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Research Handbook: Starting with Citations

If at any point you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact one of our librarians.

  • Open a new document in your word processing software (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, etc.)
  • Copy from the database you are using and paste into your document the citation for each resource you think you will use. Be sure that you are copying the citation for the format your instructor has told you to use. If you cannot obtain a citation, you will need to create one yourself following the style guidelines
  • Keep adding citations as you look at a resource that might be of use until  you have finished your paper or project. This is called a Working References or Working Works Cited list
  • Save the document

There are some general pieces of information you need to gather, to the best of your ability, regardless of the type of resource or style guide you are following. Gather as much of this as you can:

  • Creator (generally this is the author, but it could be the artist, the director, etc.)
  • Title of the resource (i.e., book chapter, article, poem, etc.)
  • Title of the container (i.e., book, journal, etc.)
  • Other contributors and their roles (i.e., editor, translator, additional creator, etc.)
  • Version (i.e., edition)
  • Number (i.e., journal volume and/or issue, volume of a set of books, etc.)
  • Publisher or distributor
  • Publication date
  • City of publication
  • Location of source (if the item has a DOI, use this, if not, look for a permalink in the database or website. Look for a 'share' or 'cite this' button to see if the source includes a permalink; otherwise use the information you have such as the database or URL without http://, or the physical location where you saw the item such as a piece of art at a museum)
    • A DOI is a digital object identifier. It is a unique code that is assigned to resources such as articles and books. It begins with doi and usually can be found at the top or bottom of an article, or as part of a citation from a citation generator
    • A permalink, permanent link, or persistent url is a persistent link to an article or other piece of information found in a database that does not change. Clicking on this link will usually take the user to the article, as long as the person has access to that database
  • Date of access (if an online resource)
  • Try using the Search feature at the top of the Library's homepage to search all print and online resources available to students, faculty, staff, and administrators at SUNY Schenectady
  • Look at the Databases by Subject on the Library's website and select one of the databases (collections of resources available online) that looks relevant to your topic
  • If your instructor has suggested a database, try using it
  • If you are unsure where to start, try using a general database such as Academic Search Complete or Academic OneFile

A Reference list, Bibliography or Works Cited list is a separate page or set of pages at the end of your project, starting on a new page, where you list all essential information about your sources that a reader would need to find them

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