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.
Can you remember life before Google?! It is such a huge part of our lives, that even those of us who can remember a time before it (hmmm, yes I am that old!), can’t imagine life without it now. It is great place to find the latest cinema listings or who won last night’s football match, but what about finding information for your latest assignment or research?
There is a time and a place to use Google, but you need to be aware of its limitations. Google, after all, is a business. It earns the majority of its money from advertising, and it will not reveal how it ranks its search results (every wonder how Wikipedia always appears at the top of every search you do?). A search that we do today and repeat tomorrow for a piece of research could give us hugely different results, with no explanation of why. We are also often bombarded with millions of search results and the reality of our searching habits mean that we rarely look beyond the first or second page. Admittedly, advanced search features on Google and the use of Google Scholar can really help us to become a smarter and effective Google users, but is it enough for our own research? Are we finding everything that is out there?
We need to think about our information needs before we work out where it will be best for us to search. Imagine, for a moment, that we are want to buy a particular local cheese, which we love. Would we go to a general shop or would we go to a specialist deli? We are probably going to need to go to a deli. It is just the same when searching for information. Google may be great for some background information or a starting point of a project, but it may simply not give us the high quality, niche information that we need to give us top marks for an assignment. So what are the other options?
Aimee Cook, a Liaison Librarian here at Newcastle University, explains more.
So next time you think about googling something for an assignment, stop and check out Library Search and your subject guide first for the books, eBooks and specialist databases that are available to you. If you are going to use Google, make use of the advanced search features and get to grips with Google Scholar. Happy searching!
Laura-Jayne Beattie, a final year Law School student, takes a look at Box of Broadcasts, and reviews a film she watched using it (a Law Library favourite!).
BoB (Box of Broadcasts), available to all Newcastle University students regardless of degree discipline, is an excellent resource. Best of all, it’s FREE for students studying at Newcastle (just what a student wants to hear)! You just have to select the university from the list of institutions, sign in with your university login details (username and password), and away you go! You’re free to explore the thousands of television programmes, radio broadcasts and films available on the website. It’s incredibly easy-to-use, and reminds me a lot of Netflix, but is less guilt-free as most of these programs and films are education-related in some way. The broadcasts may relate to your degree or another academic interest of yours (e.g. psychology-related films).
You can watch live TV, or search (by name) for a pre-recorded film, radio show or television programme. The system holds over 2 million broadcasts, which have been shown on television or aired on the radio at some point since the 1990s. If you don’t have a specific film or programme in mind which you would like to watch, why not try out the advanced search feature? Click on the ‘Search’ icon, then on ‘Search options’, change as many or as little options as you like, and then hit ‘search’! A list of broadcasts matching your search criteria will be shown. I’m sure there will be at least one that interests you!
After a few minutes of exploring the website, I decided to choose a film from the ‘Law in Literature Newcastle University’ playlist. To find this, I clicked on the ‘Search’ icon (on the tab across the top) and selected ‘Public Playlists’. I then typed the playlist’s name into the search box. I was surprised at how many titles were available within this collection (all related to Law). I chose to watch ‘Legally Blonde’, a personal favourite of mine but one that I haven’t watched for years.
Here’s what I thought…
‘Legally Blonde’, a fun-filled film showcasing a story of love and success, shows Law in a new perspective and is a must-watch for any Law students (Yes, even you boys). It’s a feel-good film, and is motivational in terms of showing that anyone really can succeed if they put their mind to it! It’s particularly perfect for any law student who feels ‘out-of-place’ with the supposed societal ‘ideal’ of who should be studying law.
Defying all pre-conceptions derived from her appearance, Elle Woods gains a place at the prestigious Harvard Law school. While this was initially to follow her ex-boyfriend, who broke her heart just before he proceeded to study Law there, she soon develops a passion for Law and becomes top of the class. She helps to win a case while on work experience using her knowledge of fashion, and later delivers an inspirational speech at graduation saying words like “you must always have faith in yourself”. When making this speech, it’s clear from the smiles in the room that she has won the hearts of students and staff alike and made lifelong friends with her heart-warming personality. Graduating with a job in a high-ranking law firm, she puts her career ahead of everything and even rejects her ex-boyfriend who wanted her back towards the end of the film.
