How to cite a YouTube comment (APA)

By: David Becker September 21, 2016


When researching a topic for your paper or manuscript, you may come across a few relevant YouTube videos—perhaps a TED Talk or two—that you would like to cite. Being the intrepid explorer of the Internet that you are, you may even brave those videos’ comment threads, desperately searching for some faint glint of rational discourse hidden within the dark, troll-infested depths. Or maybe you’re intentionally seeking out vile and offensive comments if you are writing about the psychology of Internet trolls. Whatever your reasons, you have found a YouTube comment that you would like to cite, but you don’t know how. Here is how:


Some do not see the value in these sorts of informal, self-diagnosis measures: “This invitation for lay people to diagnose a rare psychological disorder… is profoundly irresponsible” (49metal, 2016).


49metal. (2016). Re: Are you dating a psychopath? [Video file]. Retrieved from

When and how to include page numbers in APA style citations

by Chelsea Lee

All APA Style in-text citations have two parts: the author and the date. Some in-text citations also include page numbers (or other location information when page numbers are not available, as with some online materials). This post describes when and how to include page numbers in APA Style for different kinds of citations as well as how to include the appropriate location information in lieu of page numbers when page numbers are not available.

Direct Quotations

A direct quotation reproduces the words of another writer verbatim and is displayed in quotation marks (if the quotation is fewer than 40 words) or as a block quotation (if the quotation is 40 words or more). When you include a direct quotation in a paper, include the author, date, and page number on which the quotation can be found (or other location information) in the citation.

Research has found that “romantic partners maintain both biased and realistic views of a core relationship trait: physical attractiveness” (Solomon & Vazire, 2014, p. 524).

Solomon and Vazire (2014) found that “romantic partners maintain both biased and realistic views of a core relationship trait: physical attractiveness” (p. 524).

There are many ways to cite a direct quotation; see more examples here.


A paraphrase restates someone else’s words in a new way. For example, you might put a sentence into your own words, or you might summarize what another author or set of authors found. When you include a paraphrase in a paper, you are required to include only the author and date in the citation. You are encouraged (but not required) to also provide the page number (or other location information) for a paraphrased citation when it would help the reader locate the relevant passage in a long or complex text (such as when you use only a short part of a book). The examples below show a citation for a paraphrase that includes the page number.

Just as Sherlock Holmes investigates a case, psychologists must evaluate all the available data before making a deduction, lest they jump to an erroneous conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence (Bram & Peebles, 2014, pp. 32–33).

Bram and Peebles (2014) advocated for psychologists to evaluate all the available data before making a deduction, just as Sherlock Holmes investigates a case, lest they jump to an erroneous conclusion on the basis of insufficient evidence (pp. 32–33).

There are many ways to paraphrase material; here are more examples and some advice.

How to Cite Material Without Page Numbers

If the cited material does not have page numbers (such as may occur with some e-books) and you need them for an in-text citation, use any of the following location information instead:

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document;
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full, plus a paragraph number within that section.
People planning for retirement need more than just money—they also “need to stockpile their emotional reserves” to ensure they have adequate support from family and friends (Chamberlin, 2014, para. 1).

Chamberin (2014, para. 1) stated that people planning for retirement need more than just money—they also “need to stockpile their emotional reserves” to ensure they have adequate support from family and friends.

Learn More

For more on quoting and paraphrasing in APA Style, please see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed., §§ 6.03–6.09).


Bram, A. D., & Peebles, M. J. (2014). Psychological testing that matters: Creating a road map for effective treatment.

Chamberlin, J. (2014, January). Retiring minds want to know. Monitor on Psychology, 45(1). Retrieved from

Solomon, B. C., & Vazire, S. (2014). You are so beautiful . . . to me: Seeing beyond biases and achieving accuracy in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107, 516–528.

Source: APA Style Blog

Should links be live in APA style?

by Chelsea Lee

Dear Style Experts,

My reference list includes many URLs and I am wondering whether they should be live and how they should be formatted (e.g., with underlining or blue font). In the Publication Manual it looks like links aren’t live, but it would be helpful for them to be in my paper because I am submitting it online. What do I do?


