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The Research Process

This guide walks through some research strategies and points to resources, tools, and people that can help.

In This Section

magnifying glass iconIn this section, you'll find:

Information Has Value

We do we cite?

  • To give credit to others' ideas and intellectual property
  • To participate in the scholarly conversation by showing clearly where your research fits into and builds on existing information
  • To demonstrate that you've done your research and know your field

This quick video (2 minutes) offers a brief introduction to what a citation is, and why we use them in academic writing:

Video posted on YouTube by North Carolina State University Libraries under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA US license.

Keep Track of Your Sources

Different citation styles will have different formats, but they'll all include the same information.

To create a citation, you'll generally need to keep track of:

  • What kind of resource it is
  • Who wrote it
  • The title of the work, and the title of the larger work if it's part of something bigger
  • Where it was published
  • Who published it
  • How many pages it has, if applicable
  • How you accessed it


Refer to style guides to make sure you're formatting correctly.

These style guides can be found at the Research Help Desk in the library.

Not in the library? Check out this online style guide from Purdue University:

Stay Organized

Now that you know what you need to know, how DO you keep track of it all?

It's a good idea to have a system to keep track of your sources. This could be as simple as Word or Google document in which you keep track of each quote you're planning to use, along with where that quote came from and how you accessed it.

You can also try citation generators such as EasyBib, which will automatically create citations in a variety of formats.

The catalog and many databases also can automatically generate citations for you -- look out for those options as you search!

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TIP: Zotero

Have a lot of sources? Looking for a way to stay organized? Try Zotero, a free tool that helps you keep track of sources and generate bibliographies. Learn more about it on Preus Library's Zotero Guide!


Just remember ...

Always double check citations that are generated automatically. If there are typos or mistakes in the catalog or database record, there will be mistakes in the citation it creates for you!

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