Choose a Citation Style and Stick With It!

Your client, unlike your professors or a journal editorial board, won't specify a citation style but it's still important! Your client will want to find and look at the references you used and a consistent citation style is key. In the social sciences, APA or Chicago are pretty standard (the Purdue Online Writing Lab has a nice comparison chart), and I find APA to be easier.

Research Log

Research is a process and you'll want to keep a log of what you are doing so you don't reduplicate your work or miss steps or useful information; this becomes especially when you are working in a group. Research logs can help. There's an example below that you can copy by choosing File>Make a Copy.

EXERCISE: Using a copy of the research log, state your topic(s) as a phrase or question, break it up into the main concepts you need to search, and think of keywords. Also think about what kind of information you need (organizational background, peer-reviewed primary research articles, systematic reviews or meta-analyses, evaluation reports, data, foundation or think tank reports, etc). 

Citation Management Software

Organize and Cite Easily with Citation Managers

Save time and cite properly!

Citation management programs are like EasyBib or NoodleTools on steroids and allow you to easily collect, manage, and organize your citations and work with databases (and often Word or other word processors), making it easy to import references and incorporate them into your writing, properly formatted in the style of your choice. 

From the programs that Cornell supports, you can use EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley.

  • EndNote is available for purchase at the Cornell Store. Two Cornell colleges offer their communities free access to Endnote via site license: Human Ecology and Agriculture & Life Sciences.
  • Zotero and Mendeley are free and open source programs.

For more information on citation tools, citation management, and available workshops, see the Citation Management page on the Library site.





Zotero is a popular free open source citation management tool that makes saving and citing online resources, including websites, YouTube videos, news articles, and scholarly database results, a breeze. Some of Zotero's strengths include its ability to capture a multitude of resource types with the click of a button, and its group library function, with no limit on group membership.  For more about Zotero, see this guide.


Zotero Sync

Syncing your library means backing up your citations on Zoter's server. This way you can access your citation remotly and retrieve them if something happens to your personal computer.

This arrow will appear in your Zotero library. It will spin when it is uploading your citations.

If you're regularly using more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them. Zotero can store a copy of your library on the server and check it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer. All your computers must be running the same version Zotero and be configured to sync to the server.

  1. Set up a free user account.
  2. Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu) and select the Sync tab. 
  3. Enter your Zotero user name and password. 
  4. Check the "sync automatically" box. Zotero will upload your library to the server. 
  5. Repeat this configuration on each of your computers. Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others. This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

Sync Tab and Sync Settings in Zotero

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero site.


ZoteroBib is a free, quick, and easy bibliography and citation maker that saves time and trouble.

Add sources using the ZoteroBib search box. Then, copy and paste the complete bibliography (or footnotes or in-text citations) into your paper in the citation style of your choice.

ZoteroBib citation maker page. Use Search box and Cite, or Select Manual Entry.


Zotero's Groups feature allows you to share references with other Zotero users online. It's a great way to work on collaborative research projects.

  1. Set up Zotero sync as described in the "Zotero Sync" box
  2. Log in at There's a "Log In" link in the top right corner of the page.
  3. Search for existing public groups or create a new group. Groups may be public (searchable, and anyone can join) or private (users can only join if invited).
  4. You should now have two sections in your Zotero collections pane: My Library and Group Libraries. You can drag items back and forth between them at will.
  5. To join a group, search for the group first. Click   Join Group Button then follow the instructions.
  6. If you own a group and wish to invite member, go to Member Settings and click on Send Invitations.