Referencing: why bother?
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.
Recipe for Referencing
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.
To google or not to google?…That is the question
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!
Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash
Resource in Focus: Finding UK news with Lexis
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.
Calling all second years!
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
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!
New resources: Natural and Environmental Sciences
This summer we have been very busy buying new journals, databases, eBook collections and print books in hot topics of interdisciplinary interest across Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Here is what we have purchased for Natural and Environmental Sciences:
- Nature Plants
- Thieme chemistry journal package:
- Drug Research
- Planta Medica (including backfile 1953-present)
- Synlett (including backfile 1989-present)
- Synthesis (including backfile 1969-present)
EBOOKS AND DATABASES
- Bergey’s Manual of Systematics and Archaea for Bacteria
- Bloomsbury Food Library
- EDINA Digimap Aerial
- EDINA Digimap Lidar
- Emerald Emerging Market Case Studies
- Morgan and Claypool Colloquium Digital Library of Life Sciences
- SAGE Business Case Studies
- Springer ebook collections in:
- Behavioral Science and Psychology 2018, 2017 (EBA)
- Biomedical and Life Science 2018 (permanent access)
- Business and Management 2018, 2017 (EBA)
- Chemistry and Materials Science 2018, 2017 (EBA)
- Earth and Environmental Science 2018 (permanent access)
- Economics and Finance 2018, 2017 (EBA)
- Energy 2018, 2017 (EBA)
- Medicine 2018 (permanent access)
- Social Sciences 2018 (permanent access)
- World Scientific eBooks 2018 in Chemistry, Material Science, Nanotechnology and Nanoscience.
Click here for a list of all of the new resources we have purchased for the SAgE faculty.
Resource in Focus: Ovid
Ovid enables researchers, clinicians, students and other healthcare professionals find medical information to make critical decision, improve patient care, enhance ongoing research, and fuel new discoveries. The Ovid platform gives access to a collection of databases.
Database and Coverage:
- Ovid Medline – 1976 to present
- Embase – 1974 to present
- PsychINFO – 1806 to present
- HMIC Health Management Information Consortium – 1979 to present
Click on the database name above to go to the Fact file to find out more and to see whether they would be useful for your research.
Where can you find Ovid?
There will be links on your relevant subject guide or you can access the catalogue, Library Search.
Once you have accessed OVID through the above methods, you will see an initial selection window. To find out more about a specific resource, click on the Information icon at the right hand side of the page (see example below):
Once you have decided on which database to search within OVID, then all you need to do is to tick the box next to the database you would like to search and then select ‘OK’.
Want to know more?
Each database in OVID has different subject headings and thesauri, however there are tips and tricks that you can learn that are common to searching all the databases on OVID. So why not check out the Advanced Searching Techniques or watch some of the help videos we have on our YouTube Channel.
Where to find theses and dissertations?
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.