How to Cite a YouTube Video Like a Pro In 3 Ways

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MLA : 

 Author Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video”. YouTube, Screen Name, Day Month Year, video URL. 

APA: 

Last Name, First Initial of the Author. [Screen name]. (year, month, day). Title of video [Video file]. YouTube. Video link. 

Chicago: 

Author’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Video,” YouTube Video, month, day, year, time. Video URL. 

You may be familiar with different citation styles for books, websites, and articles. However, as YouTube videos are widely becoming acceptable research tools due to their vital information and details- they may be used as a reference to your research which has its own citation techniques to follow, which makes it easier.

There are three common citation styles for YouTube videos: MLA format, APA style, and Chicago style. Let’s look at how to cite a YouTube video in these styles.

Guides on How to Cite YouTube Videos

Every citation needs to include a few crucial pieces of information to be considered to citing online videos. While they may appear in different orders depending on the style guide, they are all necessary and in the same format with slight differences. However, they have a similar general format.

When citing online videos, you must consider below details;

  1. Full name, a username of the video’s original creator, or name of the company that posted the content
  2. Video name (channel name)
  3. Title of the website (YouTube), or it can even be a YouTube channel
  4. Publication date of the video
  5. Date the video was posted
  6. Video length
  7. URL of website name -YouTube account

Usually, researchers prefer to cite credible content from a YouTube channel. This means the channel has a considerable number of subscribers and fans who engage with its content and is well-known for sharing accurate information in your YouTube videos.

Now, we will go through each citation style.

How to Cite a Video in MLA Style

To cite a YouTube video in MLA format, follow the below steps in order;

  1. Author’s last name, first name,
  2. Title of the video or name
  3. Uploader’s surname and first name
  4. Date posted
  5. URL of the video
  6. Access date
  7. Statements in brackets (in-text-citation)
  8. Time information

Example MLA style;

  • Brown, James. Lecture 1: “An Introduction to Music for Beginners” Video of Lecture, 10 June 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAFHBeht77, accessed 02 August 2023.
  • Brown, James. Lecture 1: “An Introduction to Music for Beginners” Video of Lecture, 10 June 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAFHBeht77, accessed 02 August 2023, (Music is a revolution of a soul), (James, 2:06)

How Do I Cite a YouTube Video in an APA Format?

Apa citation style is similar to the MLA style; however only slight differences. Follow the below steps to cite a YouTube video in APA style.

  1. Last name, first initial of the author
  2. Upload date and publication year
  3. The name of the video title and [Video]
  4. The name of the resource must always be YouTube (hence we are talking about citing a YouTube video)
  5. Follow by URL link
  6. Parenthetical citations
  7. Author’s surname and date

Example in APA format;

  • Gibson, M. (2020, November 30). An explanation of the effects of climate change [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy67_99
  • Gibson, M. (2020, November 30). An explanation of the effects of climate change [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy67_99, (Music is revolution of a soul), (Gibson,2020)

Cite a Video in Chicago Format

Chicago style is also as simple as the others; however, it has a unique format.

  1. Bibliography entry (author or creator’s last name and first name)
  2. Video title in quotation marks
  3. Publisher/uploader’s real name, if available (screen name is also acceptable)
  4. YouTube video must be inserted; hence it is a YouTube video citation
  5. Insert upload date
  6. Direct quote and timing
  7. Add a video URL link

For example, Chicago style;

  • Billy Ray, “The Art of Music,” YouTube Video, February 20, 2021. TED Talk, 1:55 to 7:34. https://youtu.be/NJerB0gh7ty.

Above, you see examples of reference lists of citing YouTube videos in a basic format. If you want to check the correction of your YouTube citation, you may seek help from the below resources or other sites;

  1. Scribbr
  2. Endnote
  3. EasyBib
  4. Mendeley
  5. BibTex

Also, you may seek help from an educational video via YouTube by searching how to cite a YouTube video, in-text citation, citation style, YouTube video in MLA, APA, Chicago, citing of streaming video, cite a video, citing of YouTube channels, MLA formats, MLA handbook or APA publication manual.

