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Biology: Research Assistance

Find all of our best Biology collection materials on this research guide.

Why Cite?

A citation (or reference) records the information necessary to finding the sources you consulted in your research. Common elements include the author's name, the year of publication, the publisher, the title of the journal in which an article was published, and the title of a book. In general, it is appropriate to cite the materials consulted in your research whenever they are used in your own work. Use of another's work could take the form of any of the following:

  • Quoting part of a sentence or even an entire passage (a 'block quote')
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing ideas
  • Using a statistic that is the result of someone else's research
  • Critiquing another's work

Providing a citation serves a number of purposes. By properly attributing ideas, opinions, and statistics to their authors, you avoid taking undeserved credit for them (plagiarism). It also allows the reader to confirm that you are representing others' work accurately. Finally, it serves as a starting point for those who are interested in exploring the topic further.

Zotero

Zotero is a Citation Management Tool highly recommended for students and faculty that regularly download and use research materials. It allows users to easily import PDF's into a personal research collection while preserving bibliographic metadata. Once the research materials have been downloaded, they can be organized locally on your harddrive through the Zotero interface. A special file hierarchy used only for your research collection can be customized to suit your needs! Documents can also be tagged according to the project, semester, or class they relate to. Finally, Zotero integrates with your word processor of choice, allowing you to automatically generate citations for the materials in your collection while in the process of writing your next paper or manuscript.

For further information and to download Zotero, visit the link below. Please feel free to get in touch with Eric Toole, one of our Reference Librarians, if you would like a demonstration, assistance, or just a chance to talk about how great Zotero is!

Writing and Citing Help

Need help writing a paper? Aren't sure how to format something?  Try some of these resources:

Would you like more assistance?  Get in touch with Writing and Reading Support Services in the Academic Success Center on the 3rd floor of the Learning Commons.