Referencing a Journal Article

Academic journals are collections of articles that are published on a regular basis and contain up to date information in a particular subject area. Therefore journal articles are an important component of assignment research and need to be correctly referenced when completing an assignment.

It helps to remember that the rules for referencing a journal article are basically the same, regardless of the format. Both print and electronic journal articles in your reference list must contain the following elements: author, date, article title, journal name, volume number, issue number and page numbers. You will find these details either on the article or in the database record. The only time you will not include an issue number in your reference is when the journal article does not have have one.

Now consider the format of your journal article. If it is a print article there is no more to add to the reference! For electronic articles there is just one more step. Does your journal article have a DOI? This provides a permanent link to an online resource and is usually printed on the first page of an electronic journal article. Alternatively you can check if a DOI for your electronic journal article exists by searching the CrossRef database ( The DOI is placed after the page numbers in your reference. If a DOI is unavailable for your electronic journal article, do a quick web search to locate the home page of the journal/magazine/publisher and provide this URL instead of a DOI.

Always check the final format of your reference including the order of elements, punctuation and the use of capitals or italics by referring to QUT cite|write. In your reference style, eg QUT APA or QUT Harvard, select the Journal Articles tab and then view Types of Journal Articles.

Remember, if you need help, come to the Learning and Research Desk, give us a call or chat to a librarian online.  Happy referencing!

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