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Spark 001: The Border and Chicanx Texts (Contreras)

This guide was developed for Spring 2024

Step 5 - Organize, Write, & Cite

Organizing your research can help make the writing and citing process easier. Use tips from this page to guide you in this step. Decorative element (pencil icon)

Why do we cite? Several reasons! 

  1. It makes us look good. Seriously, it's ethical and responsible to help readers differentiate our ideas from those we are using from others.
  2. It helps us point our readers to our sources where they can more deeply engage with the scholarly conversation.
  3. It helps us to learn how to communicate formally within our discipline/major.
  4. We avoid plagiarism by quoting the words or paraphrasing ideas of other scholars.

Organize Your Research & Avoid Plagiarism (infographic)

Organizing Your Research

How to Avoid Plagiarism

  • Give proper credit to those whose ideas you are borrowing in your own work through citation.
  • One great way to track where you get your ideas is to take good notes during your research process.

Ways to Take Notes During the Research Process

Table showing suggestions for staying organized during your research process
Analog Options Digital Options

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A Research Journal

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Citation Management Software 

Some popular ones are Zotero,

Mendeley, and EndNote (Web).



  • Highlight useful search words and subject headings
  • Keep track of where you found your sources in case you or another researcher needs to go back to verify the information you cite. This can also help you be efficient by avoiding repeating the same searches.

Writing Resources

Assistance on Campus

Online Resources

Major Citation Styles - Offical & Credible Guidance

Official Style Manuals

There are many different types of academic and professional writing styles. The four guidebooks below represent some of the major ones. Use these guides to learn how professional researchers and writers prepare their manuscripts for publication or sharing.

Major Style Guides by Fields that Use Them -- Click the image to be taken to the book or e-book in our library collection.

Humanities Social Sciences Humanities & Social Sciences Some Sciences

Cover image of the MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition

MLA Handbook

Cover image of the American Psychological Association Publication Manual, 7th edition

APA Publication Manual

Cover image of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition

Chicago Manual of Style (e-book)

Cover image of the CSE Manual, Scientific Style and Format, 8th edition

CSE Manual

Online Style Resources

Although these resources are not official, they are still credible and very useful! If one of these websites doesn't answer your question, check out the official style guide or contact a librarian for help!

Guides from UC Merced Library 

Step 5 - Pause to Reflect

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First of all, congratulations on making it this far! You may still have some loose ends to tie up, and that is OK. Take a moment to think back through your research process. Did you learn any helpful tips along the way? Are there new strategies that you can use for future projects or papers?

Do you still need more information? You can go back to previous steps at any time to revisit your research question or look for more or different sources of information.

If you think you missed something, please feel free to reach out to a Research Librarian: