Q&A: How do you do a proper citation in a research paper?

Microsoft Word is your friend in this regard—it will help you generate the appropriate way of citing in the text, or generate References or Bibliography lists at the end. (The following instructions pertain to MS Word Mac 2011, but should be broadly relevant to all modern versions of the program:)

Click the Document Elements tab at the top [1], then click Manage under the References sub-tab [2]:

This will open the Citations Manager (which is actually just another tab of the Styles Manager palette, and is also accessible from the View menu—but it’s important to know how to access it this way, too).

It’s empty at the moment [1], because you haven’t added any references yet, but click the little “+” sign at the bottom left to add one [2], then fill out the details of your first reference in the dialog that pops up [3]—starting with the Type of Source [4], which gives you the appropriate fields to fill out [5]. When you’re finished, click OK, and repeat the process for other references:


To insert a reference in the body text of your paper, simply place the cursor where you want it [1], and double-click the reference in your Citations list [2]. Choose the appropriate Citation Style from the popdown at the top of the Citations Manager [3] to have it formatted the required way:


To generate a bibliography or References list at the end of the paper, click the Bibliography button in the ruler, to the right of Manage [1], choose Bibliography or Works Cited format, as required [2], then click at the end of the article where you want it to appear [3]:


et voilà:

Change its appearance from Chicago to APA or MLA or Turabian at a click of the mouse on the popdown in the References tab in the ruler.

Another nice aspect of this method is that you can easily update your in-text citations and bibliography/References list by adding new references or editing existing ones in the Citations Manager—these will automatically be updated in the text.

Good luck—and for further information, read Microsoft’s own online support tips on the subject.


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