I am writing my thesis and using notes from different lectures on the topic as a source of sources. These notes cite other papers and present briefly the ideas, and I do use the lecture notes to find interesting papers on the topic, and in order to add some formal thinking to my research, but never actually quote a part of the lecture notes nor do I take any ideas directly from the notes but rather from the cited papers. I just use the general structure as a "guard" for my own structure and a source of good papers.

Is there a way to cite these? It seems to me that it wouldn't be quite honest to not cite these lecture notes as they helped me a lot.

Idea: should I mention these maybe in the acknowledgement part? Or at the very end of the thesis, between conclusion and bibliography?

  • You can mention them after bibiliography
    – Sweet72
    Sep 7, 2013 at 18:50
  • 1
    Is your thesis following a style guide or departmental style sheet? Sep 8, 2013 at 3:12
  • Ask your professors how this is done.
    – user5645
    Oct 15, 2014 at 20:18
  • @NeilFein: Probably, you will never find a guide or an official source dealing with this specific case. However, several style guides (e.g. The Chicago Manual of Style, 6th ed, §14.58) allow the division of a bibliography in several sections, and this was the reason for my answer. Jan 20, 2015 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


Since you don't have a bunch of "sources of sources" -- just this one -- you have three easy ways to remain honest and give due credit.

  1. Find a way to cite the notes directly as a reference, preferably before you cite anything you were led to by the notes. Directly quoting something is not a prerequisite for citing it as a reference.
  2. As you suggested, put a sentence in the acknowledgements section. Something like: The lecture notes from Dr. Smith's course, "Alien Spaceships," were used to provide overall direction and as a source of references.
  3. Do both, just to be clear.

My suggestion is to divide your bibliography in two sections: the first section can be titled, for example, Cited works (or something similar); the second one can be titled Further references.

At the beginning of the Further references section you should add a brief text explaining which kind of references you have included in this section and why.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.