Citing Information from a Television Program

Sorry... this is a long one. But it shows I've put a lot of thought into this.

I recently viewed an episode of a  PBS television series that had excellent information about the evolution of land ownership. I would like to use this information as context in a report I plan to write and a class I plan to teach. But I'm unsure how to cite a tv program. I've checked EE and online but am not finding what I need. I think because I have a few questions.

  • I'm not sure who the 'Who' is for the citation. PBS? The production company, Wall to Wall Media? The scientists who were interviewed during the program?
  • For the 'What' I have the following info: First Civilizations is the series name so I'm thinking that should be italicized. "War" is the episode  within the series so I'm thinking that should be in quotes. This is episode 1 of 4 in the series. 
  • For the 'When', it was produced / copyrighted in 2018
  • For 'Where is' I'm not sure what to put. I viewed it live on tv on a particular channel on a particular day. Since it's an older program, it may not be aired on other PBS stations. I saw the ad at the end of the show that said a DVD of the program could be purchased. So I guess I could mention that as the 'where is', but that's not the 'where is' that I viewed it. 
  • For the 'Where in' I'm unsure if I need to note specific times (like 18 minutes into the program) that I gathered the information. I'm thinking this could changed depending on where this airs or what method (live tv vs. DVD) this this viewed. And, except for one specific quote I would like to use, the rest of the info is gathered from essentially the whole program, not one specific point in the program.

Although most all of the information I want to use is a summary of info heard in various parts of the program by different scientists, there is one sentence that I wanted to quote word-for-word. But the person who said these words was the narrator of the program - not one of the scientists. These would not be the narrator's thoughts or ideas. He was just reading lines. And he didn't mention which scientist the ideas were from. So how do I give credit for this quote?

And... is the information provided verbally by PhDs in their fields sufficient for the research or do I have to try to track down their written research or books and cite that? 

Maybe I'm overthinking this since this is just context information. 


Submitted byEEon Wed, 06/29/2022 - 13:28

Susan, you are asking the right questions. Given that you are using statements made in the program as evidence, it is important to not just cite where the information can be found but to also identify the entities responsible for the information—a point that speaks to reliability.

Have you studied the QuickCheck Model at p. 790 (3d ed. rev.) and the discussion and examples at 14.23—14.24?  Using one of these, would you try to construct a citation that we can specifically discuss?

Re your next-to-last sentence: Why do you think it would make a difference whether the "recognized expert" made a statement in an oral interview as opposed to making the statement in a written publication?

Submitted bySusan VH Fabianon Sat, 07/02/2022 - 11:33

I had read the model on page 789 and some of the entries in chapter 14, but your suggestion of 14.24, sound clips, seems to fit best for how I want to use the information found within the program. 

Thanks too for the comment about an oral interview vs. a transcript. I guess I was thinking along the lines of something a reader of my paper could refer to (a transcript) as opposed to a program they might not have access to. But, I can see where the oral interviews on the program definitely show the reliability of the information.

Here's my try at a citation for one piece of information by one of the scientists who spoke during the program. No time given since my information is a summary of everything he said during his multiple sections of the program. For the where is, I cited the website for the program even though I didn't watch it there but it's where others could find it.

Jeff Rose, "War" (episode 1), PBS, First Civilizations, 2018, television program ( : viewed 27 June 2022).