How To Cite A Lecture: A Guide For Students And Professionals

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how to cite a lecture a guide for students and professionals

Citing a lecture is an important skill, both for students and professionals. A great way to make sure you get the credit due for your work is to cite correctly any material used from lectures.

Take the case of Sarah, a college student who recently gave a presentation on climate change using data presented during her professor’s lecture. To ensure that her professor was properly credited with his research, Sarah needed to know how to cite the lecture in her report.

In this article we’ll review the steps necessary to successfully cite a lecture or speech – so that everyone gets their due recognition!

Whether you’re presenting in class or submitting a paper, citing lectures can be tricky business. But fear not; by following these easy steps, you’ll have no trouble properly crediting anyone whose words you use.

First, identify all relevant information about the speaker: name, date of delivery, title of lecture, and location where it took place. With those details at hand (and our guide!), you’ll soon be able to accurately reference any source materials used from lectures and speeches alike.

So let’s dive into learning more about how to cite a lecture!

Why Is Citing A Lecture Important?

Citing a lecture is an important part of academic writing and research. Not only does it provide recognition to the speaker, but it also allows other readers to access the original source material if they wish to do further reading. It’s especially necessary when citing lectures because these sources are not always available online or in print.

Each citing style has its own requirements for how you should cite your sources, so make sure you familiarize yourself with them before using either format. Knowing which format to use will save you time later on so that you can focus more on getting your ideas down without worrying about all the details related to citations.

No matter what type of lecture you’re citing – whether it’s from a professor’s classroom, an online video tutorial, or even a TED Talk – having accurate citations helps ensure that your work is properly attributed and validates your credibility as a researcher.

Additionally, taking the time to learn proper citation techniques shows respect for the hard work of others while helping to protect against plagiarism.

Types Of Lectures

Lectures come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re attending a physical lecture hall or joining an online webinar, the way that you cite your sources can vary from one to another. This guide will help students and professionals alike understand how to properly cite a lecture according to its type.

Let’s start with in-person lectures. When citing these kinds of lectures, be sure to include the lecturer’s name, date of delivery, title of the lecture (if applicable), and location where it was held.

For example:

Jules Verne spoke at The Royal Academy on July 21st 1868 about his new book “20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”.

Online lectures are similar but may require slightly different information depending on their format. You should always include the speaker’s name, title of lecture (if available), date when it was given, website URL or platform used for delivering the speech, and an access date if there is any chance that readers might visit a page which has since been updated or removed from public view.

As an example:

On March 5th 2020 Dr. Smith gave a presentation about robotics through Zoom Video Conferencing; accessed April 15th 2020 via http://examplezoomurl/.

Determining what citation style works best for this type of lecture requires further research into specific guidelines set by each discipline’s publication standards – something we’ll tackle next!

Common Citation Styles

list of common citation styles
Common Citation Styles

When it comes to citing lectures, having an understanding of the various citation styles is essential. Whether you’re a student or professional, knowing how to cite a lecture correctly can help ensure your work is accurate and up to date.

The most common citation styles are:

  • APA
  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • Harvard 

Determining Citation Style

Determining the right citation style is like trying to find your way through a maze. It’s not always clear which path to take, but with a little guidance, you can find your way out. 

Each citation style has its own set of rules and requirements, and knowing which one to use can be daunting. 

But fear not, my fellow writers! With a little research and consideration of your field and audience, you can choose the citation style that best suits your needs. 

Whether it’s the clear and concise style of APA, the simplicity and flexibility of MLA, or the versatility of Chicago or Harvard, there is a citation style out there for you. 

So take a deep breath, grab your style guide, and let’s take a look at each in a bit more detail!

APA (American Psychological Association)

This style is commonly used in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, and education. It emphasizes the author and date in-text citations and includes a reference list at the end of the paper. It is known for its clear and concise style and is often used in research papers.

MLA (Modern Language Association)

This citation style is typically used in the humanities, such as English, literature, and cultural studies. 

It uses in-text citations that include the author’s last name and page number and includes a works cited page at the end of the paper. MLA is known for its simplicity and flexibility, and it’s often used in literary analyses and research papers.


This citation style has two versions: notes-bibliography and author-date. The notes-bibliography version is often used in the humanities, arts, and social sciences and uses footnotes or endnotes for in-text citations and includes a bibliography at the end of the paper. 

The author-date version is commonly used in the natural and social sciences and uses parenthetical citations in the text and a reference list at the end of the paper. Chicago is known for its flexibility and is often used in history and social science research papers.

how to write a harvard style citation
A man writing a Harvard style citation


This citation style is commonly used in the natural and social sciences, including medicine and health sciences. It uses author-date in-text citations and includes a reference list at the end of the paper. 

Harvard style is known for its simplicity and ease of use, and it’s often used in research papers and scientific reports.

Examples Of Different Styles Of Citing A Lecture

MLA style:

Last name, First name. “Title of Lecture.” Name of Course, Institution, Location of Lecture. Date of lecture.

For example:

Smith, John. “The Role of Technology in Modern Society.” Introduction to Technology, XYZ University, New York, NY. 4 Mar. 2023.

APA style:

Last name, First initial. (Year, Month Day). Title of lecture [Lecture]. Name of Course, Institution, Location.

For example:

Smith, J. (2023, March 4). The Role of Technology in Modern Society [Lecture]. Introduction to Technology, XYZ University, New York, NY.

Chicago style:

Last name, First name. “Title of Lecture.” Lecture, Name of Course, Institution, Location of Lecture, Date of Lecture.

For example:

Smith, John. “The Role of Technology in Modern Society.” Lecture, Introduction to Technology, XYZ University, New York, NY, March 4, 2023.

Harvard style:

Last name, First initial. (Year). Title of lecture [Lecture]. Name of Course, Institution, Location of Lecture, Date of Lecture.

For example:

Smith, J. (2023). The Role of Technology in Modern Society [Lecture]. Introduction to Technology, XYZ University, New York, NY, March 4.

how to write a chicago style citation
A man writing a Chicago style citation

Overview Of APA Citation For Lectures

If you’re looking to cite a lecture using the APA style, then you’ll need to know all about in-text citations and reference list entries. This citation format requires that title of the lecture be included along with any other relevant information such as the speaker’s name and date of delivery.

When it comes to in-text citations for lectures, it’s important to remember that they should be formatted according to the guidelines provided by your instructor or publisher. Additionally, make sure to include a full reference entry at the end of your paper that includes details on the lecturer, title, date of presentation and location if available.

By taking into account these small but essential elements when citing a lecture using APA style, you can be sure that readers will have enough information to track down your source material quickly and easily!

Overview Of MLA Citation For Lectures

In contrast to APA style which relies heavily on referencing sources within text directly, MLA uses both in-text citations and works cited entries for their bibliographic references. 

These two types of entries are very similar except for one major difference – while an in-text citation only needs basic details like author name and page number (or other identifiers), a works cited entry needs more complete information including publisher info, publication year etc.

As far as citing lectures goes though, not much changes; simply include the same details found in an in-text citation plus additional ones like type of medium used if applicable. With this approach you can ensure accuracy since all necessary data is present from start to finish.

Overview Of Chicago Citation For Lectures

Next, we come across Chicago style which uses footnotes and bibliography entries instead of direct references within the text body like APA or MLA do. That said, most crucial pieces remain unchanged no matter what form you use – namely those related to identifying who presented the lecture, its title, where it was held (if known), and so forth.

What’s different here is that each time a detail pertaining to a particular source appears throughout your writing or research project; there should also appear an accompanying footnote listing out further particulars regarding it right below wherever mentioned initially. Through this process, readers can get easy access to original work without having to look around much once done reading through the main content above them!

Overview Of Harvard Citation Style For Lectures

Harvard style uses author-date citations and requires the inclusion of the lecturer’s name, date, title of lecture, and type of medium (if applicable) in the reference list entry. 

In-text citations should also include the lecturer’s name and year of delivery in parentheses. When citing a lecture, it’s important to indicate the location of the lecture and the organization or event that sponsored it. 

Additionally, if the lecture was part of a series, include the name of the series and the series editor. Harvard style emphasizes the use of precise and complete information in citations to help readers locate the source material easily. 

By following these guidelines, writers can ensure that their citations meet the standards of Harvard style and provide accurate and comprehensive information for their readers.

Elements Of A Lecture Citation

elements of a lecture citation
Elements Of A Lecture Citation

When citing a lecture, there are several key elements to consider.

  • First, who was the speaker? You’ll need their name for the citation.
  • Second, when was the lecture given? Make sure you note the exact date.
  • Third, what was the title of the lecture? This is important to include.
  • Fourth, where did the lecture take place? Location is essential.
  • Fifth, what type of lecture was it? Was it a keynote address or a seminar?
  • Lastly, who sponsored the lecture and what media format was it in? These are both important details to add.

