Reference managers

Correctly referencing used literature and drawing up a good reference list can take a lot of work. Besides entering the referenced sources manually, you can also use a reference manager.

A reference manager organises and manages the sources you want to save. You can usually export these references from online sources to the reference manager. You do not have to enter them all yourself, as need to do in Word*. Keeping all your references in one place makes it a lot easier to find them again.
A reference manager does more than simply collect and manage your references. It also helps you to reference your sources. When working on your report, you can find and enter the in-text citation according to your chosen style. The reference list is automatically compiled based on these citations.

* Word does not yet have the option to apply APA7. For more information, see this forum post from Microsoft: APA 7th Edition in MS Word.

Benefits of a reference manager

  • The references are stored online and can be inserted without any manual input.
  • References are included in articles or reports according to the APA Style or another preferred style.
  • Attachments such as a PDF file of an article can be added to the references.
  • References can be shared with others.

Some well-known reference management tools are EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks and Zotero. Mendeley and Zotero are free. Most universities offer a paid licence for EndNote and/or RefWorks. Inquire within your own organization about the possibilities.
Note: The use of a reference manager does not exclude errors in the source referencing. You always need to check yourself that the citations and reference list are correct.
You can find guides and information videos online explaining the general operation of the different applications.