A Writing Center Review: Recite Reference Checker -->

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

A Writing Center Review: Recite Reference Checker

Managing and updating citations is an arduous, but critical, part of the scholarly writing process. These tasks can be particularly vexing for capstone writers because their work is lengthy, undergoes so much revision, and demands precision, accuracy, and correct formatting. Today, I will provide some perspective on a tool that might be helpful to Walden students, particularly students in the process of writing their capstone studies. The tool is Recite Reference Checker.

The title slide for this post featuring a woman holding a placard with the title text

Many students are familiar with citation managers such as EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks, and Mendeley. These tools allow you to create a database of sources, from which you can compile citation information and automatically create in-text citations and reference lists. You can annotate research articles as well as create libraries for specific projects. For many individuals and those working on collaborative projects, these tools are useful at all stages of the research process, from writing a literature review to proofreading for publication.

However, Recite is different from a reference citation manager in that it is a citation checker. Its tagline is “Reference Checking Made Easy.” In contrast to citation managers, this is a tool that you would probably find most useful when proofreading your study before your defense or submission to the URR and ProQuest.

Recite is currently free as it is undergoing Beta testing. Its developer, 4cite Labs, plans to introduce “very competitive pricing” after testing is complete. All you need to use it is a Google account. Another plus for Walden students is that it is compatible with APA style, one of the two citation styles Recite supports.

User Experience: How Recite Worked for Me

To use the service, you login in using your Google account on Recite’s website. Then, you upload your own document. I recommend uploading your full study, as opposed to an individual chapter or section, as the software checks your in-text citations against your reference list.

Recite will first show you a list of all in-text citations from your document. The output is color-coded. Dark blue indicates that your citation correctly matches a reference entry. Yellow indicates a possible match while red indicates no match.

Demonstration of Recite Color coding
Demonstration of Recite's Color Coded Citation Checking
The software also compares your citations and entries to literature in its databases and suggests possible errors. For example, you may have a wrong name or, for a source with multiple authors, you might have authors out of order. Recite will show you an entry that it thinks is correct. That way, you can assess whether your citation and possible reference entry need to be changed. The software will also tell you when it can find no references for an author or year.

Another positive is that Recite checks your citations and reference entries and tells you about possible APA errors. For example, in one of your sentences, you might include “Smith et al.” as an author in a citation. If this work only has two authors, Recite can tell you that this is an invalid use of “et al.”  Recite will also go through your reference list and check whether your entries are correctly formatted in terms of APA. It will show you places for you need to include an ampersand or modify your punctuation, for example.

Evaluation: Is Recite Right for Walden Capstone Writers?

With its integration of APA and its ease of use, Recite seems like a helpful tool for capstone writers. Like any tool, however, Recite may provide you with inaccurate reference or formatting information. You cannot use it as an alternative for double-checking your source information and formatting. If Recite points out a possible mismatch between your reference entry and what it has in its database, you should still double-check your PDF or printout and confirm whether your entry needs to be corrected.

Likewise, if Recite points out a possible APA error (e.g., an ampersand should be used instead of “and” in the author element of a reference entry), you need to be able to determine whether this is, indeed, an error. There really is no shortcut to developing your own APA proficiency as a capstone writer. That is why we offer so many APA resources on our website.

You can test Recite for yourself by either uploading a document or by reviewing the markup on a demo paper on its website. Be sure to read Recite’s terms of service and privacy policy if you decide to use it. Also, keep in mind that Recite stores your document for a “short amount of time,” but the company says this is temporary, while the software is Beta.

Let us know in the comments box whether you have used Recite and what you think about it. 

Tara Kachgal
 is a dissertation editor in the Walden University Writing Center. She has a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and teaches for the School of Government's online MPA@UNC program. She resides in Chapel Hill and, in her spare time, serves as a mentor for her local running store's training program.

Never miss a new post; Opt-out at any time


  1. I tried the Recite Reference Checker and found it cumbersome. In addition, the review produced several APA errors. I'll stick with turning pages to verify my work and keep my feeling of security about my work.