Referencing in Research and Essays

Proper referencing is important in academic fields. Writers need to reference so that their readers can identify the sources of the materials used in their work. Writers need to reference, quotations, ideas, facts, statistics, and paraphrases. Besides being vital, referencing reduces any plagiarism accusations and allows readers to perform crosschecking with the to see the texts a writer consults. Writers need to appreciate the significance of referencing and they can learn that by looking at the manner in which the authors of the material they read have included references.

 Essays that lack or have little referencing always raise suspicions and are unprofessional. Essays normally ask students to discuss particular topics or materials. This implies that they should be doing some writing about texts that are relevant to the topics or materials professors and teachers instruct. Therefore, they need to do proper citation of the texts regularly and in a succinct manner. If students or writers do not follow this then they are probably doing the wrong things. There are myriad referencing styles, but most of them are simply variations of around two referencing methods. My aim is not to discuss these methods but to elucidate how one can employ integrative and highly interactive software to cite properly.

There are numerous referencing programs; commercial and non-commercial. Some allow better searching and reading while others are just good when it comes to referencing. This means that some referencing applications will give you better services and it is thus good to know them.

 Here are some of the best contenders:

 1.    EndNote: This application stands as the first of all referencing programs. It serves as a touchstone for other referencing program. It can collect, create, collaborate, and cite from any location. Parting with $250 for a full licence of the EndNote X7 is not much if you are a serious writer or researcher. Thompson Reuters also offers a student version of the program at just $114. For those with an older version of Endnote, upgrading to Endnote X7 costs $100. Shipping costs for the full version of the program costs $50 more.

2.    Papers: This, on the other end, works best for authors in need of e-journals and PDF documents. This small software is essential for  managing big information libraries and keeping writers at the top of their field. The number of journals and PDF materials are ever growing, and researchers have to stay abreast with the developments. Schools and offices used to stack journals in racks, but that is slowly fading with the diffusion of technology. The program does not cost much; $42 for commercial enterprises and $20 less for students.

3.    Zotero: Zotero offers users offers writers a Firefox extension ad well as a standalone program for referencing. It is amazing and straightforward. What’s more, it comes with a Word plugin to help authors and researchers cite while they write. The Firefox extension or standalone program organizes all research material being used by a researcher into a central library. It doesn’t matter if research material includes books, journals, PDFs, webpages, snapshots, or videos, Zotero will integrate them into a single searchable interface. The most interesting thing about Zotero is that it is completely free.

 4.    Mendeley: This fairly new software available for Mac and PC platforms is trying nothing less than evolving the way researchers share and conduct their research. With an MS Word plugin and a standalone program, Mendeley will allow you to cite while you write, save PDFs to use in research, and search literature from journal sites. It indexes, organizes, and most importantly, stores research material in the cloud making document management effortless.

In summary, I love Zotero because it is simple, free, and presumably best suited to small projects that do not need so many references. On the other hand, EndNote is good for researchers dealing with a wide scope of material. It can handle a database that exceeds 10,000 titles with ease.

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