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Citing Magazines in Academic Work

If you’re using a magazine as a source in your academic writing, you’ll need to know how to cite it properly, both in the body text of your paper and in your works cited page. I’m going to go over the information you need to cite a magazine and the proper citations in both APA and MLA formats.

Information Needed from the Magazine

To properly cite a magazine in an academic work, you’ll need to know the following pieces of information:

  • The magazine’s name
  • The publication date
  • The issue and volume numbers
  • The title of your article
  • The author of your article
  • The page numbers on which the article can be found

Assuming you still have the magazine you used in your work, finding all of this information should be easy. The magazine’s name, publication date, volume and issue numbers should all be on the cover of the magazine. Sometimes, if a publication is monthly or quarterly, you may only find the month and year of publication and not a specific date – and that is fine.

The volume number refers to the number of years a magazine has been in publication and the issue number is the sequence in which that issue falls for the current year. For instance, a magazine labeled ‘Volume 10, Issue 7’ tells us this is the magazine’s 10th year in publication and this is the 7th issue published in this year.

The remaining pieces of information will come from the article you used in your paper. You’ll need to make sure you get the full names of the author or authors, the article’s title and the number of the page or pages the article is on.

Citing Magazines in APA

Once you have the information you need, you’re ready to cite. As always, you need to make sure you know which citation format you’re expected to use. We’ll quickly cover how to cite magazines in APA and MLA formats.

For APA:

The minimum amount of information you’ll need to provide is the author’s last name and the year of publication, like this example:

(Smith, 2012)

If the article has two authors, you will cite the name of both authors like this:

(Smith & Johnson, 2012)

Pretty simple. In your reference page, you’ll need to format your magazine citation like this:

Smith, K. (2012, August 8). Magazine Citations and You. Periodicals Monthly, 10 (7), 8-10.

You can see all of the information you just collected in this citation: the author’s name, the publication date, the article title, the magazine’s name, its volume and issue number, and the article’s page numbers. Pay close attention to the punctuation used in the citation, as it is very important to preserving the APA style.

Citing Magazines in MLA

Citing magazines in MLA is similar to APA, but it does have a few differences that I want to touch on. For in-text citations, instead of including just the author’s name and the year in which the magazine was published, you’ll need the author’s last name and the page the information you’re citing can be found on. The citation would look like this:

(Smith 9)

Your reference page citation would like this:

Smith, K. ‘Magazine Citations and You.’ Periodicals Monthly 8 August 2012: 8 – 12. Print.

You’ll probably notice some key differences from an APA citation. Let’s take a look. First, the order in which the information appears is different, though in both cases, the author’s last name comes first. The article title appears in quotations, the publication date is formatted differently and the word ‘print’ appears at the end of the citation. This is because MLA citations include the source’s format.

This information might seem counterintuitive and kind of arbitrary, but citing sources properly is a big deal in academic writing, so it’s advisable to keep an accurate style guide handy when writing your citations. You can find lots of free versions online.

Lesson Summary

In summary, if you’re using a magazine as a source in academic writing, it’s a good idea to hang on to it even after you’ve written your paper, because you’ll need information from that magazine to properly cite it, both in your body text and on your reference page.

The information you’ll need is:

  • The magazine’s name
  • The publication date
  • The issue and volume numbers
  • The article’s title
  • The article’s author
  • The page numbers on which the article can be found

Make sure you know which citation style you’re expected to follow and consult the appropriate guide (or this video) to make sure you’re formatting all of your citations correctly. Happy citing!

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