How to Cite YouTube Videos in APA Format

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What Is APA Format?

APA format is the official writing style 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 social science courses, including education and sociology.

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. 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?

APA Format for a YouTube Video

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

  • The name of the person and/or the name of the account that uploaded the video
  • The specific date the video was uploaded in parentheses
  • The title of the video in italics
  • The description "[Video]" in brackets after the title
  • The site name (YouTube) and the full YouTube URL

Video Citation Example

TED-Ed. (2018, May 21). How to stay calm under pressure. [Video]. YouTube.

Some types of electronic sources need to be surrounded by brackets. According to 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 also include the author’s screen name in brackets when relevant.

Choosing a Video to Cite in APA Format

It's important that the YouTube videos you cite are both reliable and up to date. According to APA guidelines, you can determine whether a source is reliable by looking at the expertise of the author and the vetting standards of the organization or group that published the video.

For instance, many established organizations such as American Psychological Association (APA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have YouTube channels and publish videos that would be considered reliable sources.

Even individual researchers or scientists may publish their research on YouTube—just be sure to do the research on the individual to be sure that the videos they post are coming directly from them (and not from someone else), and that this person is accredited or credentialed in the area of study they're presenting.

Try to use up-to-date videos as often as possible to be sure you're including the most recent research in your paper.

Citing a Video Podcast in APA Format

Video podcasts are another type of video format that you may want to cite. Such podcasts often feature interviews with experts, 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. (Host). (2019, March 1). Examining the bystander effect (No. 2) [Video podcast]. In This Week in Psychology. Website.

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

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 posts are 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if the author’s username is spelled incorrectly?

    Always type the creator’s username or screen name exactly as it appears, including both spelling and capitalization.

  • What if the author’s full name is not listed?

    Include the name of the page or account that uploaded the video. Put this information at the beginning of the citation (where the author's name would go).

  • Why is it so important to include the username?

    On YouTube and many other video platforms, people must publish their content under a username or screen name. While you can sometimes find a person's YouTube page by searching their real name online, you want to be sure to cite their exact username so that someone can find the video you cited.

  • Should video content be used as a reference?

    That depends on the guidelines your instructor gives you. If you are unsure, ask them. But there are reasons why you might want to cite a YouTube video in your academic writing. The video may contain information not available elsewhere, it may feature an interview with an expert on a topic, or it may present unique examples that you want to reference 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 refer to the interview subject, however, is to refer to them in the text of your paper, where you cite the reference. "For example, Philip Zimbardo noted that... (Psych Interview, 2013)."

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 webpage or a video—you should follow the basic rules for citing electronic sources. This includes listing the author of the video, the date, the title, and the online location of the video.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. YouTube Video References.

  2. APA Style Blog, 6th Edition Archive. How to create a reference for a Youtube video.

  3. American Psychological Association. APA style blog.

  4. Cho D, Cosimini M, Espinoza J. Podcasting in medical education: A review of the literature. Korean J Med Educ. 2017;(29)4:229-239.  doi:10.3946/kjme.2017.69

Additional Reading

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.