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
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
While exams may seem a long way away, it’s important to be prepared for them. You can minimise stress and maximise efficiency with a good revision timetable and organised notes.
You can also find helpful material to aid your revision at the Walton Library. Your subject support guide is full of information and resources, tailored to suit your programme of studies. There are boxes of flash cards covering a number of subjects available to borrow from our long loan collection – ask at the service desk if you are interested in loaning a set. You may also find it helpful to broaden your revision from notes and textbooks to include clinical skills equipment and books from our MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) section. This could be the difference between a good and a great exam result! You’ll find more information about both of these collections in this blog post, as well as where to find them and how to loan them.
Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) books
There are a variety of topics covered in our Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) section. Within the collection, you’ll find books to on a number of subjects from anaesthesia to surgery. There are also books to aid revision for specific exams – including OSCEs, PACES and MRCS.
If you’d like to browse the MCQ collection, go to Library Search. You’ll need to click the ‘Advanced Search’ link and then change the “Any field” drop down menu to say ‘Collection’. In the text space, enter “MCQs” and you can view the entire collection. You can narrow down your search by adding a subject, author or title if you’re interested in a specific topic.
You can find the MCQ collection in the quiet study area of
the Walton Library. They’re easily identifiable by the green stickers on the
The books are long loan – meaning you can have them for up to 20 weeks, providing they’re not requested by another Library user. If the MCQ book is already on loan, follow these instructions to place a request.
If there is a book you think would help your exam revision, use our Books on Time service and recommend it. Find out more about this service here.
Clinical skills equipment
At the Walton Library, there is a wide selection of clinical skills equipment available to loan. There are medical tools, like tendon hammers, sphygmomanometers and otoscopes. Anatomical models, such as skulls and teeth. Plus eye charts, DNA models and even a spine! (A model one, that is.)
The main bulk of clinical skills equipment is located behind the service desk at the Walton Library. Ask a member of staff and they’ll retrieve it for you. You can have up to three clinical skills items on loan at any time. Unfortunately, you can’t place requests on the items if they’re all out on loan.
There are also a small number of skulls available to loan
from the Student Texts Collection (STC) room. You can loan them using the
self-issue machine in the STC.
You may have also noticed a collection of anatomical models on a table in the collaborative study area. These models are free to use within the Library for as long as you like – but they can’t be taken out of the Library.
Clinical skills equipment items are available as a next day loan. This means that if you borrow a skull at 9AM on a Monday morning, it needs to be returned before the Walton Library closes on Tuesday. Items in the clinical skills equipment collection are non-renewable.
Beyond the Walton, there is exam and revision assistance available from the wider Library services and the University. You may find it useful to check out the Academic Skills Kit (ASK) to learn more about different revision strategies and exam techniques. You can also use ASK to find out about available counselling and chaplaincy services to help combat exam stress. Follow this link to ASK!
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
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
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.
There are lots of different referencing styles, but which one is right for you?
Once you start creating
citations and references, you need to consider referencing styles. There are hundreds of them out there
and each has a slightly different set of rules about how citations and
reference lists should appear in your text.
Most Newcastle University students use the Harvard at Newcastle style, but there is also Vancouver, IEEE, OSCOLA, Chicago, and many more. Your lecturers will expect you to use one specific style and all of your citations and references should conform to that style accurately and consistently; same punctuation, same capitalisation, same everything.
We have lots of help about using some of the popular referencing styles in our Managing Information guide. The Cite Them Right website is also a valuable online resource that will show you how to hit all of the right steps on your way to mastering an individual referencing style.
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 to demonstrate how you have built on the knowledge that 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.
What are the key steps to a successful routine 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 routine for success. As a novice, you might need a little help to understand the steps and techniques for your referencing style.
Self Care Week is the 18-24th of November. It’s an awareness event that focuses on embedding support for self care across communities, families and generations. We’ve compiled a list of services, resources and recommendations from Newcastle University to help manage your wellbeing and establish positive habits.
Student Health and Wellbeing
Based on Level 2 of King’s Gate, Student Health and Wellbeing work with local and national organisations to help to maximise your academic potential and allow you to have the best possible experience while you’re studying. They offer advice and assistance on many topics, from spiritual support to mental health counselling. You can find self-help resources and information here.
iNCLude is a new free app aimed at helping develop positive behaviours to ensure you’re focussing on more than just academic studies. The app centres on several themes: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. There’s space to record your feelings in a mood journal and information on campus wellbeing events through your personal feed. To find out more (and download the app) click here.
Silvercloud is a suite of online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) programmes, which can be tailored to your specific needs. It is free and can be accessed anywhere on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. The modules on Silvercloud can be worked through at your own pace and a practitioner from Student Services can help you navigate through the programmes. To start Silvercloud click here.
Be well@NCL is a collection of books designed to help manage and understand common mental health conditions and wellbeing. Reading a book by someone who understands what you’re facing can help you start to feel better. The books within the collection are recommended by professionals and are available to borrow from the Phillip Robinson and the Walton libraries. You can find out more about Be well@NCL here.
