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October 27, 2011

How to Create a Reference for a YouTube Video

Daisiesby Stefanie

Halloween is coming! What better time of year to track down some of your favorite scary YouTube videos to frighten your friends or prove your position on the existence of ghosts? If you spin your YouTube search into research (“The Startle Reflex: Can You Use It to Identify Individuals With Antisocial Personality Disorder?”), here is how to create a reference for your stimulus. (By the way, none of the sample videos given below include something that jumps out at you. Experimentation has proved that my startle reflex is just fine, thanks.)

The general format is as follows:

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video
     [Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

For retrievability, the person who posted the video is put in the author position. You might have noticed that the template shows both a typically formatted author name and a place for a screen name, and here's why: On YouTube and many other video-posting websites, users must post under a screen name. This screen name is integral to finding the video on YouTube, so including it in the reference is important. Sometimes, however, the real name of the individual who posted the video is also known. The individual's real name likely better connects him or her to the real world as well as to any other sources he or she may have provided for your paper (e.g., an author who wrote an article and also produced a YouTube video). Providing the real name, when available, aids the reader by highlighting these interconnections and also makes it possible to alphabetize the reference among any other references by that same author in the reference list. Thus, the reference format for a YouTube video includes both elements when both elements are available.

Example:

Apsolon, M. [markapsolon]. (2011, September 9). Real ghost girl 
     caught on Video Tape 14 [Video file]. Retrieved from 
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGCbxD848

(The capitalization [or lack thereof] in the screen name is in keeping with how it appears online.)

On YouTube, the screen name is most prominent. If the user’s real name is not available, include only the screen name, without brackets:

Screen name. (year, month day). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved 
     from http://xxxxx

 

Example:

Bellofolletti. (2009, April 8). Ghost caught on surveillance camera
     [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
     =Dq1ms2JhYBI&feature=related

In text, cite by the author name that appears outside of brackets, whichever one that may be. For example, the two example references provided above would be cited as follows: (Apsolon, 2011; Bellofolletti, 2009).

Have additional questions regarding YouTube references and citations? Please comment below or e-mail styleexpert@apa.org!

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