How To Cite A TED Talk: APA, MLA and Other Formats

Citing a TED Talk can enhance your research paper by providing unique insights and expert opinions. Whether you’re using APA, MLA, or Chicago style, it’s crucial to format your citations correctly to ensure proper attribution and maintain academic integrity.

This guide will help you navigate the specific citation requirements for TED Talks from different platforms, ensuring you can seamlessly integrate these valuable resources into your work.

Learn how to cite TED Talks accurately in various citation styles with examples and templates.

How To Cite A TED Talk

StyleLocationFormat
APAIn-text(TED, year)
ReferencesTED. (Year, Month Date). Title of the TED Talk [Video]. YouTube. URL
MLAIn-text(Speaker’s Last Name, Year, Timestamp)
ReferencesSpeaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED Conferences, Month Year, Video, URL.
ChicagoIn-text(Speaker’s Last Name, “Title Of Talk”)
BibliographySpeaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED video, Month Year. URL.

What’s A TED Talk?

TED Talks are a remarkable way to access and share innovative ideas and perspectives from thought leaders around the world. Organised by the non-profit organization TED, these talks cover a wide range of topics, like:

  • technology and science,
  • art, and
  • social issues.

Twice a year, TED holds conferences where speakers present their insights in captivating and often inspiring talks. These talks are then made available online for free, allowing anyone with internet access to benefit from them.

How To Cite A TED Talk

Volunteers translate the videos, further broadening their reach and making it possible for people around the globe to be inspired regardless of language barriers.

 TED Talks are not just limited to the main TED conferences. Through TEDx, individuals and communities can organize their own TED-style events, focusing on issues that matter locally, free from:

  • corporate,
  • political, or
  • religious agendas.

TED Talks have democratized access to great ideas, ensuring that they are no longer reserved for the literate, educated, rich, or male. They are a powerful tool for education and inspiration, embodying the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.”

Why Do People Cite TED Talks In Research Papers?

There are many reasons authors cite TED talks in their research paper, thesis or dissertation. These include, but not limited to:

  • Leveraging the credibility of the speakers
  • Leveraging firsthand experiences of the speakers
  • Diverse topics
  • Multimedia-based evidence

Credibility Of The Speakers

One reason people cite TED Talks in research papers is the credibility of the speakers. TED Talks feature experts and thought leaders who present well-researched and innovative ideas.

If you cite Brené Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability, you can add substantial weight to a paper on psychology or leadership. 

Leveraging Firsthand Experiences

Access to unique insights and firsthand experiences is another reason. TED speakers often share personal stories and case studies that are not available elsewhere.

If you cite a TED Talk by Jane Goodall, you can provide firsthand insights into primatology and conservation efforts. 

Diverse Topics

The diverse range of topics covered by TED Talks makes them valuable resources for various fields of study. Whether you’re researching:

  • technology,
  • social issues, or
  • education,

you can find a TED Talk that fits your topic. 

Multimedia-Based Evidence

Citing TED Talks also provides multimedia evidence that can enhance your paper. Including a specific quote or timestamp from a TED video can support your arguments with engaging and authoritative content.

Whether you’re using a talk from the TED website or YouTube, ensuring accurate references in your bibliography is crucial for credibility and scholarly rigor.

How To Cite A TED Talk In APA Style?

When you cite a TED Talk in APA style, the format depends on whether you watched it on YouTube or directly from the TED website. Each platform affects the citation details, but both require accuracy to ensure proper referencing.

For a TED Talk from YouTube

TED is considered the author since they uploaded the video. Here’s an example template for your reference:

Reference List: TED. (Year, Month Date). Title of the TED Talk [Video]. YouTube. URL

For instance, if you’re citing Brené Brown’s popular TED Talk, your reference would look like this:

TED. (2012, March 16). The power of vulnerability [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o

In-Text: In-text citations are concise. Use the parenthetical format like this: (TED, 2012).

For a TED Talk from the TED website

If you are citing a TED talk from the TED website, the speaker is the author. The reference format changes slightly:

Reference List: Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Date). Title of the TED Talk [Video]. TED Conferences. URL

For example, citing the same talk by Brené Brown directly from TED’s website, your reference would be: Brown, B. (2010, June). The power of vulnerability [Video]. TED Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability.

In-Text: In-text citation would be (Brown, 2010).

When you use a direct quote, include a timestamp in your in-text citation. For example, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” (Brown, 2010, 5:20).

How To Cite A TED Talk In MLA Style?

When you want to cite a TED Talk in MLA style, the format is straightforward but varies slightly depending on whether you accessed it directly from the TED website or from YouTube.

For a TED Talk on YouTube

When citing a TED Talk from a YouTube video, the format is slightly different. You still list the name of the speaker as the author but need to indicate that the talk is a video and list the publisher as TED Conferences. Here’s the template:

Reference List: Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED Conferences, Month Year, Video, URL.

For example, citing the same talk from YouTube would be:

Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability.” TED Conferences, June 2010, Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o.

In-text citations: You only need the speaker’s last name and the timestamp if you’re quoting a specific part of the talk. For example, a quote from Brown’s talk would be cited in-text as (Brown 5:20).

For a TED Talk from the TED website

To cite a TED Talk from the TED website, list the speaker as the author, followed by the talk title in quotation marks. Then, include the site name (TED), the month and year of the talk, and the URL. Here’s a template to follow:

Reference List: Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED, Month Year, URL.

For example, if you want to cite Brené Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability, your reference would look like this:

Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability.” TED, June 2010, https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability.

Citation For A TED Talk In Chicago Style

Citing a TED Talk in Chicago style involves a specific format that depends on where you accessed the talk.

Whether you watched it on YouTube or directly from the TED website, it’s crucial to get the details right for both in-text citations and the reference list.

For a TED Talk from the TED website

For a TED Talk from the TED website, list the speaker as the author, followed by the title of the talk in quotation marks. Then, include the phrase “TED video,” the month and year of the talk, and the URL. Here’s a template for your reference:

Bibliography: Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED video, Month Year. URL.

For example, citing Brené Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability from the TED website would look like this:

Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability.” TED video, June 2010. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability.

In-text citations: This can be either parenthetical or as footnotes. For a parenthetical citation, you would write (Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability”). For a footnote, it would look like this:

  1. Brené Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability,” TED video, June 2010, https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_the_power_of_vulnerability.

For a TED Talk on YouTube

If you accessed the TED Talk on YouTube, the format is slightly different. You must include “YouTube video” in the reference and list TED Conferences as the publisher. Here’s how you should format it:

Bibliography: Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Talk Title.” TED Conferences, Month Year. YouTube video. URL.

For example, citing the same talk from YouTube:

Brown, Brené. “The Power of Vulnerability.” TED Conferences, June 2010. YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o.

In-text citations: In-text citations would follow the same parenthetical or footnote format, adjusting only for the access point. Use (Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability,” YouTube) for parenthetical citations or:

  1. Brené Brown, “The Power of Vulnerability,” TED Conferences, June 2010, YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCvmsMzlF7o.

TED Talk References & In-Text Citation 

Accurately citing TED Talks in your research is essential for credibility and avoiding plagiarism.

Whether using APA, Chicago or MLA format, understanding the correct format for each ensures your references in your research papers are precise and professional. 

By following these guidelines and templates, you can confidently include TED Talks in your work, enriching your research with diverse perspectives and expert insights.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton has a Masters and PhD in Chemistry from the UK and Australia. He has many years of research experience and has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate at a number of Universities. Although having secured funding for his own research, he left academia to help others with his YouTube channel all about the inner workings of academia and how to make it work for you.