How to Cite Abstracts

Citations are a critical component of any academic piece, not only to assure readers you did not plagiarize, but also to foster discussion and further thinking between your readers and your sources. Citations can lead interested readers into additional reading, and so citations must be appropriately structured to make it easy for readers to find the original source. Two of the most common formats of citation include the American Psychological Association, or APA, and Modern Language Association, or MLA. In both formats an abstract is a little bit trickier to cite than more common sources like books or articles.

APA Format

Name the author of the piece, last name first, followed by the capitalized first letter of the author's first name and a period.

Write the year the piece was published in parentheses after the period in step one. Put a period after and outside the parentheses.

Write the title of the piece, capitalizing only the first letter of the title, proper nouns, and the first letter after colons.

Indent all but the first line so the author's last name is farthest left in the citation.

Add the word Abstract inside brackets after the title. Put a period after the brackets.

Write and italicize the journal the article was published in, followed by a comma.

Write the volume and issue of the journal in which the article was published. Put the issue number in parentheses without a space after the volume number. Put a comma after the parentheses.

Write the page numbers in the journal the article appeared on. Put a period after the page numbers.

MLA Format

Write the author of the piece, last name first, followed by the first name and a middle initial if necessary. Put a period after the first name or middle initial.

Follow with the title of the piece in quotations. Capitalize all words in the title except for articles.

Name the periodical or source followed by the volume number, a period without a space, and the issue number. Don't put a period after the issue number,

List the year the source was published in parentheses followed by a colon.

Put the page numbers after the colon. Put a period after the page numbers.

Write the word Abstract.


APA Example: Wonderboy, S. (2011). People talking about people talking about people talking: A comparison study [Abstract]. Journal of American People Who Talk, 4(3), 12-20.


MLA Example: Smith, John. "How to Stand Up." American Posture 18.3 (2001): 84-90. Abstract.