Optional Information to Include in YouTube Citations

From my experience, adding extra details to YouTube citations really makes them more valuable. For instance, when you cite a music video, mentioning both the artist and the director gives a fuller picture of the video’s creation. In the case of lectures or educational videos, including when it was recorded and the context, like which course or series it’s from, really helps place the video properly.

Also, pointing out if a video is part of a series guides readers to more useful content. These thorough citations not only make academic or professional references more accurate. They also give readers a richer understanding and lead them to more material for further exploration.

Here are a few of the optional information to include:

Music Videos

If you’re citing a music video, the musician is usually listed as the main author and the video director is usually listed after the video title. It’s essential to include the video director’s name if you’re discussing the video content, not just the song lyrics. Include the words “Music Video” instead of “Video or YouTube Video” to provide a distinction.

Here are examples of how this looks for each style:

APA Style

  • Cyrus, M. (2013, August 26). Wrecking Ball [Music Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs

MLA Style

  • Cyrus, Miley. “Wrecking Ball.” Music Video, 26, Aug. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs.

Chicago Style (Bibliography)

  • Cyrus, Miley. “Wrecking Ball.” Directed by Terry Richardson. August 26, 2013. Music Video, 3:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs.

Recorded Lecture

If you’re citing a recorded lecture, the information you may need to include is when and where the lecture was recorded and if it is part of a course or series. In place of the date posted, we use the date the video was recorded (this should be visible in the video.)

See examples of this in various styles:

APA style

  • Brown, J. (filmed 2023, June 10). Lecture 1: An Introduction to Music for Beginners [Video of Lecture]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAFHBeht77

MLA Style

  • Brown, James. Lecture 1: “An Introduction to Music for Beginners” Video of Lecture, 10, Jun. 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAFHBeht77.

Chicago format (Bibliography)

  • Brown, James. Lecture 1: “An Introduction to Music for Beginners.” Edu-Lectures, Oxford University, filmed June 10, 2023. Video of Lecture, 3:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgAFHBeht77.

FAQ

What if I want to cite music videos?

If you’re citing a music video, the musician is usually listed as the main author, and the video director is usually listed after the video title. It’s essential to include the video director’s name if you’re discussing the video content, not just the song lyrics. Include “Music Video” in square brackets instead of “Video or YouTube Video” to provide a distinction.
Here are examples of how this looks for each style:
APA style:
Cyrus, M. (2013, August 26). Wrecking Ball [Music Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs.
MLA Style:
Cyrus, Miley. “Wrecking Ball.” Music Video, 26, Aug. 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs.
Chicago Style:
Cyrus, Miley. “Wrecking Ball.” Directed by Terry Richardson. August 26, 2013. Music Video, 3:44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRFHAvdwXXs.

What is the fastest way to get the full citation for a YouTube video?

You can easily find all the information you need to cite a YouTube video on the YouTube page. Once you have gathered the information, put them together with the guides in this article, and then check your accuracy with any of the reference tools we’ve shared above.

What is the best type of citation for a YouTube video?

There is no “best type” of citing online videos. Your chosen style is determined best if you follow the guidelines for citing a YouTube video accurately.

Can you cite a YouTube video using in-text citations?

Yes, you can cite a video using an in-text citation in any citation style. For APA style, use the author’s Last name, screen name, or account name, followed by a comma and the year it was uploaded. e.g. (Gibson, 2020)
For MLA style, include the Last name followed by a comma and then the timestamp range. e.g. (Gibson, 01:15 – 03:00)
For a Chicago-styled in-text citation, use the author’s Last name, followed by a comma, the year of publication, and then the timestamp. e.g. (Chen 2021, 0:56)

Can you use a video from a YouTube channel as a source?

Yes, a YouTube channel can be used as a source in your research works cited. However, you must accurately cite each video in your selected style guidelines so anyone reading your work can find it swiftly.

Mairead Fraser profile picture
Written by
Mairead Fraser

As a senior editor, Mairead Fraser creates SEO optimized website contents, manages social media, and has a special interest in YouTube.

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