Journal articles contain credible information that students can use to support their arguments when organizing essays and research papers in the MLA style. Basically, a journal refers to a collection of scholarly articles published throughout the year, regularly. In this case, each journal contains many articles that advance knowledge in a specific area of study. Also, some of the details in citing a journal article in MLA 8 include author names, article’s title, journal name, volume and issue numbers, date of publication, page ranges, and DOI numbers. Then, the author’s name should appear in an inverted form. Besides, this case applies where a journal article has one author, while the name of the second author should not appear in an inverted form. In turn, the title of the journal article should appear inside double quotation marks. Moreover, the title’s article and journal’s name should appear in the title case. Therefore, this guide is designed for students to understand how to cite a journal article in MLA 8 when organizing their essays and other papers.
General Guidelines of Citing a Journal Article in MLA 8
Proper citations help scholars to avoid all forms of plagiarism when writing essays and other college assignments. Basically, some of the sources that contain credible information for citation purposes include journals and academic articles. In this case, a journal refers to a collection of scholarly articles published throughout the year, regularly. Also, each journal contains many articles that focus on advancing concepts in a specific area of study or topic. Then, it contains a unique volume and issue number. In turn, such details help to identify different issues published on a monthly or yearly basis. Moreover, most journals contain credible information when compared to unscholarly sources. As a result, they contain the most credible information that scholars should cite when organizing academic papers in the MLA writing format.
Unique Traits of Citing Journal Articles in MLA 8
Scholarly journal articles have unique traits that distinguish them from other sources. For example, the first unique trait of the article means scholars who write peer-reviewed journals that include people with advanced degrees, like a Ph. D. or M.D. Then, other authors work in knowledge-based affiliations or associations, like universities or hospitals. In particular, these scholars write their articles intending to advance current knowledge. Moreover, they rely on a narrow scope and topic that depends on theoretical or technical focus, which depends on professional practice. Then, peer-reviewed articles follow a clear structure that indicates a scientific-based research study. Besides, their authors use formal and technical language that enables the target audience to understand the intended meaning. As a result, these factors help to distinguish scholarly articles from other sources that may not contain credible evidence for scholarly purposes.
Locating Journal Articles
Writers can cite a scholarly journal article from libraries, databases, and Google Scholar by considering the rules of MLA citation. Firstly, libraries in various institutions contain knowledge-based articles written by authors with adequate expertise in specific fields. Secondly, various databases contain peer-reviewed and published journal articles on particular areas of knowledge. Hence, interested writers can locate the most current journals from such catalogs. Finally, the third source is Google Scholar, which contains a large number of scholarly articles. In this case, one can find recent and past journal articles from Google Scholar. As a result, these three types of sources contain credible journal articles that writers can use for the MLA style citation in their papers.
Citing a Journal Article in MLA 8 to Avoid Plagiarism
Learners have to provide accurate in-text citations or footnotes to avoid possible cases of plagiarism. Basically, writers must provide an accurate in-text citation or footnote to make the work credible, covering the rules on how to cite a journal article in MLA 8. In turn, practical citations in MLA should identify surnames of the author(s) or the article’s title (unknown authors) and a specific page where evidence is taken. Hence, the following are the guidelines that one should follow when preparing in-text citations or footnotes in MLA 8.
MLA Rules for Citing Journal Articles on the Works Cited Page
Any MLA format paper should contain an MLA Works Cited. In practice, all sources should appear in alphabetical order concerning the author’s surname. Hence, one must observe specific rules when citing each of bibliographic entries for journal articles on the MLA Works Cited example.
1. Author’s Names
The first item in the bibliographic entry is the author’s name. Basically, one should begin with surnames followed by first and middle names. Moreover, if the article’s author has three names, one should use these initials. Besides, a comma should separate the last and first names. However, a period should follow the initial of the middle name, but it is optional since students can use full names.
