Skip to Main Content

GOV 2319: Global Environmental Politics: APA Citation Resources and Citation Managers

Citation Insights & Resources

Basic Principles of Citation

APA Style uses the author–date citation system, in which a brief in-text citation directs readers to a full reference list entry. The in-text citation appears within the body of the paper (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix) and briefly identifies the cited work by its author and date of publication. This enables readers to locate the corresponding entry in the alphabetical reference list at the end of the paper.

Each work cited must appear in the reference list, and each work in the reference list must be cited in the text (or in a table, figure, footnote, or appendix).

Both paraphrases and quotations require citations.

The following are guidelines to follow when writing in-text citations:

  • Ensure that the spelling of author names and the publication dates in reference list entries match those in the corresponding in-text citations.
  • Cite only works that you have read and ideas that you have incorporated into your writing. The works you cite may provide key background information, support or dispute your thesis, or offer critical definitions and data.
  • Readers may find a long string of citations difficult to understand, especially if they are using assistive technology such as a screen reader; therefore, include only those citations needed to support your immediate point.
  • Cite primary sources when possible, and cite secondary sources sparingly.
  • Cite sources to document all facts and figures that you mention that are not common knowledge.
  • To cite a specific part of a source, provide an author–date citation for the work plus information about the specific part.
  • Even when sources cannot be retrieved (e.g., because they are personal communications), still credit them in the text (however, avoid using online sources that are no longer recoverable).

Note: Adapted from APA Basic Principles by the APA Style Blog, 2021 ( 




What is a citation management system?

Citation management tools are software clients loaded on your computer or web/cloud-based applications that are used to store, organize and utilize bibliographic citations.  Essentially, these tools are a database of the researcher's selected citations.

Most provide the following functions:

  • Means of adding citations to the database, either manually or be importing citations from bibliographic databases or other sources.
  • Methods for saving and organizing citations and/or searching within the database.
  • Integration with word processing or other document production software to incorporated properly formatted citations into scholarly writing.
  • Mechanisms for sharing citations with collaborators.
  • Methods to create a stand-alone bibliography

Which is best? That completely depends on your needs and preferences. They generally offer the same general functionality, but with different interfaces  ---  and with different "bells & whistles".

Currently, The WPI Gordon Library provides institutional access to EndNote Desktop/Client, EndNote Web, and Mendeley. We also support Zotero, a freely available, open source citation management system.

Check out some of the information below about citation managers! 

APA Style Guide, 7th Edition