—Harry H.

Dear Harry,

The Publication Manual does not explicitly address whether hyperlinks should be live in APA Style (as previously discussed here), but we have some additional thoughts on the matter (naturally).

First, it is fine for links to be live in a paper, though not specifically required. Live hyperlinks are particularly helpful when a paper is being read in an online environment. In fact, the online versions of articles published in APA journals include live links in both the PDF and HTML versions.

However, aesthetics are also a concern. The default formatting for links in many word-processing programs, including Microsoft Word, is to make them blue and underlined. Although this makes the links stand out, it can also make them look distracting or hard to read, especially if the paper has been printed out. Thus, we remove the underlining from the link and set the font color to black. You can easily adjust the formatting after you have finished writing the paper or you can change the Word style for hyperlinks.

Finally, note that our recommendations apply for people writing papers, which conceivably might be viewed either online or in print. If you are using APA Style in another context, such as on a website, you might apply different formatting standards (e.g., color) to best suit the viewing needs of your audience. Thus, keep context and audience in mind when formatting your links in a paper.

Hope that helps!

—Chelsea Lee

Source: APA Style Blog

How to use the new DOI format in APA style

by Jeff Hume-Pratuch

In the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, DOIs are formatted according to the initial recommendations from CrossRef:

Herbst, D. M., Griffith, N. R., & Slama, K. M. (2014). Rodeo
cowboys: Conforming to masculine norms and help-
seeking behaviors for depression. Journal of Rural
Mental Health, 38, 20–35. doi:10.1037/rmh0000008

The DOI prefix (10.1037, in the case of APA journals) is a unique number of four or more digits assigned to organizations; the suffix (rmh0000008) is assigned by the publisher and identifies the journal and individual article.

Recently, however, CrossRef changed the format of the DOI to a more user-friendly one in the form of a URL:

Herbst, D. M., Griffith, N. R., & Slama, K. M. (2014). Rodeo
cowboys: Conforming to masculine norms and help-
seeking behaviors for depression. Journal of Rural
Mental Health, 38, 20–35.

As you can see, the DOI itself is the same (10.1037/rmh0000008), but it is preceded by to insure that it resolves into a working link. Because this change is recent and many publishers are still implementing the new CrossRef guidelines, either the old or the new DOI format is acceptable. But be sure not to mush them together! Here are some examples.


•Retrieved from

Source: APA Style Blog

How to find the example you need in the APA manual

by Chelsea Lee

Consider the following questions that the APA Style team has received:

  • How do I cite a website?
  • How do I cite interlibrary loan?
  • How do I cite my Kindle?
  • How do I cite my iPhone?

What do they have in common? Well, in each case, the individual asking the question has been unable to find the appropriate reference example in the Publication Manual and has turned to the APA Style team for answers. However, don’t take the existence of these questions as evidence that the answers aren’t in the manual, because they usually are. But to find them, you have to understand how the manual is organized—that’s how you’ll get to the reference example you really need.

Document Type, Not Delivery Method or Format

Many readers may be surprised to realize that the reference examples in the Publication Manual are organized by document type (articles, books, reports, etc.), not by method of delivery (computers, interlibrary loan, e-readers, smartphones) or format (paper, HTML, DVD, etc.). So for every reader who writes to us to say, “I can’t believe out of 77 examples in the Publication Manual, not one is for a website,” we take this opportunity to point out that a full 47 examples—that’s 61%—refer to online resources you’d find on a website.

So, remember that for the purpose of citation (and of finding reference examples), it matters what’s on the website, not that the document is on a website in and of itself.

Using the Manual to Find What You Need

The Publication Manual provides a wonderful index of document types in Chapter 7 prior to the reference examples themselves (see pp. 193–198). In addition to variations on document type (96 of them!), subvariations on author, title, and publication information are also provided. This list is an essential reference for users of the Publication Manual, and we hope you’ll take advantage of it now if you haven’t before.

