How to Cite a Debate

Updated July 21, 2017
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Research paper writers sometimes quote or paraphrase from oral presentations, such as unpublished debates. The seventh edition of the Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association specify the requirements for citing sources similar to debates in the text and on reference pages.

In-Text Citations

MLA in-text citations include the last name of the speaker in the signal phrase or the parenthetical citation. Roberts insisted that "quotation here." Or "quotation." (Roberts).

APA style includes the last name of the speaker followed by the publication date in parenthesis in the signal phrase. "Roberts (2005, August) insisted that...."

Reference Entries

An MLA Works Cited entry for an oral presentation includes the speakers' name, the title of the presentation in title case and quotation marks, the symposium name, the meeting, the sponsoring organization, the location, the date and a descriptive label. Roberts, Nancy and Martin Plato. "The State of Public Discourse 20 Years after Postman." New Communications Technologies and Public Discourse. NCTZ Annual Convention. NCTZ Group. University of Pickering, Pickering, VA. 22 Aug. 2005. Debate.

APA References page entry includes the speakers' names, the date in parenthesis, the title of the presentation in sentence case, the symposium title in title case, the name of the meeting, the sponsoring organization and location. Roberts, N. M., & Plato, M. (2005, August). The state of public discourse 20 years after Postman. New Communications Technologies and Public Discourse. Debate conducted at the NCTZ Annual Convention, University of Pickering, Pickering, VA.

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About the Author

Anthony Owens taught language arts at secondary institutions from 1999 to 2004 and has been teaching writing and literature at post-secondary institutions since 2010. He holds a Master of Education in instruction and learning from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Fine Arts in literature and creative writing from Bennington College in Vermont.