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Advanced Information Research Skills


A research thesis demands that you read and record a great deal of information in print and electronic form. As you progress through your research, you will gather hundreds or even thousands of references that you will need to cite and acknowledge in your writing. You must have a system to record, store and easily retrieve these references, and it is important that you establish this system early in your research.

Bibliographic management tools are designed to assist researchers to track and recall references to relevant literature. Most bibliographic management tools also allow you to automate in-text citations and automatically populate a bibliography at the end of your document. Correctly using a bibliographic management tool will save you a significant amount of time with writing your thesis, and formatting papers for publication. This section introduces you to common bibliographic management tools.

Bibliographic management software

Certain bibliographic management tools are more appropriate for specific research needs. There are a range of web-based open source tools; some will also provide mobile interfaces. Most of the common tools will allow you to save, share and access your reference lists on multiple platforms and devices. Wikipedia has a comparison entry on the major different software programs available, including Papers, RefWorks and CiteULike. Notre Dame supports EndNote and RefWorks. RefWorks is recommended for undergraduates and postgraduates taking coursework degrees. EndNote is more complex and suitable for Higher Degree Research students and staff, as it has additional features. See the Notre Dame FAQ comparing the two products.

Notre Dame has an institutional licence for EndNote.  This licence permits current staff and students to download the software to personal computers and devices and to use the software at university, the workplace, and at home. EndNote works with MS Word.

Endnote is fully supported at Notre Dame. Notre Dame Library conducts workshops throughout the year, and your Liaison Librarian can provide individual assistance, or check our AskUs page for common questions.

Follow these links for more help on using Endnote: 


Watch these introductory videos from our EndNote Guide:

RefWorks is an online bibliographic management tool that is freely available to staff and students at The University of Notre Dame Australia. RefWorks helps you organise the references and files you collect while doing academic research. With the appropriate add-in, you can import references straight from your RefWorks account into your Microsoft Word document.

Follow these links for help on using RefWorks:


Decide what bibliographic management tool to use. If you already know what you want to use or are already using one that you are happy with, go to step 5. Otherwise, follow the process below: 

  1. Find out what your supervisor or research student peers use to manage their references.  
  2. Ask them why they use that particular tool and see if it matches your own needs.  
  3. Refer to the tools listed on Notre Dame’s referencing guide.
  4. Install the bibliographic management tool you have chosen.  
  5. Import references into your bibliographic management tool to create a reference database. 
  6. Choose the bibliographic referencing style appropriate to your thesis. 
  7. Insert an in-text citation with your bibliographic management tool.