Chemistry: Citing Sources
Citation Management Tools
Citation management programs allow you to collect, organize, cite, and share references from articles, books, websites and more.
Zotero is the only research tool that automatically senses content, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click.
Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research.
Why should you cite your sources?
1. It makes it easier for others to locate or verify the information you've mentioned in your own research. This can be especially useful to other scholars, who may be looking for related sources.
2. It indicates that there's a body of work - that research is a discussion combining past theories and new ideas.
When should you cite your sources?
This can be a tricky thing - but there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. In general, if you are sharing something that is not your own, you should cite it. "Something" can be a lot of things - a phrase or an idea from a book or magazine; a photograph or graph you found using Google Images; information acquired through an interview or a conversation (including e-mail or IM).
You don't have to cite your own creations - your own observations, your results from a lab or field experiment, your own artwork. You also don't have to cite things that are common knowledge or generally known - for example, if you wrote that Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, you would not need to cite this fact.
For more information about when to cite your sources, check out our plagiarism guide.
How should you cite your sources?
There are a number of different citation styles and formats. Which style you use might be determined by the subject area. For example, if you are working on a research paper for a psychology class, chances are you will use APA (American Psychological Association) style. However, most professors indicate that they would like you to use a particular style.
Some of the most common citation styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago Style. Here is a link to another guide with further information about citing sources, including links for further information about specific style manuals. The library also has the actual style manuals if you're having trouble figuring out how to cite something.
There are several tools that will help you create your citations, such as Zotero, Mendely, and EndNote. These can be helpful tools - some of them allow you to store your citations, so you can refer back to the sources you used. However, use these tools wisely! Because these tools are automated, they won't always get your citations right. When you use these tools to create your bibliography or works cited page, always check to make sure citations are correct.
Resource Market Citation Guide
The GVSU Resource Market--affiliated with the Knowledge Market--provides a handy "ask-a-question" style guide to everything you might need to know about citation. Still stuck? Make an appointment with a research consultant!