Skip to main content

Citation Management

Course Number: SK PhD Workshop Series

Subject: Social Work


This guide accompanies an online workshop about methods for secondary research, specifically citation management.

OBJECTIVE: get started using software (Zotero) to manage your sources.


Question: Where do you currently store your sources?


Secondary Research

  • Secondary research = how you identify and work with existing studies.
    • E.g. doing a literature review.


  • Methods for secondary research = the strategies, processes, techniques, and tools you use to identify and work with existing studies. Methods need to fit the project goals.
    • E.g. where you store sources while doing a literature review.


Citation Management

This is the part of your methods for secondary research that involves planning how to deal with all the articles, books, reports, etc., you want to track and save.

In any project, you wouldn't want to collect lots of data without having a plan for how to store and access it.

  • Saves time.
  • Facilitates topic development.
  • Keeps you accountable.


Citation management means planning how to collect, organize, access, cite, and share your sources.


Software to Manage Sources


Setting Up Zotero

  1. Go to
  2. Register for a free account.
  3. Click the download button.
  4. Download the Zotero connector.
  5. Download the Zotero app and link your account (Edit - Preferences - Sync).



Adding Sources

Use the Zotero connector to add sources to your Library from your browser (it works like Pinterest if you use that tool).


Adding PDFs and Screenshots

You can add an article PDF by dragging and dropping from your desktop to your Zotero Library. Zotero will take a screenshot of any websites you add.


PDF Viewer

The PDF viewer is an option for active reading. You can add notes and highlight.


File Storage and Back-up

  • Zotero gives 300MB free storage.
  • Cloud storage: you can sync your library across devices and access it online.
  • Zotero will store PDFs in its own file storage system on your hard drive. Zotero - Preferences - Advanced - Data Directory Location
  • Backing up your Zotero Library to an external hard drive is something to consider. Data could be lost via automatic syncing.
Managing Files Outside Zotero
  1. Right-click on an item in your Zotero Library.
  2. Choose Add Attachment and then Attach Link to File.
  3. Go to where the file is stored and select.


Creating Citations and Bibliographies

Citing and Creating a Bibliography in MS Word


Creating a Standalone Bibliography

Zotero Collections, or folders, help you organize sources in your Library.

You can create a bibliography from a folder by right-clicking on it and choosing Create Bibliography From Collection. You can also select sources in a folder to create a bibliography by right-clicking. 


Organizing Your Zotero Library


Collections (folders) and subcollections (subfolders) are useful as your Library grows and you have lots of sources to manage. 

You'll usually need to create these collections as you go. It's an organic process that emerges as you do your research and discover sources. 


Creating Group Libraries

Working on a group project? Share a Zotero Library!

  1. From the Zotero app, select New Library and then New Group. A tab will open in your browser. Sign in.

  1. Select your Group Type. Consider who you want to access and edit your Group Library. Note that storage will count towards the Group Library owner's account limit.


Note: Mendeley Reference Manager

"Mendeley Desktop" is now "Mendeley Reference Manager." This new version of the tool has a number of issues.

  1. The Word plug-in is difficult, if not impossible, to install. It is available through the Windows store and works with Word 2016 or 365, but ICT has configured Office 365 to prevent downloads.
  2. On a Mac, the latest IOS is required (OSX 10.10 and above).

Page Owner: Meredith Fischer

Page Feedback

Last Updated: December 6, 2023 8:59am