Referencing top tips: the ingredients

Learn the basic ingredients of a reference, and you can mix them up into any style you need.

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

recipe for referencing promotion image

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

Finding international news: a how to guide

The Library’s online news resources are strongest for the UK, but we do also provide access to a wide range of historic and contemporary international news resources. You can find links to all relevant resources in the international section of our newspaper guide.

Historic archives

Our strongest non-UK historic resources are from the USA, as we have access to the New York Times archive, together with various archives from the Civil War period, plus a collection of microfilms from the Civil Rights period. The availability of historic newspaper archives depends very much on digitisation programmes in the country concerned. We have included links to those which are freely available (and be sure to investigate the Europeana newspaper project, which aims to aggregate millions of newspaper pages across many European countries.)

Contemporary news

Nearly all international newspapers have their own web site, but you are unlikely to find free access to their entire archive. However, the Nexis database enables you to search across thousands of newspapers, news magazines and newswires from across the world (though primarily Europe and the USA), dating back over twenty years to the present day (precise date coverage varies by title). You can search in various ways, by country, language, or search an individual newspaper. Watch the video below to find out how to use this fantastic resource.