How to Cite YouTube Videos in Your Academic Research

May 28, 2019

How to Cite YouTube Videos in Your Academic Research

YouTube videos can be an important source of information for your research work. However, it is challenging.  The following steps take you through the process using the citation styles.

There are millions of videos available on YouTube. However, their authenticity can be questionable and doubtful. However, many channels and dedicated YouTubers exist, whose content may be a source of academic information, articles and research reports. Citing YouTube videos have been quite a challenge due to the issue of authenticity. There are various ways of citing YouTube videos available for use. You should consider several factors and information in the citation process. Each of the styles presents a unique way of citing these Videos. This article will teach you how to cite and what to include in your citation according to each method.

Information to Consider before a Citation

  • The full name or username of the YouTube channel or the YouTuber who’s Video you intend to Cite
  • The title of the Video
  • Title of the Website
  • The date of the Video post
  • The day of retrieval
  • The length of the Video
  • The Video URL

How you use the information listed above depends on the citation style that you have selected for your paper. Not all the information recorded will be applicable in all the methods. Some of them may be necessary for one style and not applicable in the other. For example, the date when a video was posted is appropriate for MLA citation style but not useful in the others. Just like Video URL is useful in APA and the Chicago citation styles but not applicable in the MLA style.

Main Styles of Citation

The main Citation style includes APA, Chicago, and MLA. The application of any of these citation styles depends on the type of academic assignments, articles or research paper that you want to write. Before selecting any of the methods, make sure you know the rules of each. It is essential to have knowledge of all the different citation styles and which one is suitable for which academic discipline. The primary forms of Citation include;

  • APA style (used commonly in educational, scientific publications/papers and psychological works).
  • MLA style (used mainly in humanities such as literature and history)
  • Chicago or Turabian style (applied primarily on fine arts, business and history papers)

The APA style is an abbreviation for the American Psychological Association. It was first used by a group of psychologists, anthropologies and business managers back in the year 1929. This style is mostly used for educational or scientific research assignments and articles. They developed rules and methods to help codify scientific writings. It serves to make reading easy to comprehend.

MLA is an abbreviation for Modern Language Association. Currently, MLA version 8 is in use. This style is majorly used in citing language and literature assignments such as research papers, academic articles, and scholarly articles. It is one of the most natural methods to use and employs the use of parenthetical style. The list of works cited is arranged alphabetically on the last page of the assignment.

Chicago style, also called the Turabian style was developed by The Chicago University Press in the year 1906. It generally has two documentation systems.

  • Notes and bibliography
  • Author-date

These systems are applied depending on the subject being researched and the source to be cited in work. American English is used in this citation as it uses the common punctuation and grammatical rules. The bibliography style is most common in the humanities such as art and history subjects. The author-date system is applicable in social sciences, physical and natural research subjects.

So far, you have learned about the main citation styles and the information that you must put into consideration when citing a YouTube video. In the section below, you will learn how to do these citations.

APA Citation of YouTube Videos

The following is the format of YouTube citation using the APA style.

  • [last name], [first-name, initial]. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video
  • [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx
  • Citing the name of the video creator

The video creator name is the first thing to be written in the APA citation style. If available, the name should be listed in the last name, first name, initials format indicated above. If the name of the creator or author is not there, use the screen name or the username. If the video you intend to use is from an official YouTube channel, state YouTube as the author and place a period. That is to say, if Google posts the video, the username for the video shall be Google; thus, your citation will be: Google.

Date of posting

The date is mentioned after the names have been written. You should mention it using the format of year-month-date and enclose it in a parenthesis followed by a full stop. For example, if the YouTube video were posted on 6th March 2017, the APA citation format would be:

  • Google. (2017, March 06).
  • Video title

After the date mentioned, you have to specify the title of the video that you want to cite. Start the title and all the main words with capital letters. If the Video has subtitles, consider doing the same after a full colon. For example, consider the title, “Life and books” to be formatted as follows:

  • Google. (2017, March 06). Life and books

Source Type

The next thing to mention is the source of the video, which you can do by placing the words “Video file” in a square bracket ‘[]’ followed by a full stop as shown in the example below.

