
This citation style guide is based on the MLA Handbook (9 th edition).
More useful guides
- How do I cite a company’s report?
- MLA8 style - Referencing an online report
- MLA citation: Technical and research reports
More great BibGuru guides
- MLA: how to cite a website
- MLA: how to cite a Hulu video
- APA: how to cite a financial report
Automatic citations in seconds
- Getting started
From our blog
- 📚 How to write a book report
- 📝 APA Running Head
- 📑 How to study for a test
- Plagiarism and grammar
- Citation guides
Cite a Report in MLA
Don't let plagiarism errors spoil your paper, consider your source's credibility. ask these questions:, contributor/author.
- Has the author written several articles on the topic, and do they have the credentials to be an expert in their field?
- Can you contact them? Do they have social media profiles?
- Have other credible individuals referenced this source or author?
- Book: What have reviews said about it?
- What do you know about the publisher/sponsor? Are they well-respected?
- Do they take responsibility for the content? Are they selective about what they publish?
- Take a look at their other content. Do these other articles generally appear credible?
- Does the author or the organization have a bias? Does bias make sense in relation to your argument?
- Is the purpose of the content to inform, entertain, or to spread an agenda? Is there commercial intent?
- Are there ads?
- When was the source published or updated? Is there a date shown?
- Does the publication date make sense in relation to the information presented to your argument?
- Does the source even have a date?
- Was it reproduced? If so, from where?
- If it was reproduced, was it done so with permission? Copyright/disclaimer included?
- Citation Machine® Plus
- Citation Guides
- Chicago Style
- Harvard Referencing
- Cookie Notice
- DO NOT SELL MY INFO
How To Cite a Research Paper: MLA, APA, and Chicago Style
- Posted on January 25, 2022
When you’re writing a research paper, you’ll use a variety of sources to find information. You might find that you end up using other people’s research papers as sources of information for your own work. You need to know how to cite a research paper properly.
Using text citations tells readers where you got your information, and help build a sense of trust, allowing the reader to feel confident that you haven’t falsified the information. You have to prove that you’ve done the research and found data to back up the claims you’re making.
Writing a paper without giving credit to people whose work you’re using is plagiarism. Unless you’re citing a direct quote you want to change the language enough, by putting the quote in your own words, so it sounds like original content. Quetext’s plagiarism checker helps you search for similar content across the web so you can turn in a completely original paper.
Whether you’re submitting a research paper to school or for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, you’re required to cite your sources. Editors often reread the work of writers and researchers to ensure the information is factual. A teacher or professor will definitely check that your sources are accurate, so using tools like Quetext will help avoid unintentional plagiarism errors or wrongfully cited information.
Why Text Citations are Important
If you don’t have sources to back up your research, others might accuse you of spreading false information or plagiarism. Any journal publishing papers should verify what they’re printing, but ultimately, as the author, the buck stops with you.
In general, it’s a kindness to cite your sources. The people who created them did a lot of work, so it’s wrong to claim ownership of their ideas and information. But it’s also an ethical issue that can have major repercussions.
There have been cases where researchers make up information or falsify their sources and must face the consequences. People depend on factual information and don’t react well when they realize you lied to them or falsely paraphrase information.
That’s why it’s common knowledge to write a well-researched paper with text citations. If anyone claims your information is incorrect, you can point them to the source where you found the data. This doesn’t guarantee that the information you cited is correct, but you’ll be able to provide readers with a source of where you gathered your information.
When you’re citing other people’s research papers, make sure the source is legitimate. You should only use peer-reviewed journals so you know the article has gone through edits and fact-checking. Something identified as a research paper that is only on a blog or message board isn’t always a reliable source.
Many students like to use Wikipedia because there’s so much information available from one source. However, Wikipedia allows users to edit the information. What you read in a specific entry might not be true. It’s best to scroll down to the works cited and go to the original source yourself. If you can’t find a reliable, original source for the information, you shouldn’t use it.
Using the Various Citation Styles
The information used in any citation is basically the same across each style guide. The formatting and order of some elements may vary, so it’s important to know the difference between Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA), and Chicago Styles.
