How to Cite a Speech in APA

According to the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, for any research information you use in a paper, you must credit the originator of the ideas. This rule applies not just to books and periodicals, but also to personal communications, lectures and speeches. The citation format for speeches depends upon the type of document in which you find the speech.

In-Text Citation

The text should indicate the speaker of the information you want to present and the source in which you found the speech. Most conveniently, you might place the speaker's name in a signal phrase, such as "President Obama explained...."

The in-text citation includes the last name of the author or editor of the publication where you found the speech, along with the publication year of the source.

Include a page number for direct quotations (or a paragraph number if the quotation comes from nonpaginated material). Put commas between all the elements in the citation. Closing quotation marks appear before the parentheses, but the period occurs after the citation for quotes of fewer than 40 words. For example:

President Obama explained, "Both are equally important" (Jones, 2012, p. 42).

For quotes that are longer than 40 words, the quote should appear in block format, indented half an inch from the left margin. Block quotes do not use quotation marks, and the ending period appears before the citation in this format.


The references page entry for the speech should follow the APA guidelines for the particular medium. For instance, if the speech appears in a book of speeches, and you used the editor's name for the in-text citation, follow the format for a reference book, using editor's last name, a comma, and his first initial, followed by a period. Next, "Ed." (without the quotation marks) in parentheses indicates that this is an editor rather than an author. Then give the publication year in parentheses, followed by a period. Follow this with the title of the book, italicized and ending with a period. The city of publication comes next, followed by a colon and the publisher. Such an entry might appear like this:

Jones, K. (Ed.) (2012). The book of speeches (italicized). New York: Penguin.

If you found the speech on a website, such as YouTube, follow those guidelines.

For instance, a YouTube video begins with the name of the person who posted it -- the last name followed by a comma, the first initial and a period. The person's screen name comes next, placed in square brackets with a period after. The year, month and day the video was posted appears in parentheses, followed by a period. Provide the title of the video, italicized, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns. State the format in square brackets, such as [video file], and end with a period. Then include "Retrieved from" and the URL. The entry might appear like this:

Smith, L. [uploadking]. (2012 March 3). The speech of the century (italicized) [video file]. Retrieved from