  • Google. (2017, March 06). Life and books [Video file].

The Video URL is the last thing that you must mention in this style. After the title and the source type, you can place the video URL after the words “Retrieved from.” Ensure you use the correct video URL. Do not use the YouTube website URL. DO NOT place a period after writing your selected URL.  For example:

  • Google. (2017, March 06). Life and books. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/

The MLA style

This style has the following format.

[last-name], [first-name] or [Screen name]. “[Title of Video].Online video clip. [website name],[post-date using the Day-Month-Year format]. Web. [Retrieved using the Day-Month-Year format]. 

Just like in the APA formatting style, the name of the author comes first. However, it is written in the last name, first name format. If there is no name, you can indicate the screen name. If an official YouTube channel publishes the video, you can use “YouTube” and place a period after the screen name. For instance, if the official Google channel has posted the clip, the username shall be Google.

The Video name follows the screen name. This title is however written in quotations and must be in the title case; each of the words in the title must be in uppercase except conjunctions, propositions, articles and the word “to,” and must be followed by a full stop, placed within the last quotation marks. Observe the example below.

  • Google. “Books and Life.”Name of the website and the information source type

After indicating the title of the Video, state the format of the information source by including information such as “Online video,” then place a full stop. The name of the website then follows it. That is YouTube and then followed by a comma. Italicize the name and put a comma. The name should be mentioned even if the source of the Video is the official YouTube channel.  As indicated in the example below, YouTube, being the website name,  is written in italics.

After the website name, indicate the date of posting. It should be indicated in the day-month-year format, followed by a full stop. The word Web should also be mentioned at the end. It is imperative to indicate the source being cited. Write the word web followed by a full stop, as shown below.

  • Google. “Books and Life.” Online Video. YouTube, 06 March 2017. Web.

The date of retrieval

Retrieval day is the final section. You have to indicate the time that the YouTube video was retrieved.  For example;

  • Google. “Books and Life.” Online Video. YouTube, 06 March 2017. Web. Retrieved on 18 March 2017.

The Chicago Style

The following is the format of the Chicago Citation style.

“[Video title],” YouTube video, [duration in hh:mm:ss], Posted by “[Author / screen name],” [date of posting in Month-Day-Year format], http://xxxxx.

Video name

For this method, start with the name or title of the video and not the author’s name. Each of the words in the name must start with capital letters and place within quotation marks, followed by a comma. As shown below, the video name is indicated firstly, comma and then the quotations are put.

Example. “Books and Life,”

Video source

Indicate the source of the clip. Being that the video is retrieved from YouTube; indicate the name YouTube as the source of your clip. It is then a comma placed. For example

“Books and Life,” YouTube video.”

Length of the Video

Indicate the duration of the video in minutes or seconds separated by a colon. If the duration is, say 5 minutes 20 seconds, indicate it as 5:20 and then add a comma.

Indicate the name of the video publisher. You may as well mention the username of the YouTube account or channel. For instance, if the official Google account posts the Video, mention Google. It must be enclosed in quotation marks, and all the main words must be capitalized. A comma then follows the name, as indicated in the example below.

  • “Books and Life,” YouTube video, 5:20, Posted by “Google,”

Date of posting

Indicate the date when the video was posted in the month-day-year format and then place a comma. See the example below for a better understanding.

  • “Books and Life,” YouTube video, 5:20, Posted by “Google,” March 06 2016, Video URL

Indicate the video URL and place a period in the end. Make sure you do not include the word ‘URL.’ For example;

  • “Books and Life,” YouTube Video, 5:20, Posted by “Google,” March 06, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch

The style of citation is generally applicable to footnotes or endnotes. When citing a YouTube Video using this style for the bibliography section, there is a slight change in formatting. For the bibliography section, the format discussed above should be used. Instead of using commas after the title and date of posting, use a period.

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