July 7th, 2008

RefWorks, APA, and Your Eagle Eye- Working Together to End Headaches

When we first talked about getting RefWorks, we were asked about how RefWorks works with APA style. It works quite nicely, in fact. When you are ready to produce a bibliography, you can chose whatever citation style you choose. For most of us, that style with be the most recent version of APA. So, how do you choose the right style for your bibliography?

Go to the Bibliography page. Under Output Style, RefWorks has a handy category called Capella University Specific. There you’ll see APA – American Psychological Edition, 5th Edition listed. Just choose that and you’re on your way.

Of course, that’s not the only thing you have to do to make sure your bibliography is correct. Have you ever heard the saying “garbage in, garbage out?”


Well, that’s especially true for bibliographic management tools. RefWorks is fabulous, but it’s still only as good as what gets put in it.

So, when you’re using Refworks, be a conscientious user. If you are manually entering citation information, make sure you haven’t missed any required fields. When you produce a bibliography, check your references to make sure that they are correctly formatted. RefWorks won’t make your APA manual obsolete, but it should help you stay organized and save a lot of time.



Comment from Sue Story
Time July 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

Let me get this straight. If we use Refworks, then we can avoid the APA manual for the most part? This system is that accurate? One of the problems I have with citation generators is the accuracy.

Comment from Erin
Time July 7, 2008 at 10:37 am

You can not throw away the manual. No citation generator is perfect (yet). What RefWorks allows you to do is save some time.
Most of your citations should be repetitive. For example, you will probably have dozens of journal article citations over the course of your program. You should be able to get very good article citations from RefWorks, and only have to fix a few.

More unusual sources, including many web resources, will require a more critical eye. Computers are best at working with standardized things, and the web isn’t standardized when it comes to what is needed for a citation.

Comment from Sue Story
Time July 7, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Ok, thanks! I have always been suspicious of citation generators but thought this one may be different. 90% of citations that I do are the same type. In fact, I can site journal articles without looking at the manual or anything else! It is the other 10% that make my life miserable.

Comment from Shirley
Time July 9, 2008 at 2:15 am

I am a new learner. I just logged onto this page and I read Erin’s comments about RefWorks. Please explain in basic terms.

Comment from Erin
Time July 9, 2008 at 7:07 am

Shirley, I’m not sure I’ll be able to clear up your questions here, so please contact a librarian for more help. It may be easier to talk about this over the phone. You can contact us through the Ask A Librarian link at the left of this blog post.

What I’m trying to say is that RefWorks is a time-saving tool. It will produce citations that are mostly right, and help you stay organized. You will still need to use the manual to check your citations.

RefWorks is not as smart as a person. If the library database puts an author’s name in the wrong order, RefWorks will too. You, of course, are smart enough to catch this mistake easily.

RefWorks also has a lot of similar entry fields. If you’re entering something manually, you may put something in the wrong field. That means it won’t show up correctly when you create your final citation. You’ll need to catch that as well.

Comment from Sue
Time July 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm

After doing citations for awhile, it will become a “gut instinct” and you will know when “something doesn’t look right”.

Write a comment