Clarifying the Distinctions Among Delivery Method, Format, and Type

Additionally, we give to you the table below, which lists examples of different document delivery methods, formats, and types. The third column, for document type, also links to other APA Style Blog posts on the topic and lists relevant reference examples in the Publication Manual.

So when you ask an APA Style question—say, “How do I cite ‘X’?”—first try to find your “X” in the table below or in the index of document types in the manual. If you find it listed only in one of the first two columns of the table below, then you haven’t figured out the document type yet (that’s the third column), and you’re not quite ready to write the reference. Note that there are as many possible document types out there as the day is long, so for brevity’s sake, this table includes only the most common. Many more are in the Chapter 7 index.

Document   delivery method  Finding - computer Document   format Finding - film
Document   type Finding - book
Computer Paper Journal article (ex: 1–6)
Internet browser HTML (as on a website) Magazine or newspaper article (ex: 7–11)
Mobile phone (e.g., iPhone, Android phone) PDF (as on a website) Special section in a journal (ex: 12)
Tablet computer (e.g., iPad) Digital audio file (e.g., mp3, mp4) Monograph (ex: 13)
E-reader (e.g., Kindle, Nook) Digital video file (e.g., flash video, streaming video, wmv, mp4) Editorial (ex: 14)
Interlibrary loan (e.g., ILLiad) DVD or Blu-ray Abstract (ex: 16, 17)
Visit to a library in person Film Book or book   chapter (ex: 18–26)
Photocopy CD, cassette, or record Report (technical, government, etc.) (ex: 31–35)
Movie projector Art materials (paint, clay, etc.) Dictionary or encyclopedia, whole book or entry (ex: 27–30)
Stereo or other audio player Wikipedia or   wiki entry
Paper Proceedings from a meeting or symposium (ex: 38, 39)
Museum Dissertation or thesis (ex: 40–44)
Archival collection Review (ex: 45–48)
Physical object (e.g., book) Video (e.g., YouTube   video, movie, TV show) (ex: 49, 51)
Podcast (ex: 50)
Music recording (ex: 52)
Software (ex: 56)
Unpublished, informally published, or self-published work (ex:   58–62)
Letter (ex: 63–65)
Interview (recorded or transcribed) (ex: 69, 70)
Pamphlet   or brochure
Artwork   or images
Photograph (ex: 73)
Blog post (ex: 76)
Press   release
Facebook   update
Information on a   webpage
Personal   communication (e-mail, phone call, unrecorded interview, etc.) (see   section 6.20)

Trouble Finding “X”

If you have trouble nailing down exactly what “X” is, other than perhaps you know it is on a website, then read our blog post on discerning different kinds of website material for more help. If you know what “X” is but you can’t find an exact example in the manual, read our blog post on what to do when you can’t find the exact document type in the Publication Manual

We hope this post will help you to find the APA Style reference example that you’re looking for.

Source: APA Style Blog: Reference Example Organization: How to Find the Example You Need in the Manual.

The Generic Reference

by Chuck

Whether you’re proofreading a finished reference list or trying to cobble together a citation for a new or nonroutine communications format, understanding what information any reference should contain will help you in your task. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is intended to be both explanatory and fairly comprehensive. Nonetheless, there is no way on earth it could set out examples for every possible type of reference. It does, however, offer an approach for the construction of new sorts of references beyond the various types it catalogues. That approach has been specifically illustrated in this blog already, by earlier postings about manufacturing reference entries for Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia. Now I’d like to teach you how to fish, as it were, by taking a more general look.

What is that approach? You just need to know the basic building blocks—namely, the generic elements that nearly all references in APA style contain—and then you can adapt them to your particular needs.

The sixth edition of the Publication Manual lays the requirements out pretty bluntly. “Each entry usually contains the following elements: author, year of publication, title, and publishing data—all the information necessary for unique identification and library search” (p. 180). Another way to think of these building blocks, a mnemonic to use in your own construction and review of references, is to remember four interrogatories: Who? When? What? Where?

To be less cryptic and more lengthy, the quartet of queries can be expanded thus: Who created this reference? When was this reference created? What is this reference called? Where does this reference come from (or, Where can my reader find this reference)? Let’s look at these four questions one at a time.