The style you use depends on what type of writing you’re doing. All will use these basic elements in some form or another:
Volume and edition
City and country of the publisher
URL and DOI for web pages and digital sources
The date you accessed the material
In addition to a reference list at the end of your work, you’ll also use in-text citations. Whenever you reference an idea or data that isn’t yours, you cite it. Each style has different types of in-text citations as well. Read on to find out about each citation format.
You’ll likely use the MLA citation guide if you’re writing papers in the humanities, such as for language arts, literary criticism, cultural studies, and more. The current edition of the MLA Handbook is the ninth because the style constantly evolves. As new technology creates new potential sources, MLA adds information to help students and researchers cite everything correctly.
The MLA Handbook has instructions on how to cite song lyrics, social media posts, and digital images, along with all of the standard research outlets. The book also gives detailed information on how to cite a research paper.
The MLA Handbook includes information about how to format your reference page. Use a 12-pt standard font like Times New Roman, so the text in italics is clearly different from the regular font. Center the title, Works Cited, at the top of the page. Your last name and page number are in the top right corner, and the reference page always comes at the end of your document.
Alphabetize citations according to the last name of the author. Left-align the citations and double-space them with no extra lines between each entry. When a citation goes beyond a single line, use a hanging indent to format it correctly. This lets the reader know it’s still the same citation continuing on.
Now that you know the basic format for the Works Cited page read on to find out how to cite a research paper for inclusion on this list.
Citing a Research Paper in MLA Style
When you’re citing a research paper in MLA style, you start with the author’s full name, putting the last name of the author first, followed by the title of the research paper in quotation marks. Next comes the the title of the journal that published the paper in italics, followed by the volume number, issue number, and date of publication.
You’ll also include the page number since the paper is in a journal with many pages. If you found the source online, include the digital object identifier or DOI. The DOI is a way to give a document a permanent web address so people reading your work can easily find the source.
MLA format also asks you to include the date you accessed online materials. Doing so gives your reader more information about when you read the research if it changed since that date. Here is an example of a research paper citation in MLA style:
Writer, Maria. “My Research Paper.” Research Journal, vol 3, no. 4, 2020, pp. 7-9. doi:12.34/mfs.12.34. Accessed 13 March 2021.
If the work wasn’t published online, you could stop your citation after the page numbers.
Sometimes you might find research papers that aren’t published in a scholarly journal. You can still use those in your work, but the MLA citation will look different. You’ll still put the last name of the author first, but instead of putting the title of the research paper in quotation marks, you’ll put it in italics.
Here is an example of an unpublished research paper citation in MLA style:
Writer, Maria. My Research Paper. 2020, http://websiteused.com . Accessed 13 March 2021.
These two examples show you how to document the source on your Works Cited page. In-text citations look different.
In-Text Citations for a Research Paper in MLA Style
When you’re working with the MLA format, an in-text reference requires a parenthetical citation.
If you refer to someone else’s research in a sentence, either with a direct quote or by paraphrasing, you need to give that author credit. At the end of the sentence where you use the information, you’ll put the author’s information in parenthesis and then put the sentence’s ending punctuation.
You use the author’s last name and the page number where you found the information for in-text citations. Then anyone reading your work can go to your Works Cited page, find the entry by the author’s last name, and access the document themselves. The page number directs them to where you got the specific information, so they don’t have to read the whole paper to find it. Here is an example of an in-text citation in MLA style:
Over 80% of the city’s garbage ended up in the ocean (Writer, 8).
You might mention the author’s name in your sentence. In that case, the parenthetical citation only needs to have the page numbers for reference. Here is an example:
According to Maria Writer, over 80% of the city’s garbage went into the ocean (8).
Researchers in the social science field, like sociology, anthropology, and psychology, use the APA style in their work. Like the MLA Handbook, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association has gone through changes over the years. It’s currently on the 7th edition.
In addition to helping you understand how to cite research, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association has information about how to format your paper to include tables, figures, and headings that often accompany scientific journal articles.
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association also tells you how to format your reference page. In MLA style, this is the Works Cited page. For APA style, it’s either the Reference List or Reference Page.
This page uses the same font style as the rest of the paper but starts on its own page with a number in the top right corner. The title of the page is bold and centered at the top and should simply read “References.”
List citations in alphabetical order by author’s last name regardless of the type of source. Each citation is double-spaced and has a hanging indent if it goes beyond one line.
Now that you understand how to properly format your APA reference page, learn how to cite a research paper to include on the list.
