Managing Your References

Keeping track of sources, references and citations are important for writing high-quality academic material.

Here are some useful links that can help you manage your sources:

  1. ZoteroZotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organizes, cite, and share your research sources. You’ll never lose a good reference again!
  2. Mendeley – Mendeley is a free reference manager and an academic social network. Manage your research, showcase your work, connect and collaborate with over five million researchers worldwide.
  • Alternatively, you can use MS Excel to record the databases and sources you’ve searched, and what results you’ve retrieved.

If you want to keep it simple, consider using a physical reference storage:

  1. Keep a separate file for each course and file dividers or coloured stickers within it for each topic.
  2. Always note down the author, title and publishing details of any book or journal article you research in case you want to use the information in an essay. This will also help you to reference it correctly in the bibliography.
  3. Keep an A – Z card index to take note of any important information that you might use in the future. Cross reference information to other important, relevant information.
  4. Keep up to date with your filing. Put handouts and any notes you have made during the online session in their correct places straight away.
  5. Always date your work and write your name and the name of the professor/instructor at the top of each page. Also, put the title of the course session. Getting into this habit will save a lot of time in the long run.
  6. Number your pages in case they fall out of your file.

You can then manually incorporate your references in documents.

Further Reading:

Organizing information (45 minutes) – Requires you to create a free account. Video tutorial. Learn why it’s important to organise information and reference correctly.

Organizing and synthesizing literature (1 hour) – Requires you to create a free account. Video tutorial. Learn to organise material retrieved from a literature search into themes, and to synthesize material from a variety of sources into a coherent argument.

« Back to Student SuccessLast updated November 21, 2019