How to Cite a TED Talk: Quick and Easy Guidelines

Here’s How to Cite a TED Talk Video and Support Your Arguments

Zeshan Abdullah - Author
February 3, 2024
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Properly citing TED Talk videos is crucial for several reasons, including establishing credibility, ensuring accountability, and providing your audience with the ability to locate the referenced material. Here, we delve into the key aspects of understanding TED Talk citations:

  1. Credibility: Citing TED Talks adds credibility to your arguments by showcasing that your ideas are backed by reputable and influential speakers. It establishes a connection between your work and the authoritative insights shared in the TED Talk.
  2. Accountability: Accurate citations demonstrate a commitment to accountability and transparency in your research or content. By providing a clear reference to the TED Talk, you allow others to verify and validate the information you present.
  3. Reference for the Audience: Including citations allows your audience to access the TED Talk directly, offering them the opportunity to explore the source material. This transparency fosters an environment of shared knowledge and intellectual engagement.

When citing a TED Talk, the basic information you need includes the speaker's name, the title of the talk, the publication date, and the specific URL of the talk. Let's break down these elements:

  • Speaker's Name: The speaker's name is a crucial component of the citation. It helps identify the source and gives credit to the individual delivering the talk. Ensure you use the speaker's full name and verify the correct spelling.
  • Title of the Talk: The title encapsulates the main theme or idea of the talk. When citing, use the exact title as it appears on the TED website. Pay attention to capitalization and punctuation to maintain accuracy.
  • Publication Date: Note the date the TED Talk was published or recorded. This information is essential for providing a timeline of when the ideas were presented. If the exact date is unavailable, use the publication date provided on the TED website.
  • TED Talk URL: Include the specific URL of the TED Talk. This ensures that your audience can easily access the source material. Be meticulous in copying the URL to avoid any broken links.

Now, let's explore the format for both in-text citation and bibliography/references to maintain consistency and meet citation standards.

Step-by-Step Guide to Citing a TED Talk

How to Cite a TED Talk: 5 Simple Rules

Citing a TED Talk involves several key steps to ensure accuracy and adherence to citation standards. Follow this comprehensive guide to seamlessly integrate TED Talk citations into your work:

  1. Find Author and Title: Begin by identifying the speaker's name and the title of the TED Talk. The speaker's name is usually prominently displayed on the TED Talk page, and the title reflects the main theme or subject matter of the talk.
  2. Publication Date: Locate the publication date of the TED Talk. This information is vital for providing a chronological context to the ideas presented. Check the TED Talk page for the exact date the talk was recorded or published.
  3. TED Talk URL: Copy the specific URL of the TED Talk. This URL will serve as a direct link to the source material, allowing your audience to access the talk easily. Ensure the accuracy of the URL to avoid any broken links in your citations.
  4. Format for In-Text Citation: When citing within the text, include the speaker's last name and the publication date in parentheses. For example, (Doe, 20XX). If the TED Talk has multiple speakers, list all their last names separated by commas (Doe, Smith, & Johnson, 20XX).
  5. Format for Bibliography/References: In your bibliography or references section, provide a detailed entry for the TED Talk. Include the speaker's name, title of the talk in italics, publication date, and the URL. Follow the citation style (e.g., APA, MLA) guidelines for formatting.

To illustrate, here's a sample table showcasing the format for citing a TED Talk in APA style:

Author Title of Talk Publication Date URL
Doe, John The Power of Ideas Month Day, Year

By following these steps and adhering to the specified format, you can seamlessly incorporate TED Talk citations into your work, enhancing the credibility and transparency of your arguments.

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Common Issues and Troubleshooting

While citing TED Talk videos, you may encounter various challenges. Understanding common issues and having troubleshooting strategies in place ensures accurate and reliable citations. Here's a guide to address potential problems:

  • Missing Information: In some cases, critical details such as the publication date or speaker's name may be unavailable. When faced with missing information, follow these steps:
    • Check alternative sources: Look for the same TED Talk on other platforms or websites that might provide the missing details.
    • Use placeholders: If a publication date is missing, use "n.d." (no date), and if the speaker's name is unavailable, use the title of the talk in the in-text citation.
  • Multiple Authors: TED Talks occasionally feature multiple speakers. When citing a TED Talk with multiple authors, include all their last names in the in-text citation. In the bibliography, list the names in the same order as they appear in the video, separating them with commas and an ampersand (&) before the last name.
  • No Publication Date: If the publication date is not provided, make an effort to find the recording or release date. If that's also unavailable, use the date you accessed the TED Talk. However, it's crucial to note that this approach is typically considered a last resort and should be used sparingly.

For a clearer understanding, refer to the following table summarizing common issues and their troubleshooting strategies:

Common Issue Troubleshooting Strategy
Missing Information
  • Check alternative sources
  • Use placeholders (e.g., "n.d." for no date)
Multiple Authors
  • Include all last names in the in-text citation
  • List names in the same order with commas and an ampersand (&) before the last name in the bibliography
No Publication Date
  • Attempt to find the recording or release date
  • If unavailable, use the date of access as a last resort

By being aware of these common issues and applying the suggested troubleshooting strategies, you can navigate challenges in TED Talk citations effectively and maintain the integrity of your references.

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Explore our Frequently Asked Questions to address any queries or concerns you may have regarding the citation of TED Talk videos. We've compiled a list of common inquiries to provide you with clear and concise answers:

    1. Do I need to cite TED Talks?
      Yes, citing TED Talks is essential for maintaining the integrity and transparency of your work. Proper citation adds credibility to your arguments and allows others to access the referenced material.
    2. How do I cite a TED Talk with no listed author?
      When a TED Talk has no listed author, use the title of the talk in the in-text citation. In the bibliography, alphabetize the entry by the first significant word of the title.
    3. Can I use TED Talks as primary sources in academic writing?
      While TED Talks can provide valuable insights, it's advisable to use them as supplementary sources rather than primary sources in academic writing. Consider incorporating peer-reviewed articles and scholarly publications for a more rigorous academic foundation.

If you have additional questions or need further clarification, feel free to reach out to us. We're here to assist you in navigating the citation process for TED Talk videos effectively.


In conclusion, mastering the art of citing TED Talk videos is a valuable skill that enhances the credibility and transparency of your work. TED Talks, known for their insightful content and influential speakers, contribute significantly to various fields of knowledge. Proper citation not only acknowledges the source but also establishes a connection between your ideas and the authoritative insights presented in the TED Talk.

Throughout this guide, we've explored the importance of understanding TED Talk citations, providing a step-by-step guide for effective citing, addressing common issues, and offering troubleshooting strategies. Remember to find the speaker's name, title, publication date, and TED Talk URL when citing. Additionally, be proactive in troubleshooting common issues like missing information or multiple authors.

By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can navigate the citation process with confidence and precision. Whether you are a student, researcher, or professional, incorporating TED Talk citations into your work adds a layer of authenticity and reliability to your arguments.

If you have any further questions or concerns, refer to the FAQ section for quick answers. We hope this guide empowers you to seamlessly integrate TED Talk citations into your academic and professional endeavors, contributing to a culture of accurate and transparent information sharing.

Thank you for exploring this comprehensive guide on citing TED Talk videos. Happy citing!

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