At this time of the quarter, we frequently gets lots of questions at the Research Center on how to make bibliographies and format citations in MLA, APA, or Chicago styles. Many students find the bibliography to be one of the most time-consuming aspects of finishing a paper or project. To help alleviate some of the stress, we would like to offer some tips on citing sources correctly, but also quickly and efficiently.
Remember that you must always cite your sources in a paper whenever you use a direct quote or base your ideas on another person’s work. Representing another person’s ideas as your own is a form of plagiarism and a violation of the DU Honor Code. Citations also allow your readers to locate and further explore the sources you consulted.
1) Use quick reference guides which are available for various citation styles. These guides list the most common reference formats in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. Citation style guides can be found online at DU Writing Center and OWL (Purdue Online Writing Lab). Penrose Library also has a number of citation guides and books available from our research guide on Style Manual and Citation Guides.
2) Check for citation information in the Penrose Library databases. Many of the library databases will give you the citation information in a specific style. In most databases, this feature is available on the same screen as the email, print, and save options. For example, in Academic Search Complete, you have an option to retrieve the citation style from the citation/abstract page. Please be sure to double check the citations though as the information is not always 100% correct.
3) Use RefWorks or a similar bibliography manager. Bibliography managers, such as RefWorks, let you export citation information on books and articles into a personalized database. You can then have RefWorks create a bibliography for you in a variety of citation styles. RefWorks is also useful for keeping track of all the various sources that you are using. To get started using RefWorks, please browse through our RefWorks guide. A list of additional citation managers can also be found on our Cool Tools page.