Common Sense Review
Updated November 2015


Handy tool aids both new and experienced researchers
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • The user dashboard keeps projects organized and provides easy access to export and creation functions.
  • Choose among 15 prominent citation styles, or delve deeper to access thousands more.
  • Users can cite over 35 types of information and sources.
  • Transfer work to different platforms for easy sharing and editing.
The sleek design lets students build confidence in utilizing and organizing reference materials.
Students won't have to remember (or really learn) the differences among citation styles.
Bottom Line
A flexible, powerful citation generator that eliminates some major research-project headaches.
Kirstin Sobotka
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Simple, accessible tools make this site a go-to for the daunting task of style and citation. Students will be attracted to this site as a one-stop shop for citation, note-taking, and sharing work.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

It can be empowering for students to capture, sort, and annotate sources as they read and research. However, the tool could do more to teach the why and how of research citation.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

The platform is extremely easy to navigate, and users can explore a categorized FAQ page with corresponding tutorial videos. Embedded tools such as the WebClipper and the citation generator helpfully scaffold the research process.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

RefME’s sleek design lets beginning and seasoned researchers gather and organize tons of sources. Teachers who want to introduce younger students to the research process can create resource scavenger hunts for their students: The first group to share their well-organized, complete list of resources to the class Edmodo page wins! Teachers might also create project pages to have students practice reading and taking notes from various types of resources. Ask students to practice writing annotated bibliography entries that they could use later as they write a research paper. For more advanced students, make RefME your students' go-to tool for housing sources and notes as they build their bibliography or works-cited page for a research project. Use it to go green and have students submit their works cited or annotated bibliographies digitally via RefME's sharing tools. Teachers might also create their own projects and share them with students to their class websites: This could be a great tool for amassing a class resource list that students can explore for background information, perhaps for a class debate or as review before an exam. 

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What's It Like?

RefME is a citation generator that works with more than 7,500 citation styles (including MLA and APA) and cites more than 40 types of sources (including books and websites). One of the site's main features is its WebClipper, a tool that you can add to your browser's toolbar and click to "clip" websites and automatically cite them in the style of your choice. The site also has a mobile app available for iOS and Android that you can use to scan ISBN bar codes on books and journals and automatically cite those resources, too. Citations can be organized into project-specific pages, and you can annotate each citation with quotes and notes. The website also includes a link to a quick citation generator, in case you need to generate a citation in a particular style on the fly.

Users can register with an email address or use their Facebook, Edmodo, or Google accounts to log in. Project pages can be shared with other user accounts via Edmodo and via social media, and you can export your citations and notes into Microsoft Word, Evernote, or other word-processing programs. RefME also works well with common reference apps such as RefWorks, Mendeley, and Endnote.

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Is It Good For Learning?

RefMe stands for "Referencing, Made Easy," and that's exactly what it is. This digital system ably replaces the old-school index-card system for research projects with a simple cloud-based system that's easy to add to and use in a ton of  contexts. Novice and experienced researchers alike will love this system that takes the stress and guesswork out of properly capturing and citing resources. This lets students concentrate on honing other critical research skills, such as ensuring they cite every source they use, keep those sources organized, and appropriately integrate analysis into their quotations from their cited sources.

This is a great tool for helping students create an organized annotated bibliography, and it's great that it's so easy to share their current notes and citation list with their classmates or teachers. Those collaborative features can enable students and teachers to make the reference section of a research project an active element of the writing process and not an eleventh-hour afterthought. Overall, this tool is definitely worth a look: RefME is flexible enough to help students capture, share, and correctly use any source they find along the way.

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