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EBIO 3940 Written Communication in the Sciences: Citation & Zotero

A guide to help you put together your literature review for EBIO 3940

Zotero for your literature review

To use Zotero for your literature review, you'll want to make sure you have a few things set up after you've downloaded it, made an account, and backed up your work by syncing with Zotero.

  1. Link it to Microsoft Word and make sure everything is in place
    • If you are using Zotero standalone, the integration with Microsoft Word is automatically part of the installation. You're set!
    • If you are using Zotero for Firefox, you will need to install a plugin to link it to Word. Follow the instructions for installation and you should be good to go.
    • Now, open your version of Microsoft Word. Zotero can appear in a few different places. First, look for a new tab on the ribbon named "Zotero." Not there? Look for a tab named "Add-ins". If you're using a Mac, take a look at the program menu. Do you see the AppleScript menu (a scroll-shaped icon)? Check there if you use Word 2008 for Macs.
  2. Add any citation styles you might need to use in this project or any other from Zotero's styles page
  3. Set up folders or subfolders to track the themes and arguments you find in your research.

Citation styles in the sciences

Citation style in the sciences varies widely! One basic format that grounds many others is the Council of Science Editors (CSE) format. For many of you, that style in author date format will the best citation style choice for this literature review. Find more information on CSE style, or download the Zotero style for CSE author-date.

However, you may also want to select a format that is heavily used in your discipline of interest. If you don't know that format, try some of these steps:

  • Ask around. What are your professors, TAs, and other experts in the discipline using?
  • Look for a few key journals in your discipline, and see if you can find submission guidelines. These typically instruct authors to use a particular named style.
  • Look in OneSearch for a writing handbook for your discipline. You might, for example, search geology writing or biology writing. In the advice, you'll often find pointers for citation style.

For more information on CSE, or on choosing a citation style appropriate to your discipline, browse one of the books below.

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