Cite a Lecture – APA, MLA, and Chicago Style

15.03.23 Citing sources Time to read: 5min

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Lectures or presentations can be valuable sources for your research paper. When you use the information, providing an in-text citation and bibliography list is crucial. If you want to cite a lecture, the official citation styles include MLA, APA and Chicago Styles. Citing sources accurately is essential in academic writing, and this includes knowing how to properly cite a lecture. Discover how to cite a lecture with the official styles and check out the examples.

Cite a Lecture – in a Nutshell

When you cite a lecture in APA, MLA or Chicago Style, your citations should include the following information:

  • The name of the speaker or lecturer
  • The title of the lecture
  • Details of the context, like the institution and the event or course
  • Date of the lecture

Definition: Cite a Lecture

Live and video lectures can be used as sources of information for a research project. When you cite a lecture, ensure you use the citation style recommended by the university. The guidelines used to cite a lecture in Chicago Style, MLA, or APA differ.

For instance, the Chicago style has two systems of citations; notes and bibliography, while APA uses a version of the author-date style, while MLA uses the author-page system, a simplified variation of the author-date system to cite a lecture.

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Cite a Lecture in APA

When using APA to cite a lecture, you don’t need to follow any citation rules for lectures you attended in person. Citation rules only apply to recorded or transcribed lectures accessible to the reader. If your readers cannot access the recorded lecture, your citation should mention the source as personal communication, and you can quote the content in your research paper. However, personal communication is made in in-text citations but not included in the reference list.

Cite a lecture as a personal communication

Format: (Initials and last name of the lecturer, personal communication, date of presentation)


(J. Osbourne, personal information, June 23, 2009)

If the lecture is available in the recorded or transcribed format, you adhere to the referencing style of the sources. You also use the same citation style for video lectures like zoom lectures and online lecture talks. For unrecorded zoom lectures, follow the format of live lectures. If the lecturer availed lecture notes, you follow the citation format and cite the lecture using the Powerpoint citation format.

General APA format: Lecturer’s last name, initials. (Year, Month Day) Speech title [Speech audio recording]. Website name. URL.
APA reference entry: Osbourne, J. (2009, June 23). Green Energy Benefits [Speech audio recording]. American News.
APA In-text citation: (Osbourne, 8:36)

When the conference speech is available as a presentation, the citation is as follows:

APA general format: Last name, initials. (Year, month day). Speech Title [Paper presentation]. The conference, City, State, country, URL
Example: Osborne, J. (2009, June 23). Green Energy Benefits [Paper presentation]. Green Energy Convention, London, United Kingdom.
In-text citation format: (Osbourne, 2009)

Cite a Lecture in MLA

If you want to cite a lecture in MLA, the rules depend on the format of the lecture. You follow a different rule when citing a lecture you attended in person or transcribed a speech. The MLA citation style uses the nine core elements system, including the author, title of the sources, the title of the container, other contributors, publisher, date and location. The container indicates the source of information.

Format for Live Lecture MLA Citation

Cite a lecture attended in person by providing the lecturer’s name, event name, date and institution. The lecture title should be in quotation marks and follow the headline capitalisation format. When you cite a lecture, in-text citation requires the lecturer’s last name only.

Citing Online or Recorded Lectures

If the speech or lecture is recorded online or transcribed in a book, you cite the lecture by following the format of the source type. If the speech is recorded in a book, you use the citation format for the book. At the end of the citation, include a description of the source type, like a speech audio recording.

General MLA format: Lecturer’s last name, first name. “Lecture Title.” Event Name, Day Month Year, Institution, Location. Lecture.
Example: Ted, Jakes. “Advantages of Machine Learning in Education.” Innovation and Technology Convention, 13 July 2010, Oxford University. Lecture.
MLA In-Text Citation (Jakes)
MLA general format: Last name, first name. “Title of the Lecture.” Website or book, Day Month Year, URL. Source Type.
MLA works cited entry example: Doyle, Jones. “Effects of Political Injustices.” International Churchill Society, 23 April 2010, Recorded lecture.
In-text citation: (Doyle)

Cite a Lecture in Chicago

Unlike APA and MLA citation styles, the Chicago Manual of Style requires a bibliography list of entries and footnotes for in-text citations when you cite a lecture. Despite the differences in style, the general format is similar to MLA citation works with parentheses on the lecture titles and descriptions of the source types. Chicago style also gives you two choices; you can cite a lecture using notes and a bibliography or author-date style.

Cite a Lecture Viewed in Person.

When creating a bibliography entry to cite a lecture attended in person, you provide the lecture title, host institution and a descriptive label.

Chicago Manual Style format:

Lecturer’s last name, first name. “Lecture Title.” Lecture, Event name or institution, location, month day, year.

Bibliography entry: Burns, Jeremy. “Impacts of Artificial Intelligence.” Lecture, University of San Francisco, California, May 12, 2016.
Chicago Footnote: Jeremy, Burns, “Impacts of Artificial Intelligence” (lecture, University of San Francisco, California, May 12, 2016).
In-text citation: Burns, “Artificial Intelligence.”
Note citation in author-date style: Burns, Jeremy. (2016) “Impact of Artificial Intelligence.” Lecture, Technology Series, University of San Francisco, California, May 12, 2016.

Cite a Video Lecture in Chicago.

When you cite a lecture that is available in video recording or transcribed format, you use the citation of the source. If your citation refers to a recorded speech on a website, use the format below:

Chicago general format:

Lecturer’s last name, first name. “Speech Title.” Filmed/Recorded at Location, Month Day, Year. URL.

Chicago bibliography: Beskin, Ruth. “The Perfect Portrait” Recorded at TEDxBeaconStreet, Washington, DC, July 28, 2013.
Chicago footnote: Ruth Beskin, “The Perfect Portrait,” filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet, Washington, DC, July 28, 2013, 2:13,
Chicago author-date: Beskin, Ruth. 2013. "The Perfect Portrait." Filmed July 28, 2013, at TEDxBeaconStreet, Washington, DC. Video, 2:13.
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When you cite a lecture slide, you follow the format of citing a Powerpoint presentation; the format requires you to mention the lecturer’s name, Powerpoint title, the title of the slide, date and location. You can use MLA, APA or Chicago style to cite the lecture slides.

When you cite a lecture in APA, MLA or Chicago style, the main elements include the speaker’s name and lecture title. Event name, date and location of the event. For lectures available in a recorded speech in books or websites, the citation must provide additional details like the name of the website or book, URL and the time stamps for the recording.

Most research papers specify the preferred citation style. Choose a style that matches your field if the lecturer isn’t specific. For instance, the Chicago style is popular in history and sciences, MLA style is used for humanities, and APA style is used for social and behavioural sciences. What’s important is to maintain one style throughout your project.