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This guide offers starting points for your research. All e-resources are available to you online when you're signed in to Brown's network.

Help with Citations

Need help with citations, or with EndNote, Mendeley, or Zotero?

Check our Library Workshops calendar Email Visit our guide to Citation for additional help, and to find information about each of our citation managers.

Citing with ASA

*** Check out the American Sociological Association's Quick Tips guide for using ASA Style. ***

Why must I cite?

For authors, citing

  • Provides the information to go back and find the sources during the writing process.
  • Keeps a record of all of the information used or considered.
  • Helps provide context to an argument in a larger discussion.

For researchers, citing

  • Provides information to the researcher to better understand the author’s argument and the research.
  • Provides information for the researcher to find other relevant sources by going to the bibliography or references page.


As defined by the Brown University Writing Center:

Since it is one of the most dreaded faux pas—in many circumstances it is even considered a crime—in the world of academia and other intellectual circles, plagiarism is a topic that must be addressed by every aspiring writer. Appropriating another person's ideas or words (spoken or written) without attributing those word or ideas to their true source is highly frowned upon in literary and academic circles. Fortunately, with some forethought and common sense, a writer can easily avoid plagiarism. The following resources can help you discern what does—and what does not—constitute plagiarism. Take a look; it is preferable to be safe than sorry when it comes to issues of intellectual property and original thought.

The consequences of plagiarism can be very serious. For more information about plagiarism, see Brown Academic Code & Non-Academic Conduct

Citation style and formatting

Each academic discipline has a preferred style for citing information. The required information in a citation is usually very similar across styles-- for example, it's nearly always important to include author, date of publication and publisher, and title of the work (which may also include title of the journal). Additional information may be required based on appropriate citation style or the format of the resource you're citing.

Citation styles differ in several ways, including order of information, punctuation, and acceptable abbreviations.

If you're unsure about which style to use, it is best to ask the person you are writing for, such as a professor or journal editor.

Help with APA, MLA, and Chicago/ Turabian styles

What is a Citation Manager? Which one should I use?

Citation Managers such as RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley are software tools for managing your citations. Citation managers will help you

  • Create and organize a personal research database
  • Download ciations from online databases
  • Format bibliographies and citations in papers, and
  • Share your references with others

Brown University Libraries support and provide training for RefWorks, EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley, but there are many more available.

Which citation manager should I use?

Citation Management Software