Not that long ago, the idea of citing a YouTube video in an academic paper would have sent some old-fashioned college professors into fits of outrage. These days, however, there’s no denying that YouTube and other online videos can be crucial academic sources in many subject areas. As such, knowing how to cite an online video source is increasingly useful. Herein, we look at how to do this with APA referencing (7th edition).
Citing a YouTube Video
To cite an online video APA style, you’ll need to give the uploader’s name and the year the video was uploaded in brackets in the main text of your essay. For instance, we could cite a video uploaded in 2016 by the cultural critic Anita Sarkeesian to her Feminist Frequency YouTube channel as follows:
The trope of the sinister seductress is pervasive in video games (Sarkeesian, 2016).
Here, we cite the “author” of the video because it’s hosted on her own channel.
If you’re quoting part of a video directly, the citation should also include a timestamp:
In the video, Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins discuss the “capacity to convey and understand ideas non-verbally” (TEDx Talks, 2013, 3:37).
You’ll notice here that, despite the talk being by Nicky Clayton and Clive Wilkins, we name “TEDx Talks” in the citation. This is because the “TEDx Talks” channel hosts videos by numerous speakers, so Clayton and Wilkins are not the uploaders and, for the sake of citing the source APA style, they do not count as its “authors.”
As with other sources, full publication information should be included in the reference list for any online videos you cite in your work. For a YouTube video, this involves providing the following:
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Surname, Initials. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. http://www.URL.com
You’ll notice that this includes both a name and a screen name. This helps readers find the video when the uploader’s real name is different to their username. In the case of the Anita Sarkeesian video cited above, for example, you’d need to provide both:
Sarkeesian, A. [Feminist Frequency]. (2016, September 28). Sinister seductress – tropes vs women in video games [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oXzWzMqarU
If a channel doesn’t provide the uploader’s real name, you only need to give their screen name:
TEDx Talks. (2013, August 19). Conversation without words: Nicky Clayton & Clive Wilkins at TEDxOxbridge [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iavquY2OFo
It’s important to remember that the name you should cite in the main text of your work should match the name in the reference list. If they do not match, your reader will not be able to find the source!