How to cite a website, webpage, or a URL in a research paper? The citation of a website depends on two factors: one, what is the citation method you are using in your research paper; two, what are the available elements of citation present on the website. Website and webpages sometimes do not provide complete citation, therefore it becomes difficult for the researcher to cite it it. It is is obvious that one should prefer those references that provide complete evidence of genuineness but this is not always possible.
Evaluate the website
How you can know about the accuracy, reliability, and genuineness of a website or a webpage? There are many elements of a website that tells about the website’s accuracy. These include the proof of authorship, the date of publication, the URL authenticity, and the material itself. Sometimes, spelling and grammar mistakes tell about the accuracy or inaccuracy of the material that you are seeing online. You can also check the authenticity of the writer online, the academic records, achievements, other publications. It tells about the authenticity of the author.
The good thing about the websites is that anyone can make it and share their knowledge. On the other hand, the bad thing is that you do not have check and balance and this makes it possible for scammers, fraudsters, and other people to copy material from here and there and present it as their own. Therefore, one has to be more cautious in selecting a website as a reference in the research.
There is enormous content online and it is quite evident that future of information is online not offline. The traditional pen and paper written material has reduced a lot and most writers are publishing their work online. This also means that there is a need for a better check and balance but unfortunately we do not see it yet.
Cite a website, webpage, URL
Once you know that the website you are citing is safe to use you should know how to cite it. You should know the method of citation that you are using in your research. The method of citation may include APA, MLA, Chicago citation manual, or IEEE. You should check the website and find the following elements.
- author name
- Editor name
- publisher name
- date of publication
- data of access
- URL or DOI
- Website title
- article or webpage title
- Page number/vol. no./ issue no. etc
You can also record other useful citation related information so that it helps you when you are citing it. You may not find all of this information but record as much as possible.
MLA works cited
The website citation will look like the following in case you have all the elements of the citation. If any of the following element is not present you can skip it. In each of the following you will see that some of the information is not available either the author name or the name of the editor so you can write the citation accordingly.
- Author. “Title.” Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). Date of Access.
- Author, or compiler name. Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).
- Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number, Sponsor or Publisher, date of resource creation (if available), URL, or permalink. Date of access.
A webpage from a website
A webpage can be cited in the following manner. It depends on how much information do you have from the webpage you can cite the page accordingly.
- Author. “Article Title.” Website Title, URL. Date Accessed.
- Lastname, F. M. (Year, Month Date). Title of page. Site name. URL
- Title of page. (Year, Month Date). Site name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL
- Firstname Lastname, “Title of Web Page,” Name of Website, Publishing Organization, publication or revision date if available, access date if no other date is available, URL.
- Author Name, “Webpage Title,” last modified, URL.
- “Webpage Title,” Website, Publication date, URL.
- “Webpage title,” Website, date of access, URL.
The more elements of citation you provide in the references of the webpage you are citing the reader will be able to know the source better and easier.