Are you preparing a dissertation or project, or will be doing so next academic year?

Make sure you visit our interactive dissertation and project guide. Based on the extensive experience of staff from the Library and Writing Development Centre, this 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: you can even ask for feedback on it from the Library liaison team.

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, to give you advanced knowhow in finding, managing and evaluating information. For example: where to find specialised information resources for your subject area; how to access resources beyond our Library; and methods to keep your literature search up to date over a long period.

It’s easy to navigate, with clear text and short videos throughout. We hope you find it helpful, and if you’d like to spare one minute to suggest any changes, we’d really appreciate it!

Kick-off your information search

Preparing a dissertation or project?

Before you start, take a look at our interactive Search Planner, part of our Dissertations and research projects guide.

This toolkit takes you through all the stages of developing your search strategy. Step by step, the planner helps you take a closer look at your question, to identify important concepts, themes and keywords. You can keep adding, editing and refining this as you go, and even create and download your own personalised search plan and email it to yourself, your tutor or librarian for feedback

The guide contains 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. So make sure you check it out.

Sustainability

We are rather proud of our new Sustainability Guide, created in collaboration with one of our quite brilliant SAgE PhD students, Georgios Pexas – actually he did all the hard work by providing all of the content!

This guide looks at Sustainability regarding the key resources available from the Library around the three main pillars of sustainability: Environment, Economy and Society. We particularly like Georgios’ opening paragraph for our guide explaining what sustainability is and its relation to these three pillars:

“As defined by the “Brundtland Commission” in 1987, sustainability is the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In other words, it describes living within the limits of available natural, physical and social resources and in ways that allow our environment to thrive in perpetuity; a concept that can be summarised as: “enough, for all, forever”. Sustainability approaches the issue of resource depletion holistically, unifying Environmental, Economical and Social concerns.”

The Guide also points to researchers on campus that are focusing on sustainability. It has a useful RSS feed of ‘sustainability’ in the news and invaluable links regarding careers and development in sustainability: professional associations, funding opportunities, where to look for jobs, and some upcoming events.

You will find the Sustainability Guide in the SAgE section of the Subject Guides, as it focuses on natural sciences and engineering side of sustainability, however we would love to have a section on how we as individuals can be more sustainable. We are trying to keep this Guide concise, yet useful, yet we welcome any new ideas for this guide, so please contact lorna.smith@ncl.ac.uk if you think of anything worth adding.

Thinking about study space

During the exam period library study spaces are at a premium and it is important to think in advance about the kind of study space that you need.

Whether you require a silent, quiet, or collaborative study space, a group study room or booth, or an individual accessible study room, there are a variety of open access and bookable study spaces located across our four library buildings (Philip Robinson, Walton, Law, and Marjorie Robinson).

It is possible to check live study space availability online or by using the university app. This will allow you to head straight for the nearest available study space and therefore avoid wasting valuable time searching for a desk.

You can also book a group study room or booth online for a maximum of 120 minutes per day. This will allow you to get together with fellow students to plan and allocate some guaranteed study time prior to your next exam.

Study Well@NCL, which runs throughout the exam period, advocates a responsible approach to studying and encourages positive behaviours in study spaces. Remember, it is key to choose the right environment that meets your study needs, to stay hydrated, and to respect the students and study space around you.

Thinking about study space in advance can help to remove a lot of unwanted stress and thus free up valuable energy that will aid both your revision focus and exam preparation.

2020 Reading Challenge

Not one for New Year’s Resolutions? Well, how about a challenge?

Why not try a 20-minute-a-day-reading-for-pleasure challenge?

Pick something from the Law in Literature and Medicine in Literature collections, something from the Philip Robinson Library, or your own book shelves, and start today!

We all know that reading for pleasure is a good thing – pleasure is good! But it’s good for de-stressing, positive wellbeing, conversation, imagination, empathy, a break, engagement… READaxation! Don’t just take my word for it, click HERE for research by The Reading Agency.

Of course, if you read more than 20 minutes then… YES!

Share what you’re reading with your friends and family, colleagues and fellow students, comment on here, or even the social media world – #ReadingChallenge.

We’re here to help (even when we’re not)

Christmas scene with dining table

The University may be closed for the Christmas period but if you are studying, writing assignments or revising, library resources and help are always available. We may not be in the building, but the library team can help you with your semester 2 preparation.

Use your Library Subject Guide

If you are not sure which resources are best to use for your subject or what you can access off-campus, visit your Subject Guide . The guides bring together links and help for the specialist information sources in your discipline.

Visit the Library over the vacation

Between Christmas and New Year, the Philip Robinson Library will operate as self-service from 10.00 pm on Friday 20th December 2019 until Thursday 2nd January 2020. If you need access to books and journals, or a quiet place to study, all you will need is your University smartcard. Visit the website for the Library vacation opening hours.

Have a question? Check the FAQs

We have an extensive database of frequently asked questions available on the Library website. You can search by keyword or browse by topic area and find answers to the most common questions. So whether you want to know how to access newspapers from the Library, how to book a group study room or get help with EndNote, check the FAQs to see if we have already answered your question.

