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

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!

Find out how to become a confident and effective user of digital search tools and resources.

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!

 

 

 

 

New resources: Science, Agriculture and Engineering

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. Dive in and discover:

Computing

Journals
eBooks

Engineering

Journals
eBooks and databases

Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Journals

Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

eBooks

Natural and Environmental Sciences

Journals
eBooks and databases

Explore Library Search and your subject guide today and find out what else we now have available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New resources: Engineering

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 Engineering:

Engineering

JOURNALS
EBOOKS AND DATABASES

Click here for a list of all of the new resources we have purchased for the SAgE faculty.

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.

 

Fancy yourself as the next Sherlock?

What comes into your head, when someone says ‘maps’? I think we often presume that if we aren’t studying geography, earth sciences, archaeology or architecture for instance then they aren’t for us. But think again! Maps can be applied to a variety of different ways in research and we have put together a Maps topic guide to explain what resources we have and potentially how they can be used.

The Maps guide outlines the different ways you can access both physical and online maps and gives you an overview of how you can use our online Digimap ROAM subscription.  With this tool, you can not only get up to date OS Maps, but also historic maps which can help track both infrastructure development, as well as social and environmental changes too. And if you want to directly compare different aged maps against each other, Digimap lets you toggle between the two on your screen.

Thematic maps and a database of case studies to see how Digimaps have been applied to research can also be found on the Maps guide. Here is just a taster to whet your appetite:

  • Mapping the victims of Jack the Ripper using Historic Roam
  • Conducting a national fox survey using Environment Roam
  • Studying garden history and landscape in the 18th Century
  • Designing housing in Byker for an Artists in Residence project.

So…..before you rule out maps as not relevant for your research, why not take a minute and have a look at our Maps guide  to see if there is potentially something for you!

N.B. If you’re wanting to be the next Sherlock, just remember you need to plan your investigations in advance and register with Digimap at least 24 hours before you need to start using the resource.