Books added to the Library by students in SAPL (Semester Two 2021/22)

Our Recommend a Book service for students allows you to tell us about the books you need for your studies. If we don’t have the books you need, simply complete the web form and we’ll see if we can buy them. For books we already have in stock, if they are out on loan please make a reservation/hold request using Library Search.

Further information about Recommend a book.

In Semester Two, academic year 2021/2022 we successfully processed 42 requests from 32 students ( 15 PGR, 7 PGT and 10 UGT) in SAPL totalling just over £2800.

A history of design institutes in China : from Mao to market
A Post State-Centric Analysis of China-Africa Relations : Internationalisation of Chinese Capital and State-Society Relations in Ethiopia
Applications of Advanced Green Materials
Architecture Competitions Yearbook 2021
Autonorama: The illustory promise of high-tech driving
Building Colonial Hong Kong Speculative Development and Segregation in the City
Building for Industry
Building Iran Modernism: Architecture, and National Heritage Under the Pahlavi Monarchs (Arab studies journal/ vol 20 issue 1)
Can the Subaltern speak?
Collage Architecture
Companion to Public Space
Computer Architectures: Constructing the Common Ground
Constructing a place of critical architecture in China : intermediate criticality in the journal Time + architecture
Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice
Dream Play Build: Hands-On Community Engagement for Enduring Spaces and Places
Egalia’s Daughters
Healthy Cities? Design for Well-Being
How to Live in a Flat
Learning from Shenzhen: China’s Post-Mao Experiment from Special Zone to Model City
Minding Bodies; How Physical Space, Sensation, and Movement Affect Learning
No place to go: how public toilets fails our private needs
Non-Extractive Architecture: Volume 1 – On Designing without Depletion
Prostitution and the Ends of Empire Scale, Governmentalities, and Interwar India
Raising Global Families
Revolutionary Bodies Technologies of Gender, Sex, and Self in Contemporary Iran
Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery
Routledge Handbook of Interpretive Political Science
Spaces of Colonialism: Delhi’s Urban Governmentalities
Sunderland on behalf of living, history North East
Technical Studies, tectonic explorations : notional considerations in developing a tectonic dissertation
The Freedom to Be Free
The New Autonomous House: Design and Planning for Sustainability
The Philip Johnson Glass House: An Architect in The Garden
The Private Rented Housing Market Regulation or Deregulation?
The Routledge Handbook of Institutions and Planning in Action
The Speculative City: Emergent Forms and Norms of the Built Environment
Undesign: Critical Practices at the Intersection of Art and Design
Vegetarian Architecture: Case Studies on Building and Nature
Which Contract: Choosing the Appropriate Building Contract / 6th
Who Owns the Past?: Archaeological Heritage between Idealism and Destruction (Ex Novo: Journal of Archaeology)
Women [Re]Build: Stories, Polemics, Futures
Women and Public Space in Turkey: Gender, Modernity and the Urban Experience

Books added to the Library by students in ECLS (Semester Two 2021/22)

Our Recommend a Book service for students allows you to tell us about the books you need for your studies. If we don’t have the books you need, simply complete the web form and we’ll see if we can buy them. For books we already have in stock, if they are out on loan please make a reservation/hold request using Library Search.

Further information about Recommend a book.

In Semester Two, academic year 2021/2022 we successfully processed 33 requests from 22 students ( 16 PGR, 6 PGT and 0 UGT) in ECLS totalling just over £2600.

