Skip to Main Content
UVM Libraries Research Guides banner

Nursing Resources for Students and Faculty

Why Do I Have to Cite Things?

The primary reason why you need to cite your sources is so that you can give proper credit to the original author or creator and avoid any charges of plagiarism

Other reasons for citing your resources include:

  • Enables the reader to track down the orignial source you cited
  • Demonstrates the accuracy and reliability of your information
  • Shows the amount of research you have done
  • Strengthens your work by adding outside support to your ideas

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using another person's words or ideas in your work without clearly acknowledging or crediting the original source of the information. 

You must give credit whenever you use:

  • Another person's idea, opinion, or theory
  • Direct quotes from another person's actual spoken or written words
  • Paraphrasing of another person's spoken or written words
  • Any piece of information that is not considered to be commons knowledge
  • Multimedia created by another person such as a photo, drawing, film clip, music, etc.

In most cases, plagiarism is an accident that happens because someone is not aware of their responsibility to cite certain pieces of information from other people.  When in doubt, cite it!

Automatically Generating Citations

Some databases will automatically generate a citation for you in a variety of different styles (e.g. APA), but be careful. Some of these citations may contain mistakes so it's still up to you to review them for accuracy.


Find the article that you want to cite and then:

  1. Click on the Title to open the full record
  2. Click the Cite button located in the Tools section on the right
  3. Copy and paste the citation into your document

Be sure to select the appropriate style, e.g. APA, when copying and pasting.

At the present time, PubMed does not automatically generate citations for the articles in the database. The easiest work around for this is to look up the article you want to cite in Google Scholar and then follow the steps below for automatically generating a citation.


Google Scholar

Find the article you want and then:

  1. Click the More link
  2. Click the Cite link
  3. Copy and paste the citation into your document

Be sure to select the appropriate style, e.g. APA, when copying and pasting.


Creating Citations from Scratch

There will be times when you have to create a citation for an article/website/book/etc. from scratch. The How Do I Cite that with APA guide will walk you through the steps required to create accurate citations for most of the sources you will run into during your research.

Additional Resources to Check


Citation Management Programs

Citation management programs, like EndNote and Zotero, make research a whole lot easier. How? Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. They allow you to collect all of the citations and (when available) the full text of all the articles you need for your research in one easy to search place.
  2. They "talk" to Microsoft Word, which allows you to drop citations into your text. Click a button and they will format your paper for you.

Programs like EndNote aren't perfect. You still have to check to make sure things are properly formatted, but they can save a great deal of time. Click the links below to learn more about each program.

EndNote is a citation management program that you load on to your computer. There is an online component to it called EndNote Web, but you can only use it after you have loaded the regular EndNote program on your computer and created an account.

Check out the EndNote and EndNote Online guide for more information about how to use EndNote.


Zotero is another citation management program that can either be installed on your computer or, if you're a Firefox user, plugged directly into Firefox. You can also easily share citations using a Zotero group.

Check out the Zotero User's Guide for more information about how to use Zotero.



Mendeley is another citation management program that allows users to manage and share research papers, discover research data, and collaborate online. Like EndNote and Zotero, it interfaces with Microsoft Word to produce citations and bibliographies.

Check out the Mendeley User's Guide for more information on how to use Mendeley.