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APA 7th Edition Referencing Guide

A Wintec Library guide to referencing in APA 7th edition style

Reference managers and citation generators

What is a reference manager?

A reference manager is a piece of software that can help you keep track of the resources you've used in an assignment. This is especially helpful when you are using a large number of resources—if you're writing a long essay, research project, or thesis for example. 

The software can insert in-text citations and reference lists in your work, though it doesn't always do so accurately and you will likely need to enter the information into the software manually anyway. The biggest advantage is that the software maintains a library of your resources and helps you organise them.


Common reference managers

  • EndNote (needs to be purchased—see ITS to see if you qualify for a licence via Wintec)

Microsoft Word also has a citation/reference list function. However, it can be difficult to use accurately. Please note that as at April 2020, the Word tool has not been updated to the APA 7th edition.

Depending on which reference manager you choose, you will likely need to download its web browser and word processor extensions to get them to work correctly. You may also need to download the correct APA 7th edition referencing style.


Citation generators

Citation generators are online tools that can help you create in-text citations and reference lists. You don't have to download the software, and some allow you to save resources. However, the reference list entries generated by these tools are often inaccurate and you will likely have to enter the relevant information manually anyway. Always check computer-generated references against the APA guide.


Common citation generators


Pros and cons of reference management tools

Pros:

  • Maintains a record of the sources you have used in your work.
  • Ensures that in-text citations correspond to reference list entries and vice versa.
  • Once you have created the citation you can simply insert it every time you need it, rather than re-typing it.

Cons:

  • You still need to have a good understanding of APA referencing to correctly input the information and to edit your citations.
  • The software doesn't always capitalise, italicise, or format references correctly.
  • It can be fiddly to edit your in-text citations (e.g., for secondary citations, or when you want to use a narrative rather than parenthetical citation). Once you are used to the nuances of the software it becomes much easier.

Reference manager tips
  • Make sure you have the software set to the correct referencing style (APA 7th edition).
  • Always check software-generated references against the APA guide.
  • You only need to download one tool—though you might like to check out a couple to find the one that works for you.
  • Each tool works slightly differently. It may take a little getting used to and seem like extra work initially, but can save you time in the long-run—especially if you're working on a major research project or thesis with a large number of sources.
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