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Old 04-30-2008, 11:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: In flight
Posts: 4,078
How do I cite something a professor said during lecture?

I am writing my Master's thesis proposal, in computer science. I would like to cite some observations / predictions / statements made by one of my professors in lecture. There are some lecture slides that back them up, but most of the information was presented only orally. How do I cite this in my proposal?

Specifically, one the things I would like to cite is his prediction that we will see 1000-core processors within a few years (not that far-fetched, there are 64-core processors commercially available already).

"Private communication" seems technically sufficient, but implies a connection that does not exist.

Last edited by Absolute; 04-30-2008 at 11:31 PM.
Old 04-30-2008, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,179
I am a college instructor. I would say there are two ways you can go about it as I had to do this in my Dissertation.

1. Email the professor and ask him to further elaborate on the concept. Then, in your paper, document it as follows:

We will see 1000-core processors within a few years (John Smith, personal correspondence).

2. Document it as a cite, but just reference it as best you can:

We will see 1000-core processors within a few years (Smith 2008).

And then in the References:

Smith, J. (2008) Lecture Title. Lecture given at the Univ. of XXX on April 30th, 2008.
Old 04-30-2008, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Venial Sin City
Posts: 12,438
This question actually came up here today, I couldn't find the answer either. What style are you using?
Old 05-01-2008, 06:37 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 3,181
In MLA format, I have used:

Smith, John. "Name of Lecture." Class lecture. Business 2430. University of XXXX, Whatever City, Tennessee. 1 May 2008.

Of course, this is double spaced, with a hanging indent and all that but you already know that. is a good website to help format cites.
Old 05-01-2008, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 6,223
I recently wrote a CS paper where this came up. We simply marked with a footnote "personal communication" and left it like that. I've seen that in other refereed papers too, so I presume it's the prevailing style.

Otherwise, I presume you're using LaTeX and BiBTeX for bibliography generation (you mentioned you are writing a CS dissertation). Just use the @misc BiBTeX entry and mention the fact that the information was gleaned from a lecture in the "note" field.

You may want to e-mail your lecturer, first, as he may wish to correct himself.

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