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How to Cite a Study in MLA


For many academic disciplines, scholarly studies form an important part of the research process for academic papers, particularly in fields like medicine and astrophysics, where textbooks printed two years ago can quite possibly contain outdated or disproved information. Because individual studies are typically much less widely available than books, it's important to provide correctly formatted citations so that readers of your paper can easily access and fact-check your work. MLA formatting creates a straightforward and streamlined citation that can be easily followed by anyone wishing to access your sources.

List the author or authors. Write the last name first, followed by a comma, then the first name, ended with a period. If there are two authors, replace the period with a comma and add the phrase "and second author." Replace the words "second author" with the author's name. Write the second author's first name first, followed by the last. If the study has three or more authors, follow the first author's name with a comma and the phrase "et al." and do not include the other authors. For instance, the entry for a recent study on Aspirin use, which was coauthored by five clinical physicians, would read, "Huang, Edward, et al."

Add two spaces after the author entry, and write the title of the study in title case, capitalizing all important words. Place the title in quotation marks and add a period before the closing quotation. For example: Huang, Edward, et al. "Long-Term Use of Aspirin and the Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding."

Add two spaces after the title entry and write the name of the publication or periodical in which the study appeared, in title case, followed by the volume number, year of publication and pages cited as part of your research. Italicize the name of the publication, but do not italicize the volume number, year or pages. Place the year in parentheses, followed by a colon. Complete the entry by adding a period after the pages cited. For example: Huang, Edward, et al. "Long-Term Use of Aspirin and the Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding." American Journal of Medicine Volume 124 (2011): Pages 426-433.

Add two spaces, and indicate the source and medium of publication. If your research was completed using a hard copy of the study, write "Print." If you accessed the study online, write "Web," followed by your most recent date of access. You do not need to write the web address. In either case, complete the entry with a period. For example: Huang, Edward, et al. "Long-Term Use of Aspirin and the Risk of Gastrointestinal Bleeding." American Journal of Medicine Volume 124 (2011): Pages 426-433. Print.

About the Author

Michael Cohen has been a technical writer since 2006. His areas of expertise include classical music and nonprofit management, and his work has been featured across a variety of media platforms. Cohen received his bachelor's degree from The New School in New York City.

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