Managing References and Citations

Accurate citation practice is an absolute must in academic work. You should take the time to work in a thorough manner in order to prevent plagiarism and to clearly identify direct quotations for your readers.

Reference management programmes can assist you in organising literature, inserting quotations into your text, and creating bibliographies.

On this page you will find answers to the most important questions regarding citations and reference management.


Which citation method should I use?

At the Department of Politics and Public Administration it is customary to cite the author in short form directly in the text, e.g.

(Plümper, 2012).

The complete source reference should be included in the bibliography, e.g.

Plümper, T. (2012). Writing efficiently: Guidelines for composing academic texts and qualification papers . München: Oldenbourg.

This form of citation starts with the author and year of publication and is known as parenthetical referencing. Citing via footnotes is not standard practice at the department.

The writer's personal citation style preference determines how sources are cited in both the text and the bibliography. Most professors recommend using the Harvard or  APA citation styles. They differ in some characteristics (see below).
Helpful information and departmental preferences can be found on the page “Suggestions from individual professors”.

It is important that you consistently use a single citation style throughout your text.

How do I cite using “Harvard”?

Rules for using the Harvard referencing style can be found here:

Harvard (only in German)

How do I cite using “APA”?

Rules for using the APA referencing style can be found on the APA website, in the online tutorial (in German) or in a library handbook.

American Psychological Association (2011). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington: American Psychological Association.

Reference Management Software

How can reference management software help you?

- The most important function of reference management software is to organise selected literature. You are able to insert and save individual books, articles and other reference sources in the programme. 

- Furthermore, you are able to organise your knowledge. For every reference source, you can select quotations, save notes, and insert keywords.

- Some programmes (e.g.Citavi) also offer a “picker”. When using the picker, you can insert online literature or PDF`s directly into your reference management programme.  

- These programmes are very useful for creating bibliogrphies at the end of your paper. You are also able to select a specific citation style that will be applied throughout your entire text. The citation style can changed at any time.

Information about the specific programmes can be found here.

Which literature management software is right for me?

The library provides access to several software programmes for literature management.

Popular programmes include EndNote  and Citavi (only in German). Both programmes have pros and cons depending on the the users' needs and preferences.

In order to decide which programme suits you the best, the library has created a decision-making tree (only in German).

Please note: Those relying on Mac OS should strongly consider using EndNote since most other programmes are incompatible with this operating system.

To find further information about the individual programmes and to download them, please visit the applicable page here.

If you need an alternative to EndNote and Citavi, consider using Zotero. It can be used with all operation systems and is free of charge.