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Research Guides

Undergraduate Guide to Using Data: Citing Data

Introduction to using data for undergraduate students.

Citing Data

Citations are a critical component to the research process. Citations allow for researchers to give credit to other sources, creating a working relationship between researchers across time and space. Keeping your citations consistent and organized in one place from the start will make finalizing your research paper or project much easier.

Citing data, as opposed to more familiar articles or books, can be a confusing process at first, but the resources are out there to help you through the process.


  • DataCite
    Provides a primer for how to cite datasets, along with examples.
  • American Psychological Association’s (APA) Style Guide
    Also includes information on how to cite other data forms, such as graphical depictions of data and qualitative data, in the APA style (page 16).
    • Certain resources also provide instruction on how to cite data originating from their repository or archive, such as ICPSR (accessible through the CSSCR) or Statistics Canada, but much of these resources follow the general format as the two resources above.
  • UW Quick Citation Guide
    Many databases and websites for searching for data, such as Google Scholar and WorldCat, allow users to “export” citations. Exporting citations allows a user to obtain a pre-generated citation, which may be integrated with Citation Management Software (see below).
    • When using Quick Citation Generators, make sure to double-check for accuracy and consistency!
  • UW Guide to Citation Management Software (CMS)
    Citation Management Software, also known as Citation Management Tools, allow users to easily store, organize, share, and generate citations into word processing software. CMS are especially useful when dealing with larger projects, such as theses and dissertations, but it’s never too early to begin familiarizing oneself with this useful tool.
    • Make sure you are using the reference type “dataset”!