About our schools
Activities for Cooperative Learning: Making groupwork and pairwork effective in the ELT classroom.
Activities for Task-Based Learning: Integrating a fluency first approach into the ELT classroom.
Contemporary Task-Based Language Teaching in Asia
Conversation Analysis and Classroom ManagementAn Investigation into L2 Teachers’ Interrogative Reproaches
Craft in Art Therapy
Critical Community Psychology Critical Action and Social Change
Critical Theories for School Psychology and Counseling: A Foundation for Equity and Inclusion in School-Based Practice
Discourse analysis: An introduction
Exploratory Practice in Language Teaching: Puzzling about Principles and Practices.
Growing a Forest School: from the Roots Up (forestschoolassociation.org)
Higher Education and the Future of Graduate Employability: A Connectedness Leanring Approach
Intercultural Communicative Competence in Educational Exchange A Multinational Perspective
Intercultural Competence: Concepts, Challenges, Evaluations
Introduction to Music Education
Introduction to the study of religion
Introduction to University Teaching
Journeys from Childhood to Midlife: Risk, Resilience, and Recovery
Language and Motor Speech Disorders in Adults
Maps of Narrative Practice
Materials & media in art therapy: Critical understanding of diverse artistic vocabularies.
Multimodality and Genre: A Foundation for the Systematic Analysis of Multimodal Documents
Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States
Playful Mathematics
Resilient Teachers, Resilient Schools: Building and sustaining quality in testing times
Retelling the stories of our lives Everyday narrative therapy to draw inspiration and transform experience
Second Language Task-Based Performance Theory, Research, Assessment
Supervising the Reflective Practitioner: An Essential Guide to Theory and Practice
Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: The Way of the Learner
Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do
The Bengal Diaspora: Rethinking Muslim Migration
The Routledge International Handbook of Psychosocial Resilience
Understanding educational leadership: Critical perspectives and approaches.

EDI Summer Reading Challenge

Abstract colourful shapes. Text reads: Summer Reading Challenge, libguides.ncl.ac.uk/edi.

Summer is the perfect time to embark on a journey, broaden your horizons and soak up a different culture or perspective. So, the team behind our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) library guide is delighted to re-launch a summer EDI reading challenge.

Since its launch in autumn 2020, we’ve been using the guide to curate and highlight print and online resources of all kinds, relating to EDI themes, such as those listed in the University’s EDI priorities. We’ve compiled themed sections and monthly highlights of books, films, social media, archives, podcasts and more, and encouraged suggestions from staff and students across the University to help us develop our collections.

So why not take up our Summer EDI Reading Challenge?

Recommend and Review

Look through our themed reading lists on our Recommended by You & Blog page and explore life through a new lens! We hope you’ll find some inspiration, but we’d also love to receive your recommendations too, and we’ll be highlighting them on the guide.

You’re welcome to use the online form on the lib guide. If you can give us a few words to explain your choice, that would be great! You can see what people recommended last year on our EDI in Literature page.

Social Media

We’ll be running a promotional campaign on social media throughout summer, using the hashtags #ReadingForPleasure and #EDIReadingChallenge. Please look out for these and retweet/repost wherever possible.

Have a great Summer everyone! We’ll leave you with the inspired words of the Poet, Derek Walcott:

I read; I travel; I become.

Finding empirical and methodological research articles

When it comes to research methods or research methodologies, there can be a lot of unfamiliar terms and concepts to get to grips with. One question we’re often asked by masters business students is how to find empirical and methodological research articles. It’s a good question as it can be quite tricky to locate articles on these topics, so here’s some advice on how you can go about searching for them in Library Search and the databases that we subscribe to.

Book shelves with hanging light bulbs
Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

What is the difference between empirical and methodological research?

Let’s start by defining our key terms, so we know what to look out for:

Empirical research

Empirical research is based on observed and measured phenomena and derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

How do you know if a study is empirical? Read the subheadings within the article, book, or report and look for a description of the research methodology. Ask yourself: Could I recreate this study and test these results?

Key characteristics to look for:

  • Specific research questions to be answered
  • Definition of the population, behaviour, or phenomena being studied
  • Description of the process used to study this population or phenomena, including selection criteria, controls, and testing instruments (such as surveys)

Another hint: some scholarly journals use a specific layout, called the “IMRaD” format, to communicate empirical research findings. Such articles typically have 4 components:

  • Introduction: sometimes called “literature review” — what is currently known about the topic — usually includes a theoretical framework and/or discussion of previous studies
  • Methodology: sometimes called “research design” — how to recreate the study — usually describes the population, research process, and analytical tools
  • Results: sometimes called “findings” — what was learned through the study — usually appears as statistical data or as substantial quotations from research participants
  • Discussion: sometimes called “conclusion” or “implications” — why the study is important — usually describes how the research results influence professional practices or future studies

Thank you to Penn State University for their description of empirical research: https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/emp

Methodological research / study

According to Mbaugbaw et al., a methodological study will:

“…evaluate the design, analysis or reporting of other research-related reports […] They help to highlight issues in the conduct of research with the aim of improving […] research methodology, and ultimately reducing research waste (2020, p.1).

