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SOC5170: Qualitative Methods: RefWorks


If you have used RefWorks in the past, please be advised that it is in the process of upgrading to a new format.  Please use the New RefWorks option, if prompted, to ensure that you are seeing the most current version.

What's RefWorks?

Even though it's listed under the Find Articles in Databases link from the Library homepage, RefWorks isn't that kind of database.  It's more of a database that you create.

RefWorks is a citation manager that can help you organize and keep track of the sources you are using for your research.

As you do your research within the Library website, you'll be able to import citations from our online catalog and most of our databases, and can even pull in book records using its built-in catalog search.  And, as an added bonus, RefWorks can convert your citations into a properly formatted bibliography!

Just keep in mind that RefWorks saves only your citations. It does not automatically save the full-text of an article (it is possible to do so after the fact).  Therefore, it's always a good idea to keep electronic copies in your own files, when possible.

Getting Started

Creating an Account

You can access RefWorks from the list of of Library databases under the Databases tab link on the homepage.

When you first use RefWorks, you must create an account that will be used to store all of your citations. 

To sign up:

  1. Select the Create Account link on the login page.
  2. Use your WPU email address as your username, and provide any required information to set up your account.

Once this has been done, you're ready to begin using RefWorks.  This is only necessary the first time, and you will be able to use your RefWorks login name and password, the next time you visit.

*** If you're off campus when you attempt to create your account, you may need to include the WPUNJ group code (contact me or the Reference Desk for assistance)

Before You Begin

Before Beginning Your Research

RefWorks relies on browser pop-up windows to move information between our databases and your RefWorks account.  Therefore, if you are using a browser with the pop-up blocker enabled, you should disable it before getting started.

Otherwise, you may have difficulty getting the results you want.

  1. In Chrome, click on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner of your browser.
  2. Choose Settings from the menu.
  3. At the bottom of the page, click Show advanced settings...
  4. Click the Content settings... button under the Privacy heading.
  5. Scroll down to Pop-ups, and select Allow all sites to show pop-ups.

This setting will always be reset on public computers, so remember to change it whenever using RefWorks.

Organizing your Information

Organizing Citation with Folders

I would highly recommend starting your RefWorks experience by creating at least one folder in which to store your citations.  As far as I know, there are no limits to how many folders you can create, so make as many as you need to best organize your research (by class, by topic, by project, etc.).

In addition, whenever you import citations to RefWorks, they initially end up in your Last Imported folder.  This is a temporary holding place for the most recent imports, and it's easy to lose track of unfiled items if you don't file them right away.

To create a new folder (or subfolder):

  1. Select the My Folders option on the left-side menu. 
  2. Choose Add a folder.
  3. Give your folder a unique name, and save.

Importing Citations

How to Import Citations From Databases

Bringing citations from one of our many databases to RefWorks is relatively easy, although the process may be slightly different in each. 

Generally, when you've found an article that you wish to include in your research, you'll want to look for a button or link that says Export, Export to RefWorks, or some variation on these words.

Some databases, like any of our many EBSCOHost databases even let you set aside multiple articles at once, so that you can export a batch or citations at the same time.  Simply add items to a folder and Export them in bulk.

  1. When you send citations to RefWorks, a new window will usually appear (it might be in the background, so you may have to look around at first) and you will be asked to log in.
  2. You may also be asked to choose which version of RefWorks to use.  Always choose the Blue option.
  3. A window will appear indicating how many citations you have successfully imported, and you'll be shown all of the items in your Last Imported folder.
  4. To file the articles in the appropriate folder, you can either:
    • Click and drag items into the folder list on the left side.
    • Add a checkmark to the items you wish to move, and select the folder icon across the top, to select a destination.
  5. Sources will remain in your Last Imported folder, but you may clear this list, once everything has been filed.

Books and RefWorks

How to Import Books into RefWorks

Like our databases, our Online Catalog offers you the ability to directy import book citations into RefWorks.

After finding a book or media item of interest, look for the Export Record option above the title (be sure to click the title in your results list, so that you're looking at the full record).  You'll see two options: Export to RefWorks and Export to EndNote.  

Select Export to RefWorks and follow the steps outlined for How to Import Citations From Databases (above).

Need Help?

RefWorks Workshops

The Library offers a number of both basic and advanced RefWorks workshops throughout the semester.  If you think you'd like to learn more about it, or are having difficulty, check the Library Workshops page for dates and times.  Or, you can always set up a one-on-one Research Consultation.​

Manual Entry?

There may be instances where the item you're trying to add to RefWorks is not able to be imported directly from another source.  In these cases, you will need to manaully.

  1. Select the + icon from the top menu, to add a new item, then choose Create new reference.
  2. Be sure to select the appropriate Reference Type at the top of the page, to ensure that you have the right fields available to you.

If you're not sure of what to do, contact the library for assistance.

Creating a Reference List

Making a Bibliography

When you're ready to create your list of References:

  • Open the folder with the citations you want to use.
  • Select the quotation mark icon at the top of the page.
  • Select Create Bibliography.
  • Click the Copy to Clipboard button.
  • Paste into a Microsoft Word document.
  • Double-check that the formatting is correct.

Watch for the message to clear Pop-up blockers. You may need to start over if you haven't already clear the Pop-up blockers.