Who created this reference?

The author component is pretty straightforward: the writer(s) of the article, anthology chapter, or book entire; the editor of a compilation; the producer and director of a motion picture; the writer of a letter, an e-mail, or a blog posting; and so on. On the rare occasion when no authorship is attributed and, per APA style, you revert to a title entry (e.g., Publication Manual, p. 200, example 9; p. 205, example 30), this initial whodunnit is still answered. The title entry implicitly tells your reader, “Authorship was checked for but despite the best efforts of the citer, no such information was either given or obtainable.”

When was this reference created?

In most cases, a year will suffice to answer this question. A few reference types require more: for instance, year followed by month for papers and poster sessions presented at conferences (Publication Manual, pp. 206–207), or year followed by month and day for newspaper articles (pp. 200–201) and e-mails and blog posts (pp. 214–215). When no year is available or can be ascertained by hook or by crook, this element is maintained by using the abbreviation n.d., for “no date” (p. 185; p. 203, example 20; p. 205, example 30).

What is this reference called?

Note that here I am referring to the title of the thing referenced itself, not to any larger “container” in which the specific thing referenced may reside. (Information about that container will be part of the fourth generic-reference element, discussed further on.) For instance, as regards a journal article, all of the “what” element is the title of the article, not the name of the journal in which that article appears. (As said above, that journal name will be used later on.) So, too, with a chapter in an edited book: The “what” is the title of the chapter only. The name of the edited book in which the chapter resides is not the “what” described here.

If the item you are referencing does not have a formal title, APA style requires you to provide something to fill out this part of the reference. If no title exists, you must fill in the blank yourself. To indicate that this is your invention, not a formal title, your coined title should be enclosed in square brackets (Publication Manual, p. 209, example 47; p. 212, example 60).

Where does this reference come from (or, Where can my reader find this reference)?

Once you’ve given the author name(s), the year, and the name of the thing being referred to, anything and everything else in the reference entry constitutes the answer to this final question of “where.” References come in more varieties than Baskin-Robbins has ice creams, though, so this portion of a reference has the most permutations. It ranges from the basic journal name, volume, and page span for journal articles to the online versions where that information is supplemented with a DOI or URL. A book chapter’s “where” can be quite involved, what with listing editor name(s), the book’s overall title, a page span, and publisher location and name. References to books available online may dispense with the publisher information, replacing it with a DOI or URL. And books and journals are just the tip of the reference iceberg. There’s a host of new formats (podcasts, tweets, etc.) and a world of nonroutine formats that aren’t necessarily bleeding-edge new (e.g., cuneiform tablets in the British Museum).

All this may sound like a fair amount of ground to cover. Still, it’s worth remembering that nearly always, regardless of what sort of reference you’re trying to cite, or create, it will rest sturdily on the four-legged framework of who, when, what, and where.

Source: APA Style Blog: The Generic Reference.

Missing pieces: how to write an APA style reference even without all the information

by Chelsea Lee

Most APA Style references are straightforward to write—the guidance and examples in Chapter 7 of the Publication Manual and on this blog make that possible. We’ve written a good deal about the architecture of a generic reference (the four basic pieces of author, date, title, and source). Sometimes, however, one or more of those pieces is missing, and writing the reference can get more difficult. This post will help you adapt the classic APA Style reference template to fit any situation where information might be missing, as well as show you how to create the corresponding in-text citations for those references. 

The table below shows how to write an APA Style reference when information is missing. It is also available for download as a PDF.

What’s missing? Solution Reference template
Position A Position B Position C Position D
Nothing—all pieces are present List information in the order of author, date, title (with description in square brackets if necessary for explanation of nonroutine information), and source Author, A. A. (date). Title of document [Format].


Title of document [Format].

Retrieved from http://xxxxx


Retrieved Month Day, Year, from http://xxxxx


Location: Publisher.



Author is missing Substitute title for author; then provide date and source Title of document [Format].


Title of document [Format].

(date). n/a
Date is missing Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give title and source Author, A. A. (n.d.). Title of document [Format].


