Online Referencing Tools

When it comes to doing a dissertation, or any type of essay in fact, good referencing is an integral part of attaining those higher marks. However (as many of us know), it’s often the most tedious and annoying part of writing an essay (after trying to start). If you just happen to be a savvy scholar who values their own time, then you’ll know that we are not alone in this world, and that it’s 2018 so there definitely has to be an online solution to this. And guess what? There certainly is, in fact there are several referencing sites that will help you collate all of your references into one useful little document. The question is however, which referencing tool is the best to use?

I am going to give you an overview of the top recommended sites I’ve been told to use and feedback which I think are the best.

Cite this for me (CTFM)

This is the website I use every time I write an essay, now although it is my go to referencing tool, I wouldn’t say I loved everything about it. CTFM used to be competition to my original go to, refME until they merged together, (FYI refME was significantly better than CTFM) but let’s not dwell on things in the past. Here’s a list of pros and cons about Cite this for me.


CTFM is super user friendly and simple to use, it will also give you citations in almost every referencing format you could need (19 different ones to be exact).

When writing an essay based piece of work it’s quite likely you will find yourself having used a variety of different types of sources, and this referencing tool accounts for that, whether it’s a book, journal, blog post, website etc, you will be able to reference your source. What’s best about this system is that they make it easy for you to do. By searching the name, author, isbn, or doi of the book or journal, or even just the link, this site can create a reference for you. And if you’re really fancy and 21st century, you can also download their app and scan the barcode of the book.




What’s also great is that when the reference is created for you it will also automatically create an in text citation for you to use within your writing, meaning that your work will have correctly formatted references flowing right the way through it.

To top it all off all of the references you enter into the site are automatically alphabetised, no matter the order you enter them, which means you can copy and paste all of your neat and correctly ordered references right at the end of your essay, with no drama.


However, it’s not all daisies and rainbows, the cons had to come along at some point. And here they are, though there are few they are ever so important.


As you may already know, any well researched paper will have several references, CTFM also know this and limit the amount of citations you can have on one file to 13 before you have to sign up to their subscription (that’s how they make their money). However you can copy and paste the references you do have and add any further ones in afterward (nobody said university was an easy ride😉)

If you ever decide to start working on the the essay you have early, and you have been referencing as you go along (as you should), you only have a week to finish your reference list before it expires, and you have to start all over again (which is very frustrating if our tend to procrastinate).

The app is also only half useful, as sometimes when you log in to access your current bibliography, it doesn’t show up, or it won’t sync the scanned books with the online site, which tends to defeat the object of having the app.

In attempt to find a website that functioned a bit better than cite this for me, I went in searching the web for an alternative. I was surprised to find that the top two recommended alternatives and were actually pathetic in comparison. They were neither user friendly or as useful. So for now, I guess I will continue to utilise CTFM with the frustrations that come with it, until a better alternative comes along (or if I ever decide to buy the subscription)

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