Citing a Research Paper in APA Style
When you use a research paper in your work, you need to include it on your APA references page at the end of your document.
An APA citation includes the same information as the MLA format but in a different order. The citation starts with the author’s last name but only uses their first initial. Then comes the year of publication in parenthesis.
The paper’s title follows, then the title of the journal in italics. You also include the journal volume, issue number, and page numbers. As with MLA citations, include a DOI if you found the research paper online. Here is an example of a published research paper cited in APA format:
Writer, M. (2020). My Research Paper. Research Journal, 3(4), 7-9. doi:12.34/mfs.12.34
If the paper isn’t published in a journal, you can still use it in your work with a proper citation. Here is an example:
Writer, M. (2020). My Research Paper [PDF]. Retrieved from http://websiteused.com
In-Text Citations for a Research Paper in APA Style
In-text citations in the APA format differ from MLA style. You still put it in parenthesis, but you include different information. For APA parentheticals, include the author’s last name and the paper’s year of publication. This method applies when you’re summarizing or paraphrasing the author’s idea. Here is an example of an in-text citation for a research paper in APA style:
Over 80% of the city’s garbage went into the ocean (Writer, 2020).
If you’re using a direct quote from the work you need to include the page number so the reader can find the quotation. Here is an example:
Maria Writer said, “Over 80% of the city’s garbage is going into the ocean” (2020, p. 8).
Chicago Style got its name from the University of Chicago, where the style originated. Writers use this format for works in the field of history, but you can also use it for the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
MLA style has a Works Cited page, APA has References, and Chicago Style differs because it includes a Bibliography. The page comes at the end of your work with a page number in the top right corner. The title, “Bibliography,” is bold and centered at the top.
You will single-space your citations, but you’ll add an extra line between each entry. As with the other reference pages, you’ll left-align the work and use a hanging indent when a citation continues onto a second line.
Having an overview of how to format the bibliography will help you understand the citation styles for a research paper.
Citing a Research Paper in Chicago Style
Citations in Chicago Style are a mix of MLA and APA formats. It’s easiest to follow this template:
Writer, Maria. 2020. “My Research Paper.” Research Journal 3 (4): 7-9. doi:12.34/mfs.12.34.
As with other styles, you can reference an unpublished research paper as a document. Here is an example:
Writer, Maria. 2020. My Research Paper. PDF. http://websiteused.com .
In both instances, if there are multiple authors for a paper, list the rest of the authors in normal format. For example:
Author, Alan, Stanley Sample, and Maria Writer. 2020. “My Research Paper.” Research Journal 3 (4): 7-9. doi:12.34/mfs.12.34.
In-Text Citations for a Research Paper in Chicago Style
An in-text citation in Chicago Style is much simpler than both MLA and APA formats. You only need to include the last name of the author and year of publication in parenthesis with no comma in between them. For example:
Almost 80% of the city’s garbage goes into the ocean (Writer 2020).
You’ll include the page number for specificity if you’re quoting the author. Here’s an example:
Maria Writer said, “Over 80% of the city’s garbage is going into the ocean” (2020, 8).
You can also use endnotes in Chicago Style. A citation refers the reader to your source, but an endnote includes a bit of an explanation of why you used it. The information included in an endnote would disrupt the flow of your paper, but it’s still something you want the reader to know.
Make Text Citations Easy
Knowing when you need to cite a source helps you manage your research. Anytime you find information that you’re going to paraphrase, summarize, or quote in your work, you need to cite the source. The full citation will go on your reference page, but you’ll need an in-text citation where you use the information in your paper.
When you’re stating something that is common knowledge , there’s no need to make a citation. Common knowledge is something that your reader would believe without needing proof. You can check if something is common knowledge by searching for it and finding it mentioned, without a citation, in at least five sources.
Once you learn the basics about citing a research paper in MLA, APA, and Chicago Styles, you’ll feel more confident in your work. The important thing is to pay attention to small details, like capitalization, italics and the use of abbreviations. But there’s no need to do it all on your own—Quetext has a citation assistant waiting to help. Give Quetext citation generator a try on your next project.
Sign Up for Quetext Today!
Click below to find a pricing plan that fits your needs.
You May Also Like
What is Mosaic Plagiarism?
