Reports are integral elements of business communication within a team, department, organization, or entire industry. They contain and share information, analyze data, and present findings, helping involved individuals monitor activities and prepare plans for the future. Given the technical nature and purposes of these documents, understanding how to cite them accurately is important for maintaining the style and providing proper credit to the original sources. Citing reports slightly varies depending on the chosen citation format, but usually, you’ll need the author’s name and initials, the report title, the report number, the organization that published it, and the URL.  

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What’s a Report?

A report is a short document that provides detailed information about a particular topic, issue, or other things, such as certain tendencies or trends. It typically includes research findings, analysis, conclusions, and recommendations. Reports can vary widely in format and content. Scientific research papers, business reports, government publications, and technical documents are a few of the most common types.

Elements of a report citation:

  • Author
  • Title of Report
  • Report number
  • Publisher
  • Publication Date
  • Title of Database/Website
  • DOI or URL

Reports can be authored by individuals or groups with expertise in a specific subject matter. Researchers, scientists, analysts, consultants, government agencies, and organizations are those people who commonly produce reports. This information, along with some other important data, are necessary elements for accurate report citing. 

In the meantime, you can save yourself some time and effort and try our free citation maker. Be sure it won’t lose anything in your reference.

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How To Cite A Report Correctly?

Citing reports differ depending on the citation style you are using. Also, some specific approaches may be applied when you cite a document written by a few authors or an organization as the author. The main differences, as always with citing, typically involve formatting elements such as author names, publication dates, report titles, and access information. Different citation styles have their guidelines and preferences for how these elements should be presented. In the following sections of this guide, we’ll explain proper formatting for reports in the most commonly used citation styles and illustrate them with examples. Here and later on in this article we’ll use the following report as an example:

“Urban Development Strategies for Sustainable Cities”
Field Urban Planning and Development
Author(s) Benjamin Wong, Alice Wild
Publisher Center for Urban Studies
Publication Year 2023
Report No. CUS-2023-002

MLA style logo How to Cite a Report in MLA

In the MLA style, author names are generally listed as the last name first, followed by the first name or initials, separated by a comma. The title of the report is always italicized. Next, the publisher and publication year are included at the end of the citation. Finally, MLA doesn’t require a report number in the citation, but it’s always a good idea to include one if available. Look at the example below:

Printed reports

A report citation example in MLA

A report with two authors

If a report has two authors, put the first of them as in the general format (last name, first name), and then list the second starting with their first name and then last name. Use the conjunction “and” in between:

A report by two authors citation example in MLA

APA style logo How to Cite a Report in APA

In APA, author names are listed last name first, followed by initials, with the names separated by an ampersand (&). The publication year in parentheses is the next element. The title of the report should be italicized. The publisher is listed after the title in APA style. Lastly, if available, the report number is included in parentheses after the title in the APA citation style.

Printed reports

A report citation example in APA

Report with multiple authors

It is not unusual for reports to be authored by many individuals. Indeed, employees from several teams or departments frequently contribute to a single organizational report.

If you need to incorporate such work in your study, you should include up to 20 authors in the reference section. Simply use their last names and initials, separated by a comma.

A report by multiple authors citation example in APA

Chicago style logo How to Cite a Newspaper Article in Chicago

In Chicago style, there are two main citation systems: the notes and bibliography system (commonly used in humanities) and the author-date system (used in sciences and social sciences). We’ll take a look at to cite a report in both systems:

Notes and Bibliography System

In this system, you use footnotes or endnotes to cite sources and provide a corresponding bibliography at the end of the document.

An example of footnotes and bibliography citation formats in the notes and bibliography system of Chicago

Author-Date System

Here, parenthetical in-text citations are used to cite sources, with a corresponding reference list at the end of the document. Here’s how to cite a report in the author-date system:

An example of in-text citation and a reference list entry in the notes and bibliography system of Chicago

These are the basic formats for citing a report in both systems of Chicago style. For any changes or more information necessary for your citation, follow the particular standards outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style.


As you see, all these commonly used formats require identical elements for creating citations. Nonetheless, as the saying goes, “The devil is in the details”. Therefore, it’s critical to follow the sequence for placing various citation components, punctuation rules, and parentheses usage, as well as determining what should be included within the quote and what might be left out.


How do I cite a report if it doesn’t have an author?

 If a report does not have a specific author, you should use the title of the report in place of the author’s name. In the citation, list the title first followed by the publication year and other details such as the report number, if available.

Do I need to include the report number in the citation?

Including the report number in the citation depends on the citation style you are using and whether the report has a designated report number. In some styles, such as APA and Chicago, it is common to include the report number if available. However, in styles like MLA, it is not typically required.

How do I cite a report with multiple authors?

When citing a report with multiple authors, list all the authors’ names in the same order as they appear on the report. Use commas to separate the authors’ names. If there are two authors, use “and” to separate the last two authors’ names. If there are more than two authors, use commas between the names and use “and” before the last author’s name.

Can I cite a report I found online differently from one I found in print?

Yes, you may need to adjust your citation format depending on whether you found the report online or in print. For online reports, include the URL or DOI (Digital Object Identifier) if available, along with the date of access. In contrast, for print reports, include the standard citation information such as the place of publication and publisher. Make sure to follow the specific guidelines of your chosen citation style for citing electronic or print sources.

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