Learn the basic ingredients of a reference, and you can mix them up into any style you need.
When you are writing a piece of work and you use someone else’s thoughts, words or ideas, you must reference them. But why do we talk about referencing so much at University, and why is it so important? Why should you bother spending time on ensuring that your references are consistent, accurate and correct?
It all comes down to why we reference in the first place.
- To make your contribution clear by showing which words and ideas are yours, and which have come from your reading.
- To acknowledge the work of others and how you have built on the knowledge you’ve gained from your reading.
- To ensure that the reader can follow up on your references for themselves.
- To avoid being wrongly accused of plagiarism.
Watch our short video to find out a little more about why we should bother with referencing.
Find out more on our Managing Information skills guide.
What are the key ingredients to a successful recipe for referencing? Of all the enquiries we get in the Library, referencing is the most common.
Referencing is the acknowledgement of the sources that you use in your work. You must reference all sources that you use in your assignment, project or dissertation, including words and ideas, facts, images, videos, audio, websites, statistics, diagrams and data.
Over the next two weeks weeks we’re focusing on referencing, giving you the recipe for success. As a novice referencing baker, you might need a little help to understand the ingredients and methods for your referencing style.
We’ll tell you where to get advice and help
Understand why we reference and how
How to avoid plagiarism
How to manage your information to make your life easier and assignments less stressful, giving you the recipe for success.
We have access to a wide range of digitised British historic newspaper archives, which you can access through various different platforms (see the historic section of our newspaper resource guide for more detail). If you want to search across many historic newspapers at once, we would recommend using Gale Primary Sources.
Gale Primary Sources searches across 15 different archives, including major titles such as The Times, The Daily Mail, Financial Times and The Economist (all dating from their very first issue) together with historic collections of regional titles. You can select to search as many of the archives as you require.
Watch this short introductory video to help you get the best out of searching Gale Primary Sources. If you want information on how to access current, business and international news, then visit this page.
Lexis is primarily a legal database, but it also provides access to UK news from 1990 to the present day.
This resource covers national and regional newspapers, as well as broadsheets. We speak to a lot of students and academics who don’t realise that this resource covers publications such as The Times Educational Supplement and The Times Higher Education (although we now also have an institutional account for The Times Higher Education. Details of how to set up an account and access it can be found here).
For more information on what sources are covered by Lexis, simply click on ‘Sources’ section located in the top right hand corner once you are logged in. Below is a short introductory video of how to access and find information in Lexis. If you are looking for information on how to access international and historic newspapers, as well as business and TV/audio news, then check out our newspaper resources guide.
Are you preparing a dissertation or project, or will be doing so soon?
Make sure you visit our brand new interactive dissertations and project toolkit. Based on the extensive experience of staff from the Library and Writing Development Centre, our new guide includes an interactive search planner, which takes you through the different stages of developing your search strategy, and enables you to create and download your personalised search plan.
The search planner is complemented by a project proposal planner, developed by our colleagues in the Writing Development Centre, to help you develop or refine your research proposal.
The guide also points you to further advice on a wide range of relevant skills, such as finding, managing and evaluating information. It also directs you to the key information resources for your subject area.
It’s easy to navigate, with clear text and short videos throughout. We hope you find it helpful, and if you’ve got any feedback, please let us know.
A scan of some of our “Fake or Fact?” stories this week might raise a few smiles, but as we’ve seen increasingly over the past couple of years, Fake News can have far-reaching consequences.
Hands up, who’s had the awkwardness of friends or family members reposting dubious material on Facebook? If so, you’re not alone. Apparently, according to a MIT study published this year, based on three years’ worth of Twitter meta-analysis, fake news travels up to six times faster than genuine stories. False stories were up to 70% more likely to receive a retweet – often due the novelty or shock factor.
In the sphere of politics, this can have worrying consequences. The U.S. election in late 2016 coined the term for us and is a particularly rich source of Fake news and political spin. Business Insider lists some of the most influential fake news stories to surface during this time; from false claims that WikiLeaks had proof of Clinton arms deals with ISIS, to a fictional Papal endorsement of Trump, said to have received nearly a million hits on Facebook. Only this month, the Jakarta Post reported on concerns of Fake News polluting the build-up to the Indonesian Presidential Elections next year as Facebook groups flood the country’s web spaces with doctored videos; something that has previous lead to protests in the streets of the capital.