The Academic Skills Kit (ASK) helps develop positive study habits, from note taking to exam revision. Visit their website for available support and resources.
Rosie, a Library assistant at the Walton Library, is a fan
of the Pomodoro
Technique when studying. She says:
“This technique has changed
my life! If you are a procrastinator and/or you’re easily distracted, you need
to try it – you set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes, work hard on your
task for that period and then reward yourself with a 5 minute break. After
you’ve done that 4 times, take a longer break.
Breaking work up into chunks with rewards in between means that you get more done than if you try to work non-stop for hours, and it’s easier to start an assignment when you know you only have to work at it for 25 minutes at a time. This technique is better for your stress levels and mental health than beating yourself up for leaving assignments until the last minute.”
We’ve got creative activities available on our Self Care display in the Walton Library. Taking a break from your work to do desk yoga, colouring in or origami is beneficial in the long run – it’ll help you increase focus, retain information and maintain top performance.
There’s a variety of activities on campus you can do while
taking a break from studying, for example:
Stacey, a Library assistant at the Walton Library, likes to
knit to improve her mental wellbeing. She says:
“The health benefits of knitting have been known
for a while. A 2007 study
conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute found that
knitting lowers heart rate by an average of 11 beats per minute and induces an
“enhanced state of calm,” as the repetitive movements release serotonin which
can lift moods and dull pain.
Knowing this and
gaining the ability to watch your toddler running around wearing clothes you’ve
made is a wonderful feeling, as if you are covering your loved ones with wool
and love – the only downside is cost (and explaining a million times it isn’t
just for old ladies!) Knitting gives me that ‘enhanced state of calm’, or the
ability not to be totally radgie ALL of the time, which is essential for my
You’ve ran your information search and looked at your
results with a critical eye only to find that they’re not quite working for you
– what can you do now?
In this blog we’ll be looking at the top three problems encountered
when searching for information and how to improve your search to get the
results you need:
Finding too much
If your search has brought back thousands of results and you’re getting overwhelmed with the options:
Search a more specialised resource
Using a subject-specific database will help narrow the focus of your search to your particular areas of interest. Take a look at your Subject Guide to find databases and eBook collections tailored to your subject area.
Make use of the ‘refine’ options usually found on the left-hand side of Library Search or your subject database. Limit your results by date, subject area or information type. Remember, you may need to justify your limits to your supervisor so think carefully about your choices.
Combine search terms with ‘AND’
AND is a Boolean operator, a term you can use to have more control over your search. If you want to find information that must contain two different keywords (or phrases), place a capitalised AND operator between them. Your search engine or subject database will only find information that features both, narrowing your results. The more search terms you combine with AND, the narrower your search will be.
Finding too little
If your search has brought back a handful of useful articles but you need a wider range of results:
Combine terms with ‘OR’
OR is another Boolean operator that helps you to control your search more effectively. Use OR with your search terms that have synonyms or related terms. Your search engine or subject database will find information that features either word or phrase, significantly broadening your results.
Try controlled vocabulary
If you’re not getting enough results, it may be that your search terms or keywords aren’t quite working for you. Controlled vocabulary are a standardised list of words and phrases used on some databases to ensure that searches retrieve all relevant results, even when authors use different terms. Examples of databases that use this technique include ERIC, PsycInfo, CAB abstracts, Compendex and Medline. If these apply to you and your discipline, you’ll find out how to use them on your Subject Guide.
If you’ve found some useful articles, one simple way to find more relevant material is to take a look at the references used by the authors. This will lead you to find older material that was published before your original article which may also be useful. Library Search and some subject databases including Google Scholar and Scopus also allow you to see who has cited the articles you have found in their work (look for the ‘cited by link’). This is called citation searching and allows you to find more up-to-date analysis of your topic. By looking back at the references and forward at the citations, you get a 360 degree view of the research.
Finding nothing useful?
If your search has brought back results that aren’t relevant to your research question or you are finding it difficult to find the right search terms or databases to use, you might find it helpful to book a one-to-one appointment with your Liaison Librarian.
When it comes to finding academic information, there are a few things you need to think about before you start your search, such as where to actually look for information and the types of information you want to find in your search. Another thing that is worth taking the time to think carefully about is keywords.
Keywords, sometimes called subject terms, are simple words and phrases that describe information; you can see them in the item record on Library Search and in Subject Databases.
The results that your search returns are based on this information – if your keywords match an item’s keywords, that item will appear in your results.
To get the best results, then, you’ll need to develop a
balanced list of targeted keywords – these keywords may come from your essay
title or research question, from your subject knowledge or wider reading – you can
even borrow them from the subject terms you find on relevant articles!
As ideas and topics can be expressed in different ways you’ll
also need to think about synonyms and terms related to your keywords to make
sure you can find all of the relevant information.
To find out more about keywords, synonyms and searching take
a look at this short video:
There are some useful tricks you can use with your keywords to save you time when you search, take a look at our Advanced Searching Guide to learn about Boolean, wildcards and truncation!