- Posted on November 2, 2023 November 3, 2023
Proper vs. Improper Paraphrasing: How To Do It Right
- Posted on October 26, 2023 October 26, 2023
What Should I Do If I’m Caught Plagiarizing?
- Posted on October 20, 2023 October 25, 2023
Comparing Documents for Similarities
- Posted on October 13, 2023 October 13, 2023
- Posted on October 6, 2023 October 6, 2023
The Crucial Role of Grammar and Spell Check in Student Assignments
- Posted on September 29, 2023 October 20, 2023
How to Cite a Blog: MLA, APA, and Chicago Style
- Posted on September 27, 2023
The Most Important Words To Avoid in Academic Writing
- Posted on September 21, 2023 September 18, 2023
Input your search keywords and press Enter.
Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Journal Article Citation
How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA
This page is a how-to guide for using scholarly journals as sources and citing them correctly in your papers. Academic journals publish scholarly, peer-reviewed articles written by experts in a specific field. This guide will help you understand what journals are and why they are valuable for your research.
Quickly cite a journal article by using our online form here .
Citing a journal article in mla:, the importance of peer-reviewed academic journals, how journals are organized, where to find journal articles.
- In-text citations
- Works cited references
- Citation with one author
- Citation with two authors
- Citation with three or more authors
- Citation with no known author
- Citation Structures and Examples: Web
- Citation Structures and Examples: Print
Our guide will show you how to cite the journal article both in the text and in the Works Cited page following the guidelines of the Modern Language Association Handbook, 9th Edition.
What is an Academic Journal?
Academic or scholarly journals are periodicals published by universities and other research organizations to present the findings of original research conducted in a particular field. These journals contain highly specific knowledge and are written by experts in that field.
Journals are different from other periodicals such as newspapers or magazines, which cover a broad range of topics and are written in easy to read prose.
Because journals are written by experts for other experts, they can be difficult to read. The writers often use jargon and other complex language that students may not understand. But that doesn’t mean you should not use journals in your research. Journals are where the most recent research is published and provide in-depth information on a topic.
Tip : Reading the abstract and the conclusion first may help you to understand the article as you read.
Journals are good sources for academic research not only because they are written by experts, but because most (but not all) are also reviewed by other experts before the article is published.
Journals that are peer-reviewed have a board of experts in the field that review articles submitted to the journal. The peer reviewers scrutinize every article closely to validate its findings and ensure that the research was done properly. The process of peer review gives credibility to the journal because it means that every article published has been approved by other experts in the field.
Academic journals are organized in volumes and issues.
- Volume: The volume is all of the editions of the journal published in a calendar year.
- Issue(s): The issues are all the specific editions of the journal published in that year.
Tip : Journals frequently publish issues around a certain theme, so all of the articles in that issue will relate to a certain topic. This means that there may be other articles in a particular issue that you can use for your research. It pays to check the table of contents for the issue when you find an article that fits your needs.
You will need to include the volume and the issue numbers, and the page numbers in your citations so make sure to write those down when you take notes from a journal.
When you are doing scholarly research, you can’t use popular search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. These will lead you to popular sources that may not work for a school paper. You need to search for information using an academic database which will lead you to scholarly articles.
Databases are organized computer-based collections of data that allow researchers to find a large number of articles quickly and easily.
Examples of popular general academic databases include:
- Academic Search Premier
- Google Scholar
Examples of popular academic databases focused on specific subjects:
- MEDLINE, PubMed Central — focus on biomedical and life sciences
- Lexis Web — focus on legal information
- Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) — focus on education
Many of these databases charge fees for use. The good news? Many can be accessed through a school or university library. Check your library’s website to see what databases it subscribes to and how you can access them.
Using a Journal Article in a Paper
You can use information from your research in three ways:
- Paraphrase: Take the information from a specific paragraph or section of the article and rewrite it in your own words.
- Summarize: Write a broad overview of the section or the article in your own words.
- Quote: Repeat the exact words used by the author using quotation marks.
Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize information in your paper, you need to follow that information with an in-text citation and create a corresponding reference for the source (in the Works Cited).
Journal Article In-text Citations
Citations within your text are important. Each in-text citation:
- Alerts your reader that you are using information from an outside source.
- Usually appears in parentheses at the end of a sentence.
- Is short and only has enough information to help the reader find the complete reference listed in the Works Cited page at the end of the paper.
