In preparation for my honours thesis, I recently completed a (free) Online Course on the broader field, presented by a world class expert.

I would like to (am ethically required to?) put this in my bibliography, though I will not cite it directly, instead citing papers that it referred to.

What information should I put in my bibliography?

I'm not interested in the exact formatting, I'm using software to generate that. I'm interested in what information I should put.

  • What category of material is it? It isn't a lecture as it contained 16 lectures and a bunch of assignments etc. Is it a Internet Document? A Unpublished Work?

  • Should the teaching assistants be listed as Co-authors? They wrote the assignments.

  • Should I not be putting it in the bibliography at all, but instead acknowledging it more informally?

  • Why not cite it directly?
    – JeffE
    Jul 31, 2014 at 13:08
  • This question was asking how (as well as if I should). Jul 31, 2014 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


It should be appropriate to acknowledge the "head-start" you got from that course in the acknowledgements section of the thesis. It would be unusual to list a course in the bibliography unless there really was no more authoritative source available for some information or a method that you directly used.

The purpose of a bibliography is to cite the primary source of any information directly used in your work. If you use something from the online course worth citing, then you should cite it. However, it's unlikely the information in the course is new, so you should try to track down and cite the original source in a peer-reviewed article or textbook.

  • In what sense is the online course itself not a primary source? I don't see citing a MOOC as any different from citing a textbook.
    – JeffE
    Jul 31, 2014 at 13:09

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