If you’re writing a research paper or essay, you may need to gather and cite information from a variety of sources beyond traditional books and academic journal articles. In this post, we’ll take you through how to properly cite a TED Talk in MLA format. We’ll cover:
● What is a TED Talk?
● How to cite a TED Talk from the website
● How to cite a TED Talk from YouTube
● How to cite a TED Talk transcript
● How to Cite a TED Talk in the text
Keep reading to get started.
What is a TED Talk?
TED Talks are short, engaging presentations on a wide range of topics given at TED (which stands for technology, entertainment, and design) conferences and independently organized TEDx events. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of brief, thought-provoking talks. These increasingly popular talks cover various fields, including science, technology, education, entertainment, and the arts.
The format of a TED Talk typically involves a speaker, often an expert or thought leader in their respective field, delivering a compelling talk in front of a live audience. Speakers are given a time limit, usually around 18 minutes, to concisely present their ideas. Many TED Talks are recorded and made available for free on the TED website and YouTube, making them accessible for research purposes.
How to Cite a TED Talk From the Website
MLA citations for TED Talks from the TED website include the following basic information:
● The speaker’s name
● The title of the presentation
● The name of the organization hosting the talk (TED)
● The date of the talk
● The URL
To cite a TED Talk on a Works Cited page, follow these guidelines:
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Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the TED Talk.” TED, Date of the talk, URL
Here’s an example of how you would structure it in practice:
Doyle, John. “The Power of Coffee.” TED, 1 June 2010, https://www.ted.com/talks/john_doyle_the_power_of_coffee
Remember that MLA requires a hanging indent for Works Cited pages, which is when the first line of a paragraph starts at the left margin and all subsequent lines are indented to the right.
How to Cite a TED From YouTube
If you’re citing a TED Talk from YouTube, rather than the TED website, the format varies slightly from that given above. In addition to the speaker and title of the talk, you will need to list the platform (YouTube), the uploader (typically TED or TEDx Talks), and the upload date. For example:
Doyle, John. “The Power of Coffee.” YouTube, uploaded by TED, 1 June 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXSjc-pbXk4
How to Cite a TED Talk Transcript
If you’re referencing information pulled from a TED Talk transcript, rather than a video, follow this basic format:
Speaker’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of the TED Talk.” TED, Date of the talk, URL (if available)
Here’s what this format might look like on a Works Cited page, including the hanging indent:
Doyle, John. “The Power of Coffee.” TED, 1 June 2010, https://www.ted.com/talks/john_doyle_the_power_of_coffee/transcript
Keep in mind that if you accessed the transcript through a source other than the TED website, you may need to adjust the citation accordingly.
How to Cite a TED Talk in the Text
MLA in-text citations for a TED Talk should include the speaker’s name and the timestamp indicating the location of the information within the video (if applicable).
If the speaker’s name is mentioned in the sentence, you only need to include the timestamp in the parentheses. For example:
In his TED Talk on the power of coffee, John Doyle stated that coffee “can motivate even the least motivated among us” (3:15–4:30).
In these examples, 3:15–4:30 represents the timestamp indicating the location of the information within the video (3 minutes and 15 seconds to 4 minutes and 30 seconds). This timestamp helps readers locate the specific part of the TED Talk where the information was presented.
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