I am currently doing my very first paper at university and am a bit lost with Word’s citation system. What does a scientific paper (more specifically this one) classify as when it comes to “type of source” in Word?

picture of dropdown for type of source picker

This probably is a very simple question, but I am really having trouble finding an answer. Here’s an explanation of my thought process:

  • It is certainly not a book nor a book section.

  • I don’t feel like it would count as an article in a journal or peridocal as from my understanding research papers are published as a stand-alone?

  • Conference Proceeding: I have no idea what that is, but I think it isn’t it.

  • Maybe a report? As it reports on findings that were made ... but I feel this is also not quite right ...

  • It is not a website.

  • I might use document from website, however this paper is available on several websites (at least through my Google Scholar search) that seem to have picked it up, however it was not originally published through them from what I can tell.

  • While I have it as a PDF, I don't think that is meant by **electronic source.*

  • Art: no
  • Sound Recording: no
  • Performance: no
  • Film: no
  • Interview: no
  • Patent: no
  • I have no idea what is meant by case. As in a lawsuit?
  • Misc is what I will pick for now, but I guess citing research papers in a scientific work isn’t something happening so seldomly that one would have to resort to misc.
  • 27
    I strongly recommend against using Microsoft Word for paper writing. Yes, it’s widely used. No, it’s not good at it. — If you’re comfortable with it, author your paper in LaTeX, Pandoc-Scholar or similar. If you’re not comfortable with it, at least use a proper collaborative editing system like Google Docs. — More to the point, do not use Word’s integrated citation system. Use a proper reference manager software. It will save you a lot of pain. Apr 15, 2018 at 15:17
  • 3
    @KonradRudolph While true, some journals/etc. prefer Word as the format, by my understanding.
    – JAB
    Apr 15, 2018 at 16:12
  • 4
    @KonradRudolph: TBH, besides the collaborative aspect - which can indeed be a strong plus -, Google Docs is quite ridiculous in typesetting capabilities, lacking features that were available on Word 6 for Windows 3.1 (one for all that left me baffled: custom styles). I wouldn't use it for anything moderately serious. Apr 15, 2018 at 18:25
  • 6
    To pile on a little bit: I won't argue one way or the other about using Word to write papers, but I would recommend that you try a separate bibliographic database system/organizer such as Zotero; it has lots of advantages, one being that your references won't be locked in Word if you decide to switch writing platforms.
    – Ben Bolker
    Apr 15, 2018 at 20:10
  • 3
    @CrazyQwert You're wise to use the same tool as your collaborators. Good luck with your paper! Apr 15, 2018 at 22:32

1 Answer 1


The paper you link is not a journal article. It's published as part of a conference proceedings.

You can find the complete proceedings in which that paper appears here (link is to the SPIE page for the 1994 conference Telemanipulators and Telepresence Technologies).

To address some other points in your question, I cannot think of a legitimate research paper that was not published in a journal or conference. Publishing in this sense means putting the paper through peer review, an essential part of contributing to the literature if you want your work to be taken seriously.

Furthermore, conference proceedings are exactly what it says on the tin: proceedings (i.e. talks) from a conference that have been written up and published. Publishing in this way is more common in some fields than others, for example, in computer science, just like the paper you linked.

  • 5
    Depending on field, recent work might appear on a preprint server such as the arxiv up to a year or more before it passes peer review. In an extreme case where a student has moved on to other pastures, that might be the only easily citable version of the work available.
    – origimbo
    Apr 15, 2018 at 18:38
  • One standard set of examples of extremely legitimate research papers that were never published in a journal or conference proceedings are Perelman's groundbreaking works that won him a Millennium Prize and a Fields Medal.
    – Danu
    Apr 16, 2018 at 8:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .