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Reference Management Software

Citing Sources to Avoid Plagiarism: Not an Automated Process

The mechanics of citing sources and formatting the bibliography can be automated to some degree by using a software.  However, you are still responsible for choosing and evaluating the source of information for their credibility, reliability, authoritativeness, accuracy and purpose (CRAAP). 

Software and citation generators are not foolproof; be sure to double-check spellings, details of the publication should be part of the editing process.

If you are need to, talk to your course instructor or Ask a Librarian !


Why you must cite your sources?


Which and when?

Which sources & when to cite?


Components of a citation

When citing a source, there are two components: 

  1. The In-Text notation
  2. The Bibliography (aka List of References).

Both components are expressed in a citation style (e.g. APA style 7th ed. or IEEE style) in a specific way. Generally, you use the citation style as required by the discipline/subject that you work in, and/or as specified by the journal or by the coordinator of the course/module. It is thus important to read the submission guidelines and formatting instructions carefully.

Common citation styles are found here.

In-Text Notation

Generally, the types of In-Text notations are:

Author-Date (Wilkinson 2021) OR (Smith, 1999)
Numbered [1 ] OR (4,5,6)
Number in superscript
(footnote number)
According to ... a tentative statement.14


The Author-date and Numbered notations are shown here:

Bibliography or The Reference List

Most citation styles require you to list the references in full at the end of the document on a fresh page.

The order of the bibliography will vary according to the citation style requirements. Some styles require the bibliography to be sorted alphabetically according to the author's family name (see Fig.1 ). Others require you to order it according to the order of appearance in the document. Please consult the manual or handbook of the citation style if you are unsure.

Footnote citation styles such as the Chicago style will require that you list the reference in full at the first instance, and it should appear at the bottom of the page where the footnote appears (see Fig.2).

Fig. 1: A bibliography arranged alphabetically
by family name of the authors.

Fig. 2: Footnote notation, followed by details at
the bottom of the page.



Images are reproduced from Han Ming Guang's Masters-level thesis with permission.