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Library Resources for Nursing PhD Students: Citing Results

This guide provides information on how best to utilize library resources throughout your PhD program at the College of Nursing.

Vocabulary used on this page...

Citation Management Software

This refers to specialized software that will store citations accumulated from databases searches and other areas. Citation management software (CMS) will also assist users in creating complete bibliographies or reference pages based on specific style guides (such as APA, AMA, etc.). Some CMS platforms even include Microsoft Word plugins that allow users to add citations directly into documents seamlessly.

Note: Always proofread the citations from CMS platforms. The programs run on, typically very strong, algorithms and commands that "tell" the platform how to treat certain pieces of information. However, remember that these programs cannot read, so errors can and do occur.

Free or fee?

You have many options for CMS platforms, and it is entirely up to you to decide which platform you choose to use. See the box to the left for details on different programs.

Some of these programs are free, while others require a fee. Depending on the type of work that you are doing, you may not need to purchase a CMS program.

East Carolina University provides RefWorks for free to all faculty, staff, and students.

Choosing the right software for you


From the Laupus homepage, you'll see two links to RefWorks:Screenshot of RefWorks links on Laupus Library homepage

RefWorks was purchased by ProQuest in 2008, and over the years, a new interface has been implemented. However, there have been many users who have accounts with thousands of citations on the old interface. In an effort to continue allowing users of "Legacy" RefWorks to access their accounts, Laupus provides links to both the old and new versions. 

How do I tell the difference?

Legacy RefWorks is themed around an orange color scheme. After logging into RefWorks, check the color scheme. If you see this logo: Legacy RefWorks logo then you are a Legacy RefWorks user.

The Legacy RefWorks interface looks like this:

Screenshot of Legacy RefWorks


New RefWorks is themed around a blue color scheme. If you see this logo: New RefWorks logo then you are a New RefWorks user.

The New RefWorks interface looks like this:

Screenshot of New RefWorks

Which one should I use?

ProQuest is no longer updating Legacy RefWorks; however, if you have an existing legacy account and would like to continue to use it, Laupus librarians are happy to provide support whenever you need it.

If you are brand new to RefWorks and have never made an account, Laupus recommends that you create an account using the New interface, since it will be continuously updated and supported by ProQuest.

How do I set up my account and use RefWorks?

Schedule a one-on-one appointment with your liaison librarian for in-depth guidance, or use our Ask-a-Librarian chat feature!

Need help right away? RefWorks has excellent step-by-step video tutorials on their YouTube channel!

Other CMS providers:

Zotero (

  • Free software
  • Downloadable desktop software which saves your references to your computer
  • Includes a shortcut button for most Internet browsers
  • Integrated with Microsoft Word

Mendeley (

  • Free software
  • Downloadable desktop software which saves your references to your computer
  • Includes a shortcut button for most Internet browsers
  • Integrated with Microsoft Word


  • Basic (
    • Free software
    • Cloud-based, hosted on the web
    • Save up to 50,000 references total per free account
    • Integrated with Microsoft Word
  • X9 (
    • Fee-based software
    • Downloadable desktop software which saves your references to your computer
    • Save an unlimited number of references
    • Integrated with Microsoft Word

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Plagiarism is a serious offense at East Carolina University. The ECU Student Handbook defines plagiarism as "Copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and adopting same as one's own original work." For more information see The Code of Conduct.

Tips for avoiding plagiarism from The First Year Writing Studio at ECU:

  • Place quotation marks around direct quotes.
  • Paraphrase your source information. This means more than rearranging the structure of a sentence or changing a few words. A good way to do this is to figure out what the source means to you and then write this down without looking at the source.
  • Document all quotes and paraphrased information, and provide a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
  • In your notes, record quotes, paraphrases, and summaries in an orderly manner so that the page number, source, author/editor, and publication information are carefully noted.

Links for more information

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