Citing Your Sources

On this page you will find info about how and why we cite, links to IEEE style guides and resources, citation managers and training, citing with BibTeX and LaTeX, and inclusive citation. You can also explore the Citations and Bibliographies guide for more info.

How and why do we cite?

Why is it important to cite sources? 

First, it gives credit to the person who created the idea. Second, it allows your readers to locate the sources you used, so they can read or judge for themselves.

How do I cite my sources?

Citation managers are time-saving tools designed to help you cite while you write. This page provides information on these tools, and resources to help you get started. You'll also need to determine the citation style required for your work. If you are writing a paper or assignment, consult your instructor about the proper style used in your discipline. If you are writing for a publication, check the author guidelines on a publisher's web page for the required style.

IEEE Style Guide & Resources

Citation Managers

Citation managers are great tools for organizing your references and producing beautifully formatted bibliographies. Commonly used tools supported at Northeastern are: 

You can also use this comparison guide (Word document) to help decide which of these tools is right for you. 

Citing with BibTeX and LaTeX

LaTeX is open source software that allows you to create professionally-rendered files that incorporate mathematical symbols, equations and formulas, which can be difficult to do with standard word processors such as Microsoft Word. BibTeX is an add-on to LaTeX that helps you manage your references. Here are some resources to help you get started with these tools:

What is inclusive citation?

Inclusive citation is about whose work you decide to cite.

When you cite, you are situating your own work in the larger scholarly conversation about your topic. When we choose which sources to cite, our decisions influence who is part of that conversation - and who is not. Practicing inclusive citation means making intentional choices to find and cite the work of scholars with varied backgrounds and identities, in order to increase equity and inclusion in your field. 

Why does it matter? 

Citation counts are considered a metric of success for scholars, and can heavily influence job offers, promotions, tenure decisions and more. However, there is a growing body of evidence showing that women and URMs are consistently cited at lower rates than men, across disciplines. And the more a scholar's work is cited, the more they will continue to be cited over time. This inequity makes it harder for people from underrepresented groups to succeed in their field.

How can we practice more inclusive citation? 

  • Analyze your reference list and ask yourself, who am I not citing? Are there other perspectives that I should consider?
  • Find a leading researcher in your field with a marginalized identity, and follow their work
  • Experiment with different search strategies to bring back different (and potentially more diverse) results
  • Make diversity of authors and perspectives a factor in prioritizing what research you read

Learn more about these strategies and the research behind them: