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How to Cite a Report in MLA Style

Reports include government documents, corporate publications, and research findings. Citing reports in MLA style requires specific elements: author or organization, title, publishing details, and date. This information applies to both in-text citations and Works Cited entries for various report types.

Key Elements of an MLA Report Citation

An MLA citation typically includes the following elements: author’s name, title of the report, title of the container (if applicable), other contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location. Each element plays a specific role in identifying the source accurately. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Author: The individual or organization responsible for the report.
  • Title: The specific title of the report, italicized for emphasis.
  • Publisher: The entity that published or sponsored the report.
  • Date: The publication year of the report.
  • Location: Where the report can be found, such as a URL for online reports.

Types of Reports and Their Unique Citation Needs

Different types of reports require unique citation formats due to their varied sources and structures. These include government reports, organizational reports, and online reports. Understanding the distinctions between these types will ensure accurate and comprehensive citations.

Citing Government Reports

Government reports often contain valuable data and insights. When citing these, include the government agency as the author if no specific individual is credited. Here’s an example:

Authoring Agency. Title of the Report. Publisher, Publication Year, URL.

Formatting Tips for Government Reports

Ensure the title is italicized and the URL is hyperlinked if the report is accessed online. If the report is part of a series, include the series name and number.

Examples of Government Report Citations

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health, United States, 2020. U.S. Government Printing Office, 2021,

Citing Organizational Reports

Organizational reports, produced by companies, non-profits, or other entities, often require attributing the organization as the author. For instance:

Organization Name. Title of the Report. Publisher, Publication Year, URL.

Identifying Organizational Reports

Look for reports published by corporations, think tanks, or research institutions. These reports usually have a clear organizational authorship.

Proper Citation Format for Organizational Reports

Organizational reports are cited similarly to government reports but emphasize the organization’s name and its role as the author.

Examples of Organizational Report Citations

World Health Organization. Global Tuberculosis Report 2021. WHO Press, 2021,

Citing Online Reports

Online reports present unique challenges due to their digital nature. Always ensure the citation includes a working URL and the date of access, if the content is likely to change over time.

Challenges with Citing Digital Reports

Digital reports can be updated frequently, and their URLs may change. Always verify the stability of the URL and note the date you accessed the report.

Format for Citing Online Reports

Include the author, title, publisher, publication year, and URL. If the report has no date, use “n.d.” for “no date”.

Examples of Online Report Citations

Pew Research Center. The Future of Work 2021. Pew Research Center, 2021,

In-Text Citations for Reports

In-text citations for reports follow the author-page format. If no page numbers are available, use the author’s name alone.

General Rules for In-Text Citations

Place the author’s last name and the page number in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the period. For example: (Smith 23).

Special Cases for Report Citations

When citing a report without an author, use a shortened version of the title. For example: (Global Tuberculosis Report 45).

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid common pitfalls such as omitting necessary details, misformatting titles, or neglecting to update URLs. Consistency is key in MLA citations.

Frequently Overlooked Details

Ensure all elements of the citation are included and properly formatted. Double-check the spelling of authors’ names and the accuracy of URLs.

Examples of Incorrect vs. Correct Citations

Incorrect: Pew Research Center. “The Future of Work”. Pew Research, 2021,

Pew Research Center. The Future of Work 2021. Pew Research Center, 2021,

Using Citation Tools Effectively

For precise MLA citations, consider using WriterBuddy. It offers robust features for managing and generating citations.

Practical Examples and Templates

Utilize templates to create consistent citations. Here’s a basic template for a report citation:

Author(s). Title of the Report. Publisher, Year of Publication, URL.

Sample Citations for Various Report Types

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020,

Template for Creating Your Own Citations

Use this template for your citations: Author(s). Title. Publisher, Year, URL. Customize it based on the report type.


What is the key difference between citing a government report and an organizational report in MLA style?

Government reports typically list the government agency as the author, whereas organizational reports are authored by the respective organization, both requiring specific formatting for titles and publishers.

2. How do I cite an online report in MLA style if it has no publication date?

If an online report lacks a publication date, use “n.d.” (no date) in place of the year, ensuring the rest of the citation elements are complete and accurate.

What common mistakes should I avoid when citing reports in MLA style?

Common mistakes include omitting crucial details like the author’s name or publication date, incorrect formatting of titles, and failing to update or verify URLs for online reports.

4. What are the benefits of using citation tools like WriterBuddy for MLA citations?

Citation tools like WriterBuddy streamline the process of creating accurate MLA citations, save time, and reduce the risk of errors by automatically formatting your references based on the input data.


Proper report citation in MLA style involves the author or organization, report title, publishing information, and date. In-text citations use the author’s name or report title. Include full details in the Works Cited entry. For accurate citations, Writerbuddy is here to help.

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