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How to Cite a Website in a Research Paper

Rahul Thadani Aug 10, 2020
Here are some guidelines about citing a website in a research paper, especially using APA style or MLA style.
Carrying out research for a paper or for some other purpose used to be a very cumbersome and painstaking process before the advent of the Internet. But the dawn of the World Wide Web and the presence of millions of websites displaying information has made this task so simple and easy that the time taken for research has become almost minimal now.
Knowing the right way of citing a website is very important though, as failure to do so can bring a lot of trouble in the form of copyright infringements.
The material and data present over the Internet is widely accessible to anyone with a net connection. In a matter of minutes, you can have information regarding any subject at your fingertips. All this matter and data is intellectual property and the possibilities of plagiarism have never been higher.
When a student is preparing a research paper, the concept of plagiarism takes up even more importance. At the end of every research paper, a bibliography that accurately states the sources where the information has been gathered from, must be included. This is a rule that complies to all forms of research papers and projects in every field of study.

Citing a Website APA Style

The American Psychological Association (APA) style is a popular style of documentation that is used in many fields of social sciences. This is a general set of rules and guidelines that govern the format of any form of documentation, and set down the rules for presenting the data and for accurately stating the sources of such data.
Steps to cite a website properly in APA style:
  • The name of the author must be mentioned first, starting from the left margin. The author's first name must be shown after his last name.
  • Leaving a space in between, the year of the article's publication must be mentioned in parentheses.
  • Next comes the title of the article, without quotation marks or italics text.
  • Next will be the name of the website, written in italics text.
  • Now comes the date that you visited the website on. This date must be in mm/dd/yy format.
  • Lastly, the URL of the webpage must be added.
Upon completion, the entire citation will look something like this―Thadani, Rahul (2010) How to Cite a Website in a Research Paper www.eduzenith.com  01/06/10 https://eduzenith.com/how-to-cite-website-in-research-paper.

Citing a Website MLA Style

The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is another academic style of writing research papers and showing documentation that is widely used in North America. The Modern Language Association of America came up with this style in 1985.
Guidelines for citing a website within a paper using MLA style:
  • First comes the name of the author, right next to the left margin. The last name of the author should mandatorily precede the first name.
  • Leaving a space after the author's name, the title of the webpage must be mentioned in double quotations. Do not confuse this with the name of the website.
  • Next comes the title of the website, either in double quotations or in italics. Alternately, the title can also be placed under the author's name.
  • After the title, the published date of the information must be mentioned.
  • If the data has been gathered from an academic website, the publisher's name needs to be mentioned after the date of publishing.
  • After the name of the publisher, you need to mention the date on which you visited the website. Keeping a space between each subsequent citation is crucial.
  • Lastly, the URL of the webpage must be placed to complete the citation.
Once the entire citation is complete it must look something like this―Thadani, Rahul "How to Cite a Website in a Research Paper" "https://education.visualstories.com" 6 January 2010 https://education.visualstories.com/how-to-cite-website-in-research-paper.
Note that, both these styles come into play only when the name of the author is clearly mentioned in the article. Some pages do not contain the name of the author, this makes the task in APA style or MLA style fairly difficult. In such cases, simply putting the title of the article, the website, the date of visiting, and the URL of the page is sufficient.
This should not be ignored or taken lightly under any circumstances. First of all, it increases the credibility of the researcher and the student. Secondly, it protects the student from violating any copyright laws or any other laws protecting intellectual property.