How to Cite a Journal Article in an Online Database in MLA 8


A journal is a periodical published by a special group or professional organization, often focused around a particular area of study or interest. Journals can be scholarly in nature (featuring peer-reviewed articles), or popular (such as trade publications). Journal articles are generally written by professionals and experts, thus making the content of journals excellent for research purposes.

There are numerous sites that provide access to journal articles. These sites are called databases. Databases collect information, in this case journal articles, and make them easily accessible to researchers. While some databases are free to access, the majority of high quality journal databases require a subscription. Many school and public libraries provide access to journal databases. Ask your librarian for help! Some of the more common databases include ProQuest, JSTOR, Google Scholar, Gale databases, and EBSCO databases.

To cite a journal article in an online database in MLA 8, locate the following pieces of information:

*The name of the author of the article
The title of the journal
The names of any other contributors to the article (if applicable)
The version of the journal (if applicable)
*Any numbers associated with the journal, such as a volume or issue number.
The publication date
The location, such as a page number
The name of the database the article was found on
*The URL or DOI where the article can be found

If the article is written by more than one author, refer to EasyBib’s page on How to Format the Author’s Name in MLA 8 to learn how to display more than one author in a citation.

Many journals include a volume and issue number. The volume number usually refers to the number of years that the publication has been circulating. The issue number is the number of issues that have been circulated in a specific year. For example, the first issue of a journal for the year 2016 that was first circulated in 1996 would be volume 20, issue 1. In a journal’s citation, this information is displayed as vol. 20, no. 1.

When including the URL in the citation, omit “http://” and “https://” from the site’s address. In addition, if the citation will be viewed on a digital device, it is helpful to make it clickable. This ensures that readers will be able to easily access and view the source themselves.

*In addition, publisher’s names can be omitted for periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers).

Structure of a citation for a journal article from a database in MLA 8:

Author’s Last name, First name. “Title of the article.” Title of the journal, First name Last name of any other contributors (if applicable), Version (if applicable), Numbers (such as a volume and issue number), Publication date, Page numbers. Title of the database, URL or DOI.

Example of a citation for a journal article found on a database in MLA 8:

Brian, Real, et al. “Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges.” Information and Technology Libraries, vol. 33, no. 1, Mar. 2014, pp. 6-24. ProQuest,

Asafu-Adjaye, Prince. “Private Returns on Education in Ghana: Estimating the Effects of Education on Employability in Ghana.” African Sociological Review, vol. 16, no. 1, 2012, pp. 120-138. JSTOR,

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