Contact Library Help

If you need help or have a question, use Library Help to get in touch with us. You can live chat with a librarian outside of the University to get immediate answers, or send us a message and we will get back to you when the University reopens.

So remember, you can access all of our online resources, journals and ebooks from the Library website and we will be back in the Library on 2nd January 2020. Enjoy the festive season!

A quick guide to finding the best study space for you

Did you know that across our four locations, we have over 3,000 study spaces? With so many, it’s easy to choose the best spot to revise or write your essay.

Image of silent, quiet, collaborative and bookable study spaces

Our Study spaces and rooms page has more information about the types of spaces available. Check out current study space availability information on the web or via the Newcastle University app. Find free cluster spaces with the Find a PC function, also available on the app.

As well as study spaces, we have spaces where you can relax and catch up with friends between lectures. Make yourself comfortable in our new social space on level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library, or visit the refurbished café.

So if you need a change of scenery, go and take a look and find a space that’s just right for you.

Waltzing with EndNote

What is EndNote?

The official blurb on EndNote is that it is “…the industry standard software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations and references.”

Have you drifted off yet? Don’t – read on!

EndNote takes a little getting used to and we recommend you familiarise yourself with it at the start of your research process. But as Library Staff, we wouldn’t spend a significant amount of time demonstrating and training our academic staff and students on what EndNote is, and how to use it, if we didn’t think it was valuable. It will save you a huge amount of time in terms of writing up your assignments.

Essentially, you can use EndNote to create and organise a personal library of resources relevant to your research. You can import references from Library Search, and a huge range of databases such as ScopusWeb of ScienceIEEE Xplore and Business Source Complete. You can ask EndNote to locate the full-text PDFs of the resources you are going to use in your research, and you can annotate them as you wish too. Did you know you can instruct Google Scholar to import references into EndNote? No? Try it. Finally, if you already have materials stored in your home folder (H:\) then you can attach them to a manually-created reference within EndNote, bringing all your research together in one place.

In addition to organising your references (and this is the clever bit) you can then get EndNote to ‘talk’ to your word processing software, e.g. Microsoft Word, and insert the citations into your work for you in your chosen referencing style, e.g. Harvard at Newcastle, Vancouver, APA or MLA. If you don’t want to do that, then EndNote will also allow you to create an independent bibliography of your references, saving you an awful lot of typing.

Using EndNote

Intrigued? You should be. Take a look at our EndNote Guide. It contains all the introductory information you need, step-by-step workbooks to train yourself on the use of EndNote (the Desktop and Online versions), videos, useful FAQs, and contacts for help, should you need it.

Finally, Newcastle University provides support for EndNote but it is not compulsory to use. You may prefer MendeleyZoteroRefWorks or another piece of bibliographic management software. That’s fine, whatever makes your referencing lives easier. Go on, give them a try.

Strictly Referencing: When is a website not a website?

A common mistake made in referencing is grouping all sources found online under the category and reference type of a website. Your aim should be to reference the information you have in front of you rather than where it was sourced. Simply grouping items found online as a website would be the equivalent of referencing a book by the publisher details rather than the author and title.

For example, a government publication found online would be referenced like this in Chicago.

United Kingdom. Department for Education. Cloud computing: how schools can move services to the cloud. London: The Stationary Office, 2016. Accessed: November 4, 2019. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cloud-computing-how-schools-can-move-services-to-the-cloud. 

An electronic journal article might appear like this in APA.

Gillum, J. (2012). Dyscalculia: Issues for practice in education psychology.  Educational Psychology in Practice, 28(3), 287-297. doi:10.1080/02667363.2012.684344

While a video posted on the Tate website would look something like this in Harvard.

TateShots (2016) Grayson Perry: think like an artist. Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/talk/what-makes-artist-grayson-perry-conversation-sarah-thornton (Accessed: 11 November 2019). 

Identifying the type of information you are using as well as the source, are essential skills of evaluation and developing a critical approach to information. In many cases you will be unconsciously using your judgment to assess the value of information for your purpose. So when you are using any source of information, ask yourself what it is you are looking at, what details are recorded about it and whether it measures up as a quality piece of information. You’ll find more guidance about evaluating information on our Evaluating Information guide.

Hip-hop your way around the Harvard style

Harvard at Newcastle is the most frequently used referencing style and if your school does not have a preferred style, it is the one that we would recommend. This is because there is the most comprehensive guidance available for Harvard and it is a style that can manage referencing all types of information. Whether you are referencing a book, news article, Instagram or market research, the Harvard at Newcastle style has got you covered.

There are many variations of Harvard but the one used at Newcastle can be found in Cite Them Right. Harvard uses an in-text citation (Millican, 2018, p.12) inserted in the text, coupled with a reference list at the end of the document, which provides the key. Cite Them Right  is available as a published book to borrow from the library and Cite Them Right Online provides the same comprehensive guidance in a searchable interface that can be accessed anywhere online. It includes guidance about how to reference just about every type of information you can think of, including the more tricky online sources such as social media.

You will find the Harvard at Newcastle style in EndNote on campus PCs and through the RAS, and are able to download the style from our EndNote guide if you are using it locally on your own device. We’ve also included some useful tips and advice about getting to grips with Harvard on our referencing guide.