A. One or Two Authors
When citing a journal article in MLA 8 with only one author, students need to start with the surname of the author and then provide the first name separated by a comma. Then, a journal article with two authors should follow unique rules when writing their names. For instance, initials of the second author should not follow the inverted form, as it is for a single author. By considering two authors, students should start the citation entry of the second author with the first name followed by the surname. Then, one should separate two authors with the word “and.” Moreover, one should not use a comma to separate the initials of the second author. In turn, middles names can be added or skipped after first names if available. Hence, the following is the scheme that one should use to cite one and two authors:
Scheme for One Author:
- Surname, First Name Middle Name.
Scheme for Two Authors:
- Surname, First Name Middle Name, and First Name Middle Name Surname.
B. More Than 3 Authors
In MLA 8, bibliographic entries of cited journal articles with more than three authors should contain the phrase “et al.” Basically, one should include the first, middle, and second names of the first author in an inverted form. In this case, students should omit the names of other authors by replacing them with the phrase “et al.” Hence, the following is the scheme for using three authors in MLA 8 that one should use:
- Surname, First Name Middle Name, et al.
C. Unknown Names
Some journal articles do not have specific authors. In this case, students should use the title to create a bibliographic entry. For example, assuming that all the journal articles needed to be added on the Works Cited page do not have specific authors, one should arrange them in alphabetical order of the first word with other sources. In simples words, writers can skip authors’ names, using titles as a start point of citing a journal article in MLA 8. Also, one should use the title case when writing these details. Therefore, one should use the journal’s title when creating bibliographic entries of journal sources that do not have the actual author’s names.
2. Scholarly Journal’s Title
The second item in the bibliographic entry is the title of the journal article. Basically, students should ensure that titles of cited journal articles in MLA 8 appear in double quotation marks. In this case, one should not underline or italicize titles of articles. Moreover, writers should use the title case, where all major words begin with capital letters. In turn, the first of nouns, verbs, adverbs, and pronouns should appear as capital. As a rule, one should capitalize all words with four or more letters. However, minor words, which contain three or fewer letters, should start with lower case letters. Then, other words that must start with small letters include conjunctions and prepositions. Besides, the title must end with a period, which appears inside quotation marks.
3. Journal’s Title
Journal articles appear in specific periodicals or databases. Basically, students need to include actual journal titles, which must appear in the capital case. Besides, one should italicize titles of periodicals while observing the correct punctuation marks. In turn, italicized titles must end with a comma. Also, one should not use initials when providing these details.
4. Publication Details or Volume and Issue Numbers and Date of Publication
The most relevant bibliographic details include volume and issue numbers with the date of publication. In particular, students must use the phrases “vol.” and “no.” when writing volume and issue numbers. Also, a comma should separate these details. Then, credible journal articles contain the date of publication. From a practical perspective, one needs to include the day, month, and year separated by a space and ended by a comma. Hence, one should include adequate publication details for a journal article used for a citation in MLA 8.
5. Pagination or Page Numbers
Published journal articles contain page ranges. Basically, one must provide the first and last pages of a cited journal article in MLA 8. As a rule, one should use the phrase “pp.” followed by the range of pages and ended by a comma. In turn, a dash “-” should separate the rage of pages of journal articles.
6. DOI, Permalink, and URL
Published journal articles contain URL, permalinks, or DOI numbers. In this case, one should include these details where applicable by using the phrase “doi: … .” In practice, these details follow indicated pages of cited journal articles. Moreover, a period should follow the URL, permalinks, or DOI numbers. Hence, one should include identifiers that a reader may use to locate the cited information.
Types of Journal Articles
One may find different types of journal articles. The following are the guidelines that one must follow when creating the works cited list for different sources.
1. The Journal Article is not Published, Available only in the Print Version
Students can find journal articles that are not published, but such sources are available in printed form. In this case, writers should prepare citation entries of such sources by using adequate bibliographic details. Hence, the following are the guidelines that one should follow when developing bibliographic entry of various source:
- The bibliographic entry should contain the author’s name, title, and date.
