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Powerpoint Presentations and APA — Brief Guide on Proper Citation

Jun 11, 2019

American Psychological Association (APA) style is followed by all types of colleges, universities, and academic publications. As a student, you are likely to have already faced the APA format in your academic writing. If not, and you are writing, let's say, an APA essay or an APA research paper, you must learn how to format your paper in APA format.

To show you've done a great researching job and make your work plagiarism-free, you can choose different references for your paper. These are books, newspapers, magazines, interviews, radio broadcasts, encyclopedias. But in this age or technology and innovations, students use electronic resources as works cited in their papers. One of the most popular ones in this regard are PowerPoint presentations. They can hold tons of knowledge and become handy for students.

So, you have found excellent slides on an open website. But it's not enough to find relevant and engaging info and include it in your work. You also need to know how to cite PowerPoint presentation without running a risk of being accused of plagiarism. It may seem like a tedious process, but fret not! It will take only a few minutes for you to learn APA citation rules for PowerPoint slides in your work. Keep reading!

In-Text and Reference Citations: Standards and Examples

In-Text Citations in APA

Often, students want to cite a presentation or lecture in their academic works. Let's say, you're a listener of a professor's PowerPoint presentation that is available only for lecture attendees. Then, consider such a presentation as personal communication. Such lecture materials are unpublished, and a researcher is unable to find them. Thus, if you need to cite such a lecture, include your instructor's last name or the name of an organization that provided the slides. Also, remember that you can cite within the text, but do not include the resource in the Reference Cited List as it is not recoverable.

When putting APA citations in a text, start with a signal phrase and putting the name of the lecturer in parentheses. Then write a file format and the date of creation. Words in a citation are not italicized. Here's a text citation example:

  • (Author's last name, personal communication, Month day, year). E.g.: (Collins, personal communication, September 12, 2018)
  • (Organization name, personal communication, Month day, year) E.g.: (Edinburgh Business School, personal communication, April 12, 2017)

However, slides that can be retrieved from open websites or other public sources need to be treated more formally. If you need to put a direct quote in a text, start with a signal phrase, then put a quote. End with writing the last name of the author, the year of creation, and the number of the slide in parentheses. You'll get the following structure:

In-text citation: (Last name, year, p. X)

Here's a citation with the author's name featured in a signal phrase:

The idea professor Nickelson (2018) conveys in his presentation is that "Literature is one way for us to hear the voices of the past and work with the present" (slide 9).

If you don't intend to show the author in a signal phrase, a citation will have a different look:

The idea conveyed in the presentation is that "Literature is one way for us to hear the voices of the past and work with the present" (Nickelson, 2018, slide 9).

If you're not using a direct quotation, here's the text paraphrase example:

Nickelson (2018) said that literature is the only way for people to hear the voices of the past and work with the present.

Or, if you do not aim to include the author's name, write:

It is said that literature is the only way for people to hear the voices of the past and work with the present (Nickelson, 2018, slide 9).

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Reference Citations in APA

When one references slide citations, it should include more details. Start with the last name of an author and their initials — first and second initial if given. Then write a publication year. After that, you need to write the title of the presentation and the file format. Be sure to include the last info in square brackets. Also, add the source where the slide was retrieved. You will get the following format:

  • Last name, A. (year, Month day). Title of presentation: Subtitle if any [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from
  • Barad, D. (2018, September 10). What is literature? [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Citing Tips

When you cite a professor's PowerPoint presentation, take into account that the author may have also referred to other resources in their slides. Here, ask the presenter where they had found those materials. You may need to search for a resource in a library, but you must cite the original resource. If you can't do that, you need to know how to cite a secondary author's information from a PowerPoint presentation.

We hope that with our brief citation guide, APA formatting will be a doddle for you. But if you've got trouble with formatting your paper in APA, or get lost every time you need to use the MLA format, leave it to professionals. Our professional PowerPoint service will eagerly help you with your tasks!

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