In simple terms, it’s research on research!

Key characteristics to look for:

  • Will have the term ‘methodological research’ or ‘methodological study’ in the title or abstract.
  • Has more of a focus on the method(s) employed to do the research (e.g. interviews, questionnaires) rather than the findings of the research.
  • Evaluates how research was done and how the methodology could be improved.

How to find empirical and methodological research articles in Library Search and databases

Finding these research articles isn’t always easy, but it can be done! While they are indexed in most databases, it can sometimes be tricky to find them because of the wide variety of names used for these type of studies (methodological research can also be known as research-on-research, meta-research, meta-epidemiological studies etc.). Here’s our top tips for finding empirical and methodological research articles:

Searching via journal titles

The easiest way to find these journal articles is to target journals that are focused on research methods, then search or browse within those titles.

Here’s some examples of such journal titles to help you find methodological studies:

I recommend that you search for these titles in Library Search under ‘Everything except articles’ filter:

Screenshot of Library Search and searching for a particular Journal title.

Within these titles I recommend searching for “methodological study” in the abstract:

Screen shot of searching within SAGE Journals for "methodological study"

To find empirical research articles, you would go to top, peer-reviewed, research journals in your field of study (the list is endless!) and search within these using relevant keywords.

Here are some key journal titles in the field of business:

You then need to search within these journal titles, ideally within the abstract, for keywords relating to the research design / method ( i.e. how the researcher collected their empirical research) So you might search for terms such as interview*, survey*, questionnaire*, “focus group*” or “mixed method*” :

Screen shot of searching within a business journal for an empirical research method

Searching via keyword in Library Search and databases

If you aren’t finding enough when searching within journal titles, broaden your search by looking within Library Search and other suitable databases.

The Advanced Search within Library Search is a good place to start. Again, try to search for keywords such as “methodological study”, or by method, e.g., interview*, survey*, questionnaire*, “focus group*” or “mixed method*”, along with your subject topic. Remember to use the filters if you need to find research within a particular time frame, such as the last 10 years and to change the drop down to search “everything”.

Screenshot of Library Search search for "methodological study"

If you are looking within Scopus or subject specialist databases, such as Business Source Complete, the process is exactly the same. If your search isn’t working, try different keywords, but persevere as the research is there, it just might be hiding:

Screenshot of Scopus showing searching "methodological study" within the Abstract field.

Searching with controlled vocabulary / subject headings

Some of our databases use controlled vocabulary (a thesaurus), this allows you to identify the preferred terms used in a particular database for your topic of interest, making it easier to find relevant articles. Here is a worked example using controlled vocabulary in Business Source Complete:

I tried a search for “empirical research”, and found it is a preferred term within this database:

Clicking on this preferred term allows you to explore any related or narrower terms, which you can choose to add to your search to improve the quality of your results:

Screenshot of thesaurus in Business Source complete

I decided to add Empirical research and the related term Quantitative research to my search, clicking add to include them in my search string:

I can then add subject related terms to my search:

Many of the social sciences databases have a thesaurus that you can search within.

SAGE Research Methods

For further help on topic of research methods and methodologies, check out SAGE Research Methods. This is a database containing thousands of resources, dedicated to the subject area of Research Methods. It supports all stages of the research process including: writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing data, to writing up your results and thinking about publication. It contains information suited to all levels of researchers, from undergraduates starting your first project to research associates. Within the resource, you can access dictionary and encyclopaedia entries, book chapters, full books, journal articles, case studies, some datasets and video. There are many uses for the resources you will find in SAGE Research Methods:

  • get a quick explanation of a term or concept in a dictionary or encyclopaedia entry
  • access a full overview of a qualitative and quantitative methods, theory or approach in a specialist book
  • use an e-book chapter that covers a specific method in more detail for your methodology chapter or when choosing how to approach your research
  • access a journal article that illustrates the real world application of the methods in research

Access the SAGE Research Methods User Guide for an overview of the resource, and use the tabs below to access videos and training materials to get started. 

To access SAGE Research Methods, either:

I hope you have found this useful. I’m sorry there isn’t an easy way for finding such articles, however, a thorough and systematic search within journal titles, Library Search and databases will allow you to find some relevant and good quality articles that you can use in your research.

