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Education Doctoral Program Orientation

APA Style

Citation style makes it easier for your reader to decipher and retrieve the types of resources you reference in your writing. The College of Education at Doane University has chosen to use the American Psychological Association (APA) style for constructing reference lists and in-text citations. As the 7th edition of Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association was published in 2020, you are allowed to use the edition with which you began the EdD program -- i.e., the 6th or 7th edition. 

Free Citation Managers

Citation managers help you to efficiently maintain a good record of the articles you collect for your research. Managers also make it easier to format in-text citations and bibliographic references while composing your papers and dissertation. In addition, most managers allow you to change citation formats with the click of a button if you were to publish. The Doane librarians recommend using Zotero or Mendeley, which are outlined below with their pros and cons:


Zotero is housed within the Firefox web browser and has a stand-alone desktop application for use with other internet browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari. Zotero so inconspicuously lightens your work load that you might forget it’s even there. When reading an article online, users simply click a small button in the address bar of their internet browser and Zotero automatically downloads and saves the PDF of the article and extracts all bibliographic information. Users can access Zotero either through their Firefox browser (Ctrl+Shift+Z) or by opening the stand-alone app. When writing a paper in Microsoft Word, Open Office or Google Docs, users can easily search for and add in-text citations, which automatically appear in the bibliography. These features allow users to maximize their efficiency while using Zotero without having to do much out of their normal routine (i.e., they do not need to learn how to use a new program). Additionally, there are many useful third-party apps for mobile devices which further encourage the seamless integration of Zotero with your natural work flow, such as “Scanning for Zotero” and “Bibup,” which enables you to capture bibliographic information by scanning a book’s ISBN bar code with a mobile device. 

Zotero is technically billed as a reference manager, but in many ways I would consider it a citation manager. The difference is semantic, but I think it is important nevertheless. Unlike some of the other reference managers, Zotero’s notes features are somewhat limited. Citations are treated as folders which contain the PDFs of the document and, as a separate file, any note files a user adds. Zotero lacks the ability to annotate the PDF itself. Notes are searchable, however, which provides a definite advantage to the frenzied researcher trying to remember “Now where did I read that again?” Simply type a keyword that you may have used in your notes in the search bar to find not only your note but also the article to which it is attached. For the most part, Zotero has limited access to the actual PDFs associated with a citation. Users must open the article in an external PDF viewer to read the actual document.

Bottom line: For the researcher who does not like to mark-up papers as he or she reads, but is looking for a sleek interface that seamlessly enhances an established work pattern, Zotero may offer the best solution.



Mendeley and Zotero are similar in the ease with which you can save and store articles. Like Zotero, Mendeley has an extension for internet browsers which automatically imports PDFs and bibliographic information into the stand-alone program. Like Zotero, it also has a Microsoft Word citation tool which allows users to seamlessly add references to their documents. However, unlike Zotero, Mendeley’s stand-alone program allows its users to view, interact with and annotate PDFs within the program (user-generated notes are searchable, but in-text annotations are not). These notes, however, only appear as annotations on the actual PDF document when you view the PDF from within the Mendeley application unless you explicitly opt to export your citations. This may be an ideal feature if you want to have a clean copy of an article to share with collaborators and students, but may also be disconcerting if you do not want to be restricted to using the Mendeley program exclusively, but also want to keep track of your annotations.

Mendeley’s biggest strength may be that it allows researchers to easily collaborate and share documents. Researchers can create private “groups” of up to three people, which permit the sharing of documents and notes. Having a joint Mendeley library makes it easy for collaborators to edit citations as drafts of a manuscript pass between authors. Users can also create public “groups,” which allow an unlimited number of collaborators to join. However, these groups function more as reading lists, in that bibliographic information is shared, but PDFs and notes are not.

Bottom line: Mendeley may be best suited to the researcher who is already entrenched in a lab that uses the program (as this will aid in collaborations).

Adapted from "Selecting a Reference Manager," by Elizabeth Necka

Creating Annotated Bibliographies

Zotero - Check out Wake Forest University's guide to create annotated bibliographies for Zotero records.