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How to Cite Lecture Notes in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver (2018)

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The confusion over how to cite lecture notes comes from the fact that they're not written in formal print often as, say, a book. They're typically paraphrased also. Now you're thinking how do I cite this? The answer depends on one question: are the lecture notes published? If yes: Then you need to have a reference/work cited/bibliography list. If no: Then your lecture notes aren't accessible to your readers. In which case, you only need to cite them in the body of your paper (in-text citations) and not in your reference/work cited/bibliography list. Let me show you how it looks for each style format.


MLA The MLA citation style is focused on authorship. This means your in-text citations only need to mention the author's name.

Unpublished Lecture Notes

In-Text Citation Format-

Author's Surname

In-Text Citation Example-

The disillusionment of promised economic prosperity came as quickly as it was served, as mentioned by Clark et al. in a lecture delivered in 2018 at the University of Toronto.

Published Lecture Notes (add to works cited list) 

Works Cited Format-

Surname, First Name. "Lecture or Presentation Title." Other Pertinent Information. URL.  Access date is optional.

Works Cited Example-

Jones, Indiana. ‚ÄúPerformance Metrics for Remote Workers.‚ÄĚ Working Remote Conference, 31 November 2011, Massey Hall, Toronto, ON. Lecture.


APA The APA style emphasizes the date on which the work appeared. Following this style means you need to add the date to your in-text citation.

Unpublished Lecture Notes

In-Text Citation Format-

(Author Surname, Year)

In-Text Citation Example-

The inaccuracy of the economic model presented by Dean Walker is a result of missing the signal amidst the noise, as documented by Petunia et al (2018). in a lecture delivered at Queen's University.

Published Lecture Notes (add to reference list) 

When citing online lecture notes, be sure to provide the file format in brackets after the lecture title (e.g. PowerPoint slides, Word document). Reference List Format-

Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (Year). Lecture title [Format]. Retrieved from George Washington University Course name.

Reference List Citation Example-

Lee, B. Discretionary Reliance on Walking Sticks [PDF document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Website:


It's common to see footnotes and end notes in the Chicago style for additional information on the source of the information. If the lecture notes you're referring to aren't published, you only need to do in-text citations.

Unpublished Lecture Notes

In-Text Citation Format-


In-Text Citation Example-

Rose mentioned in her lecture on September 2, 2018 that the solutions submitted by the team of economists from the Economic Modeling Institute were impractical1

Published Lecture Notes (add to footnotes/endnotes + bibliography)

Footnotes Citation Format-

         1. First name Last Name, "Title or Subject of the Lecture" (class lecture, Course Name, School Name, Location, Month Day, Year).

Footnotes Citation Example-

         41. Jerry Markovitch, "Statistical Aberrations in PhD Dissertations Acceptances," (class lecture, MATH 3039, University of Toronto, Toronto ON, March 19, 2018.

*Note: If you need to add footnotes, you will need to add it to your bibliography.* Bibliography Citation Format-

         Last Name, First Name. "Title or Subject of the Lecture." Class lecture, Course Name, School, Location, Month Day, Year.

Bibliography Citation Example-

        Hanstedt, Paul. "The Indus Valley Conundrum," Class lecture, MATH 3039, University of Toronto, Toronto ON, March 19, 2018.


An image of the text Harvard Style Guide The Harvard style requires the surname of the author and the year to be mentioned when referencing the source information. These two points of information are often in parentheses together.

Unpublished Lecture Notes

In-Text Citation Format-

(Author Surname Year)

In-Text Citation Example-

Adrien and Wiley (2018) interpreted the financial models presented by the Sydney Institute of Technology as forecasting the end of sustained revenue demand in the steel industry.

*Note: if the authors' names are used to form a part of your sentence, you do not need to include them in the parentheses.*

Published Lecture Notes

Reference Citation Format-

Surname, Initial(s) Year, Title of the study guide or lecture notes, Type of Medium, School, viewed date, <Course Name>.

Reference Citation Example-

Wiley, W 2018, The Sociological Imagination Re-Imagined, Lecture notes, Michigan State University, delivered 1 January 2018, <SOC100>.


Image of of the text: Vancouver Style The Vancouver style uses number markers to indicate the when external informational sources are referenced. They can be marked with round brackets or superscripts.

Unpublished Lecture Notes

In-Text Citation Format-

Content (1)

In-Text Citation Example-

Yanokovitch spoke on the importance of examining the multiple cognitive approaches with the computational analysis method to identify environmental trends. (1)

Published Lecture Notes

Reference Citation Format-

1. Surname Initial. Title [Format]. Course Name, School; lecture given Month Day Year.

Reference Citation Example-

1. Petrovski B. Deindustrialization, Culture Wars, and Unionization [unpublished lecture notes]. HIST2100: Britain and the British Empire, University of Michigan; lecture given December 1 2018.

*Note: All your citations appearing in your reference list should be listed numerically in accordance with the sequence it appears in your paper.* Now you know how to cite lecture notes, if you need help citing study guides, here's how: How to Cite Study Guides in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver (2018).


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