This wikiHow teaches you how to create a proper citation for a Wikipedia article. The easiest way to do this is by using Wikipedia’s built-in citation generator that links to the version of the page you’re viewing, though you can also cite by hand if necessary. Before using Wikipedia for research, check with your teacher, professor, or editor to make sure that they will accept a wiki as a reputable source.

EditSteps

EditUsing the Wikipedia Citation Generator

  1. Open the article you’re citing. Go to the Wikipedia page for the article that you want to cite.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 1 Version 5.jpg
  2. Click . This link is in the “Tools” section of the column of options that’s on the left side of the page.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 2 Version 5.jpg
  3. Find your citation style. Scroll through the list of blue citation headers until you find your preferred citation style (e.g., “APA style”). The citation will be listed below the style heading.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 3 Version 5.jpg
  4. Select the whole citation. Click and drag your mouse from left to right across the entire citation below the style heading.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 4 Version 5.jpg
  5. Copy the citation. Once the whole citation is highlighted, press either (Windows) or (Mac).
    Cite Wikipedia Step 5 Version 4.jpg
  6. Open a rich-text editor. “Rich-text” just refers to the ability to maintain formatting (e.g., italics) when pasting in content; common rich-text editors include Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and Google Documents.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 6 Version 5.jpg
    • You can also just double-click the document to which you want to add the citation if the document is a Word document or similar.
  7. Paste in your citation. Once you’ve opened the rich-text editor (or your document), press either (Windows) or (Mac) to paste in the citation as it appeared on Wikipedia. The citation will appear in the editor.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 7 Version 5.jpg

EditUsing APA Style

  1. Start your entry with the Wikipedia entry title. When citing Wikipedia in APA style, first list the name of the article. You do not need to use quotes or italics. Simply write down the article’s title followed by a period. For example, if you were citing an article on Jimmy Carter the beginning your citation would look like this: Jimmy Carter.[1]
    Cite Wikipedia Step 8 Version 5.jpg
    • If you want to lead with an author’s name, Wikipedia suggests using “Wikipedia contributors” as the name.
  2. Include the date, if available. In APA style, it’s customary to include the date an online source was published or last modified. The date of the last revision is at the bottom of the Wikipedia page; if you cannot find the date, you can simply write “n.d.” in parenthesis after the entry title. After the date, add a period.[2]
    Cite Wikipedia Step 9 Version 5.jpg
    • Returning to our example, your citation would look like this: Jimmy Carter. (n.d.).
  3. Write the words “In Wikipedia”. In APA style, it’s customary to mention where you found an electronic source. When citing Wikipedia, you would write “In Wikipedia,” italicizing the word “Wikipedia”, and then add a period.
    Cite Wikipedia Step 10 Version 5.jpg
    • Our citation should read as follows: Jimmy Carter. (n.d.). In Wikipedia.
  4. Follow with the retrieval date. This is the date on which you accessed the information. Use the word “Retrieved” and then write the date. In APA style, the date is written “Month Date, Year.” For example, if you retrieved your source on the 15th of October in 2015, you would write, “October 15, 2015.” Add a comma after the date.[3]
    Cite Wikipedia Step 11 Version 4.jpg
    • To illustrate, here is what our example would look like so far: Jimmy Carter. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 15, 2015,
  5. End with the URL. After the comma at the end of the date, write “from” and then include the full URL of the Wikipedia page. In our example, our final citation would read as follows:
    Cite Wikipedia Step 12 Version 5.jpg

EditUsing MLA Style

  1. Begin with the article title. In MLA style, you would usually begin an online citation with the author’s name. As Wikipedia articles do not have authors, you would simply skip to the article name. Put this in quotations and include a period inside the quotations. Using Jimmy Carter as an example again, you would start your article with “Jimmy Carter.”[4]
    Cite Wikipedia Step 13 Version 5.jpg
    • If you want to lead with an author’s name, Wikipedia suggests using “Wikipedia contributors” as the name.
  2. Add the larger source. MLA style dictates you must include the larger source from which you found the article. If you pulled an article from the New York Times, you would write New York Times in italics after the article name. As you pulled your article from Wikipedia, you simply need to write Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Follow with a period. Using our example, our citation would not read as follows:
    Cite Wikipedia Step 14 Version 4.jpg
    • “Jimmy Carter.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
  3. Include the publisher. In MLA style, you’re supposed to include the publisher. When working with online sources, this information is not always known. However, when working with Wikipedia, it’s appropriate to write “Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia” as the publisher. Follow with a comma. Our example would now read:
    Cite Wikipedia Step 15 Version 4.jpg
    • “Jimmy Carter.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
  4. Add the date of publication, if possible. You should usually include the date of an online publication. You can find the date of the last revision at the bottom of the page. Write the day, the abbreviated month, and then the year. Using our example, we would now have the following citation:
    Cite Wikipedia Step 16.jpg
    • “Jimmy Carter.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 25 Sept. 2014.
    • You may find that it’s best to simply write “n.p.” to indicate the publication date is unknown.[5]
  5. Add the publication type. In this case, you’ll type after the date. Your citation should now read as follows:
    Cite Wikipedia Step 17.jpg
    • “Jimmy Carter.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 25 Sept. 2014. Web.
  6. End with the date you found the source. In MLA style, you would end citing a web source by listing the date you accessed the information. In MLA style, you write the date, then the month, then the year. You do not use commas, but you do abbreviate the month to three letters and end it with a period; for example, if you accessed the article on February 2nd, 2016 you would write “2 Feb. 2016.” Our final citation would read like this:[6]
    Cite Wikipedia Step 18.jpg
    • “Jimmy Carter.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.

EditTips

  • Wikipedia articles generally provide a list of citations at the bottom of the page. These citations may be more reliable than Wikipedia itself as a source.
  • You can follow the links in Wikipedia articles to verify that the links’ information is presented accurately in the Wikipedia article.
  • Watch for warnings on the top of a Wikipedia article. Articles are sometimes flagged if they’re unreliable or poorly sourced. You should not use these articles in an academic paper.

EditWarnings

  • Make sure your professor or teacher is okay with Wikipedia as a source before citing it. Many educators consider Wikipedia unreliable and expressly forbid it in academic writing.
  • Wikipedia does not guarantee accuracy, offer medical advice, offer legal advice, or contain censored content, and is provided as-is.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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