Referencing Styles

A guide to the reference styles used at the University of St Andrews

Referencing a journal article

The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook aims to provide the principles of referencing using MLA rather than a list of rules to be followed.  It suggests that rather than focussing on the format of a resource, that a series of Core elements and Containers be used to guide the creation of references.

Core elements:

In the works-cited list, Core elements are given in the order show below, with the punctuation as detailed below. The fields in bold are used for journal article references.  Omit any element from an entry where it isn't relevant.

  1. Author.
  2. "Title of the article".
  3. Title of container, (title of the journal)
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number, (volume and part/issue number)
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location. (For journal articles this is the page number range of the article, in the case of online journals, the page number range for the article, and a doi or URL are also given)

An entry in the works-cited list should always end with a full stop/period.  

Full explanation of each of the elements can be found in the 8th Edition of the MLA handbook, a brief explanation is given below:

1. Author.

The person(s) or organisation responsible for the work.  Follow the Author Rules for MLA when dealing with multiple authors, editors, etc.

2. Title.

The title of the source you are using, eg. book title, chapter title, article title, webpage title, etc.

3. Title of container,

A container is the item which holds the entry you are using.  So can be anything from a book (which contains a chapter you are referencing), a journal (which contains an article you are referencing), a website, blog, podcast (which contains a page, entry or broadcast article you are referencing) etc. For Journals, the title is italicised.

4. Other contributors, (not usually required for journal articles)

You can add details of other people who have a contribution to the source who are not the authors, with a descriptor for their role in the work, e.g. adapted by, edited by, illustrated by, translated by, narrated by, etc.

5. Version, (not usually required for journal articles)

Where given within a work, this can include such things as revised edition, updated edition, 7th edition, unabridge version, director's cut.  The term edition is normally abbreviated to "ed.".

6. Number,

This is used where there are multiple volumes of a work to provide the details of the volume you have used.  Journals often have volumes and issues/parts.  Volume is abbreviated to "vol." and issues/parts is abbreviated to "no".  Numbers can also be used for television series, and episodes. Whatever source number you are giving ensure that the preceeding term which identifies it is included in your reference.

7. Publisher, (not usually required for journal articles)

The full name of the publisher(s) of the work.  As well as book publishers, film production companies and distributors, websites, etc. are given here.  Not all sources require that you provide publishers.  Journals, and websites which host a source, but are not involved in its production do not need to list a publisher.

8. Publication date,

Give the details of the publication date of the source you are citing.  Where multiple dates are given for a source, e.g. where you are citing a source you have found online, and an online publication date is given alongside a date the source appeared in print, use the online date, as that is the date of the source you have used.  Some books list the dates of all the previous editions of the book, use only the date of the edition you are referring to.  For online sources, especially webpages which are updated and give the day and month in the date, include the full date.

9. Location (page numbers, and for online resources doi or URL)

Locations can be a number of different things depending on the format of the source you are citing.  For books, location can be the place of publication, for a chapter in a book or a journal article it can be the specific pages of the chapter/journal article, for online sources it can be a doi (digital object identifier) or URL, for a physical object it can be the collection it comes from, such as the museum it is located in, for a performance, the theatre it was performed in, etc.

In-text citation:

(Andrew 62)

Reference list entry:

Andrew, Patricia A.  "Scottish War Art of the 20th Century: Why So Neglected?" Journal of the Scottish

Society for Art History, vol. 19, 2014-2015, pp. 59-66.

Example of reference list entry

In-text citation:

(Johnston and Ripmeester 122)

Reference list entry:

Johnston, Russell and Michael Ripmeester.  "A Monument's Work is Never Done: The Watson Monument, Memory, and Forgetting in a Small Canadian City." International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, 2007, pp. 117-135. Taylor & Francis, doi: 10.1080/1352725060118951.


Example of reference list entry

In-text citation

  • Always in brackets. 
  • Give the name of the chapter author(s)
  • Follow the Author rules for multiple authors, corporate authors and anonmymous works
  • Where a work is anonymous give a shortened article title
  • Give the page number you are referring to
  • Do not use a comma between Author or Title and page number.

Entry in the works-cited list

Use the punctuation recommended in the Core Elements:

  1. Author of the article.
  2. "Article title".
  3. Title of container (Title of the Journal),
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number (vol.xx, no. xx),
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location.

For multiple authors follow the Author Rules.

The article title should be enclosed within "quotation marks"

Journal Title should be italicised.

Volume and part/issue numbers are abbreviated as vol. for volume, and no. for part or issue number where required.

Location for an article is the page range of the article within the journal.

Articles in ejournals can be considered to have two containers, the journal, and the platform the ejournal is held on.  A full URL or doi should be supplied

URLS should be supplied without any prefix (HTTP, HTTPS, etc), the full URL should be given to the source you are using, and the URL should not be hyperlinked.

Only include the components required for your reference.

Items in the works cited list are listed alphabetically by the surname of the author(s).

Hanging indents are used where a reference is longer than a single line to make the list easier to scan.