Once you’ve gathered all this info, you can begin to create your citation.

Speaker Name

When it comes to citing a lecture, the speaker’s name is one of the most important elements. The last name and first name should always be included when referring to the lecturer in a citation.

In some cases, if the person is well-known or if their full title is used for reference, then only their last name may suffice. For example, you can refer to someone like Albert Einstein as simply “Einstein”. However, it would be more appropriate to include both his first and last names since he is such an influential figure in science history.

It’s best practice to use either the speaker’s full given name or at least provide their last name so that readers are able to easily identify who they are referencing with minimal effort. Furthermore, including the speaker’s full name will ensure proper recognition of them while still providing accurate information on what was discussed during their lecture.

All in all, making sure that the lecturer’s entire name (first and last) is provided when writing up a citation ensures that those reading have clear context about who presented the material being referenced.


To properly cite a lecture, the date of the event is also essential. This can be done by providing either the day, month and year it occurred or simply stating when in relation to other events that have taken place.

For example, you might say something like “The lecture took place on October 14th 2020” or “It was held shortly after the introduction of our new product line”. The more specific information provided about when it happened, the easier it will be for readers to identify its relevance in their own research.

If citing a personal communication such as a lecture, many style guides suggest avoiding including dates altogether due to potential confusion with published works and copyright laws. Instead, use language that conveys how recently or long ago this event may have happened relative to another point in time (e.g., ‘the lecture given last September’).

It’s important to remember though that different citation styles may require different formats for these types of references so make sure to double-check what your institution requires before submitting any assignments!


While not mandatory depending on which style guide is used, some lecturers may choose to include an optional element such as type of lecture (e.g., keynote address), sponsor/host organization (e.g., TEDx Talks), or media format (e.g., video).

The type of lecture can help provide further context around the content presented and allow readers to get a better understanding of what transpired at the event itself.


When it comes to citing a lecture, the title is an essential element that must be included. This can come in various forms – from a formal presentation or speech name to simply describing what was discussed during the event. No matter which form you choose, make sure to be as specific as possible so readers know exactly what type of content they can expect when consulting your source material.

When referencing an in-text citation style, this means providing the speaker’s last name and then the lecture title within quotation marks. For example: “(Smith, ‘The Impact of Technology on Education’)”.

how to write a an APA style citation
A man writing an APA style citation

Tips And Tricks For Citing Lectures

Citing a lecture is no easy feat. It’s like trying to navigate your way through a maze of rules and regulations that are ever-changing, yet incredibly important for academic success.

Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true tips and tricks you can follow when citing lectures in the 7th edition of APA style:

  • Make sure to include any relevant course information such as class name, instructor name, university name, and date (if available).
  • Include both published materials used during the lecture (e.g., slides or notes) and unpublished materials referenced by the lecturer (i.e., their own words).
  • When citing material from an online platform (such as a podcast or webinar), be sure to cite the specific link/URL where it was accessed.
  • For lectures not recorded or published online, consider adding “(class lecture)” after the professor’s name in order to make clear that this is a citation of an oral presentation rather than a written document.

In short, understanding how to cite a lecture properly will help ensure accuracy and credibility in writing papers. And remember, if you really do get stuck, there are some free online citation tools like this one to help.

Taking into account these helpful guidelines while also being mindful of class notes will help ease the process of correctly formatting citations every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Include The Lecture Title In My Citation?

Absolutely! You want to make sure that your reader can find exactly what you’re citing.

Even though a lecturer’s name is enough information to locate a specific lecture, adding the lecture title will give more context and be more helpful for readers wanting to access it.

Plus, including this extra bit of info won’t take any extra time – so why not do it?

Is There A Difference Between Citing A Lecture Presented In Person And One Presented Online?

Yes. While both require information such as the date of presentation and title of the lecture, if it was an online conference or event, additional details are needed to make sure your citation is accurate.

You’ll need to include things like the name of the website where the lecture was held, as well as any other pertinent information that can help identify where it took place.


Citing lectures might seem overwhelming but with the right information and practice, anyone can become an expert at citing lectures.

It’s like learning how to ride a bike – once you get it down, you never forget it! In short, understanding why lecture citation is important and familiarizing yourself with the different elements will help make the process much smoother.

Don’t fret over getting it perfect every time; just keep trying until you feel confident enough that your lecture citations are on point.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.