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A guide for students doing research in family studies and human development and family science

Library Research Guide

Citing and Citation Managers

Keep track of the sources you use for your research so you can cite them in your paper and bibliography. It is very important to cite your sources to provide appropriate credit for the ideas of other researchers to avoid plagiarism. You will create a citation whenever you use the words (direct quote) or ideas (paraphrase) from another author.

It is important to cite for several reasons:

  • It provides evidence for the argument you are developing in your work. 

  • Scholarship is a conversation where ideas are developed through discussion and assessment. Citing your sources allows others to see where you are joining the conversation. 

  • The original researcher who did the work deserves credit (just like you would want someone to give you credit if they used your work). Using work without credit is plagiarism and may be a violation of copyright law. This is also a part of the K-State Honor Code.

You will usually use APA format to cite the articles you find unless you have received different instructions from your professor or you are writing for a publication that requires a different format. One benefit of using a citation manager is that you can change citation formats easily.

Many databases have a "cite" link on the records that will help you create a citation in the appropriate format, like this one in ERIC:

Example of citation from ERIC


This can be a helpful starting point, but you always need to check it.

You may need to edit the DOI given by the cite feature.

Incorrect DOI format from the cite feature (highlighted parts should be removed):  doi: 

Any time you see "" in a DOI or other URL, remove it for your citation link. It is what tells the database to ask for your K-State eID login, and will not work for anyone outside of K-State

Correct DOI format for APA 7th edition: 

APA 7th edition does not use "doi:" in front of the DOI link.

Citation Managers

I highly recommend using a bibliographic management tool. It will save you lots of time in writing your bibliographies, but be sure to proofread - it isn't perfect! Zotero is a good (free) citation management option.  Zotero has a quick start guide, and you can find many Zotero tutorials online. 

Note: As of Fall 2019, K-State has canceled its subscription to RefWorks.

Find more citation tools on our Citations and Bibliographies research guide.

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a good resource for more information about APA and other citation formats. The APA Style Blog (an official publication of APA) answers questions about tricky citation issues. 

Help with APA Citations