- The date should include the day, month, and year when the journal article is written.
- Unpublished journal articles do not contain volume and issue numbers. Besides, they lack permalinks, URLs, or DOIs. Therefore, students should not include such details if they do not exist.
2. The Journal Article Published in a Database
Writers can find journal articles from specific databases. In this case, some common types of databases include ProQuest, JSTOR, Google Scholar, Gale, and EBSCO databases, among others. Hence, one should include the following details when citing a journal article in MLA 8 found in databases:
- author’s names;
- journal article’s title;
- the name of other contributors like editors where applicable;
- journal’s title;
- the version of the journal where applicable;
- numbers associated with the journal, which include volume or issue numbers;
- publication date;
- page range of the article;
- the database’s name where the writer found the article;
- the URL or DOI where an interested reader may find the cited journal article in MLA 8.
3. The Journal Article Published Online
Writers can find credible journal articles from different websites. Hence, the bibliographic entry of such articles should include the following:
- the journal article’s author’s names;
- journal article’s title;
- the name of other contributors like editors where applicable;
- the version of the journal where applicable;
- numbers associated with the journal, which include volume or issue numbers;
- publication date;
- page range of the article;
- the URL or DOI where an interested reader may find the journal article.
Schemes and Examples of Citing Actual Journal Articles in MLA 8
1. Unpublished Journal Articles
The following is the scheme and actual citation of an unpublished journal article:
Scheme for Citing an Unpublished Journal Article in MLA 8:
- Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Year, pages.
- Cozza, Stephen J., et al. “Patterns of Comorbidity Among Bereaved Family Members 14 Years After the September 11th, 2001, Terrorist Attacks.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17 Jun. 2019, pp. 526–535.
2. Published Journal Articles Found in Databases
The following is the scheme and actual bibliographic entry of journal articles published in a database:
MLA Structure of Citing a Published Journal Article in a Database:
- Author’s last name, first name middle name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, date, pp. Page range, Database name, doi: DOI. Accessed Date.
- Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. “Sustainability and Business Ethics in a Global Society.” Philosophy of Management and Sustainability: Rethinking Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in Sustainable Development, vol. 4, no. 5, 30 Sept. 2019, pp. 19–28. ProQuest, doi: 10.1108/978-1-78973-453-920191002. Accessed 18 Aug. 2018.
3. Journal Articles Published Online
The following is the scheme and actual bibliographic entry of journal articles published online:
MLA Entry Format for Citing a Journal Article Published Online:
- Author’s last name, first name. “Article Title.” Journal Name, vol. Volume, no. Issue, date, pp. Page range, DOI. Accessed Date.
- Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl. “Sustainability and Business Ethics in a Global Society.” Philosophy of Management and Sustainability: Rethinking Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in Sustainable Development, vol. 4, no. 5, 30 Sept. 2019, pp. 19–28, doi: 10.1108/978-1-78973-453-920191002. Accessed 24 Aug. 2018.
Paraphrasing, Quoting, Summarizing
Students should paraphrase, quote, or summarize information from various sources. Firstly, paraphrasing enables writers to restate information from a source without altering its actual meaning. In this case, authors use different words to represent the cited information. Secondly, quotes contain exact words found in the source used for the in-text citation or footnote. Also, one must use quotation marks to present the information obtained from the source when citing a journal article in MLA 8. Thirdly, summaries contain a brief statement or account of significant points in the cited section. Moreover, a summary must contain precise and accurate information presented in a source. In turn, writers must use parenthetical citations to present the three types mentioned above. As a result, the following is an example of a bibliographic entry of a journal article in MLA 8 that writers can do when using different methods.
- Giannoni, Carlos, et al. “Diagnosis of Sustainable Business Strategies Implemented by Chilean Construction Companies.” Sustainability, vol. 10, no. 82, 30 Dec. 2017, pp. 1–19, doi: 10.3390/su10010082. Accessed 24 Aug. 2019.