A MLA style in-text citation has two parts (MLA Handbook 227-228):
- If there is no author listed, include a shortened version of the title
- While many online sources do not have a page number, academic journals almost always do, even when they are available online.
In most cases, the in-text citation is at the end of the sentence in parentheses. If you use the author’s name in the text, you don’t have to repeat it in the parenthesis at the end. Do not separate the author’s name and the page number with a comma. See below for examples.
Works Cited References for Journal Articles
A Works Cited page is included at the end of your paper. It lists full references/citations for all of the sources mentioned in your paper via your in-text citations.
In the 9th edition of the official Handbook, MLA includes a new term for citing references, which was first introduced in the 8th edition — containers (134). Periodicals like journals are considered “containers” because they contain the articles that are part of a larger whole.
The container holds the source article and is crucial in identifying the source. The title of the first container, the journal name, is printed in italics and follows the article name. When accessing journals through a database, the database is considered the second container. This title is also printed in italics.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Another feature in citing sources is the DOI (Handbook 188) . DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier, which is used to permanently identify an article or document and link to it on the web.
Although a website or database may change names, the DOI will not change and will help your readers locate the document from your citation. Whenever possible, list the DOI in place of the URL. When you have a DOI, you do not need to give the URL of the website. Indicate that a reference is a DOI by adding “https://doi.org/” before the DOI number of your source.
Another way to identify an online location is with a permalink. Permalinks are URLs that are identified as a stable link that the publisher promises not to change.
For journal references, the following elements need to be included in your Work(s) Cited entries:
- The name of the author or authors. Since journal articles often have more than one author, it is helpful to know when to use et al. in MLA .
- Title of article
- Title of journal (the container)
- Volume and issue number
- Date of publication
- Page numbers
- Database (the 2nd container)
- DOI, permalink, or URL
- Date of access (supplemental, but should be included if the information has no publication date listed)
Citing a Journal Article in MLA (found in databases)
The following are examples of how to cite a journal in MLA 9, both in text and as a full reference in the Works Cited. These were all found via a database.
Note that “Date Accessed” is the day that the journal article was found and read. This information is supplemental and does not always need to be included.
Journal Article Citation With One Author
Cite your source
Journal Article Citation With Two Authors
*Note: When a source has multiple authors, you should always list them in your citation in the same order they are listed in the source.
Journal Article Citation With Three or More Authors
Journal article citation with no known author, citing a journal article in mla (print).
Citing a journal from a print source requires less information than an online source. For a print source, you need the following information:
- The name of the author or authors for articles with one or two authors. For articles with three or more authors, only the first author’s name is used followed by et al.
- The name of the article in quotation marks
- The name of the journal in italics
- The volume and issue numbers of the journal
- The year of publication
- The page number(s)
View Screenshot | Cite your source
Citing an Online Journal Article (not found using a database)
Some journal articles are accessible online without the use of a database. Citing an online journal article not found in a database requires that you cite the website that you used to access the article as the second container. Do not include the https:// in the web address.
*Note : Since journals are usually stable and credible sources, including an access date is supplemental and not required (“When Should I Include an Access Date for an Online Work”).
- Works Cited
MLA Handbook . 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
“When should I include an access date for an online work?” MLA Style Center , Modern Language Association, 29 Dec. 2016, style.mla.org/access-dates/.
Published October 31, 2011. Updated June 6, 2021.
Written by Catherine Sigler. Catherine has a Ph.D. in English Education and has taught college-level writing for 15 years.
MLA Formatting Guide
- Annotated Bibliography
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Page Numbers
- Sample Paper
- MLA 8 Updates
- MLA 9 Updates
- View MLA Guide
- Book Chapter
- Journal Article
- Magazine Article
- Newspaper Article
- Website (no author)
- View all MLA Examples
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?
It’s 100% free to create MLA citations. The EasyBib Citation Generator also supports 7,000+ other citation styles. These other styles—including APA, Chicago, and Harvard—are accessible for anyone with an EasyBib Plus subscription.
No matter what citation style you’re using (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) the EasyBib Citation Generator can help you create the right bibliography quickly.
Yes, there’s an option to download source citations as a Word Doc or a Google Doc. You may also copy citations from the EasyBib Citation Generator and paste them into your paper.
