In the age of fake news and unverified sources, there’s nothing more critical than knowing how to cite websites for academic papers. The amount of information available online grows every day, and technology allows easy access to these data.
Aside from scholarly articles and journals that educational institutions make downloadable, there are websites that provide information that are as useful. Waterford Technologies reports that there are 2.7 zetabytes of data available online as of February 2017. It’s no longer practical to only rely on books and printed materials as resources for research. These days, the most updated references can be found on online publications.
Learn how to property cite websites to provide more up-to-date data to your research. But first, determine the correct format to use for your citation. The Modern Language Association (MLA) format is more commonly used for papers under the humanities and liberal arts, while the American Psychological Association (APA) format is typically used within the social sciences.
When citing an entire website:
Name of Website. Version Number and the name of the associated institution or organization, Date of site creation if available, URL (without the http/https). Date of access.
When citing a page only:
Name of author/Alias (if shown). Title/Subject of the article or page. Name of website. URL (without the http/https). Date of access.
When citing specific pages or articles:
Name of Author (if shown). (Year, Month Date Published). Article title. Retrieved from URL
Here are other things to note when citing web resources:
- All other rules on citations for both ALA and MLA formats need to be applied, such as the author name and date format.
- Accessed date is a requirement in the MLA format, while it’s not for the other.
- The MLA format removes the HTTP/HTTPS from the website URL, while the APA format doesn’t.
Most importantly, before using a website as a reference, make sure that it has enough credibility to be included in an academic paper.