A paraphrased in-text citation or footnote should begin with the author’s name and end with the exact page that contains the information. Also, the page number should appear in brackets. Hence, the following is an example of a paraphrased evidence used as the MLA in-text citation:
- Giannoni et al. stated that construction firms could gain unique competitive advantages by formulating sustainable strategies (1).
The MLA citation provided above contains a reworded statement from a scholarly article written by Giannoni et al. In turn, readers can find the referenced information on page 1. Besides, this in-text citation meets parenthetical standards since the page number appears inside brackets.
A quote should contain exact words used in a scholarly article. Basically, writers should not change words used by the article’s author. Also, the quoted information must appear inside quotation marks. Hence, examples of a direct quotation used as an in-text citation in MLA when citing evidence from a journal article are:
- Giannoni et al. affirm that sustainable business strategies can enable organizations to “create a competitive advantage and remain in the market” (1).
- Firms can rely on sustainable business strategies to “create a competitive advantage and remain in the market” (Giannoni et al. 1).
These two examples given above show possible parenthetical in-text citations for quotes. In this case, the copied information appears inside quotation marks. Moreover, one can start the sentence with the author’s name and end with the pagination. Besides, students can end the in-text citation with the author’s name and the page number. Cited quotes contain the exact words used to support a claim.
In-text citations that appear as summaries must follow the right strategies. In this case, students should keep the following facts in mind when developing the MLA format citation.
- Writers should use their own words to summarize information obtained from a journal source.
- Authors must include relevant elements from the initial sentence where evidence is taken. However, they must keep it brief while maintaining the original meaning of passages or sentences.
- Students should not include the interpretation or analysis of the original quote. In this case, writers should maintain a clear distinction between their own thoughts and those expressed by the article’s author.
- One should vary the introduction or attribution of the source used. In this case, students can use the phrases, like “According to Author A,”…(page number) and “Author B and Author C state that … (page number),” when citing a journal article in MLA 8. Also, varying the attributions prevents readers from getting bored as they read through the text.
The facts presented above allow one to develop accurate and compelling summaries of the information presented within credible sources. Hence, the following is an example of a summarized in-text citation in MLA 8:
- According to Giannoni et al., innovative business strategies enable organizations to achieve a competitive advantage in the market (1).
Difference Between Long and Short Quotes
Writers can either use long or short quotes to citing information from a journal article in MLA 8. Basically, one should use short quotes when citing less than four lines from the original text. In this case, a short quote contains three or fewer lines. Moreover, the information cited from a scholarly article in MLA 8 should appear in quotation marks within the paragraph. Then, long quotes contain more than four lines of the information obtained from a journal article. In particular, one does not have to use quotation marks when providing cited passages. Besides, writers should indent the quote 0.5 inch from the left margin of the page. As a result, the following are the guidelines that one should use when developing long and short quotes.
1. Short Quotes
The in-text citation or footnote for a short quote should include the author’s name and the specific page number. In this case, quoted lines must appear in double quotation marks. Then, other punctuation marks, like periods, commas, and semicolons should follow the parenthetical citation of lines included in the paragraph. As a rule, students must provide the source’s accurate bibliographic entry containing the short quote. Hence, the following is the example of a short quote cited from a journal article in MLA 8:
Sample Entry on the Works Cited Page:
- Cullen, Ufi, and Chris Archer-Brown. “Country-Specific Sociocultural Institutional Factors as Determinants of Female Entrepreneurs’ Successful Sustainable Business Strategies Within the Context of Turkey and the U.K.” Entrepreneurial Opportunities, 2 Mar. 2020, pp. 7–36, doi: 10.1108/978-1-83909-285-520201002. Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.
Example of a Short Quote:
- Some argue that sustainable business strategies that promote innovativeness “through maintaining stronger ties with suppliers and customers…, the closeness to the key stakeholders facilitates knowledge transfer and internalization of knowledge which leads to faster decision making” (Cullen and Archer-Brown 7).
