We all know we should cite references when we write a paper, whether for a blog, a professional office or for our lecturers. However, when it comes to presentations, the need to include references becomes less clear. Is it appropriate to cite references to your presentation? And if so, how do you go about it?

Should a presentation contain references? Whether your presentation is oral or visual, you should always cite your references. This shows your audience that you have done extensive research and that you are giving credit to the sources that were cited instead of engaging in plagiarism.

When it comes to presentations, most presenters are unsure whether to cite references and where to put them. This article will explain why including references in any presentation is essential. It will also show you how to cite references in both visual and oral presentations.

Does a presentation need to cite references?

Before we begin discussing how to cite references in your presentation, you should understand why. If you don’t understand why you should include your sources, you may feel that it is an unnecessary component of the presentation, taking up more of your time than you would like.

You should always include references in your presentations for three reasons:

1. It shows your audience that you have done extensive research.

If you are listening to a presentation and the presenter does not have any sources, you will wonder if the presenter n telling the truth. However, if the presenter cites numerous sources, you know that they have done an extensive research to get the most accurate and truthful information available.

2. It gives credit where credit is due.

When you choose to use a source, it is because that source is good. It is loaded with information that you must place in your presentation because you want everyone to hear it. Therefore, when you mention this information, you should give credit where credit is due.

3. It avoids plagiarism.

Plagiarism is an offense in any type of information presentation. Stealing someone else’s work is not only illegal but also unprofessional. Nobody respects plagiarism, no matter where they see it, and your presentation is no exception. Do the right thing and avoid plagiarism by including references in your presentations at all times.

Adding references to your presentation is critical for several different reasons. However, trying to decide when and where to place your references can be challenging. Having the right placement and writing it correctly can make all the difference between a high-quality presentation and one that looks a little incomplete.

How to include references in your presentation

Whether you choose a visual or oral presentation, it is always a good idea to provide references. Some references, however, may appear more untidy and unprofessional than others. You must familiarize yourself with the best ways to cite references in both oral and visual presentations.

Oral presentation

Adding a reference to an oral presentation is a bit trickier than a visual presentation. But it is not impossible. Here are some great tips from “Citing Sources in an Oral Presentation” that you can use.

1. Cite your reference during your oral presentation.

The easiest way to quote a reference during an oral presentation is to say the name of the author or the source before you mention their comment or sentence. You may also want to say ‘quote’ when starting the quote and ‘end quote’ immediately when finished. Always keep things simple, brief, and to the point.

For example: if you are citing something a professor from a particular university said, you would say “According to James X from X University, quote (content) end quote.” This gives your listeners a clear and straightforward view of where you got the quote from.

2. Include a printed list of references.

It can be difficult to remember all the different references you get your information from during an oral presentation. To make it easier for your listeners, you can print out a list of references to give credit to those whom you have referenced.

This list can be used with your oral citing, although your listeners may not know which quote is accompanied by which source. You can make it easier by presenting your information in the order your sources are listed on your printed list.

Visual presentation

It is easier to add references to a visual presentation than it is to an oral one, but it is no less important. With the assistance of Brock University’s Citing Business Sources in APA Style, we have prepared a list of techniques to add citations and references to your PowerPoint.

1. Add references at the bottom of the page.

The best way to add references to your PowerPoint presentation is to add them at the bottom of the page. This way, your viewers can see exactly where your quotes are coming from. If you have multiple references on one page, you can divide them up by using numbers at the end of the sentence. Remember, they should directly correlate with the number and names listed.

2. Add the references next to the information.

You can also put your references immediately next to the information, although too much of this can look sloppy. However, it does make it easier for your viewers to see your references.

3. Type the reference information in smaller text.

Making the text of the information smaller but still legible is an easy way to show your viewers that this information was gathered by someone other than you. Just remember to place the actual reference somewhere on your PowerPoint.

4. Add a list of references at the end of your presentation.

Finally, you can always add a page at the end of your PowerPoint solely for references. With this option, you will want to pinpoint where the citation was used in your PowerPoint, so viewers have a better understanding of who said what.

5. When working with images, videos, and other media, put the references in parentheses near the material.

Even visual aids used in your presentation should be referenced. This can be done by adding the reference in parentheses underneath or next to the media. You may also want to include the publication date and title of the media to give your viewers more information.

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to citing references. Choose the best option that is right for you and your PowerPoint presentation. Consider watching How to Cite Sources in PowerPoint (YouTube video) for more information on how to cite references in your PowerPoint presentation. You may also want to read How to Cite Images in PowerPoint (Wikihow article).


Any presentation that uses information from someone else should have cited sources. Citing references is incredibly important for many reasons. When you cite references, you give credit where credit is due, avoid plagiarism, and ultimately, make your presentation more polished and professional.