‘Legally Blonde’ relates to Law, as Elle overcomes sexual harassment while on work experience (Employment Law). Initially, Elle doesn’t report the man and decides to drop out of law school- possibly as she thought she wouldn’t be believed or that what happened wasn’t actually a crime (a common occurrence amongst victims in reality). Parts of Law lectures are filmed, and Elle overcomes stereotypes that are derived from her appearance (blonde female who evidently loves the colour pink) (Law, Gender and Sexuality). Despite not being a typical Harvard student, she still succeeds without letting these stereotypes stop her.
My name is Helen Greenwell. Last year I graduated as a History student from Newcastle University. Welcome to the Great North Museum Hancock: Library where I work as a volunteer!
The library consists of four collections:
- The Cowen library, which is the library of Newcastle University’s School of History, Classics and Archaerology
- The library of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
- The library and archives of the Natural History Society of Northumbia.
As Newcastle University students, you can borrow books from the Cowen collection and you can use any of the books from SANT or NHSN while you are in the library. We can scan or photocopy any of these books if you wish to leave the library. You can become a member of SANT or NHSN in order to borrow their books, and students can receive a bursary from SANT so don’t worry about the cost, just ask one of the library team!
Our rare books collection is phenomenal and you only have to ask to view any of the volumes that are located in there. All of our stock is included in the University’s Library Search catalogue. The library team has a great knowledge of the books that the library holds so even if you aren’t sure what you want, help is always at hand. You can explore history in this library and find books that you might not have even thought about.
The books in the library focus on archaeology, local history, and natural history, which include a lot more topics than you might initially think. If you’re stuck on a topic for your dissertation, why not pop into the GNM: Hancock Library and see if there’s any subjects that you fancy writing about. You’ll be able to have access to primary sources, rare first editions of books, and even books from the 1500’s!
This library is small, but that means it’s personal. With a dedicated team of volunteers and Ian, the librarian, at your disposal, you will have quick access to a wide range of unique and fascinating texts.
Besides all the amazing books in this library, it’s also a great place to study, generally quiet and not too busy. There is plenty of space and computers linked to the University network to use, as well as power outlets and wi-fi access so you can bring your own laptop.
Come and ring the bell!
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.
Have you discovered your Reading Lists yet?
Reading Lists are what you need to access and read to get understanding of the subject on the module(s) you are taking. It’s not just the Library saying this – these lists came from your lecturers!
The Reading Lists are a list of essential, recommended and background reading for your module. Each item has a quick link through to Library Search (to find where the book may be on the shelves) or there could be a direct link through to the eBook or online journal article. It’s an efficient way of accessing your reading and can save you loads of time.
Log into Canvas to access your Reading List
If you have any questions about your Reading Lists then ask your lecturer, or if there is a technical issue then email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Does the summer and your first year of uni seem like a distant memory? Are you starting to feel like the work has cranked up and that you need some extra help?
As we’ve been out on campus teaching and chatting to you lovely second years, you have been telling us that it’s got very serious all of a sudden and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. But never fear, the library has some great new academic skills guides to help you find, evaluate and manage your information in order to help you get those top marks for your assignments. These are transferable skills that will underpin all your work here at NU and which will ultimately help you get you that job you have always wanted.
So what are you waiting for? Save yourself some time and stress by getting your information skills up to scratch now. And remember, your friendly Library Liaison team is always here to help!
Welcome from the SAgE Library Team
Need specific subject help?
The SAgE Library Team provide support for students and staff from the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Julia Robinson is the Liaison Librarian for the Schools of Natural & Environmental Sciences and Mathematics, Statistics & Physics. Lorna Smith is the Liaison Librarian for the Schools of Computing and Engineering. The rest of the team work for the whole SAgE Faculty: Catherine Dale is Assistant Liaison Librarian and Yvonne Davison, Susan Millican and Christina Taylor are Liaison Assistants.
So what can we help you with? We can:
- Direct you to quality information
- Help with study and research skills
- Advise on how to evaluate information sources
- Help you to navigate databases
… and much more!
We’re here to help you get the best from the Library’s services and resources so feel free to contact us at any time. Come and find us on level 4 of the Philip Robinson Library, email us at email@example.com, book a one-to-one appointment, or follow us on Twitter @ncllibsage.
For more information, check out the Subject Guides.
We look forward to meeting you!