If you need further help with this topic or something similar, please make an appointment with your Liaison Librarian.

References

Mbuagbaw, L., Lawson, D. O., Puljak, L., Allison, D. B. and Thabane, L. (2020) ‘A tutorial on methodological studies: the what, when, how and why’, BMC Medical Research Methodology, 20(1). Available at: https://bmcmedresmethodol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12874-020-01107-7 (Accessed: 15 June 2022).

Tackling essay-based exams

Picture of rows of exam desks

Exam season is almost upon us and one challenge you may find yourself facing is revising for essay-based exams. These can cause a lot of anxiety, not least because essay-based assessments are often something we are used to doing over the course of several weeks. How do you plan, structure and write an essay in the space of a couple of hours? And how on earth do you revise when you don’t know what you’ll be asked?

Read on for our guide to effective revision and exam technique for essay-based exam questions:

What are essay exams testing?

Before you jump into your revision, it can be helpful to remember that essay exams are not just testing your memory. Instead, your lecturers are looking for evidence of how well you can apply the knowledge you have gained throughout the course to solve a problem or answer a question under timed conditions. Therefore, whilst memory is still important – you’ll need to be able to recall that knowledge in the exam – it’s only part of the story. You’ll also need to make sure you have an in-depth understanding of that knowledge and have practiced applying it to different questions, problems, and contexts.

How do I revise for essay exams?

You may be tempted to write a ‘generic’ essay on each of the topics you’re revising and memorise them so you can repeat them in the exam room. However, keep in mind that your lecturers are asking you to solve the specific problem they’ve set for you and simply ‘dumping’ everything that’s relevant won’t address the question and is unlikely to earn you good marks.

A more effective approach to revising for essay exams is incorporating strategies that develop your understanding of the topic so you can apply your knowledge to different problems effectively. Some revision strategies you might want to try for this are:

  • Questioning and interrogating the knowledge: why does this happen? How does it happen? Does it always happen this way? Is this always true? What about if we apply it to a different context? What are the implications of this?
  • Try applying the knowledge to case studies or different scenarios to get a better understanding of how theory works in practice.
  • Look at past papers or devise your own questions and either answer them in full or sketch out an essay plan under timed conditions. This will help you to test your recall and practice skills you’ll be using in the exam.
  • Compare and weigh up different approaches to the topic. Does everyone agree on this? Why? Why not? Which perspective is stronger?
  • Identify gaps in your knowledge and do some additional reading to fill them.

What about strategies for the exam itself?

You might be used to spending hours or even days planning, writing, and editing a coursework essay and be wondering how on earth you do all of this under timed conditions. Keep in mind that your lecturers know that this is a big ask and they are not expecting the same level of sophistication in the way you construct your arguments that they would be looking for in a coursework essay. However, it’s still necessary that your lecturers can follow your answer and see clearly how it addresses the question so:

  • Spend some time at the beginning paying attention to what the question is asking you. Our video on question analysis offers some strategies for understanding essay questions:
  • Sketch out a basic structure to follow. This needn’t be more than the main points you want to argue and the order you want to argue them in.
  • Clearly state your point or communicate your main focus at the beginning of each paragraph to help your reader get their bearings and follow your argument.
  • If you find yourself running out of time, write down a few bullet points around your remaining points – you may still pick up a few extra marks for this!

Do I need to reference sources in an essay exam?  

While you won’t be expected to reference others to the extent you do in a coursework essay, it’s worth incorporating a few references to back up your points and show how you worked out your answer.

Try to memorise a couple of key arguments and/or debates made by others for each topic as well as the authors’ surname(s) and the year of the article so that you can cite it in the exam. Don’t worry about the details – just one or two lines summarising their main argument is enough.

What about other types of exams?

Exams exist in various formats in addition to the traditional essay-based exam type. For example, your course may also have multiple choice papers, vivas/oral presentations or exams relating to specific processes, techniques and interactions. All types of exams test your ability to recall and apply your subject knowledge, so most advice on revision and exam technique is applicable to different exam types. Effective revision trains your brain both to retain and to retrieve information; a process that’s equally useful for all exam formats. However, different types of exams can also present different challenges, and transitioning from online to in-person exams is a key change for this year. For more details on this and other exam-related issues, see our ASK Exams Collection and our calendar for upcoming workshops on revision and exam preparation.