2. Long Quotes
Long quotes should begin in a new line. Basically, a quote that exceeds four lines should not appear inside the paragraph. Instead, writers should indent the quotation from the left margin. In this case, long quotes should end with a period, followed by the relevant parenthetical citation. Hence, the following is the bibliographic entry of the source and a possible long quotation:
Sample of a Cited Journal Article on the Works Cited Page:
- Yanfika, Helvi, et al. “Strategy to Develop Traditional Fishery Business in Implementing the Principle of Sustainable Business.” Jurnal Penyuluhan, September 2018 Vol. 14 No. 2, vol. 14, no. 2, 2018, pp. 271–280, repository.lppm.unila.ac.id/8860/. Accessed 29 Jul. 2020.
Example of a Long Quote:
Some scholars highlight the legal need of having collaborative strategies to promote sustainability in farming through their work:
- Concerning this condition, traditional fish processing workers’ competence should be improved to produce the processed product with high quality. The importance of sustainable fishery development has been visible in Indonesia through the existence of Law No. 31, the Year 2004 on Fishery. It is stated that fishery management aims to create job opportunities, ensure the welfare of fish farmers and fishers, and maintain the sustainability of fishery resources and the environment. (Yanfika et al. 271)
Citing Block Quotes From a Journal Article in MLA 8
Students may use block quotes when citing two or more paragraphs from a journal article in MLA 8. Basically, students should use a block quotation, even when the passage from the passage contains less than four lines. As a rule, one should indent the first line of the second paragraph in the block quotation. In this case, the indentation should be an extra ¼ inch, which denotes a new paragraph. Moreover, the page number of quoted paragraphs should appear at the end of the last section. In turn, one should not include the information inside quotation marks. Hence, the following is a bibliographic entry sample of a source and the possible blockquote:
Example of a Bibliographic Entry on the Works Cited Page:
- Fiorentino, Raffaele, et al. “How Smart Technologies Can Support Sustainable Business Models: Insights from an Air Navigation Service Provider.” Management Decision, 18 May 2020, doi: 10.1108/md-09-2019-1327. Accessed 18 Jul. 2020.
Example of a Block Quote:
In the article “How Smart Technologies Can Support Sustainable Business Models: Insights from an Air Navigation Service Provider,” Fiorentino et al. note that:
- The mission is to guarantee the safety of the millions of passengers flying in the Italian skies, committing themselves every day both as individuals and as a community. The mission of ENAV is: to ensure the safety and punctuality of the millions of passengers who fly in the Italian airspace while contributing to the growth of national and European air transport through ongoing efficiency and innovation.
- ENAV has also developed safety indicators to maintain and improve safety performance and to understand and measure the effectiveness of the safety management system. For this reason, it is fundamental to have information that can guide ongoing improvement… (8)
Citing Corporate Authors of Journal Articles in MLA 8
There exist some differences in the citations provided above. For example, some sources contain corporate authors. Basically, such journal articles contain organizations as opposed to individual authors. In this case, students should give the organization’s full name. Also, one should avoid using acronyms unless the corporate author appears in that form inside the document used. In other instances, sources may lack a specified author. In such cases, the in-text citation should contain full titles of sources. Moreover, the information must appear inside double quotation marks. As a rule, one should use a title case when using the article’s title for the in-text citation. Hence, the following is the citation of an article that contains a corporate author:
Sample of a Source Entry for an Organization in MLA 8:
- World Health Organization. “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Events as They Happen.” WHO, 2020, www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen.
