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Sustainable Agriculture

Resources and tips for your research in Sustainable Agriculture

Why do I need to cite my sources?

Why Citations are Important

In science communication, include citations to external and reliable sources in order to:

  • increase the credibility of your own work
  • provide your reader with additional sources of information
  • acknowledge the work of others who have gone before you
  • ensure that your work is transparent and unbiased

Direct Quotation, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

There are certain conventions in science writing that make it a little different from other academic and non-academic writing:

  • Rarely, if ever, are direct quotations taken from other work. This is largely because the actual words an author uses is not so important, whereas their findings and theories are.
  • Paraphrasing the work of others is done by carefully altering sentence structure and terminology while adhering to the original meaning.
  • Most often, when writing your lab reports and research papers, you will be summarizing the works of others.

Citation Managers: Zotero and Mendeley

Zotero is a free browser tool that keeps track of your articles and webpages, and creates citations in several formats. Sign up for a free account, and your personal library will be accessible from any computer with an internet connection.

Visit for information on installing and using this citation manager.

Also available for free, Mendeley allows you to import articles from supported websites as well as stored on your local device, making them accessible from anywhere. Creates references and bibliographies in many styles.