We are here to support you!

Don’t forget that the Academic Skills Team will be in the Walton Library to answer questions about exams, revision, and any other questions you may have about academic skills on the following days and times:

11.05.2211:00-13:00
25.05.2211:00-13:00
08.06.2211:00-13:00

Spotlight on Knovel’s new interactive tools

Decorative image of a man working on a computer

What is Knovel?

Knovel is a technical reference database that provides access to core engineering handbooks and tools. It allows students, researchers and professionals to take material and property data, and to analyse it quickly and intuitively.

Our previous blog gives a general overview of Knovel’s main features and content, describing how it empowers engineers by offering a trustworthy source of information and data. But there is so much more you can do with Knovel using the interactive and visualization analysis tools. Alongside their data and technical information the tools let you manipulate and extrapolate data from within your browser and export it into your work in whatever format is most appropriate for your requirements. These tools allow you to interact more with the materials data within Knovel, so the data becomes much more discoverable and useful for your studies and research.

Creating a free, personal Knovel account allows you to save the work you do with these tools too. You can also save searches, graphs, tables and more, picking up right where you left off if you need to take a break.

What are the interactive tools?

There are several powerful tools that allow you to interact directly with the huge sets of data and properties in Knovel. Carrying out a simple search of material properties will give the option to select interactive tables or graphs. This video from Knovel gives an overview of the interactive tools available.

Hyperlinked image showing the Knovel 'interactive tools' video

Interactive Tables

The tables within Knovel can be overwhelmingly huge in scope, needing filtering to start to work the data into something useful. The interactive table tool allows you to filter and sort columns of large datasets, as you would a spreadsheet, but within your browser. You can hide, move, and lock columns, and quickly go from a broad search looking at the property of a material, for example steel, to a table you can adjust and save or export for inclusion in your work.

Screenshot of an example interactive table in Knovel
An example interactive table

Graph digitizer

Knovel includes a wealth of crucial engineering handbooks and has digitised the graphs in these titles. This allows you to extract and export data from digitized curves, enabling you to open any graphs in a separate view where you can extract data points, adjusting the parameters to get the information you are interested in. You can define points on the curve by clicking directly on the line, or by using the navigation panel to specify exact points, and you can define the axis with the other axis adjusting automatically. You can then add points, curves, or elongation data, and manipulate as needed before saving or exporting in a format suited to your output.

Screenshot of an example digitized graph in Knovel
An example digitized graph

Equation plotter

With so many example equations in Knovel the plotter function lets you visualise parametric equations and then manipulate them in several ways, such as plotting curves from the equation. When you run a search for material properties and choose a table, then selecting the equation icon will open the plotted equation for you to work with. You can then add points to particular values, change units, and work the data.

Screenshot of an example plotted equation in Knovel
Knovel equation plotter

Interactive equations

Knovel includes vast collections of example equations for application in engineering. You can navigate all disciplines by specialty, browse the full collection, or filter by equations in the general search.

The interactive equation tool is browser-based calculation software. It can help you get the solutions to problems faster, by letting you work with the online equation as you would in your own workbook. The equation worksheet functions as a space to explore and relate data back to your own work. You can also create worksheets for searches, combining text with images and plots. Watch the video from Knovel below for more information on interactive equations.

Hyperlinked image showing the Knovel 'interactive equations' video

Unit converter

This is a simple tool, but especially useful as it is integrated throughout Knovel to help you work with the data. It draws on a range of units, properties, and scientific notations systems. Easy to access and to use, it will help make sure you are working to the correct equivalents.

Screenshot of the unit converter tool within Knovel
Knovel unit converter

Steam calculators

Presented as a series of 8 calculators, this recent addition allows fine control of a full range of thermodynamic variables, under a variety of conditions, for results determining steam table data. With support for ranges of temperature, pressure, and quality, it lets you work out the required conditions for achieving the quality of steam needed. Watch this video from Knovel to learn more about Steam Calculators.

Hyperlinked image showing the Knovel 'steam calculators' video

More information

You can get further help with Knovel on the Knovel LibGuide. You’ll also find links to Knovel, and additional support within the Library’s Subject Guides for all Engineering, Science and Computing disciplines.

