How to Cite YouTube Videos in APA Format

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APA format is the official writing style format used by the American Psychological Association. Researchers use this style when publishing articles in professional journals. Students also use this style when writing papers for psychology and many other social science courses including education and sociology.

Video content is becoming an increasingly important source of information, so how exactly would you cite something like a YouTube video or other online video in APA format? One challenge that students may face is figuring out how to cite different types of sources. A citation for a book reference, for example, will look somewhat different than that of an online source.

APA Format for a YouTube Video

The APA format for online videos is similar to that of other types of digital media and online content.

The format you use should look like this:

Basic Video Citation:

Author, F. N. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.webaddress/include/full/url/

Some types of electronic sources need to be surrounded by brackets. According to the APA's official style guide, the brackets should surround the necessary content with no spaces between the text and the brackets [like this].

Because many online video creators utilize pseudonyms online, you should include the author’s screen name in brackets.

Common Questions

As you can see from just looking at the basic format, there might be times that you will run into questions about how to include the required information.

What if the author’s screen name is spelled wrong? Online users often have all types of screen names, some that conform to grammar and spelling rules and some that do not. When citing a YouTube or other video, always type the creator’s screen name exactly as it appears, including both spelling and capitalization.

What if the author’s full name is not listed? In this case, just include the uploader’s screen name, but do not put it in brackets.

Video With No Author Listed:

PsychologyRules22. (2018, June 7). Psychology is life. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=939027757802937

Why is it so important to include the screen name? On YouTube and many other video websites, users must publish their content under a screen name. Sometimes users might create a screen name that is exactly the same as their real name, but it most cases, users create some type of name that represents the content they post or some other personal characteristics. 

In order for other people to find a specific video, they might be able to search the video title and find what they are looking for, but in many cases, people also need to screen name or user name in order to locate the right channel or video.

Should video content be used as a reference? Whether videos are allowed as sources depends on the guidelines your instructor gives you. If you are unsure, ask. There are many reasons why you might want to cite a YouTube video in your writing. The video may contain information not available elsewhere, may feature an interview with an expert on a topic, or may present unique examples that you want to refer to in your paper.

What about including the name of the interview subject in the reference? If the name of the person who is interviewed is not mentioned in the title of the video, do not include it in the reference. One way to get the information across is to refer to the name of the interview subject in the text where you cite the reference. "For example, Philip Zimbardo noted that... (Psych Interview, 2013)."

Citing a Video Podcast

Video podcasts are another type of video format that you may want to cite at some point. Such podcasts often feature interviews with experts on various topics, which can be a great source of unique information for your paper.

If you are citing a video podcast, whether it is hosted on YouTube or published on the author’s own website, use the following format:

Video Podcast Example

James, S. (Producer). (2019, March 1). Examining the bystander effect [Episode 9]. This Week in Psychology. Podcast retrieved from http://www.psyyweekly.com

As you can see in the example above, you should begin by listing the author, then identifying them as the producer of the program in parentheses. Next, include the date, the title of the episode, and the episode number in brackets. This should then be followed by the name of the video podcast and URL of the website where the podcast was retrieved.

Also note in the above example that the title of the video podcast is in italics. The official APA publication manual states that when written, video, or audio post is part of an overarching work (such as a blog or podcast series), the title of the total work should be included in italics. This follows the same format that you would use if you were citing an individual chapter that was part of a book.

Other Basic APA Rules to Follow

In addition to following the specific rules for citing and referencing electronic sources, there are a number of other basic APA rules you should observe.

  • Type and double-space your paper on a standard-sized paper. Your reference page should be double-spaced as well.
  • The first line of each reference should be flush-left, with each additional line of the reference indented.
  • Use a 12-point, Times New Roman font.
  • Each page of the paper should include a page header known as a running head as well as page numbers. The running head should be a shortened version of your paper title, in all caps and followed by the page number, located in the upper-right hand corner of each page.

A Word From Verywell

APA format has many different rules and guidelines for citing various types of sources, so you should always check the official guidebook to make sure that your citations and references are correct. Whenever you cite an online source, whether it's a web page or a video, you should follow the basic rules for citing electronic sources. This includes listing the author or authors (when listed), the date, the title, and the online location of the information.

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Article Sources

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  • American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington DC: The American Psychological Association; 2010.