Skip to Main Content

HDFS 341: Family Studies

Guidance for using APA style.

On this page

You will learn about standalone tools, called citation managers, that can help you stay organized throughout the research project, and are especially helpful as you create citations. 

A Caution About Citation Generators (& Citation Managers)

PLEASE NOTE...While there is no doubt that citation generators like Citation Machine or EasyBib or Google Scholar's "cite" feature (and many, many others like these) help get scholars started on the process of creating a citation, these tools are NOT error-proof. In fact, most of them routinely generate citations with errors. It is YOUR responsibility to check the citations that these tools create, and it is almost guaranteed that you will need to fix errors.


Other tools, like the citation managers highlighted below, do a better job of creating better citations, and they also help you collect your relevant sources for any project in one central place. However, even these more robust citation managers will generate citation content that needs to be reviewed by you.

Why Use Citation Managers?

Citation management software makes it easy for you to:

  • Keep all your useful sources in one place.
  • Seamlessly access your saved sources during the writing process.
  • Automatically generate bibliographies or works cited lists in many styles.
  • Take notes on sources, and find those notes again.

What are Citation Managers?

Citation management tools allow researchers to:

  • Save and organize sources
  • Take notes
  • Create bibliographies
  • Add in-text citations, footnotes or endnotes.

They work across platforms and on multiple browsers. They allow you to save all of your sources to one place, no matter where you find them.

Some citation managers also allow you to save and share your resources with others


Zotero is a free tool you can use with Firefox, Safari or Chrome that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use and lives in your web browser where you do your work. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections (or groups you can share with collaborators) for different projects, and create bibliographies using Word (for Mac or Windows) or OpenOffice.Creating a library from articles in a database with Zotero

Learn more about Zotero at this guide or come to a Zotero workshop at the library (see schedule).


Note: Content borrowed from Citations 101 guide.


Mendeley is free academic software (works with Windows, Mac & Linux) that allows you to manage, share, read, annotate and cite your research papers.  It is also a research network to manage your papers online, discover research trends and statistics, and to connect to like-minded researchers.  Using Mendeley you can also create in-text citations and bibliographies in many citation styles.

Take notes and highlight PDFs within your Mendeley library

Learn more about Mendeley by coming to a Mendeley workshop at the library (see schedule).

Note: Content borrowed from Citations 101 guide


EndNote is a personal citation/bibliography manager software program that helps researchers organize references in a library.  References in the library can be used to easily create bibliographies and format references in word processing software.  The most robust and fully-featured version of EndNote is the client version, which is loaded onto an individual users machine (a multi-user option is also available). EndNote is free for OSU graduate students while at OSU.Creating bibliographies in Word with EndNote

Learn more about EndNote at this guide or come to an EndNote workshop at the library (see schedule).

Note: Content borrowed from Citations 101 guide