Title of document [Format].

Title is missing Provide author and date, describe document inside square brackets, and then give source Author, A. A. (date). [Description of document].
Author and date are both missing Substitute title for author and n.d. for no date; then give source Title of document [Format].


Title of document [Format].

(n.d.). n/a
Author and title are both missing Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author; then give date and source [Description of document]. (date). n/a
Date and title are both missing Provide author, substitute n.d. for no date,describe document inside square brackets, and then give source Author, A. A. (n.d.). [Description of document].
Author, date, and title are all missing Substitute description of document inside square brackets for author, substitute n.d. for no date, and then give source [Description of document]. (n.d.). n/a
Source is missing Cite as personal communication (see §6.20) or find a substitute n/a n/a n/a n/a

Title Variations

As shown in the table, the title of a document is only sometimes italicized, depending on the independence of the source. That is, do italicize the title of a document that stands alone (books, reports, etc.), but do not italicize the title of a document that is part of a greater whole (chapters, articles, etc., which are part of edited books or journals, respectively). Also do not italicize the titles of software, data sets, instruments, and apparatus (see §7.08 in the Publication Manual). If you have trouble determining whether something stands alone (such as for a document on a website), choose not to italicize. For examples and more explanation, see the blog post on capitalization and formatting of reference titles in the reference list.

Source Variations

As shown in the Position D column of the table, the source part of a reference list entry can vary as well. It should reflect either a retrieval URL (for online documents without DOIs), a publisher location and name (for print sources), or a DOI (for any document that has one, whether print or online). It is not usually necessary to include a retrieval date for online sources; one should be provided only if the source is likely to change over time, such as with an unarchived wiki page.

Sometimes source information is incomplete but with a little detective work you can find what you need; for example, if you know a publisher name but not its location, you can research the publisher to find the location. Even sources of limited availability can be cited in APA Style, including unpublished and informally published works (see §7.09) and archival documents and collections (see §7.10).

Note, however, that it is not possible to write a traditional APA Style reference if source information is truly missing. The purpose of an APA Style reference is to provide readers with information on how to locate the source that you used, and if you cannot tell them how to do so, you either have to find a substitute or cite the source as personal communication (see §6.20 in the Publication Manual).

Creating In-Text Citations

Create an in-text citation for any reference by using the pieces from Positions A and B in the table above. For most references, this will be the author and date (Author, date). For titles in Position A, use italics for works that stand alone (Title of Document, date) and quotation marks for works that are part of a greater whole (“Title of Document,” date). Retain square brackets for descriptions of documents in Position A ([Description of document], date). For examples and more explanation, see our post on formatting and capitalization of titles in the text.  

Source: APA Style Blog

How to capitalize author names in APA style

by Chelsea Lee

As discussed in our post about the capitalization of specific words, author names are capitalized in APA Style because they are proper nouns. For most author names this poses no difficulty, because most names begin with capital letters anyway. However, some names begin with lowercase letters, such as lowercase prefixes like de, d’, van, or von.

Thus, a more specific guideline is that when writing author names, your first goal should be to write the name as the author him- or herself has presented it in scholarly work. (On a related note, if an author writes under a pseudonym, cite whatever name is used by the source.) Capitalize and spell the name just as you see it in the byline of the article you’re citing. If it starts with a lowercase letter, keep that presentation.

Here are two examples of how an author name beginning with a lowercase letter keeps that presentation when written within a sentence:

•To examine the impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting, de Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) employed a longitudinal methodology.
•Parental and adolescent personality have significant effects on parenting (de Haan, Deković, & Prinzie, 2012).

Keep the author’s original capitalization even in reference list entries:

de Haan, A. D., Deković, M., & Prinzie, P. (2012). Longitudinal impact of parental and adolescent 
   personality on parenting. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 189–199.

However, capitalize the name if it (a) begins a sentence or (b) is the first word after a colon when what follows the colon is an independent clause:

•De Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) studied the impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting.
•Recently, researchers have explored the impact of personality on parenting: De Haan, Deković, and Prinzie (2012) used longitudinal analyses to untangle the effects.

