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Research Skills: Managing Your References

A step-by-step approach to ensure that you possess the key skills required to find, retrieve and evaluate information on your research topic.


The Unisa Library subscribes to RefWorks and it is available to Unisa staff and students free of charge.  Alumni can continue to access the accounts they created as students.

Note that while your RefWorks account can be accessed from anywhere, the Write ‘n Cite plugin has to be loaded on all your devices. The plugin is designed to correctly format in text references and to generate a bibliography as your writing progresses.


EndNote® gives you the tools to search, organise and share your research on the Windows and Mac operating systems.  This reference management tool offers basic functionality for free and you may upgrade to a paid subscription if you wish. 


Mendeley offers basic functionality and storage of up to one gigabyte (1 G) of data for free. You may upgrade to a paid subscription if you wish. Mendeley is compatible with MSWord, OpenOffice, and BibTex.

This reference management tool offers social networking opportunities. You can search the references that other people have collected, set up or join groups to work together and more. You will need to download the Mendeley Desktop to use when writing papers, and if you log into the web version you can add citations and papers to your personally created library from anywhere, using any web browser.

Be sure to always synchronise your Mendeley Desktop with the web.


Zotero is a free and open-source reference management tool particularly useful because it retains the integrity of mathematical formulae. It is an easy-to-use Mozilla Firefox Internet browser extension that helps in the collection, management and citation of research sources. It provides users with automated access to bibliographic information for resources viewed online.


Papers, a reference manager recently joined Springer. It allows you to create a personal library of research, where you can search for journal articles in multiple repositories simultaneously, import them directly to Papers, organize them together with their supplementary materials, read them in full screen, highlight and keep notes, and sync them to your iPad or iPhone. When you are working on a manuscript, you can cite any of the materials in your library in your favorite word processor.