This might be the boring stuff but it is so important – citing sources in research shows where you sit amongst the multitude of voices that are speaking on your topic, it shows you have read their points of view and you are talking from an educated standpoint. It also shows that you respect that the ideas you are citing are theirs, their intellectual property, not your own (i.e. plagiarising).
Getting the Referencing Done for You
Hmm, sounds like cheating! But hold your horses – I don’t mean by someone else, I mean getting the technology to work for you!
There are two major products that I would suggest for making referencing an absolute breeze, they are Mendeley and Zotero. They are both fairly similar, just have a read on both and see what suits your modes of research.
I personally use Zotero, so I am going to use it as an example and explain how I research – use the guides here: https://www.zotero.org/support/ if this sounds like something you need and you want to get started.
With Zotero, I have the browser extensions loaded so as I research – be it through the library or Google Scholar, etc. I just click the button to download the citation and often it will download a pdf to if available into my library – I can then read it later and it is stored together with the citation. You may say well we have been able to do that for years with Endnote, journals provide the citation files, but Zotero takes it one step further. It does it across nearly everything – it is not reliant on the journals providing that service. I have had it work on YouTube videos even. If I want to cite a book, I often just find it on Amazon and cite it from there – amazing. Also, with books, you can add it just by filling in an ISBN number.
Then when it comes to writing, it is much like Endnote – I just cite as I go from my Zotero library and I can have it generate the bibliography at the end. It works with both in-text citations and footnotes/endnotes.
I really cannot recommend moving into the reference management area enough, especially now both of these products have the ability to be cloud based, have associated apps for mobile devices and have free storage up to a certain amount.
Image: “If you liked it then you should’ve put a citation on it – Beyonce Single Ladies” Retrieved from: http://memegenerator.net/instance/66086565#sthash.hc6H0Jcj.dpuf