At the moment we have a subscription to Sage Research Methods which is a fantastic resource for anyone doing a research project or dissertation. This database contains dictionary and encyclopaedia entries, book chapters, full books, journal articles, case studies, and streaming videos dedicated to the subject area of Research Methods.
It supports all stages of the research process from writing a research question, conducting a literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing data, to writing up your results and thinking about publication. It contains information suited to all levels of researchers, from undergraduates starting their first projects to research associates.
The section we have on trial is Datasets. These provide researchers a new way of understanding quantitative or qualitative data analysis. Within each title you are provided with sample data that has been optimised for demonstrating a method, together with a how-to guide that explains the method and the subsequent analysis using the data provided.
Quantitative examples also include software guides for statistical analysis using SPSS, R, Stata, or Python. Several examples cover how to manage imperfect data, including missing data, rescaling variables, and other common data cleaning scenarios.
Datasets Part 1 consists of 230+ datasets from across the social sciences.
Datasets Part 2 is an additional 300 datasets that cover further methods, including data management issues such as handling data with missing variables.
Datasets can be downloaded in a range of file formats and cited.
The trial period will run from the 27th of February to the 28th of April 2023. To search or browse the collection of Datasets follow this link. Off campus users will be asked to log in with your Newcastle University ID and password.
Further information on the platforms from SAGE can be found on their own libguide.
The Scopus Search Results page has been redesigned, the following new and exciting features include: –
Search functionality on search result page itself
User-friendly filters/facets and customized different views on how the results are displayed
A new an intuitive page layout
Why not try the new version for yourself! Just perform a Scopus search then click on the ‘try the new version’link at the banner at the top of the page. If you want to know more just click on ‘take a tour’. You can easily return to old version by clicking on the link ‘return to old version’.
If you want to know what else Scopus have done in 2022, have a look on their website.
We are hosting a Scopus webinar on December 8, which is a great opportunity to come and find out more about getting the most from the database.
The Topics pages on ScienceDirect have been compiled into a new homepage, and offers a way to:-
Search all Topics pages
Search and browse within specific subject areas
Register to receive recommended articles based on your search activity.
The extracts provided on ScienceDirect Topics are written by experts and are drawn from foundational and reference materials. The source materials used include major reference works such as encyclopaedias, journal review articles, monographs, book series and handbooks.
My name is Lia, and I am a 3rd year undergraduate law student. The modules I am doing this year are Employment, Careers, Company, Mediation, Evidence and Commercial. I am originally from Peterborough but love Newcastle so much that I want to stay here after I’ve finished studying! My career aspirations are hopefully to become a commercial solicitor in Newcastle.
What do I know now that I wish I knew when I first started?
My 1st year was very different to the norm as I was the Covid year, which made my 2nd year even harder having to learn to adapt to in-person teaching. My advice would be to work 9-5 during the week and give yourself as much time off in the evenings so that you can go out, hang out with your friends, and do extracurricular societies and sports clubs.
1st year and 2nd year are all about making mistakes and learning from them, so never be too hard on yourself. It is more important to always get feedback from coursework and exams, knowing that whatever questions you have other students, the librarians and lecturers will all be able to help.
Seminars are also everyone’s saviours as they literally ask you to prepare the exam questions. I think you should prepare these to your best ability and try do some follow up work on the seminar after you have had everyone’s input.
In my 2nd year I entered the client interviewing competition with my friend, Daisy. This was highly rewarding as we learnt how to conduct ourselves when meeting clients and eventually won the competition overall.
The best part of our prize was that we got free work experience at Ward Hadaway, a regional law firm in Newcastle. I completed seats in Real Estate and Commercial litigation whilst I was there.
Now, in my 3rd year, I am one of the client interviewing officers this year for the law society. This year Daisy and I are hoping to make the competition better than ever and help participants develop their skills by offering more training sessions than previous years and more competitions. I really advise any 1st or 2nd years to do this as an extra-curricular as it doesn’t take up too much time, looks great on your CV and is judged by Ward Hadaway solicitors who offer money and work experience as a prize!
The Walton Library for the Faculty of Medical Sciences is situated on the 5th floor of the Medical School covering the subjects of Medicine, Dentistry, Biomedical Sciences, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Sport & Exercise Science. Psychology is also part of the Medical Sciences Faculty but their book stock is housed in the Philip Robinson Library.
Check your timetable for a scheduled induction session or come up and have a look around, chat to the friendly staff on the service desk or watch our Intro Video.
Since its launch in autumn 2020, we’ve been using the guide to curate and highlight print and online resources of all kinds, relating to EDI themes, such as those listed in the University’s EDI priorities. We’ve compiled themed sections and monthly highlights of books, films, social media, archives, podcasts and more, and encouraged suggestions from staff and students across the University to help us develop our collections.
So why not take up our Summer EDI Reading Challenge?
Recommend and Review
Look through our themed reading lists on our Recommended by You & Blog page and explore life through a new lens! We hope you’ll find some inspiration, but we’d also love to receive your recommendations too, and we’ll be highlighting them on the guide.
You’re welcome to use the online form on the lib guide. If you can give us a few words to explain your choice, that would be great! You can see what people recommended last year on our EDI in Literature page.
