How To Cite Google Definitions

How do I cite the definition that came up when i googled "what is culture"?

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gsenviro's profile pic

gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

For research purposes, Google or Wikipedia or similar sites are neither recommended nor acceptable (to most authorities) citations. This is because sources such as Wikipedia can be edited by anybody (though the mistake or incorrect information may be corrected later on) and hence should only be used as a starting point. 

It is recommended that you use a published and reviewed work, such as dissertation theses, journal articles, books, or reports from reputed agencies and organizations, etc. For example, in this case, a Google Scholar search for "Culture" presented a number of research papers and books that can be cited.

Now, how you cite a particular source depends upon the citation style you need to use. The citation styles are dictated by your organization (university, etc.) or publishing agency where you want your work to be published. Please check with the relevant agency for the citation style. You can also refer to the MLA format presented in the previous answer to your question by Kristen.

Hope this helps. 

lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Your citation information largely depends on the citation format that you use. 

I typed in the "What is culture?" to see what came up, and I realize what you're talking about-- The google search engine now pulls definitions from various sites and streams them into a classy display right on the Google main page.  Hmm.  Here's my advice to you--Don't cite Google.  As a resource, it's not as strong as say, a respected dictionary site.  When you are building your bibliography, it's imperative that you choose the strongest possible resources to strengthen the credibility of your research.  I recommend clicking on one of the main dictionary site links. 

I clicked on the Mirriam Webster Dictionary link from google.  I copy-pasted it in the links below.  I will give you an example, using MLA format. 

"Culture." Mirriam-Webster.  Mirriam-Webster, Inc.  Web. 24 Apr. 2012. 



**I also included a link to the Purdue Owl site which has excellent resources for documentation/citation.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

As highlighted in the above responses, first and foremost the citation style will be determined by your paper’s format. For instance, if your paper instructions indicate that you should use the APA format, you will follow the APA guidelines for both in-text citation and the references. Having already noted that Google and Wikipedia are generally not credible sources of information in academic writing, I will advise you to look for books, journals or reports to refer to. When doing a citation in-text, one has to provide the name of the author of that particular piece of information, the year of publication and the page number if possible in parenthesis depending on the paper format. The in-text citation will coincide with an item in the references or bibliography section of your paper. For example, when using the APA paper format for in-text citation, this is how the citation would be done. According to Matsumoto (n.d.), culture is the set of ways that emerges when a group… The corresponding references item for this citation which is a non-periodical web document would be

Matsumoto, D. (n.d.). Culture, context and behavior. Retrieved from

I also recommend you visit the Purdue Owl site; it is very comprehensive.


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