How To Cite A Website In An Essay

When writing an essay it is important to offer credit to the author or publisher from where you got your information. The need to offer this credit brings about the importance of citing in essays. In recent times, people have been using online sources more frequently to help in researching for their essays. It is therefore important to know how to cite a website in an essay. This post will help you learn how to do that appropriately and avoid unintentional plagiarism. 

Things To Take Note Of on how to cite a website in an essay

There are a few things you need to consider when it comes to how to cite a website in an essay. It does not matter which citation style you are using. Some of these things are as follows. 

1. The URL 

The unique resource locator helps you identify where exactly online you found your source. It is important to include the URL in your end of text citation. However, you should note that updates continue to come out for the different citation styles. Most recently, MLA does not require that you include the URL in your end of text citation, as was the previous case. 

One of the main reasons for this is that website owners can bring down websites. Search engines can also bring down a website if the website violates certain guidelines. APA still requires that you include the URL if available. 

2. The DOI 

The digital object identifier works in a similar fashion to the URL. It allows the essay reviewer to locate the exact source of the reference you use in your essay. The DOI is more reliable compared to the URL. The reason for this is that even though a website owner may choose to bring down his or her website, the DOI will remain in place. 

It is, therefore, a better alternative to use the DOI rather than use the URL when writing your end of text citation. However, get to know whether the organization or institution you are writing for requires that you list one or both of this resource identifiers. 

3. Date Of Retrieval 

The exact date on which you access the source you are going to use in your essay is important to include in your end of text citation. This date is also important in the in-text citation, especially for APA. As with a book or any other source, you will list the name of the author or publication and follow it up with a comma then the date. MLA requires that you list the date, month and the year at the end of text citation. 

For APA, MLA and Chicago, the in-text citation only requires that you write the year you accessed the source. The importance of listing the date you retrieved the source is to enable the reviewer or reader to gauge how old the source is. This is important because information quickly becomes obsolete online. 

How To Cite A Website 

The specifics of how to cite a website in an essay will depend on the citation style that your institution or program requires you use. However, all the citation styles will follow a general format albeit with a few variations. 

The name of the author will come first. The surname of the author will come first and the first name will come last in all citation styles. In the absence of the name of the author, the name of the Publication will replace the name of the author.

An example of how to cite a website.

how to cite a website in an essay

The title of the source will come next and depending on the specific citation style, this will be either in italics or in quotation marks. In the absence of the title of the post, the webpage will replace this. You will then follow up this with the date of retrieval and finally the DOI or URL. Again, depending on the citation style in use, you will copy the entire URL or eliminate a part of it before including in your citation.

Final Thoughts 

Citing a website is important for avoiding plagiarism and giving credit where it’s due. It is advisable to know the citation style used by the institution you are writing to help you cite your web sources correctly. Additionally, refer to any handbook or guide that your institution offers to ensure that you are always citing websites correctly. 

How do you list sources?

There are various types of listings and they include; listing a website, listing a book and finally listing a magazine or article.

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