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Citing and referencing your sources

Being ethical and responsible when using information is something extremely important in higher education. You should always cite and reference all sources used in your assignments. This is will enable you to distinguish your own ideas from those that you have found and that were published by other people.

Avoid plagiarism!

You never start from scratch when you write an academic or a research paper (report, dissertation, article, etc.): inspiration and some ideas always come from other works and you build upon them to create new knowledge. Whenever you do this, it is mandatory to cite and reference those sources. Check out below why:

  • It gives credit to the authors you have cited
  • It helps the readers to locate the cited sources
  • It respects the copyright laws
  • It allows you to act in a honest and responsible way (you're being ethical!)

If you don't proceed this way you might be charged of plagiarism which is a severe crime. It not only shows you don't know how to behave ethically but it means you have infringed copyright.


University of Guelph Library. 2013. "Cite Your Source: When / Why to Cite". Youtube video, 2:11.

What does citing mean?

  • To cite, you create in the text an abbreviated form of mentioning other authors' ideas or works (such as text, images, software, algorithms, formulas, photos, among many other).
  • The citation must be done in either situation: if you paraphrase (which is to explain in your own words an idea from other author), or if you make a transcription (which is to use an original extract from another's author source, placing it between inverted commas).
  • To each citation placed in your text, you must create its respective bibliographic reference in the list at the end of the work.

What does referencing mean?

  • It is a more detailed form to indicate the bibliographic data of the sources used (for example: author/s, publication date, title, publication place and editor - these are the basic elements, but more elements may be necessary).
  • The bibliographic references should be placed at the end of a document, and presented as a list, ordered alphabetically or numerically.
  • Each reference should appear just once on the reference list, while the same citation can appear several times in different parts across the text.

Format for the citations and references

The format of citations and bibliographic references depends upon the style you select. There are thousands of styles available to format citations and references. FEUP's Library recommends the standard style from the University of Chicago which is Chicago Style (author- date).

How should you cite and reference your sources

You can do it manually but there are specialized tools to help you which are reference managers, such as EndNote or Mendeley. These tools allow you to cite and manage your references in an effective and ethical way, ensuring that the application of a citation style in your documents happens automatically and is correctly made.

About EndNote

EndNote is a reference manager software, subscribed by the University of Porto. It helps you to manage your references and insert citations automatically while you are writing your text.

It is available in two versions: EndNote Desktop and EndNote Online. You can either use one or the other, or also use both in an integrated way, simply by synchronizing both versions.

To install this software, check out this link.

EndNoteTraining. 2014. "Manage your research with EndNote!". Youtube video, 2:09.

About Mendeley

Mendeley is a free online reference manager that allows you to manage, organize, cite while you write and even collaborate with your peers or other people.

To know more, check out this link.

Mendeley. 2013. "What is Mendeley?". Youtube video, 1:14.

About Zotero

Learn Zotero: Step by step tutorial - YouTube», 2017. [Em linha]. Disponível em: [Acedido: 16-Nov-2018].

Did you know?

The library provides workshops on the usage of reference managers such as Endnote or Mendeley. Check out the workshops' calendar below!

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