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Main Rules and Helpful Tips to Cite a Lecture

11 June 2021 0 comment
tips to Cite a Lecture

As a new academic year has just started, all the students make their resolutions and try to complete all the tasks. But what can make their ears and minds stay open during the whole year? Good experience of listening to the lectures as well as knowing how to cite lecture notes according to MLA, APA, Chicago Manual, and other standards.

If you have ever had a feeling that you wanted to cite everything you heard during the lecture, you are not alone. What might cause a problem is citing a lecture you were listening to. While with printed sources, there apply regular rules for referencing, the ability to cite a lecture requires to know some specific quotation guidance. So, here we are going to share the basic tips on how to cite a class lecture and discuss other important nuances.

How You Can Make Your Note-Taking More Efficient

There is a direct connection between taking notes and the ability to cite a lecture. Based on the research conducted by the Kayla Morehead team at Kent State University in the US, nearly 60 percent of students said they would like to take better notes. Knowing how to cite a lecture in APA is no less important.

Given the importance of effective note-taking to memory for and learning of course content, continuing to examine student note-taking behavior as technologies change will be an important avenue for future research.

Kayla Morehead

So, let’s take a quick look at what might help students take better notes in order to know how to cite lecture notes more efficiently.

Lecturing may have different formats starting with an ordinary reading the information from a piece of paper to seminars and workshops. In most cases, professors remember the content of their lectures by heart and they don’t care much about explaining the material in detail to the students. For this reason, students often get overloaded with information.

Basic Rules for Taking Notes

  • Don’t write down every single word. This is a mistake most students make at the beginning. Instead, try to keep a balance – listen up, and write down only the most important phrases as you will not remember all the information.
  • Use a dictaphone. Recording a lecture might be helpful if you are a slow writer or you worry about missing something important. In case, you are planning to cite a lecture, a dictaphone is your must-have.
  • Highlight, capitalize and underline. This way, you can get focused on the key points in your notes when choosing what to write down and thinking about how to cite a professor’s lecture. It can be either something that strikes you or something your lecturer stressed.
  • Use abbreviations. The only person who will be reading your notes is you. That means you can develop your system of abbreviations, for example, use ‘2’ instead of ‘too’, ‘to’, ‘two’, or ‘y’ for ‘why’, or ‘w’ for ‘with’, ‘de’ for ‘the’ and so on.

The above-mentioned tips might be helpful in writing down the phrases from a lecture as precise as possible. But there are two ways of how to cite a lecture in text: direct speech or indirect (reported) speech.

If you want to refer to what a lecturer said directly without changing the phrase, it is direct speech in which you should use the quotation marks. The advantage of this type of referring consists in making a statement more valid by using the same words of the lecturer.

If you include the reference in your essay, it will help the reader to understand the origin of the point. That is why it is not only important to communicate the viewpoint but provide the reader with first-hand information just the way it was said.

Useful Advice for Making Perfect Citations

cite lecture

When citing a phrase, make sure you follow all the grammar and quotation rules for how to cite a lecture in text. It is crucial to adhere to basic rules of citing to make a text more readable:

  • Avoid citing every section of the lecture. If you tend to include too much quotation in your essay, it may sound boring to the readers. Your work may be underestimated because of a lack of creativity, your own opinion, and vision for the subject.
  • You shouldn’t cite a lecture in APA, MLA or another format by quoting unnecessary things. Instead, do some analysis first and confirm that the essay makes the right impression on the reader and relates to what is discussed in the work.
  • Cite only phrases that express the main point of view vividly. You want your essay to be not only informative but interesting. You don’t have to cite every word said by the lecturer just because he is a renowned person in the university.
  • Don’t cite too long phrases in your essay. This rule applies to any kind of work. Try to make quotes as short as possible to avoid losing your thread of thought. Make a quote no more than four lines. In case, you need to remove material, you can use an ellipse, a set of three periods. And make sure that deleting words do not change the meaning of the phrase.

How to Cite a Lecture

  • MLA. It is crucial to understand that you should use different formats of referring. When MLA citing a lecture or other oral, that is, not published presentation like a conference presentation, start with the lecturer’s name. After, cite the title of the lecture (conference or meeting) in quotation marks. Write it at the beginning of the lecture. Follow with the name of the organization including its address. In the end, use the description of the type of lecture, for example, guest lecture, keynote speech, reading, conference presentation and so on. Here is an example on how to cite a lecture MLA:
cite a lecture MLA
  • APA. Citing a lecture APA is similar to the type of citing mentioned above. In many cases, students need and advice on how to cite lecture slides, a course, class notes, book, film, website or other materials. Note that if websites publish such materials, you can cite them directly. In another case, cite as personal communication as you cannot replicate or retrieve it. When APA citing a lecture, you can use the following example:
APA citing a lecture
  • Chicago. It happens that a lecture was published in another source like a book or journal and you need to refer to one of them. Citing a lecture Chicago regulates that you should cite the material in the source it was published first. Here is an example:
Citing a lecture Chicago

Summing Up

In this article, we have discussed the most common rules for citing a lecture in different formats. Hope you found helpful the revealed information. In case, you got any questions, feel free to share them in the comments section below.


Anna Rogers

Anna Rogers produced content for multiply social media platforms, collaborated with various journalists and write original articles and blog posts.


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