Contact your Liaison Librarian for any further questions around getting the most from Knovel, and for other ways we can help support you in your studies.

Sound and vision: introducing our new audiovisual resources guide


Where can I find pictures relating to transport which I can use in my project? How do I find out what was broadcast on British television and radio on a particular day in the 1970s? Where are the best places to find examples of digital art? I need audio clips of scary sounds for my presentation – where to start? Are there any interesting oral histories in my subject area? How do I reference a podcast? I’ve found an ideal picture online, but I don’t know where it’s from – what can I do? Is there an authoritative list of famous music plagiarism cases anywhere, including audio clips?

Screenshot of oral histories from the British Library
British Library oral histories selection

You can find the answers to these, and many more intriguing questions, on our brand new guide to finding and using audiovisual resources.

We’ve updated and expanded our old images guide, and included new databases and resources for finding films and television programmes, plus audio content such as radio programmes, sound clips, podcasts and oral histories.

We’ve also updated the original still images section, which helps you find images of all genres and subjects, such as anatomy, archaeology, architecture…. and all other letters of the alphabet!

Need more help?

Keyword searching isn’t always the best way to search for audiovisual content, so if you want to find an image which looks like another one, search by colour, or find exactly what you want on Box of Broadcasts, visit our guide.

Finally, if you’re unsure whether you’re permitted to use an audiovisual resource in your assignment, and/or how to cite it, we can help with that too. Our guide contains plenty of helpful advice on using and citing audiovisual materials, and we’ve tried to include links to collections and databases which are licensed for educational use where possible (but please do check the terms and conditions in each case).

Accessing resources beyond the Library

Photograph by Erik Odiin of somebody in a train station
Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

If you’re working on a dissertation, thesis or project right now, or will be doing so next academic year, what can you do if the Library doesn’t have access to all the specialist books and other information resources you need? How can you find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held elsewhere? Can you visit other libraries and archives if you’re away from Newcastle over the vacation?

Read on to find out how you can expand your search beyond our library….

1. Search

You can search across the catalogues of over 170 UK and Irish academic and national libraries, together with other specialist and research libraries, via Library Hub Discover (formerly COPAC). The range of libraries included in Library Hub Discover is expanding all the time, and includes all UK universities, as well as the libraries of such diverse organisations as Durham Cathedral, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Horticultural Society.

Library Hub Discover logo

In response to Covid restrictions, Library Hub Discover has also made it easier for you to find Open Access resources via its catalogue: it has recently incorporated the HathiTrust Digital Library, as well as the Directories of Open Access Books and Journals to its searchable database.

For a more in-depth and up-to-date search, you can also search individual academic library catalogues online. Need to look further afield? Search library catalogues internationally via WorldCat.

If you are looking for archives elsewhere, whether in the North East or beyond, our colleagues in the Special Collections and Archives team have compiled a list of useful directories and search tools.

2. Obtain

If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it via our Recommend a book service.

If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, you can apply for it via our inter library loan service, which is currently free.

You can search UK doctoral theses via the national EThOS service. This has records for over 500,000 theses, dating back to the year 1800, of which over half are freely available online (do note you have to register with EThOS before being able to download: it’s a separate login process to your usual University login).

3. Visit

Photo of Special Collections Virtual Reading Room
Special Collections Virtual Reading Room

The SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to visit most other academic libraries around the country, and in some cases, borrow from them. This service has recently resumed since its suspension during the Covid pandemic, but please note that not all academic libraries are currently participating in the scheme, so do check carefully before you visit, and read the latest information on the SCONUL Access site.

You will need to register with SCONUL Access before you can visit another Library, so do allow time for your registration to be processed.

If you want to consult archives or special collections elsewhere, you’ll need to check with the organisation in question beforehand (you’ll usually need to request to consult items in advance of your visit). If you can’t visit in person, archives services may still be able to answer queries, provide access to selected digitised items, or even operate a Virtual Reading Room, so it may well be worth enquiring.

Writing an essay: step-by-step guidance from the Academic Skills Development Team

A selection of books on academic skills.

