1.3 Use industry-standard referencing tools as you write your paper

Something that will save you a lot of time as you write your paper is to use industry-standard referencing tools (e.g., EndNote).

If you have an affiliation with a research institution like a university, you’ll likely be able to access an industry-standard referencing tool through that institution.

A few time-saving things I (Amanda) learned about referencing tools over the years.

  1. It takes a bit of time to set up a referencing tool on your computer and to learn how to use it effectively, but the time spent will save you a lot of time and angst in the long run. If only I could have told this to my younger self, it would have saved me from literally cutting and pasting the references into the bibliography of my Honours thesis using scissors, glue and a photocopier in the dead of the night before it was due.
  2. It’s better to populate the database of your referencing tool by searching online for and then downloading the references you want to add, rather than manually typing the references into the database. This reduces the likelihood of errors in your references.
  3. It’s important to set up strategies to prevent more than one copy of any particular reference being stored in your database of references. For example, before downloading a new reference to your database, check that it doesn’t already exist in your database. Additionally, search for and eliminate duplicate records from your database on a regular basis. Trust me – this will save you a lot of time and angst at critical times (like – when the journal has typeset your paper in ready for publication, and they ask you to remove one of the duplicate references and they want you to send the corrected proofs back to them within 48 hours).
  4. Don’t panic if your referencing tool stops working all of a sudden, even if you’re working to a deadline. It’s probably just an issue of your word processing software and your referencing tool versions not matching up. Just update all your relevant software to the latest versions, and it will all work just fine.

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