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How to Cite a Survey in MLA Style

Surveys are valuable data sources for academic research. Citing surveys in MLA style requires specific elements: survey title, creator’s name, date conducted, and publication details if available. These components apply to both in-text citations and Works Cited entries. Proper citation of surveys ensures credit to researchers and maintains academic integrity when using primary data sources.

Gathering Necessary Information for Citing Surveys

Identifying Key Details

Before you can cite a survey, you need to gather specific details. These include the author’s name, the title of the survey, the date it was conducted or published, and the source where it can be found. For unpublished surveys, you’ll also need the name of the person or organization that conducted it.

Tips for Locating Accurate Information

Finding accurate citation details can sometimes be tricky. For published surveys, check the title page or the first few pages. For online surveys, the information is usually found on the survey’s introduction or conclusion page. If the survey is unpublished, ask the person or organization that conducted it for the necessary details.

Formatting In-Text Citations for Surveys

Basic Structure of In-Text Citations

In MLA style, in-text citations typically include the author’s last name and the page number (if applicable). For surveys, this might look slightly different, especially if the survey doesn’t have page numbers.

Examples of In-Text Citations for Surveys

For example, if you were citing an online survey conducted by John Doe, your in-text citation might look like this: (Doe). If the survey has specific sections, you can include those as well: (Doe, “Section Title”).

Guide to Crafting Your Works Cited Entry

  1. Author’s Name: Start with the last name, followed by a comma and the first name.
  2. Title of the Survey: Italicize the title and place a period at the end.
  3. Date: Include the date the survey was conducted or published.
  4. Source: Provide the URL if it’s an online survey or the name of the publication or repository if it’s printed.

For example:

Doe, John. Annual Employee Satisfaction Survey. 2023,

Citing Online Surveys

Specific Guidelines for Online Survey Citations

Citing online surveys involves including the URL or DOI at the end of the citation. Ensure the link is complete and functional.

Examples of Online Survey Citations

Here’s an example of how to cite an online survey:

Smith, Jane. Consumer Preferences Survey. 2022,

Citing Personal and Published Surveys

Differences Between Personal and Published Surveys

Personal surveys are those you’ve conducted yourself, while published surveys are available through publications or online sources. The citation format varies slightly between the two.

How to Properly Cite a Personal Survey

When citing a personal survey, you need to include a descriptor like “Personal Survey” in place of the publication title:

Doe, John. Personal Survey. 2023.

How to Properly Cite a Published Survey

For published surveys, follow the standard MLA format, including the publication details:

Jones, Emily. Market Trends Survey. 2021, Market Research Institute.

Handling Multiple Authors and Anonymous Surveys

Citing Surveys with Multiple Authors

For surveys with multiple authors, list the first author followed by “et al.” if there are three or more authors:

Johnson, Mike, et al. Tech Industry Insights Survey. 2020,

Guidelines for Citing Anonymous Surveys

If the survey is anonymous, start the citation with the title:

Employee Feedback Survey. 2022,

Tips for Ensuring Accurate Citations

Citation tools like WriterBuddy’s MLA Survey Citation can streamline the citation process. They help ensure accuracy but should be used with a critical eye to avoid errors.


What information do I need to gather for citing a survey in MLA style?

You need the author’s name, the title of the survey, the date it was conducted or published, and the source or URL if it’s an online survey.

How do I cite an anonymous survey in MLA style?

Start the citation with the title of the survey followed by the date and source: Employee Feedback Survey. 2022,

What is the difference between citing a personal survey and a published survey?

For personal surveys, use a descriptor like “Personal Survey” instead of the title, while published surveys require full publication details including the title and source.

Can I cite a survey with multiple authors in MLA style?

Yes, for surveys with three or more authors, list the first author followed by “et al.”: Johnson, Mike, et al. Tech Industry Insights Survey. 2020,


The accurate citation process includes the survey title, creator, date, and publication information. Following these guidelines helps properly attribute data sources and provides readers with the necessary information to locate the original survey.

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