There are various ways to cite a podcast in your academic papers. The style you need to use will depend on the guidelines given by your own particular college or university.
Why Cite a Podcast?
Podcasting has been a growth industry for years, and it’s no longer an industry secret that people are turning to podcasts as a source of input.
Whilst some podcasts were often an adaptation of sorts – radio programmes made available for download, for instance – they are now increasingly used as the main or sole vehicle for creators to reach their audience.
And they’re not just for making audio drama, movie reviews, or one-to-one interviews with celebrities. Many academics and experts in their fields are creating podcasts to deliver verifiable facts and theories.
Some of them are still adaptations of sorts, such as discussions around highly regarded texts or audio/video recordings of academic lectures. Provided it meets the same criteria as the usual literature, citing a podcast can be equally relevant and admissible to your academic paper. It also shows your research has taken you further than the standard texts.
Luddites and technophobes needn’t panic. Traditional, published texts will continue to be your main source of research, particularly since they’re more likely to be peer-reviewed. But a well-chosen podcast can bring extra depth to your research, reviews, and arguments.
Don’t include too many podcasts – traditional academics will probably penalise you for being ostensibly lazy – and be sure to apply the same scrutiny to the source material that you would to any journal. Don’t, for instance, cite a podcast where the host makes an unverified claim about how camels can calculate trigonometry in their heads. Even if you think it lends credence to your argument.
Different Citation Styles
There are various ways to cite a podcast in academia, whether it’s for your dissertation or a standard essay, and the one you need to use will depend on your academic institution.
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Assuming you’re at least vaguely familiar with referencing systems, this overview will hopefully help you incorporate research gained from podcasts into your academic writing.
Also known as parenthetical referencing, the Harvard style is one of the best known and most used in academia, often used by those writing on topics related to Education, Psychology, and the Sciences.
Here’s a fictitious example of how you’d cite a podcast in your essay using the Harvard system. Take note that, as normal, you can either name the person in the text or in the brackets with the year of publication.
- One industry expert warns that a lack of preparation can “leave your chances in tatters” (Tavish, 2012)
- Industry expert Scott Tavish (2012) warns that a lack of preparation can “leave your chances in tatters”
And you’d list your citation in your bibliography/reference list in this format:
Tavish, S. (01/04/2020). Landing the Top Job. [podcast] Business Wiz. Available at: Flopcast.com/episode1 [05/04/2020]
The American Psychological Association uses a variation of the Harvard standard. You’ll see the slight differences from this example.
Dyce-Sohne, B. (Host). (2013, April 1). Main Course or Pudding? Dietary Culture and Rituals Explained [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.easyfm.org/2013/04/01/main-course-or-pudding-dietary-culture-and-rituals-explained
Citing the podcast in your paper is the same format as Harvard.
- When asked to name their favourite food, some people may have more than one, depending on the course (Dyce-Sohne, 2013).
- When people are asked to name their favourite food, Dyce-Sohne suggests their answer may vary depending on the course (Dyce-Sohne, 2013).
The Modern Language Association referencing system is mostly used in the Arts and Humanities, and there are certainly plenty of podcasts related to those disciplines. Take note of the time stamp included in the citation.
Johnston, Paula, host. “Social Media and Passive Aggression.” 21st Century Media, OJR, 12 Aug. 2017. www.OJR.org/2017/08/12/social-media-and-passive-aggression.
Johnston also warns us that our online presence may suffer as a result of openly complaining, which may affect real-world relationships (Social Media, 00:09:29-00:10:50).
Originating in the University of Chicago, this system is designed to acknowledge a wide range of source materials using footnotes and is mostly used for published work in the industries of business, fine arts, and history.
This system doesn’t distinguish between books, journal articles, or even online documents, except – as is the case with podcasts – there are no page numbers provided.
To cite a podcast with a footnote, you should include as much information as you can, including the name of the producer or presenter, the episode title and series name, the date of recording, the date you accessed it, its duration, and its URL.
The footnote should look like this – note that the presenter’s name is written `first, last`.
Neil Colquhoun, What it’s Like in Towns, Being in the 21st Century. Podcast lecture. April 2, 2016. https://lectures.falkland.ac.uk/lectopia/castr8/lucy?urback/whats-it-like-in-towns
And in your reference list, it should look more like the other styles, going back to `Last, first` as follows.
Colquhoun, Neil. 2012. What it’s Like in Towns. podcast lecture. In Being in the 21st Century. Lecture recorded at Falkland University on April 2, 2016, 45 min. https://lectures.falkland.ac.uk/lectopia/castr8/lucy?urback/whats-it-like-in-towns
Those are four of the most popular referencing systems, but there are others. Be sure to check you’re using the correct one! Hopefully, this overview will give you an idea on how to include podcasts in your academic work.
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You never know – maybe this time next year people will be citing you in their academic papers!