Skip to main content

Citing Sources: Articles - MLA

This guide indicates the appropriate form for layout, in-text citations, and bibliography for MLA, APA, and Chicago formatted papers.

Popular vs Scholarly Journals

Created  by the Peabody Library at Vanderbilt University.

Scholarly Journals and Popular Magazines Explained


  • Also referred to as scholarly journals or research journals.
  • Author's name is listed with affiliations/credentials (universities associated with, other writings, etc.)
  • Often peer-reviewed.
  • Written for experts or college students in the academic field or discipline.
  • Usually lengthy.
  • Include a list of references at the end.
  • Examples: Journal of Applied Psychology, New England Journal of Medicine


  • Often referred to as general interest or popular magazines.
  • Written for the general public and often focus on news, offer entertainment, or provide brief information about diverse topics.
  • Often heavily illustrated - designed to attract attention.
  • Examples: Psychology Today, Newsweek, Scientific American


This LibGuide is based on the MLA Citations LibGuide created by Montgomery College Libraries. The content and format are used with permission.

General Information about creating citations for articles in MLA

NoodleTools will help you correctly format your citations for the Works Cited list. The following information is basic information you should remember when working with articles.

You may need to capitalize the title of the entry in NoodleTools.
  • Articles from Databases:  In general, when you cite an article from a database, the format is the same as for a print article. Add informaton about the database used and date retrieved to the end of the citation.
  • Page Numbers: If an article is several continuous pages long, use inclusive page numbers (e.g., 21-23). If the article is several pages long but the pages are not continuous, use the first page number followed by a + sign (e.g., 14+). If no page numbers are available, use paragraph numbers if the paragraphs are numbered  par.  or chapter ch.(for an ebook) or indicate where the source was found - under a heading etc.
  • Abbreviating Months: When you include the month in the publication date or date of access, abbreviate to the first three letters (e.g., Dec.). May, June, & July do not need abbreviations.
  • Italicize the name of the Journal/Magazine/Newspaper and the name of the database.
  • Use "Quotation Marks" around the title of the article..
  • For more than 3 authors: Provide only the first author, followed by et al. For example: Wingert, Peter, et al.
  • Capitalize the main words in the document title. If there is a colon in the title (a subtitle), capitalize the main words after the colon.

Creating Article Entries for Works Cited list

In-text Citations: 1-3 Known Authors

Author named in the text : Format

Signal phrase with author's name, "quote" (page).


One researcher, Carol Gilligan, concludes that "women impose a distinctive construction on moral problems" (105).

Author named in parenthetical citation: Format

Signal phrase, "quote" (Author page).


According to a study, "the poor and minorities were victims" (Frieden and Sagalyn 29).

Our text discusses the "ethical dilemmas in public relations" (Wilcox, Ault, and Agee 125).

In-text Citation - More than 3 Known Authors

More Than Three Authors
You may list all names or use only the first author's name followed by et al.


Signal phrase, "quote" (Author et al. page).


Recent research shows that "…" (Graham et al. 86).

In-text Citation - No Author

If the source has no named author, use the first main word in the title. If it is a very short title, you may use the whole thing. Put the title in quotation marks if it's a short source (e.g., an article) or italicize it if it's a longer source, like a book.

You may also name the title in your text and provide the page number in parentheses.

Note: Books and websites are italicized. Webpages and article names are within quotation marks.


Signal phrase, "quote" (Shortened Title page).

Signal phrase with title, "quote" (page).


Full title of book = Challenging Capital Punishment: Legal and Social Science Approaches

One article states that, "A death row inmate may demand his execution for notoriety" (Challenging Capital Punishment 135).

Challenging Capital Punishment states that, "A death row inmate may demand his execution for notoriety" (135).

Title of the article = "10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's"

One sign of Alzheimers is "memory loss that disrupts daily life" ("10 Early Signs").


In-text Citation - Electronic Sources with No Page Numbers

A database source is NOT the same as an Internet source. Most sites do not reproduce the article exactly as it was published in the original journal or magazine. If you find an article on a news website, such as the BBC site or CBC site please remember to cite the source as a website.

If there are no page numbers on the electronic source, use only the author name or the first main word of the title.


Signal phrase, "quote" (Author).

Signal phrase, "quote" ("Shortened Title" - if citing a webpage or article and author is unknown).


According to a study, "Twins reared apart report similar feelings" (Palfrey).


In-text Citation: Citing an Indirect Source (Quoting a Source in a Source)

If there are no page numbers on the electronic source, use only the author name or the first main word of the title. However, you can indicate where the material came from in your text.

There are occasions where you may find a source that quotes another source that you want to use in your paper. Ideally, you would find the original source to ensure you understand the context of the quote. If you do decide to use the quote from the source you are using, however, you must recognize both sources. For example, in the Critical Insights series, we have a popular book of critical analysis called Things for Apart. One of the chapters, written by Amy Sickels, is entitled "The Critical Reception of Things Fall Apart." In her essay, she quotes Keith M. Booker. This is the quote you decide you want to use:

Booker makes the point that the "African novel is always a complex hybrid cultural phenomenon that combines Western and African cultural perspectives" (qtd. in Sickels 43).

The citation in the Works Cited page (remember you need a hanging indent):

Sickels, Amy. “The Critical Reception of Things Fall Apart." Things Fall Apart,  edited by M. Keith Booker, Salem Press, 2011, pp.  33-52.

MLA Checklist - Quick Guide for Printing

For more information on MLA from OWL at Purdue

OWL at Putdue so one of the best sources of information on citing. Please review the following material if more information is required.

Citation Tools