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A guide for NNU MBA students

Citing Sources 101

Why cite?

  • To show where you got your information -- the reader can see you have good background for your research
  • To give credit to others who helped shape your ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism. See NNU's Academic Integrity Policy below
  • To help your reader locate the sources you used

There is a variety of citation generators available through the web. However, you still need to verify the formatting of the citations with the Publication Manual or Style Guide for the citation system you are using. Below are some options. Zotero, provides more functionality, than just creating source citations. See the information below and in the next tab regarding Zotero. Use citation generator tools responsibly.

Citation Machine






Zotero vs. ZBib

Zotero is a free tool that allows you to save information about your sources, organize and cite those sources within your paper, create a bibliography in seconds, and share your research with others. (click on heading to go to site to download)

How do I know which one to choose?

Zotero is for these circumstances:

  • You have time to set up your free account, download Zotero program to your computer, and set up syncing from the browser extension  (note: full features of Zotero are not available on Chromebook or Microsoft Surface)
  • You have more than a few sources to manage
  • You have multiple projects requiring sources and you want to organize your research 
  • You are working with a group and you want to share resources
  • You want the full Zotero experience, including browser extensions and integration with Microsoft Word and Google Docs, including in-text citations. The first-time setup takes a few minutes. We have created tutorials and librarians are happy to help if you have questions.

ZoteroBib is for these circumstances:

  • Your primary computer is a Chromebook or a Microsoft Surface (there are workarounds for using the full Zotero version. Ask a librarian for ideas)
  • You just need a quick citation/bibliography for a discussion board or short paper
  • You are only using a few sources

Note: most of the instructions on the Zotero guide are for the full version of Zotero. For ZoteroBib instructions, look at the Frequently Asked Questions link below.

Zotero video and screenshot tutorials

Zotero is much more than a citation generator. It is also a place where you can organize your research, create reading lists, and share with colleagues. Refer to the Zotero guide for information on importing citations, creating bibliographies, and more! Please feel free to contact a librarian if you have questions about setting up and/or using Zotero. The librarians will be happy to assist you!


A common misnomer is that you have to create and format source citations on your own. Many library databases (like EBSCO, JSTOR, and ProQuest) have mechanism for generating source citations. However, you will want to verify the formatting with the style you are using to ensure accuracy. No electronically generated citation will be 100% accurate. Examples below show how you can locate and create sources citations. If you have questions about how to cite sources, contact a librarian. We will be happy to assist you!






Google Scholar





DOI = Digital Object Identifier

A DOI is a unique numbering system managed by the International DOI Foundation.  If you're really curious you can go to the foundation website and learn all the details. 

Basically, the idea is that by assigning digital objects a unique number that never changes it will be easier to find these objects on the Internet.  It is similar to an ISBN number for a book that is published and an ISSN number for a periodical.

When the American Psychological Association published its 6th edition style manual in 2009 it began requiring the use of DOI's at the end of the citation for any article published in digital format. If you are using a library database and click on the "cite" tool and view the APA style format you will see that it appears at the end of the citation..sometimes.  Sometimes it won't be there.

Always check with your professor and see if he or she has a preference.

Locating a DOI

What if I Use an Article or Book Chapter and the Database does not include the DOI?

A variety of methods is available for obtaining the DOI if the database generated citation does not include one for the item:

  • If you accessed the article from a print journal in the library, look for the DOI on the first page of the article (near the top or at the bottom of the page). If one is not listed, then....
  • Use the DOI locating service. Enter the author article and title. If a DOI is available it will be listed. Copy and paste it into your working document at the end of the source citation. If a DOI is not available via, then....
  • Google the journal title. Use the search function to locate the article title. The DOI should be listed at either the top or bottom of the article. You may also need to use the Cite feature on the journal cite to locate the DOI. If, after all this, you still cannot locate a DOI, don't worry about it. You did your due diligence to locate the DOI. Just cite the source without the DOI, or you may opt to use one of the following:
    • Available from [insert name of Database here, i.e., Business Source Complete]
    • Retrieved from [insert web address/URL here]
    • Retrieved from [insert web address for journal]

Follow the OWL at Purdue guide for citing articles from periodicals.