Your Perfect Guide on How to Cite a TED Talk

TED talks are some of the most viewed presentations that transcend cultural and linguistic boundaries. They spark inspiration among individuals, curiosity, and many meaningful conversations across many subjects. 

But how do you cite these talks? This post shares all the necessary insights on citing TED talks. Eventually, you will be better equipped to master everything necessary for these talks using APA, Chicago, and MLA citation styles.

Understanding the Importance of Citing a TED Talk

It is important to answer the critical, “What is a TED talk?” before delving into the details of how to cite a TED talk. A TED talk is a powerful presentation that covers various topics in technology, entertainment, and design; hence, the abbreviation TED. It lasts less than 18 minutes and shares deep insights to spur curiosity among audiences. 

Moreover, these talks can simplify complex ideas into easily digestible and memorable narratives. The presentations allow industry experts, thinkers, artists, and innovators to share their expertise, visions, and experiences. The talks incorporate visuals and storytelling that make content delivery more engaging and informative.  

TED talk history dates back to 1984. Richard Saul Wurman, an American architect, founded these talks at a conference in Monterey, California. He sought to unite leading minds for engaging and precise knowledge exchange.

The format has since spilled beyond the original scope and encompassed other fields. Audiences can discuss social issues, arts, education, and psychology in these talks. They present listeners with valuable ideas that can improve human life and welfare. 

These talks gained popularity with time. However, the current presentations are traceable to the traction they gained in 2006 when they went online. Ever since they have become viral and democratized knowledge. 

In 2009, TED released the TEDx software that enables independent organizers to host TED-like events in their communities. No wonder we have different “TEDlings,” such as TED-Ed for educators, TED-women for women, and TEDMed for healthcare. 

With this background information, let’s proceed below and learn more about how to cite a TED talk APA.

How to Cite a TED Talk in APA

APA has an established way of citing the TED talk materials. This citation style uses the author’s name and publication date, ensuring that readers can track one’s sources quickly. Below is the general format on how to cite a TED talk in APA if you’re giving a reference to the TED website: 

Sugulle, M. (2022). 1 simple question that could improve women’s health [Video]. TED Conferences.  

When using the TED talk APA citation for materials posted on YouTube, you should use a bit different format: 

TEDx Talks. (2023). How pregnancy impacts lifelong health | Meryam Sugulle [Video]. YouTube.

Each APA citation TED talk format is correct depending on the location of the materials’ storage. 

How to Cite a TED Talk in MLA 

MLA is another popular citation style you can use when citing a TED talk. So, do you want to master how to cite a TED talk using MLA? It isn’t any harder than APA or other styling formats. The MLA format requires the following:

The speaker(s). ‘talk title.’ TED, TED conferences, year, URL

An example would look like this. 

Sugulle, Meryam. ‘1 Simple Question That Could Improve Women’s Health.’ TED, TED Conferences, 2024.    

For in-text citation, a direct quotation with a time stamp would look like this:

  • (Author’s last name time stamp)
  • Example: (Sugulle 03:03)

For a paraphrase or summary:

  • (Author’s last name)
  • Example: (Sugulle)

How to Cite a TED Talk in Chicago Style

Chicago Style is another popular way of citing a TED talk in your writing. It is popular with business, history, and fine arts assignments. If you want to cite a TED presentation using Chicago, the citation will follow this format.

Last name, first name. “video title.” publisher’s name. Publication date. Video, running time. URL. 

Below is an example of how this citation would look.

Sugulle, Meryam. “1 Simple Question That Could Improve Women’s Health.” TEDx Talks. March 31, 2023. Video, 15:36.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Citing TED Talks

You need to be cautious when citing a TED talk to avoid mistakes that could cost you good grades. Below are the top three blunders to guard against when referencing these talks.

  • Inconsistent Citation Styles

Don’t jump between citation styles when referencing these talks. If you choose or are required to use MLA, don’t mix it with APA or Chicago. Otherwise, your work will look inconsistent and messy. 

  • Wrong Speaker Attribution

Attributing the wrong speaker to a talk is another blunder to avoid. It’s like calling Nelson Mandela Tiger Woods. Thus, always double-check your spelling against the official website. For instance, if the official name is Kenneth, don’t write ‘Kennedy.’

  • Excluding Critical Details

Including essential details by accident or choice is another costly mistake to avoid because it can confuse. So, include every vital detail, such as the talk’s publication date, URL, and title.

FAQs on How to Cite a TED Talk

Here are the top FAQs about citing TED talks and their answers.

  • How can I cite a TED talk?

You need to reference this presentation based on the formatting style you are using, such as MLA, Chicago, or APA.

  • How do I cite a TED presentation in-text using APA?

To reference a TED presentation in-text in APA, you’ll need parentheses with the speaker’s last name followed by a comma and the year. For instance: (David, 2022).

  • How should I cite a TED presentation in the text using MLA?

For MLA in-text citations, use a parenthetical reference with the author’s surname and time stamp, for example: (David 04:04).

  • How do I reference a TED Talk in the text in Chicago?

Instead of in-text citations, Chicago uses superscript numbers, which guide readers to the appropriate footnote. In printed materials, footnotes appear at a specific page’s bottom, and sources are formatted a bit differently from those in the bibliography.

Final Word

So far, we have shared everything you need to master how to cite a TED talk using MLA, Chicago, and APA. Use this information to up your citing game. Should you need any further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us today or fill out an order form. 

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