Creating an account is not a requirement for generating MLA citations. However, registering for an EasyBib account is free and an account is how you can save all the citation you create. This can help make it easier to manage your citations and bibliographies.
Yes! Whether you’d like to learn how to construct citations on your own, our Autocite tool isn’t able to gather the metadata you need, or anything in between, manual citations are always an option. Click here for directions on using creating manual citations.
If any important information is missing (e.g., author’s name, title, publishing date, URL, etc.), first see if you can find it in the source yourself. If you cannot, leave the information blank and continue creating your citation.
It supports MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and over 7,000 total citation styles.
To cite a magazine with multiple authors and no page numbers in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the authors, the article’s title, the magazine’s title, the publication date, and the DOI, permalink, or URL. The templates and examples for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry of a book written by multiple authors are given below:
In-text citation template and example:
For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues” for sources with three or more authors. In subsequent citations, use only the surname of the first author followed by “and others” or “and colleagues.” In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the first author followed by “et al.”
Citation in prose:
First mention: Han Ong and colleagues…. or Han Ong and others ….
Subsequent occurrences: Ong and colleagues…. or Ong and others ….
….( Ong et al.).
Works-cited-list entry template and example:
The title of the article is in plain text and title case; it is placed inside double quotation marks. The title of the magazine is set in italics and title case. Follow the format given in the template and example for setting the day, month, and year.
Surname, First., et al. “Title of the Article.” Title of the Magazine , Publication Date, DOI/permalink/URL.
Ong, Han, et al. “The Monkey Who Speaks.” The New Yorker , 13 Sept. 2021, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/the-monkey-who-speaks.
Use only the first author’s name in surname–first name order in the entry followed by “et al.”
To cite an online journal or magazine article in MLA style, you need to have basic information including the author, the article’s title, the journal or magazine’s title, the publication date, and the DOI, permalink, or URL. If available, also include a volume and an issue number of the journal or magazine. The templates for in-text citations and a works-cited-list entry of an online journal article and examples are given below for a source with one author:
For citations in prose, use the first name and surname of the author on the first occurrence. In subsequent citations, use only the surname. In parenthetical citations, always use only the surname of the author.
First mention: Elizabeth Garber ….
Subsequent occurrences: Garber ….
The title of the journal or magazine article is set in plain roman text and title case; it is placed inside double quotation marks. The title of the journal or magazine is set in italics and title case. Follow the format given in the template and example for writing the publication month or season and year.
Surname, First. “Title of the Article.” Journal or Magazine Title , Volume, Issue, Publication Date, DOI/permalink/URL.
Garber, Elizabeth. “Craft as Activism.” The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education , vol. 33, no.1, spring 2013, www.scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jstae/vol33/iss1/6/ .
MLA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.
Guide on How to Cite a Research Paper Using MLA Format: Best Tips
Understanding What is MLA Formatting
If you are a high school or college student, there will be a time when you find yourself in an ambiguous situation on how to cite a research paper in MLA. There are various formatting styles, but the most commonly used are the MLA, APA, and Chicago styles. In the article, our business essay writing services writers will teach you how to cite a research paper using MLA format correctly.
Created by college educators in the late 1800s, the MLA format was intended to encourage American students to study modern languages as classical languages were becoming less popular. Thus, they developed the format for MLA citing in research paper to determine if it would successfully promote learning modern languages.
In a nutshell, MLA is the formatting style of the Modern Language Association used in areas such as English studies, comparative literature, foreign language, and literature or cultural studies. This academic style guides extensively used in the United States, Canada, and other countries.
Research Paper in MLA Format
So, how to format a research paper in MLA style? There are four key components that a research paper in MLA format includes.
Except for the running head, page margins should be precisely 1 inch on both sides of the text as well as on top and bottom.
When writing a research paper or another academic assignment, it is recommended to use Times New Roman typeface as it is easily readable. Set the standard size, which is usually 12 points.
Change the line spacing from single to double-spaced. That makes reading less crammed on the eye and allows the professor to make essential comments in a neat and organized manner. Also, make sure to indent the first line of a paragraph ½ inch from the left margin.
