How do you cite electronic sources in your academic papers?

If you are writing an essay, research paper, or a speech, you will need to cite your sources. Many students are stumped by how to cite sources that are not traditional printed books, journals, or newspaper articles. Electronic sources, like websites, online videos, social media posts, and other non-traditional sources have their own citation styles and each one is determined by the style that your professor assigns.

Use the Newest Version of the Citation Formatting Manual

Students who have to cite their electronic sources can use a citation manual in print or electronic forms. When using a manual, it is wise to look at the date of publication. If the manual was published more than three years ago, you should find a newer one. Since electronic sources change so frequently, you will want the most recent manual with all of the newest formats.

Try a Website that Formats Electronic Sources

Fortunately, students have many more options than using a manual. One of the most useful tools for citing electronic sources is the Internet itself. Many colleges and universities have active websites with apps for citing sources both on a works cited page and as an in-text citation. You might be able to simply input the URL of the website and get a perfectly formatted citation. This will only happen if the website you use has all of the necessary information on one page so the citation website can find everything it needs to complete the form. Unfortunately, most websites do not have all of the information in convenient locations, so you will have to find it yourself and enter it into the form on the citation website.

Know What You Need for Each Citation

You will need very specific information when you craft an electronic source citation. Many students have no idea what those things are and where to find them. You will need the URL and the day you accessed the website to find information. Those are easy to find. You will also need the title of the website, the title of the article or video or other source you used, and you will need the date the website was published. These details can be challenging to find. In all citation formats, if you find that one of the details is missing, then you can leave the detail out and move on to the next detail.