I have just finished my dissertation and just have a question about acknowledgements and citation.

There was a line in a proof of a paper that I did not follow and someone told me what it meant.

Does that warrant citation or does it look silly citing such things? It wasn’t their own work, they explained where it came from.


Citing in this case is unnecessary. An acknowledgement would be gracious, but also not strictly necessary. My personal inclination would be to do it if their explanation led to some insight on my part.

But "Thanks to JDoe for their insights into Theorem 35 of Gauss", or whatever, is, as I say, gracious.

It is even less necessary if the person's job is to teach you stuff.

  • See it was a mathematical proof by induction from a paper and I couldn’t tell whether it was normal induction that was being used or something new. It turned out it was just complete/strong induction. Another person also helped explained a minor result in a proof. I’d never not want to give credit but this isn’t any new work or anything and I don’t know if it would just look silly pointing out such things in an acknowledgment. Apr 21 at 12:48
  • Pretty standard stuff, once you understand it.
    – Buffy
    Apr 21 at 12:52
  • sorry I accidentally sent that before finishing Apr 21 at 12:53
  • 1
    No, it isn't silly. Acknowledging mentors for their mentorship with no specific details is common enough. Gracious, but not necessary. But gracious is good in a dissertation.
    – Buffy
    Apr 21 at 12:56

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