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February 23, 2016

How to Cite a TED Talk in APA Style

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

Dear APA Style Experts,

How should I cite a TED Talk? Is the author TED or TED Talks or the speaker giving the talk?

Thanks!
—TED Listener

Thanks for asking! References include the who-when-what-where information that, ideally, allows your reader to find not just the source material but the source exactly where you found it. For online sources this is particularly important because the presentation and sometimes even the information provided can vary from one online location to the next.

Take, for example, this TED Talk by Amanda Palmer:

If you viewed the video on the TED website, a reference to this TED Talk would be as follows:

Reference:

Palmer, A. (2013, February). Amanda Palmer: The art of asking [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking

In-text citation: Palmer (2013) or (Palmer, 2013)

Note that the TED page and the video itself give only "February" as the date, so that's what you can include in the reference.

(As an aside, you’ll note that Amanda Palmer's name is also included in the title. This is not an extra element of our APA Style reference; it's included because her name is part of the title itself. TED videos include speaker names as part of the video titles.)

But, if you viewed the video on YouTube, the same TED Talk would be referenced as follows:

Reference:

TED. (2013, March 1). Amanda Palmer: The art of asking [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMj_P_6H69g

In-text citation:

TED (2013) or (TED, 2013)

YouTube shows the date that the video was posted as March 1, 2013, so that's the date to use in this reference.

The author name is TED in this case because the TED organization posted the video to YouTube, and that’s the information your reader needs to retrieve the reference. That is, for the "who" portion of a reference to a YouTube video, we use the name of the person or organization that posted the video

In that case, you might include information about the speaker, if necessary, in the context of your paper.

Example:

Amanda Palmer used examples from her career as a busker and a musician to discuss the sharing economy (TED, 2013).

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