3Reference Management Software for the Best Results - Custom Scholars

3Reference Management Software for the Best Results

Reference management sounds complex and absolutely something you would rather not delve into considering how busy you might be just trying to get your paper done and submitted for review. Referencing your work can be difficult especially if you have trouble choosing a referencing style or grasping the characteristics of your chosen style. Reference management software helps you to keep track of your reading and references and makes it easier to find referencing information to cite material in your work.

Rather than keep a separate document with all your sources, a reference management software keeps them for you. With this software, all you have to do when you want to cite a source is pick it from a drop down list then move on whilst keeping your momentum. Reference management software packages (also known as reference / citation managers) are web-based. Some packages also have a desktop version that allows more functionality.

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What is Reference Management?

It is imperative that you start your reference management process as soon as you start working on your paper. This way, you keep track of every scrap of information and your source for it. This is how you determine which h source is primary and which one is secondary. The process of reference management does not necessarily require a software, it can be done manually. A software really just automates it. The reference management process starts with collection, escalates to organization then citation.Reference management

Collect

Under Collect you’ll find how to gather references in a reference manager from databases, library catalogues, and elsewhere. Collection of sources is not exactly one-stop. It is sort of continuous. The more you read and research about your subject, the more sources you amass. It is not in your and your paper’s interest to pick sources then write your paper around it. Thus, do not be mistaken that this is what reference management is.

Organize

The organize stage gives information on sorting your references. At this stage of reference management, you would check your list of sources for duplicates. You would also realize which sources were primary and which were secondary. This would usually depend on how each source has contributed to the paper. Some law studies specific referencing styles require that the bibliography or bibliographical list of sources be divided into sections. This stage would help you do that.

Cite

In Cite there is guidance on how to use reference management software with text processors to cite your references when writing. After the first and second stages, it is pretty easy to get through the citation stage. Often, like in word for example, all you have to do is pick your preferred source from a drop list then the citation would appear in the appropriate style. Often, reference management software also generates a bibliographical list of the sources.

Why Use Reference Management Software?

Other than the fact that using a reference management software saves you the tedium of learning a new referencing style every time you have a paper to write, there is a lot more to gain. Using reference management software can save you time compiling and locating your references, and improves consistency and accuracy. However, it is not a replacement for checking the accuracy of the references you use or for knowing how your references need to be written to comply with guidelines.

In short, reference management software collects bibliographic information from other sources and stores it as part of a library shown in the software. You can then use the program to manage these references, including organizing them into folders and attaching/viewing PDFs. These references can then be cited in written work, whether through a plugin that works directly from the reference management program to a text processing application or through a copy and pasting method. References and libraries can also be shared with others for collaborative working.

Reference management software is most useful for users who are undertaking written assignments, independent research and systematic reviews. Often institutions load their libraries with a wealth of expertise and resources in using reference management software, and provides extensive support through training sessions and short troubleshooting sessions.

Reference management software enables you to:

  • Collect references;
  • Store references and notes;
  • Organize references;
  • Format references in a required referencing style to create a bibliography;
  • Insert in-text citations into a document as you type. This will also generate a reference list or bibliography at the end of your document, based on those citations.

How to Use Reference Management Software

Reference management is a process that starts whenever you do any kind of reading, research, or exploration of a topic. You need to keep track of what you need to read, what you might read, and what you have already read. This helps you to keep on track of your reading and also means you have the right information ready for when you need to cite material in your work or create a bibliography of what you’d read.

Maybe you’ve already got a process for keeping track of your reading or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a moment to reflect on what you do to manage what you read and cite. You could use our suggested Action Plan below which has some prompts to help you consider your own process and if you need to make any changes.

How to Choose a Reference Management Software

If you decide to use a reference management application how do you choose one that will serve you like you need? There are so many options all similar in what they are meant to achieve but each with barely discernible differences. It has to be difficult to choose just one to use. What if the one you choose does not work for you? Therefore, the big question is: what do you need your reference management software to do for you?

The action plan questions will help you reflect on what you need from an application. Maybe you need to be able to easily store full text documents, or be able to organize your references into categories. Possibly you’re looking for a tool that will cite in Word or Google Docs, or work well across different devices. The summary of each reference management application can then help you consider the key features of each.

Bear in mind you might need to try a few approaches or tools until you find what works for you! You might even want to use different methods for different pieces of work, depending on what suits you. It’s all about your own process and what saves you time and effort rather than making things harder. And you can always export your references out of one tool and into another!

It is not a life or death situation but it would still be nice to choose a reference management software that suits your needs. Knowing the factors that should affect your decision would help a great deal in choosing one out of the many and saving yourself the hassle of having to go through so many options.

The key thing is to ensure that your reference management software is compatible with your OS and your word processor. You should also ensure safety of your computer. It is advisable to always be vigilant when using online software especially the free ones. However, if you pick a software that is free but limits some features for paying customers then more often than not, you are safe. There are also other factors like sharing your sources with others and the ability to edit styles. All these are good questions to ask when determining which reference management software to use.

Reference management software. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Reference management sounds complex and absolutely something you would rather not delve into considering how busy you might be just trying to get your paper done and submitted for review. Referencing your work can be difficult especially if you have trouble choosing a referencing style or grasping the characteristics of your chosen style. Reference management software helps you to keep track of your reading and references and makes it easier to find referencing information to cite material in your work.

Rather than keep a separate document with all your sources, a reference management software keeps them for you. With this software, all you have to do when you want to cite a source is pick it from a drop down list then move on whilst keeping your momentum. Reference management software packages (also known as reference / citation managers) are web-based. Some packages also have a desktop version that allows more functionality.