Enter the required course information on the top-left corner of the front page. The MLA format research paper title page should look like this:
- Name of Teacher/Professor
- Name of Course
- Due Date for Assignment
Type your title below the date after double spacing and align it centered with no period at the end. You shouldn't make your title bold, italicized, or underlined. There is only one exception from the rule: use italics if the title of another source is included in yours. Make sure you follow the capitalization rules. Check if it's correct in MLA Handbook (67–68) .
The MLA title for an MLA format research paper looks like this:
Sarah E. Johnson
How Does Human Memory Work?
If you wonder how do you cite a page number in research paper in MLA format, consider setting the automatic page numbering in the top right-hand corner. That is done to keep track of the page order, and it also looks pleasing to the eye. Leave a margin of ½ inch from the top and flush with the right margin.
To buy online essay and properly include the MLA format in a research paper, just leave us a notice ' write essays for me ,' and our professional writers will help you.
Snatch Up Your MLA Formatted Research Paper Today!
Purchase your perfectly formatted MLA research paper today and enhance your academic results!
How to Cite a Research Paper with In-Text Citations
In-text citations are often subordinate, meaning that information is always added to the end of the sentence in parentheses. But if you include that necessary information in the language of the sentence itself, you should not include the parenthetical citation.
For example, if the author's name is found within the in-text citation, there is no need to add it at the end; insert the page number, and you are all done referencing.
Having two sources from the same author may confuse the reader. When they check the source, they will find two different articles. To avoid this confusion, you must include a short title of the research citation so the readers know which citations to look for.
You should include all authors' last names when a source has two or three authors. Whereas, when you have four or more authors, then you have to write them all out following the last name of the first Author.
When citing a research paper in MLA style, include references within two sections:
- The quotes used within the essay
- The Works Cited page at the end
The citation information in the body of the paper itself is called the 'in-text citation.' The most obvious time to use it in the text is when you use a quote from a source directly or refer to it by title or author.
Generally, you must list the writer's last name and page number enclosed within parentheses straight after the quote. If the author's name is included as a feature of your sentence, you only have to add the page number in the bracket.
Example: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference" (Frost 1).
Kenneth Burke has described human beings as "symbol-using animals" (3).
As you can see, Burke's name was included in the sentence, so there is no need for repetition in the citation.
The Works Cited page
References: When providing references in a research paper in MLA style, you must inform the readers about the sources you used to cite this information. The reference page is known as the 'Works Cited.' This page is where the author gives credit to the source. Things that are placed within a citation include alphabetical order of the author's last name, the title of the article, and the publication date.
- Follow this format exactly: Author(s)-> 'Title of Article.' ->Title of Journal Volume.->Issue (Year): pages
- Electronic Sources. For electronic sources, utilize the inventor's name, page number, or area number for in-substance references. This is only if the information does not have page or section numbers by any method. By then, you would include the author's name in the section after you have referred to the recorded information.
If you need help from a custom essay service , address our professionals.
Research Paper MLA Format Example
The human memory remains an interesting research subject for psychologists. Typically, human beings live in the present. However, the past constitutes an integral component of life, and this makes the memory a fundamental element in daily operations. According to Zimmerman and Kelley (2010)...
Also, for a better understanding in essay writing formats, we recommend that you read about the APA essay format and the difference between APA and MLA .
FAQs on MLA Format Citation in Research Paper
We realize that mastering MLA citation may require more knowledge than the information given above can supply. Therefore, we've compiled some additional details below to provide you with a deeper understanding of how to cite a research paper MLA.
What is the Basic MLA Format in a Research Paper?
If you'd rather have a simple guideline on how to cite research paper, here are the simple steps for an MLA format paper.
- Use standard 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
- Use a 12-point font such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- Place a half-inch indent at the beginning of each paragraph, then double-space each phrase.
- Set all margins to be one inch.
- Use appropriate punctuation by ending each phrase with a period and capitalizing the first letter of each new sentence.
- Use paper binders and staples in the top-left corner of the page to bind hard-copy assignments in accordance with your professor's instructions.
Can I Give My Opinion in a MLA Research Paper?
While you may express your viewpoint in an MLA research paper, it is imperative to do so within the boundaries of academic writing and present evidence to back up your assertions.
The perspective you take can make a substantial contribution to meeting the final objective of an MLA format citation in research paper. Including your viewpoints will offer a well-researched and well-supported argument or analysis, as long as it is presented in a precise and professional fashion. Here are some examples of when to use 'I':
- Narrating the journey of how you found out something is noteworthy or, at the least, amusing.
