Naming A Website In An Essay

APA Style:
Citing websites and web pages
(based on the 6th edition of the APA Publication Manual)

The latest version of the APA Publication Manual changes substantially the way that websites and web pages are cited. Here is what you should do to create a proper citation.

Websites

If you are citing an entire website, provide the address of the site within the text of your paper. According to the APA, there is no need to include the site in your reference list. Example:

The APA Style website is a good source of information on using APA style properly (http://www.apastyle.org).

Web pages

The elements and format necessary for citing a web page in APA style format are similar to those used when citing an article. Finding the necessary information for your citation can sometimes be tricky, and we have tried to provide some tips below. Also, note that the order of the citation may change if certain elements are missing, e.g., there is no author.

Author.

Information about the author may be found near the top of the page, or it might be found at the bottom of the page, as is the case in the example below.

Single author: Put the last name first, followed by a comma, followed by the initial of the first name (and the middle name, if available), then a period. Example:

Miller, J. L.

Multiple authors: Put the last name first, followed by a comma, followed by the initial of the first name, then a period. Follow this with a comma and continue the same procedure for the subsequent authors. Before the final author's name put an ampersand (&) followed by the last name, a comma, the initial of the first name, and then a period. Example:

Tannen, D., & Freedle, R. L.

If the web page that you are using does not have an author, begin your citation with the title of the page.

(Publication Date).

The date the web page was published comes next. This information can often be found at the bottom of the page, as in the examples below.

Provide as much of the date as you can. If you the web page has a month and day of publication, provide them both, by putting the year first, followed by a comma and then the month and day. If the web page does not have a publication date, put n.d. for 'no date.' Examples:

(2010). or (2006, September 7). or (n.d.)

Web page title.

Next comes the title of the web page. The page's title can often be found in the blue title bar at the top of your browser's window.

Only the first word of the title should be capitalized. Also, don't italicize the title or put it in quotations. Example:

The role of the amygdala in agoraphobia.

URL

Finally, include the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) from which you retrieved the page. The URL can be found in the address bar of your browser.

Preface the URL in your citation with the words "Retrieved from." Also, do not put any punctuation after the URL as it may be seen as part of the web address. Example:

Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/agoraphobia/ds00894

Citation Examples

Web page

Wood, D. (2009, January). Agoraphobia. Retrieved from
     http://www.med.nyu.edu/conditions-we-treat/conditions/agoraphobia

Web page with no author or date

Phobias. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare
     /healthcare_services/mental_health/mental_health_about/phobias/pages/index.aspx

Entry in an online reference work

DeWeese-Boyd, I. (2008, November 25). Self-deception. In E.N. Zalta (Ed.),
     The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from
     http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/self-deception/

Dear Style Expert,

I found a very useful website and cited a lot of information from it in my paper. But how do I write an in-text citation for content I found on a website? Do I just put the URL in the sentence where I cite the information?

Thanks,

Wallace

Dear Wallace,

This is a tricky question, but we can help! The short answer is that in most cases no, you do not put the URL in the text of the paper. In fact, the only time you would put a URL in the text would be to simply mention a website in passing. Because you’re citing specific information, you will need to write a regular APA Style author–date citation. Luckily, writing the in-text citation for a website or webpage is easy: Simply include the author and year of publication. The URL goes in the corresponding reference list entry (and yes, you can leave the links live).

Website Example 

In-text citation:

The American Nurses Association (2006) issued a position statement insisting that pharmaceutical companies immediately cease using thimerosal as a vaccine preservative.

 

Note that the title of the website or webpage should be italicized in the reference list if the work on the page stands alone but not italicized if it is part of a greater whole (if this is ambiguous on the source, just choose what you think makes the most sense for the situation). In deciding how to categorize material on a website for a reference, it may be helpful to consider whether what is on the website is similar to an existing category of document type—for example, this reference is a position statement, which is similar to a press release, white paper, or report; hence the italic title. To clarify the document type, you can also specify the format in brackets after the title. 

Determining Website Authors

It can be confusing to determine who the author of a website or webpage is. Often, the author is a group or agency rather than a particular individual. For example, the author of the position statement cited above is the American Nurses Association. If the website or webpage truly does not have an author, substitute the title of the page for the author in the in-text citation and reference list entry (see this post on missing reference pieces for examples of how to do this).

Determining Website Dates

A second source of confusion is that many websites or webpages do not include publication dates. If no date of publication is provided, use the letters n.d. (which stand for “no date”). The copyright date on the website itself should not be used as the publication date for particular content on that site.

If multiple dates are provided, use the most recent date on which the content was changed. For example, if the site says the content was first published in 2010 and last updated on August 6, 2016, then use the date 2016 in the in-text citation and reference list. However, if the site says it was first published in 2010 and last reviewed in July 2016, then use the date 2010 because a review does not imply that any information was changed.

Multiple Website Citations

If you use information from multiple pages on a website, create a separate reference list entry for each page, with in-text citations that correspond to the appropriate reference list entry. It is common for writers to have multiple entries with the same author and year, so to differentiate these entries, use a letter after the year (e.g., 2016a) or after n.d. (e.g., n.d.-a; more examples here), assigning the letter by putting the references in alphabetical order by title in the reference list. Put references with no date before references with dates, and put in-press references last.


In text, you can cite these references separately as usual (e.g., American Nurses Association, 1991b), or you can combine citations with the same author if desired. Simply state the author once and then provide the years of the applicable references in chronological order, separated by commas. 

Combined in-text citations:

American Nurses Association (n.d., 1991a, 1991b, 2015)

(American Nurses Association, n.d., 1991a, 1991b, 2015)

Do you have more questions about how to create in-text citations for content from websites or webpages? Leave a comment below.

Cheers!

—Chelsea Lee

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