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CSTEP/McNair Program


Research Strategies

Research Strategies

The purpose of this guide is to help you with crafting a literature review which is an important part of your research paper. A literature review summarizes the scholarly work that contributes to your paper.

The purpose of this guide is to help you through the basic steps for a major research project. 

The purpose of this guide is to help you with citing your sources. There are so many citation styles and this guide has it all in one place. Citing your sources is important when writing a research paper. It is giving credit where credit is due. 

The purpose of this guide is to help with installing the citation manager, Zotero. Zotero is a citation manager that can keep all of your citations in one place. 

Getting Started with Citation

Each academic discipline uses a different citation style because each has a different priority for information.  Because of these different priorities, the information within a citation will be in a different order, and sometimes in a different format (i.e. foot or end note v. a parenthetical in-text citation).

If you need a style other than APA, Chicago, or MLA, try visiting the Other Citation Styles page, or Ask a Librarian

What are the differences?

Style APA Chicago MLA
Who usually uses it: Social Sciences, Nursing and Health, miscellaneous other disciplines. History, Art, Philosophy, and anyone who is going to use a lot of different types of outside information. English and other languages (it stands for Modern Language Association).
What they pride themselves on: Thoroughness, avoiding bias. Flexibility (you can cite almost any kind of source in Chicago). Simplicity.
What is important: Date and authority. Ease of reading and authority. Authority.
What you need to know for in-text and other formatting: Always in a date with the author(s); Running heads can be tricky to format; the list at the end is called References. Notes are not very different from bibliography entries (once you have made one, the other is simple); the list at the end is called Bibliography The list at the end is called Works Cited
I'm ready to use: APA Citation Style Chicago Citation Style MLA Citation Style


What stays the same for all styles?

  • In-text citations are meant to lead your reader to the source in the list at the end. 
  • The list of sources should be alphabetized and have a hanging indent. The title of the list (References, Bibliography, or Works Cited) goes at the top, centered.  It is not bold, italics, underlined, or given any other special formatting. 
  • You cite only the sources you actually used in the paper, unless otherwise instructed in the assignment.
  • All styles (including those not listed here- yes, there are more) expect that you have found good quality, scholarly sources.  Your assignment is only as good as its sources. 
  • You are expected to cite where an idea came from, even if you reword it.  This is called paraphrasing, and it is considered plagiarism to paraphrase without a citation.  In other words: if the idea did not originate in your brain (or if it is not considered common knowledge), cite it!
  • Each style includes many of the same parts, just in a different order.  All should have: Author(s); title; date of publication; publisher or source (like a journal); page or section numbers where applicable. 

Tips from the Librarians:

  • Write your list of sources first.  Even if it is not perfect, it is much easier to write your paper if you know what you want to incorporate and where it came from.
  • It can seems intimidating, but paraphrasing is almost always preferred over a direct quotation.  A quote shows that you read something.  A paraphrase shows that you understood it.
  • When in doubt- ask!  Ask your instructor, ask a librarian, ask a tutor. 
Last Updated: Feb 29, 2024 2:10 PM

Open Research and Contributor ID(ORCID) is free and is an easy way to keep all of your scholarship in one location. ORCID’s mission is to enable transparent and trustworthy connections between researchers, their contributions, and their affiliations by providing a unique, persistent identifier for individuals to use as they engage in research, scholarship, and innovation activities.

No matter if you change your name, change schools, change jobs or life just happens you will have an ORCID that will remain the same throughout your life. Signing up is easy! 


Get your unique ORCID identifier. It’s free and only takes a minute, so register now!


Use your iD, when prompted, in systems and platforms from grant application to manuscript submission and beyond, to ensure you get credit for your contributions.


The more information connected to your ORCID record, the more you’ll benefit from sharing your iD - so give the organizations you trust permission to update your record as well as adding your affiliations, emails, other names you’re known by, and more.