- Detailing the technique you have employed in educating and encouraging student responses.
- You are in disagreement with another scholar and want to make clear that you are not claiming to possess the only right answer.
Lastly, if you still ask, 'Can I give my opinion in a MLA research paper?' Yes, you can as long as you want to be direct and straightforward in your writing.
How to Format a Title of a Book in a Research Paper MLA?
As set forth by the MLA style handbook, the title of a book should be italicized in research papers. Here is the correct manner of formatting the title of a book in MLA style:
- Set the title of the book in italic font.
- Make sure to capitalize the initial letter of the primary title and any subordinate titles, as well as any other words usually written with a capital letter in the heading.
- Maintain Title Case for the remaining words of the title, with the exception of articles, prepositions, and conjunctive phrases.
To demonstrate the correct way to cite a title of a book in a research paper MLA - 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee would be:
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird.
Extra Academic Assistance
Crafting an MLA citation in a research paper is a time-consuming endeavor. All these minor and bothersome regulations can be disheartening for a student. We have invested a lot of effort in familiarizing ourselves with different formatting styles, and we have a thorough understanding of each one. It can often be simpler to shell out a nominal cost for a professionally made sample research paper in MLA style instead of having to do it yourself. Feel free to leave it to our essay writing company . Just send us your request, and we will solve your formatting problems swiftly and efficiently!
Need Help in Formatting Your Paper?
Hire our professional research paper writers to get a task of high quality!
How do I cite a company’s report?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .
A company’s report, whether published or not, can be cited following the MLA format template . When you cite a report, the company or organization can usually be considered the publisher, unless another entity published the report.
A Report Written and Published by a Corporate Entity
If a report was written and published by a corporate entity, list that entity as the publisher and begin the entry with the report’s title:
Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America . National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.
A Report Written and Published by Different Corporate Entities
If a report was written and published by different corporate entities, list the entity that wrote the report as the author and the entity that published the report as the publisher. In the following example, Hart Research Associates wrote a report published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). The report was published by the AACU on its website, which is listed as the container title in the works-cited-list entry. Since the name of the website is the same as the name of the publisher, the publisher’s name is omitted:
Hart Research Associates. It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success . Association of American Colleges and Universities , 2013, www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/it-takes-more-major-employer-priorities-college-learning-and.
A Report with One or More Authors
If a report has one or more authors, put the authors in the “Author” slot and the organization’s name in the “Publisher” slot:
Powell, Catherine, and Ann Mei Chang. Women in Tech as a Driver for Growth in Emerging Economies . Council on Foreign Relations Press, July 2016, www.cfr.org/technology-and-science/women-tech-driver-growth-emerging-economies/p38097.
An Untitled Report
If a report is untitled, supply a description of the report in place of a title:
Annual report. Market Analytics International, 2015.
Research Support: MLA Citation
- How to Paraphrase
- How to make a Works Cited
- How to format In-text Citations
- How to write an Annotated Bibliography
- How to Make a Bibliography
- How to format Footnotes
- Databases This link opens in a new window
- All Library Resources This link opens in a new window
The English department requires citation according to the MLA style. You must cite sources in your work and list them in a Works Cited page. When using MLA:
- Use a citation organization system like NoodleTools to keep track of your research.
- Save all the information about the source : author’s name, title of book or website, page numbers, etc.
- Create a works cited list at the end of your paper, using the citation information you recorded when you were taking notes.
- Provide an in-text citation for all quotations, paraphrases, and summaries .
Research Organization and Citation
Research organization with bibliographies and notecards. google sso: login with your fwcd gmail account., • noodletools quick guide for students, • tutorials on using noodletools (scroll down on the page), fwcd honor code, the honor code at fwcd, helpful links.
MLA Formatting and Style Guide (Purdue OWL)
Mla sample paper (purdue owl), online resources and databases.
MLA Handbook. 9th ed., New York City, Modern Language Association of America, 2021.
"MLA Style Introduction." Purdue Online Writing Lab, Purdue University, 2023, owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_style_introduction.html. Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.
- << Previous: Home
- Next: Plagiarism >>
- Last Updated: Oct 30, 2023 12:03 PM
- URL: https://fwcd.libguides.com/research