Example of the In-Text Citation for an Organization in MLA 8:
- Solidarity’s hydroxychloroquine arm to search an effective COVID-19 treatment does not meet the required criteria for human use (World Health Organization par. 3)
Citing Secondary Sources in MLA 8
Authors of scholarly articles quote information from other scholar’s sources. In practice, a writer may cite information paraphrased or quoted in the journal article. As a rule, one should cite a journal article on the works cited list and implement at least one in-text citation within the essay or research paper by following MLA rules. However, secondary sources should not appear in the works cited list. Hence, the following example shows how one should cite authors already mentioned in the journal articles used for the MLA citation:
Example of a Works Cited Entry:
- Geissdoerfer, Martin, et al. “Sustainable Business Model Innovation: A Review.” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 198, Oct. 2018, pp. 401–416, doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.06.240. Accessed 22 Jun. 2019.
MLA In-Text Citation Sample for Secondary Sources With Similar Information:
- According to a study by Piketty and Saez (qtd. in Geissdoerfer et al.), growing inequality is an issue that affects business sustainability (401).
The example above shows that the writer uses the paraphrased quotation from the article by Piketty and Saez, used in the article “Sustainable Business Model Innovation: A Review.” In this case, the writer must cite the article by Geissdoerfer et al. within the text at least one time and include this source to the bibliographic list. However, the journal article by Piketty and Saez should not appear on the Works Cited page. Also, practical in-text citations must include the phrase “qtd. in” to avoid plagiarism.
Citing Journal Articles That Contain Similar Information in MLA 8
Students may find two articles containing similar information. Basically, one should follow the right rules of citing such journal articles when writing the in-text citation for such sources in MLA 8. In practice, the in-text citation should include the parenthetical citation for two sources. Moreover, writers should separate them using a semicolon. Hence, the following is an example of citations that contain similar information.
Example of a Journal Article 1 on Works Cited:
- Cozza, Stephen J., et al. “Patterns of Comorbidity Among Bereaved Family Members 14 Years After the September 11th, 2001, Terrorist Attacks.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 32, no. 4, 17 Jun. 2019, pp. 526–535, doi: 10.1002/jts.22407. Accessed 17 Jun. 2020.
Example of a Journal Article Article 2 on Works Cited:
- Hausken, Kjell. “A Cost–Benefit Analysis of Terrorist Attacks.” Defense and Peace Economics, vol. 29, no. 2, 24 Mar. 2016, pp. 111–129, doi: 10.1080/10242694.2016.1158440. 17 Jun. 2020.
In-Text Citation Sample for Two Sources That Contain Similar Information in MLA 8:
- The 9/11 terror attack claimed a total of 2,977 lives (Cozza et al. 526; Hausken 111).
Citing More Than Three Authors of a Journal Article in MLA 8
Some journal articles contain more than three authors. In this case, the MLA referencing style requires using the phrase “et al.” when presenting sources with more than three authors. Moreover, one should include the surname of the surname followed by “et al.” Hence, the following is an example of a source that contains more than three authors:
Bibliographic Entry Sample of a Cited Journal Article on the Works Cited page:
Cozza, Stephen J., et al. “Patterns of Comorbidity Among Bereaved Family Members 14 Years After the September 11th, 2001, Terrorist Attacks.” Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17 Jun. 2019, pp. 526–535, doi: 10.1002/jts.22407. Accessed 17 Jun. 2020.
In-Text Citation Sample:
- According to Cozza et al., the 9/11 terror attack claimed 2,977 lives (526).
Summing Up on How to Cite a Journal Article in MLA 8 Correctly
Journal articles contain accurate information that writers can use to support their arguments when citing such sources in their essays and research papers by following the rules of MLA 8. Basically, one should include adequate details to develop bibliographic information. In this case, some of the details include author names, journal article’s title, journal name, volume and issue number, date of publication, page ranges, and DOI. As a result, students should observe the following guidelines:
- The author’s name should appear in an inverted form. Basically, this case applies where the cited journal article in MLA 8 has one author.
- The name of the second author should not appear in an inverted form.
- The title of the journal article should appear inside double quotation marks.
- The journal’s name should appear in the italic form.
- The title’s article and journal’s name should appear in the title case.