How to cite a Ted talk

In this post, we describe how to write text citations for a TED talk or TEDx talks. We’ll cover among other issues:

  • Title of the talk / title of video 
  • Publication date
  • Speaker’s name / Name of the speaker 
  • Date given / month date 

We’ll also mention how to use square brackets and parenthetical citation. Please note that the citation style is not unique for the TED website but is similar to other online sources involving for example a video file, youtube videos or cited web or video weblog posts.

TED videos are commonly used in teaching, as the topics cover new politics, new takes and pressing issues involving human obstacles, science, history and technology. Like all sources, the information that is relayed in the TED talk need to be assessed and critically evaluated (just because it said by some one the TED site does not make it true). In each case, you need to assess the source material in an appropriate way. 

Although there is nothing wrong with citing a TED talk, particularly if you wish to cite a specific moment brought up in the talk, or some  that the author laid out.

The following information is based on APA and MLA, covering the main rules.

APA [7th edition]

TED Talk from the TED website

  • The name of the educator/speaker should serve as author if the TED Talk is from TED’s website
  • Dating should be as specific as possible [albeit according to information available]
  • The description “[Video]” should be included after the title
  • TED Conferences should be credited as the publisher of the Talk after which the URL follows as shown below.

APA [7th edition]

TED Talk from the TED website

  • The name of the educator/speaker should serve as author if the TED Talk is from TED’s website
  • Dating should be as specific as possible [albeit according to information available]
  • The description “[Video]” should be included after the title
  • TED Conferences should be credited as the publisher of the Talk after which the URL follows as shown below.
Reference list format Last Name of educator, Initial(s). (Year, Month). Title of TED talk. [Video]. Publisher. URL    
Reference list example Hughes, N. (2021, August). Is this the most successful animal ever? [Video].TED Conferences.https://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_hughes_is_this_the_most        _successful_animal_ever  
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (Last Name, Year) Narrative: Last Name (Year)
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: (Hughes, 2021) Narrative citation: Hughes (2021)

Ted Talk from YouTube

  • For a YouTube Ted Talk, the owner of the YouTube account [in this case TED] should suffice as the author in order to enable retrieval
  • The name of the educator still appears as part of the title [as shown below]
  • The date should be as specific as possible
  • YouTube should be credited as the publisher of the Talk followed by the URL
Reference list format Name of owner of YouTube account. (Year, Month). Title of TED talk. [Video]. Publisher. URL  
Reference list example  TED. (2021, July). What to do when climate change feels unstoppable |        Clover Hogan. [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6K0iQg_p1w  
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (Name of owner of YouTube account, Year) Narrative citation: Name of owner of YouTube account (Year)
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: (TED, 2021) Narrative citation: TED (2021)

MLA [8th edition]

Reference list format Last Name of educator, First Name. “Title of TED Talk.” Name of website, Date posted online, URL.    
Reference list example Shen, Freeman. “A future with fewer cars.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Aug. 2021, https://www.ted.com/talks/freeman_h_shen_a_ future_with_fewer  _cars.  
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (Last Name of educator, Timestamp) Narrative citation: Last Name of educator (Timestamp)
In-text citation examples *Parenthetical citation: (Shen, 0:00-05:45) *Narrative citation: Shen (0:00-05:45)

 

TED Talk from streaming service

Works cited format “Title of the TED Talk.” Name of streaming website, uploaded by TED, Date Uploaded, URL.
Works cited example  “How not to take things personally? | Frederik Imbo.” YouTube, uploaded by    TED, 4 Mar 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnJwH_PZXnM  
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (“Shortened Title of the TED Talk” Timestamp) Narrative citation: Text . . . (Insert “Shortened Title of the TED Talk”) . . . (Timestamp).
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: (“How not to take” 00:00-17:36) Narrative citation: In “How not to take,” Frederik Imbo identifies a couple of strategies that can help humans not to take things personally (00:00-17:36)
  • Cite the name of the comment maker rather than the TED Talk educator
  • Where the name of the comment maker is not available then his or her user name can be cited instead
  • Include the phrase “Comment on” to indicate the nature of the citation
  • The date of the comment may not be the same as the posting or upload date of the TED Talk

Citing a TED Talk comment

Works cited format   Last Name of comment maker, First Name. Comment on “Title of the TED Talk.” Name of website, Date of Comment Posting, URL.  
Works cited example  
Müller, Cara. Comment on “How not to take things personally?”YouTube, Aug. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnJwH_PZXnM.
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (Last Name of comment maker). Narrative citation: Surname of comment maker
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation:  (Müller) Narrative citation: Müller

Citing a TED Talk transcript

When citing a transcript of a TED Talk, be sure to include the word“Transcript” at the end of the Works cited entry. This is to ensure clarity.

Works cited  format   Last Name of educator, First Name. “Title of the TED Talk.” Name of website, Date posted, URL. Transcript.  
Works cited example Imbo, Frederik. “How not to take things personally?” YouTube, 4 Mar 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnJwH_PZXnM. Transcript.
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (“Shortened Title of the TED Talk” Timestamp). Narrative citation: Text . . . (Insert “Shortened Title of the TED Talk”) . . . (Timestamp).
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: (“How not to take” 00:01-06:30). Narrative citation: In “How not to take,” Frederik Imbo identifies a couple of strategies that can help humans not to take things personally (00:01-06:30)  

Chicago [17th edition]

Notes and bibliography

Website content

Bibliography  format   Last name of educator, First Name. “Title of TED Talk.” Date filmed at Type of TED event. Event city. Video, Timestamp, URL.  
Bibliography example Dickson, Abigail. “Youthquake! For best results, just add Shakespeare.”  Filmed 2014 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Brookline, MA, video  Video, 08:16. https://tedxbeaconstreet.com/videos/youthquake-for-best-results-just-add-shakespeare/
Notes format First Name of educator, Last Name. “Title of TED Talk.” Date filmed at Type of TED event. Event city. Video. Timestamp. URL.
Notes example Abigail, Dickson. “Youthquake! For best results, just add Shakespeare.”  Filmed 2014 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Brookline, MA, video  Video, 08:16. https://tedxbeaconstreet.com/videos/youthquake-for-best-results-just-add-shakespeare/
Shortened notes format Last Name of educator, “short version of TED Talk Title.”  
Shortened notes Example Dickson, “Just add Shakespeare.” 

Author-Date

Reference list format   Last Name of educator, First Name. Year of speech. “Title of TED Talk.” Date filmed at Type of TED event. Event city. Video. Timestamp. URL.  
Reference list example Dickson, Abigail. 2014 “Youthquake! For best results, just add Shakespeare.”  Filmed 2014 at TEDxBeaconStreet, Brookline, MA, video  Video, 08:16. https://tedxbeaconstreet.com/videos/youthquake-for-best-results-just-add-shakespeare/
In-text citation format Parenthetical citation: (Last Name of educator Year of speech) Narrative citation: Last Name of educator (Year of speech)
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: (Dickson 2014) Narrative citation: Dickson (2014)

Harvard

Reference list format   Last Name of educator, Initials. (Year of speech). Title of TED Talk. Month. Available at: URL.
Reference list example Shravan, S. K. (2021) Can you cheat death by solving this riddle? June Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/shravan_s_k_can_you_cheat_death_by_solving_this_riddle.
In-text citation format Parenthetical: (Last name of educator, Year of speech) Narrative: Last Name of educator  (Year of speech)
In-text citation examples Parenthetical citation: Shravan (, 2021) Narrative citation: Shravan (2021)