What is Reference Management?

It is imperative that you start your reference management process as soon as you start working on your paper. This way, you keep track of every scrap of information and your source for it. This is how you determine which h source is primary and which one is secondary. The process of reference management does not necessarily require a software, it can be done manually. A software really just automates it. The reference management process starts with collection, escalates to organization then citation.Reference management

Collect

Under Collect you’ll find how to gather references in a reference manager from databases, library catalogues, and elsewhere. Collection of sources is not exactly one-stop. It is sort of continuous. The more you read and research about your subject, the more sources you amass. It is not in your and your paper’s interest to pick sources then write your paper around it. Thus, do not be mistaken that this is what reference management is.

Organize

The organize stage gives information on sorting your references. At this stage of reference management, you would check your list of sources for duplicates. You would also realize which sources were primary and which were secondary. This would usually depend on how each source has contributed to the paper. Some law studies specific referencing styles require that the bibliography or bibliographical list of sources be divided into sections. This stage would help you do that.

Cite

In Cite there is guidance on how to use reference management software with text processors to cite your references when writing. After the first and second stages, it is pretty easy to get through the citation stage. Often, like in word for example, all you have to do is pick your preferred source from a drop list then the citation would appear in the appropriate style. Often, reference management software also generates a bibliographical list of the sources.

Why Use Reference Management Software?

Why use reference management software? Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Other than the fact that using a reference management software saves you the tedium of learning a new referencing style every time you have a paper to write, there is a lot more to gain. Using reference management software can save you time compiling and locating your references, and improves consistency and accuracy. However, it is not a replacement for checking the accuracy of the references you use or for knowing how your references need to be written to comply with guidelines.

In short, reference management software collects bibliographic information from other sources and stores it as part of a library shown in the software. You can then use the program to manage these references, including organizing them into folders and attaching/viewing PDFs. These references can then be cited in written work, whether through a plugin that works directly from the reference management program to a text processing application or through a copy and pasting method. References and libraries can also be shared with others for collaborative working.

Reference management software is most useful for users who are undertaking written assignments, independent research and systematic reviews. Often institutions load their libraries with a wealth of expertise and resources in using reference management software, and provides extensive support through training sessions and short troubleshooting sessions.

Reference management software enables you to:

  • Collect references;
  • Store references and notes;
  • Organize references;
  • Format references in a required referencing style to create a bibliography;
  • Insert in-text citations into a document as you type. This will also generate a reference list or bibliography at the end of your document, based on those citations.

How to Use Reference Management Software

Reference management is a process that starts whenever you do any kind of reading, research, or exploration of a topic. You need to keep track of what you need to read, what you might read, and what you have already read. This helps you to keep on track of your reading and also means you have the right information ready for when you need to cite material in your work or create a bibliography of what you’d read.

Maybe you’ve already got a process for keeping track of your reading or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed. Take a moment to reflect on what you do to manage what you read and cite. You could use our suggested Action Plan below which has some prompts to help you consider your own process and if you need to make any changes.

How to Choose a Reference Management Software

If you decide to use a reference management application how do you choose one that will serve you like you need? There are so many options all similar in what they are meant to achieve but each with barely discernible differences. It has to be difficult to choose just one to use. What if the one you choose does not work for you? Therefore, the big question is: what do you need your reference management software to do for you?

The action plan questions will help you reflect on what you need from an application. Maybe you need to be able to easily store full text documents, or be able to organize your references into categories. Possibly you’re looking for a tool that will cite in Word or Google Docs, or work well across different devices. The summary of each reference management application can then help you consider the key features of each.

Bear in mind you might need to try a few approaches or tools until you find what works for you! You might even want to use different methods for different pieces of work, depending on what suits you. It’s all about your own process and what saves you time and effort rather than making things harder. And you can always export your references out of one tool and into another!

It is not a life or death situation but it would still be nice to choose a reference management software that suits your needs. Knowing the factors that should affect your decision would help a great deal in choosing one out of the many and saving yourself the hassle of having to go through so many options.

The key thing is to ensure that your reference management software is compatible with your OS and your word processor. You should also ensure safety of your computer. It is advisable to always be vigilant when using online software especially the free ones.

However, if you pick a software that is free but limits some features for paying customers then more often than not, you are safe. There are also other factors like sharing your sources with others and the ability to edit styles. All these are good questions to ask when determining which reference management software to use.

Reference management software packages

Some reference management software packages are:

      • EndNote
      • Mendeley
      • Zotero
      • Sciwheel

Is Word a Reference Management System?

Word has its own, basic reference management system available via the ‘References’ tab on the ribbon. This lets you add references to a document and then create a bibliography at the end of the text. References are stored in a master list, which can be used to add references to further documents.

To insert a citation in the text go to the ‘References’ tab on the ribbon and click on ‘Insert Citation’ and ‘Add new source’. Select the ‘Type of source’ and fill in the boxes. Add all the citations to your document. When you have finished, go to the end of your document and click on the ‘Bibliography’ option. Select from one of the preformatted options or just insert the bibliography to format yourself.

To change the style of your references from the default ‘APA’ style click on the ‘Style’ list and select another. Note that the styles available in Word might not match those required for your assignments. Check them carefully and if they don’t match you can convert the bibliography to editable text.

Can Custom Scholars Help with Reference Management?

Yes. Custom Scholars is a two for one service where every paper or task you hire us to handle for you comes with referencing services. We are able to cite everything appropriately in the prescribed style. We might even coach you on how. If you are having trouble choosing a style, we go a step further to recommend one based on your field of study and type of paper you are writing.

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