Don’t Waste Time on MLA Journal Referencing With Our Citation Guide

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MLA Journal Citation

MLA standard is often requested at universities as the primary standard for formatting reference lists and in-text citations. However, liberal arts and humanities students are more likely to encounter it. It’s an old standard with a history dating back to the 1950s.


Modern Language Association, the publisher of MLA, released its latest 9th edition in 2021. It comes with a list of rules you need to abide by when citing journals in MLA. Here is everything you need to know about MLA journal citation.

Principles of Formatting Reference Lists in MLA

A reference list in MLA is called the Works Cited page. It should be a separate page of your paper. This is where you will add MLA journal citation entries. While there are some specific journal citation rules you should know, the basic MLA citation rules apply as well. Here are the principles of formatting reference lists in MLA:

  • Create hanging indent of 0.5 inches for all lines starting with the second one;
  • When citing page numbers us hyphen in a span of pages and be efficient (e.g., instead of 150-180, write 150-80);
  • If your source is only on one page, add “p.” before the page number;
  • If your sources are on a span of several pages, add “pp.” before the page number;
  • Add database names for sources retrieved from online databases;
  • When adding online sources to the Works Cited page, use either DOI or URL;
  • Every entry in your Work Cited page must end with a period.


MLA standard sees scholarly journals as periodicals. Your MLA journal citation must include three elements:

  • The author of the article;
  • The title of the article;
  • Information about the journal.


The article you want to cite can be found in a scholarly journal or special issue of a scholarly journal. Here is the first entry on the Works Cited page.


MLA Scholarly Journal Citation


Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.


MLA Special Issue of Scholarly Journal Citation


Author(s). “Title of Article.” the special issue’s title, special Issue of Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages.


MLA Online Scholarly Journal Citation


Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, DOI, or URL. Accessed Day Month Year.


MLA Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print Citation


This one is almost the same as the previous one. You only need to add the page range of the article.


Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, Volume, Issue, Year, pages, DOI, or URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Requirements for this citation style In-Text Citations: Parenthetical References

MLA also regulates how you format in-text journal citations or so-called parenthetical references. Here are a couple of simple rules to follow:


  • Use (Author last name, page number) if you don’t mention the author by his last name in the sentence;
  • Use (page number) if you mention the author by his last name in the sentence;
  • If citing an article from an online-exclusive journal use (the first item that appears in the Work Cited entry).

How Citation Generator Can Help You

As a student, you will have to meet the paper requirements laid out by your professor. If it states that you have to use MLA journal citation, you simply have to do it to pass with flying colors. Using citation in academic papers is very important for two reasons:


  • You give proper credit to the authors whose work you used;
  • You make it easy for the readers to find out which sources you used.

If you find these rules overly complex, you should try using the MLA journal citation generator by Grades Fixer. All you have to do is select Journal, Citation Style, input article title or DOI number, and hit Search. The tool will automatically generate the copy/paste-ready citation for you.

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