Not sure about how to start writing an essay?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the academic skills drop-ins in the Walton Library is about how to write an essay.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to begin a piece of assessed written work, it is worthwhile thinking about writing as a process as opposed to a final product. Thinking about it in this way means that you break the task down into smaller manageable chunks, but you can also review, reflect, and edit your work as you go along which helps you to meet the marking criteria.

It is important to remember that although we call it a process, you are likely to move back and forward between stages reviewing, evaluating, revising, and editing as you go along.

A student in the Law Library.

The first stage in the process is planning, this includes looking over the marking scheme as well as the questions, this will give you a clear idea of what the marker is looking for, you can then begin generating ideas, this will lead you to begin the research process.  It is worth reading broadly at first to get an overall picture of your topic, here you’ll use the materials you’ve been taught in lectures, look at your reading list as well as other resources you’ve been directed to. At this stage (and throughout your work) it is a good idea to have the assignment question to hand so that you can refer to it, this will help you keep focussed on the task you’ve been set. You’ll then be in a position to decide how you want to respond to the assignment question, this will then help you source more detailed texts. Deciding on your position at the planning stage will help make your writing focussed and coherent. Once you’ve decided on your position, you can begin to map out a rough plan.

It is important to have a plan because this gives you a clear overview of what you’ll write about, it will guide you as you work through the assignment and will help you ensure that you’ve included everything and addressed the task fully. The plan doesn’t need to be detailed, even a list of headings and subheadings can be helpful to guide you. Regardless of how you plan your work out, this process will enable you to organise your argument and the evidence you’ll use to support this, you can also establish connections between points. It will also help you read with a clear purpose, as you’ll be looking for material to support your point, as opposed to summarising relevant texts and adding them to your work.

Image courtesy of Glenn Carstens-Peters

After the planning stage you’ll move onto the composition of the assignment. Here you’ll use the rough plan as a guide, and you’ll begin formatting ideas and incorporating references to support your points.  You’ll think about how to structure and the composition of each paragraph and add the appropriate references. Remember it is important to integrate sources when you are writing, not simply summarise one text per idea.

Then you’ll go over what you’ve written and review it, you should evaluate what you’ve written thinking about the evidence you’ve found and your argument throughout the essay, and as you look through your work you are likely to revise and edit what you’ve got. This process will continue until you have completed your assignment.

Reviewing, evaluating, revising, and editing your work is likely to occur in several cycles. Eventually you’ll have a completed draft. At this stage it is worth ensuring that you read the whole piece of work to ensure flow throughout, you can also check for any language, structural, referencing, style or grammar issues. If possible, take a break from writing so that when you do your final checks you are looking at your work with fresh eyes and therefore will be more likely to spot any potential errors.

Our video illustrates this process and can help get you started on tackling a piece of work you’ve been given. Don’t forget that we’ll be able to answer your questions about essay writing and much more when we visit the Walton Library for our drop-ins, the next one is scheduled for Wednesday 16th from 11:00-13:00.
We’ll add more dates after the Easter break, however, in the meantime if you’ve got any academic skills queries, we’ve now got a Live Chat widget on all the Academic Skills Kit pages, it’s live from 12:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.

We always love to hear from students, if you’ve got any feedback or questions about our support or resources please get in touch! AcademicSkills@newcastle.ac.uk

International Women’s Day 2022 – Medicine in Literature

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 Walton Library’s Medicine in Literature team have created a Box of Broadcasts watch list to showcase films with a female story at their centre. The selection contains tales about women and their relationships to health, medicine and science. From Frida to Gravity to Suffragette the collection looks at both fictional and non-fictional accounts of the strength it takes to navigate the world as a woman. We hope you enjoy watching!

We are also celebrating International Women’s Day in the Walton Library with a display highlighting the achievements of female graduates from the Faculty of Medical Sciences. These are shown alongside books written by, or about, women who are making an impact in the world of medicine and breaking the gender bias in the process.

Celebrating female graduates of the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Box of Broadcasts is a TV and radio streaming database that can be accessed via Library Search (UK access only, Login required). Take a look at the list of films selected for International Women’s Day 2022 or browse all of our public playlists by searching ‘Medicine in Literature Newcastle University’.

Is there a book that you think should be on our shelves, or a film to add to a playlist? Is there a subject you think would make a good BoB playlist? Then get in touch.

https://libguides.ncl.ac.uk/medicineinliterature