And even when we know we might be dealing with dubious information, Fake News can continue to wield influence. Newcastle University’s own Dr. Gavin Stewart, a meta-analysis expert explains “claims with no scientific proof cast doubt over those with overwhelming evidence, leaving us at the best confused and in the worst case making totally the wrong decision.”
A strong example can be found in the now discredited research of Andrew Wakefield. Back in 1998, Wakefield drew unsubstantiated links between the MMR vaccination and childhood autism. Despite the widespread exposure of the fraudulent claims and rebuttals from the medical community, vaccination rates of the MMR vaccine dropped, and last year saw a 400% increase of measles cases across Europe.
So what does this mean for you as a current student?
The National Literacy Trust has been conducting research into pupils’ critical skills, and worryingly, has found that 35% of teachers in the UK taught pupils citing fake news and satire as legitimate sources. A fifth of pupils between 8 and 15 believe that everything found online is trustworthy and true. The antidote to this is building on one of your core graduate attributes and competencies – critical thinking. Always check out stories you’ve found online before using them in your work. Who have they come from, how partisan is that group or author? Is the material satire? What does the author stand to gain? Employers in all industries are looking for graduate with sharp reasoning skills and sound judgement. As students producing work in the current “post-truth” climate, your job is a little tougher, but you can turn this to your advantage by proving you have the skills and the smarts to outwit the Fake News racketeers.
1. Vosoughi, Roy and Aral, (2018). “The spread of true and false news online.” Science, 359: 6380, pp. 1146-1151.
2. Roberts (2016) “This is what fake news actually looks like — we ranked 11 election stories that went viral on Facebook.” Business Insider UK. November 17th
3. Pearl (2018). “Indonesia battels fake news as elections looms” Jakarta Post. 15th March http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/15/indonesia-battles-fake-news-as-elections-loom.html
4. Newcastle university (2018) “Filtering out Fake News” 7th March. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/latest/2018/03/fakenews/
5. Houston, (2018) “Measles back with a vengeance due to fake health news” The Irish Times. Feb 23rd. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/measles-back-with-a-vengeance-due-to-fake-health-news-1.3401960
6. National Literacy Trust (2018). “Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools” https://literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/all-party-parliamentary-group-literacy/fakenews/
Many of you are busy writing your dissertation right now, in the depths of your Masters project or wrestling with your PhD. If you are looking for ideas then look no further than our Theses and Dissertations Guide.
There are many reasons why you would use other theses and dissertations for your studies:
- Has anyone else done a thesis or dissertation on my topic? If so…
- How similar is it to my research question? Do I need to change my question slightly?
- What references/citations did they use? Check them out, they might have used some good references that can help you.
- Can you use this theses/dissertation as a reference for your research?
- Inspiration! Maybe you have a vague idea what your research question is, but you want to see what’s been done already.
Our Theses and Dissertations Guide tells you what print and electronic theses NU Library holds, where to find international theses and signposts you to further information on theses/dissertation production.
This small, but beautifully formed Standards Topic Guide will give you all you need to know about what standards you can access whilst at Newcastle University.
Standards are codes of best practice containing technical specifications and guidelines. They are used to ensure uniformity and consistency, reliability and safety and provide a quality benchmark.
We have full text access to all current BS, ASTM and IEEE standards.
Many ISO and EN (and some IEC) standards also have BS equivalents and are available online too.
To support teaching and research, we also purchase a small number of individual standards from other organisations (e.g. ASME, API, etc). These are usually available in hard-copy and you can find their shelfmarks on LibrarySearch.
If you need a particular standard for your research, dissertation, or to support your teaching, please contact the SAgE Library Liaison team for advice (email@example.com) or use the Books on Time service to ask us to buy it.
The Images topic guide gives you plenty of help with how to find images and how you can use them in a responsible manner – being aware of Copyright laws and how to reference your images.
Also check out Lucy’s blog post on using images.