Wikipedia is a great starting point for research. Some will caution using it as a source because the content is user generated and plagiarism issues can come into play. But, it’s usually backed up with additional sources that can improve your writing. If you’re adding it to your bibliography, reference list or works cited, there are a few easy ways to cite Wikipedia no matter what format you are using.
Citing Wikipedia Made Simple
By far the easiest way to cite Wikipedia is to use the “Cite This Page” feature that Wikipedia offers for each of their web pages. Wikipedia takes all the work out of citations for you. Simply follow these steps.
Step 1: Using the Link
After you have found your content on Wikipedia, you’ll notice on the left of the screen there is a link: Cite This Page. This link will not only bring up all the biographical content that you will need to create your citations in all the different formats, but it creates them too.
Step 2: Wikipedia Created Citations
You can either click on the link on the top of the page or scroll down through the citation styles. Wikipedia offers generated citations for a plethora of different styles including:
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Modern Language Association (MLA)
- Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA)>
- Chicago Manual of Style
- Council of Science Editors (CSE)
- Bluebook Style
- American Medical Association (AMA)
- BibTEX entry
Creating Citations Manually
A simple error in your bibliography can take your paper from an A to a B really quickly. There is no reason to have this happen because of a Wikipedia error. Sometimes, rather than copying and pasting, it’s better to create citations yourself.
The MLA format is the most commonly used format in American high schools. This is because it can apply to a diverse range of subjects for English classes. For the most part, MLA 8 has replaced MLA 7; however, your teacher may ask you to use the seventh edition. For citing Wikipedia in MLA, you are going to use the rules for citing a web source without an author.
Step 1: Find the title and put it in quotes.
Step 2: List the name of the publisher in italics. In this case, it’s Wikipedia.
Step 3:Include the date of the page, typically found at the bottom. All we have is a revision date.
Step 4: Add the URL of the web page.
Citing Wikipedia in APA format takes on a unique perspective. In this format, you will reference a Wikipedia article like you do a website without an author.
Step 1: Add the title. Don’t forget to add the period after the title.
Step 2: Move on to the publication date. In this case, we don’t have one. This can get a little scary, but you just simply put (n.d.) to indicate there is no date.
Step 3: Add the retrieval date with the website name and URL. This will let the reader know where to find the information. That way, they can check it out for themselves.
The Chicago style, much like the APA, has a pretty easy formatting structure for websites with no author like Wikipedia. However, the 16th edition of this style format does offer multiple ways to do this.
Step 1: Pick the format that you want to use. For Chicago style, you can start with the website then list the title or you can choose to start with the title then list the website. No matter which way you choose, don’t forget to add your quotes around the title and italicize the website name.
Step 2: List the modification/revision date. You can find this on the bottom of the page. Follow the formatting with month, day and year.
Step 3: Add the website URL where the information can be found. You want to list this exactly.
Citations can be hard to wrap your head around sometimes, especially for websites and sources with no author or date. Finding an easy way to make citations for Wikipedia can make your job a whole lot easier. Some teachers do not allow Wikipedia sources in school essay, so double check your assignment rubric.