How to Cite Wikipedia in APA and MLA Styles

What is Wikipedia citation and why people use it?

In writing of different articles, be it journals, essays or even research work, at one point since the resources used in search of content is not yours, then you will need to cite the source. Wikipedia is one of the sources that is used mostly for reference purposes. For your work to be decent, you need to cite the source. Citing is the act of referencing your resource in the essay. Citation of the sources used to get information for your essay is very important because:

  • It improves the accuracy of your paper- once you give citations in your paper, you are trying to give a platform for the reader also to confirm that your points are valid hence improves the accuracy of the essay. The fact that you have cited your paper gives the reader enough trust in your work without necessarily visiting the directives.
  • It improves your ability to research- when you cite your work, you will need to pay attention to small details in the sources, such as the page number, the author and this will develop a good research skill in you. Once you pay attention to the small details then definitely you will be able to perform well in real research.
  • It improves the outlook of your paper- most of the writers who happen not to be proficient most of the time would include phrases such as ‘as we know’ to account for different points but for a proficient writer, you should be able to replace such phrases with the exact stating of where the point is taken from, and this makes your paper more appealing.
  • It promotes accountability of your work. Citing your work is evidence enough to the reader that you have researched and read extensively before coming up with those points. When the reader is in doubt at some point, they can always refer to your citation and find out what they needed to know.

 How to cite Wikipedia in APA style

Citing sources of information in essays or books helps to show the validity of your work. Using American Psychological Association style entails the following steps

  • Begin with the entry title of the Wikipedia.

It entails writing down of the name of the article.

Italics and quotes are not needed in listing the name. For instance, if your article is on Brian Miles, the start of your citation will be

Brian Miles.

  • Write the date.

Write the date if it is available. It is essential to indicate the date of publication of an online source or the time it was modified.

If the date is unavailable, use “n.d.” in parenthesis just after the title.

  • Put a full stop after the date

Note that the reason why there is no applicable date of publication in Wikipedia entries is that of regular editing.

If you cannot find the date, the example will read as follows

Brian Miles. (n.d.).

  • Include “In Wikipedia.”

Write this by italicizing the word “Wikipedia.” followed by a full stop.

It is important to state where the electronic source of your work.

For instance, our example will look like this

Brian Miles. (n.d.). In Wikipedia.

  • Put a retrieval date.

The retrieval is the date the information was accessed.

Here, the word “Retrieved” is listed followed by the date which takes the format” Month Date, Year.”

For illustration, if the last time your information was accessed were on 12th of July in 2016, it would be written as” July 12, 2016.” and a comma just after the date.

Following our previous example, you would write like this

Brian Miles. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 12, 2016,

  • Write the URL

It includes starting with “from” then indicating the full URL of the Wikipedia after the comma written at the end of the retrieval date.

The citation example will finally read as follows

Brian Miles.(n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved July 12, 2016, from https: en.wikipedia.org/wikiBrian_Miles

How to cite Wikipedia using MLA description

Using Modern Language Association style to cite Wikipedia entails the following steps:

  1. Start with the article’s title.

It is by writing the author’s name as usual in MLA style. Since Wikipedia does not have authors, you would need to write the name of the article and put a full stop.

Note that you would have to write inside the quotation including the period.

For instance, if the article is on Robert Collins, the beginning of your citation would look like this

“Robert Collins.”

  1. Indicate the larger source.

It is the more substantial source where you found the article. Usually in MLA, if you got the information from another more prominent source, you would write the name of that source in italics after the title of the article.

Since you got the information from Wikipedia, write Wikipedia in italics followed by a full stop.

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Using our previous example, it would now read as follows

“Robert Collins.” Wikipedia.

  1. Indicate the publisher.

It is necessary for MLA style because information is always unknown in online sources.

Since you are using Wikipedia, you would have to write your publisher as “Wikipedia.org” followed by a comma.

The example will be as follows

“Robert Collins.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org,

  1. Indicate the date of publication.

Write the date if it is possible to find the precise time of publication. It may be hard to see this date in articles of Wikipedia since they are up to date.

If it is unknown write ”n.p.”

If it is possible to find the date, indicate the day then the abbreviated month, and the year. A comma follows this.

For example, if the date of publication were on the 8th of November in 2013, you would write it as 8 Nov, 2013,

The date of first publication is usually found out by clicking on the “History” tab at the top of the page. Following our example, the citation will look like this

“Robert Collins.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org, 8 Nov 2013,

  1. Write the URL

After the comma at the end of the date of publication, the Wikipedia article’s URL is usually written.

Note that in MLA” HTTP” is not required.

Also, write a period after the article’s URL.

Our example will now look like this

“Robert Collins.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org, 8 Nov, 2013,en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Collins.

  1. Add the date of source finding.

This is the date you accessed the information.

After writing the URL, you would write the word “Accessed” followed by the date the information was accessed, and this date takes the format of the day then month then the year without using commas.

  1. Write a period in the end.

For example, if you accessed the 9th of December in 2014, you would write “Accessed 9 December 2014.”

Finally, our example of the citation will be as follows

“Robert Collins.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org, 8 Nov, 2013,en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Collins. Accessed 9 December 2014.

How to cite a Wikipedia page

To cite a Wikipedia page, you need to follow the following procedure

  1. Open the drop-down menu which displays on the left side of the page by clicking on “Toolbox.”
  2. Click on “Cite this page.” which will show different citation format.
  3. Copy this to your work.

How to cite Wikipedia in-text

Apart from citing the Wikipedia page, it is also good to understand how to intext cite Wikipedia in your work. The in-text citation is the citation that comes in between the paragraphs; it is used when you need to refer to a certain statement that you got from some source somewhere. When it comes to intext citation of Wikipedia, you will only need the title of the article placed in quotations. For example in APA in-text citation, you can use a format such as (“the title of the article,”n.d).

Benefits of Examples of Wikipedia citations

Going through different examples of the Wikipedia citation available is good. When you go through different examples, you get to understand how to cite your work in different formats. Most of the people confuse when it comes to citation in different formats and therefore by reading examples of different citations you would be able to differentiate the same easily.

Advantages of reading examples include:

  • You will be able to understand different formats of citations. – Reading examples are one of the best ways of learning because you get to see different formats. Once you see an example, it gets into your mind and sticks for good, and that will be part of you.
  • You will be proficient in your writing- the more you get exposed to these examples the more proficient you become in the citation. Proficiency comes with sequential exposure.
  • It helps you in the organization of your paper- the presentation of your paper is very important especially when it comes to researched work. You need to plan your paper by letting citation come at the end of your paper and not at the middle. The in-text citation is the one that can appear in the middle, but the list of bibliography should come at the end of your paper.