Whether you’re an undergraduate or a graduate law student, understanding how to use citations properly is a must. A variety of citation tools are available to help you manage and format your citations in the desired format. If you need help with citing sources for a law essay, thesis, or dissertation, your Law Tutor or law librarian can point you in the right direction. In the meantime, here are a few citation tools to get familiar with.
Find Out What Citation Style Your University Requires
Universities often prefer one style such as the Harvard Referencing System. Before you spend time learning a specific citation style, it’s smart to find out which system your law university prefers. Your law professor may also have a preference for one citation style over another, making it important to confirm citation requirements before turning in a research paper or assignment. Once you know which citation style to use, you can go about learning its conventions and start citing your sources properly.
Downloading the Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities is an excellent starting point for any law student who needs a primer on citing law references. Available in PDF, these guidelines help you learn how to cite sources consistently and in a manner that’s easy for readers. The PDF discusses how to cite cases and legislation throughout the United Kingdom as well as how to properly cite secondary sources such as books, articles, websites and blogs, European Commission documents, and much more.
Use Citation Management Software
Citation managers such as Endnote and Sente help you to manage your resources as well as format them properly in a variety of styles. In some cases, you can change the citation style from one style to another if you later find out your law professor prefers a different format. Ask your Law Tutors which citation management software he or she uses. Understanding what your law professor expects and access to an easy-to-use citation manager are two crucial steps toward better citations.