You can read more about this method of capitalization in the Publication Manual in section 4.14 (p. 101). We also have advice in another blog post if you are having trouble determining who the author is to begin with.

Finally, be aware that some publishers apply idiosyncratic formatting to author names in the byline, such as using all capital letters to write full names or surnames. This is a stylistic choice on the part of the publisher as a way to set the byline and not something that you need to reproduce in your APA Style paper. So if you see an author’s name capitalized as “Thomas J. SMITH” in the byline of an article, you should write the name as “Smith” when citing it in your paper. If the byline capitalization obscures the regular capitalization an author would use, look for the author name in the text or elsewhere to see how it is normally formatted.

Source: APA Style Guide

How to capitalize and format reference titles in APA style

by Chelsea Lee

APA Style has special formatting rules for the titles of the sources you use in your paper, such as the titles of books, articles, book chapters, reports, and webpages. The different formats that might be applied are capitalization (see Publication Manual, pp. 101–102), italics (see pp. 104–105), and quotation marks (see p. 91), and they are used in different combinations for different kinds of sources in different contexts.

The formatting of the titles of sources you use in your paper depends on two factors: (a) the independence of the source (stands alone vs. part of a greater whole) and (b) the location of the title (in the text of the paper vs. in the reference list entry). The table below provides formatting directions and examples:

Independence of source


Reference list





Stands alone

(e.g., book, e-book, report [technical, government, etc.], dissertation, thesis, film, video, television series, podcast, YouTube video, artwork, map, music album, unpublished manuscript)

Italic, title case

Gone With the Wind

Italic, sentence case

Gone with the wind

Part of a greater whole

(e.g., journal article, book chapter, e-book chapter, newspaper article, magazine article, blog post, television episode, webisode, webpage, tweet, Facebook update, encyclopedia entry, Wikipedia entry, dictionary entry, song)

Inside double quotation marks, title case

“Longitudinal Impact of Parental and Adolescent Personality on Parenting”

Not inside any quotation marks, sentence case

Longitudinal impact of parental and adolescent personality on parenting

More on Italics Versus Nonitalics

As you can see in the table above, the titles of works that stand alone (such as a book or a report) are italicized in both the text and the reference list. In contrast, the titles of works that are part of a greater whole (such as an article, which is part of a journal, or a book chapter, which is part of a book) are not italicized in either place, and only in the text are they put inside quotation marks. If you are having difficulty determining whether something stands alone (such as a webpage that may or may not be part of a greater website), choose not to italicize.

More on Capitalization: Title Case Versus Sentence Case

APA Style uses two kinds of capitalization to format reference titles, which are also mentioned in the table above: title case and sentence case. APA’s title case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are capitalized, and sentence case refers to a capitalization style in which most words are lowercased. In both cases, proper nouns and certain other types of words are always capitalized. More detailed directions for implementing title case and sentence case will be provided in next week’s post.

Text Examples

As shown in the table above, title case is used for the titles of references when they appear in the text of an APA Style paper. Here are some examples of titles written in title case (of an article and a book, respectively), as they might appear in a sentence in the text of a paper:

The article “Psychological Distress, Acculturation, and Mental Health-Seeking Attitudes Among People of African Descent in the United States: A Preliminary Investigation” (Obasi & Leong, 2009) makes an important contribution to the mental health and acculturation literature. 

Students read stories of visual agnosia in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales (Sacks, 1985). 

Reference List Entry Examples

In contrast, sentence case is used for titles of references when they appear in reference list entries. See how the book and article titles look when capitalized in sentence case in these example reference list entries:

Obasi, E. M., & Leong, F. T. L. (2009). Psychological distress, acculturation, and mental health-seeking 
     attitudes among people of African descent in the United States: A preliminary investigation. Journal  
     of Counseling Psychology,
56, 227–238. doi:10.1037/a0014865

Sacks, O. (1985). The man who mistook his wife for a hat and other clinical tales. New York, NY: 
     Harper & Row.


Source: APA Style Guide