We’ll be running a promotional campaign on social media throughout summer, using the hashtags #ReadingForPleasure and #EDIReadingChallenge. Please look out for these and retweet/repost wherever possible.
Have a great Summer everyone! We’ll leave you with the inspired words of the Poet, Derek Walcott:
Exam season is almost upon us and one challenge you may find yourself facing is revising for essay-based exams. These can cause a lot of anxiety, not least because essay-based assessments are often something we are used to doing over the course of several weeks. How do you plan, structure and write an essay in the space of a couple of hours? And how on earth do you revise when you don’t know what you’ll be asked?
Read on for our guide to effective revision and exam technique for essay-based exam questions:
What are essay exams testing?
Before you jump into your revision, it can be helpful to remember that essay exams are not just testing your memory. Instead, your lecturers are looking for evidence of how well you can apply the knowledge you have gained throughout the course to solve a problem or answer a question under timed conditions. Therefore, whilst memory is still important – you’ll need to be able to recall that knowledge in the exam – it’s only part of the story. You’ll also need to make sure you have an in-depth understanding of that knowledge and have practiced applying it to different questions, problems, and contexts.
How do I revise for essay exams?
You may be tempted to write a ‘generic’ essay on each of the topics you’re revising and memorise them so you can repeat them in the exam room. However, keep in mind that your lecturers are asking you to solve the specific problem they’ve set for you and simply ‘dumping’ everything that’s relevant won’t address the question and is unlikely to earn you good marks.
A more effective approach to revising for essay exams is incorporating strategies that develop your understanding of the topic so you can apply your knowledge to different problems effectively. Some revision strategies you might want to try for this are:
Questioning and interrogating the knowledge: why does this happen? How does it happen? Does it always happen this way? Is this always true? What about if we apply it to a different context? What are the implications of this?
Try applying the knowledge to case studies or different scenarios to get a better understanding of how theory works in practice.
Look at past papers or devise your own questions and either answer them in full or sketch out an essay plan under timed conditions. This will help you to test your recall and practice skills you’ll be using in the exam.
Compare and weigh up different approaches to the topic. Does everyone agree on this? Why? Why not? Which perspective is stronger?
Identify gaps in your knowledge and do some additional reading to fill them.
What about strategies for the exam itself?
You might be used to spending hours or even days planning, writing, and editing a coursework essay and be wondering how on earth you do all of this under timed conditions. Keep in mind that your lecturers know that this is a big ask and they are not expecting the same level of sophistication in the way you construct your arguments that they would be looking for in a coursework essay. However, it’s still necessary that your lecturers can follow your answer and see clearly how it addresses the question so:
Spend some time at the beginning paying attention to what the question is asking you. Our video on question analysis offers some strategies for understanding essay questions:
Sketch out a basic structure to follow. This needn’t be more than the main points you want to argue and the order you want to argue them in.
Clearly state your point or communicate your main focus at the beginning of each paragraph to help your reader get their bearings and follow your argument.
If you find yourself running out of time, write down a few bullet points around your remaining points – you may still pick up a few extra marks for this!
Do I need to reference sources in an essay exam?
While you won’t be expected to reference others to the extent you do in a coursework essay, it’s worth incorporating a few references to back up your points and show how you worked out your answer.
Try to memorise a couple of key arguments and/or debates made by others for each topic as well as the authors’ surname(s) and the year of the article so that you can cite it in the exam. Don’t worry about the details – just one or two lines summarising their main argument is enough.
What about other types of exams?
Exams exist in various formats in addition to the traditional essay-based exam type. For example, your course may also have multiple choice papers, vivas/oral presentations or exams relating to specific processes, techniques and interactions. All types of exams test your ability to recall and apply your subject knowledge, so most advice on revision and exam technique is applicable to different exam types. Effective revision trains your brain both to retain and to retrieve information; a process that’s equally useful for all exam formats. However, different types of exams can also present different challenges, and transitioning from online to in-person exams is a key change for this year. For more details on this and other exam-related issues, see our ASK Exams Collection and our calendar for upcoming workshops on revision and exam preparation.
We are here to support you!
Don’t forget that the Academic Skills Team will be in the Walton Library to answer questions about exams, revision, and any other questions you may have about academic skills on the following days and times:
If you’re working on a dissertation, thesis or project right now, or will be doing so next academic year, what can you do if the Library doesn’t have access to all the specialist books and other information resources you need? How can you find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held elsewhere? Can you visit other libraries and archives if you’re away from Newcastle over the vacation?
Read on to find out how you can expand your search beyond our library….
You can search across the catalogues of over 170 UK and Irish academic and national libraries, together with other specialist and research libraries, via Library Hub Discover (formerly COPAC). The range of libraries included in Library Hub Discover is expanding all the time, and includes all UK universities, as well as the libraries of such diverse organisations as Durham Cathedral, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Horticultural Society.
In response to Covid restrictions, Library Hub Discover has also made it easier for you to find Open Access resources via its catalogue: it has recently incorporated the HathiTrust Digital Library, as well as the Directories of Open Access Books and Journals to its searchable database.
For a more in-depth and up-to-date search, you can also search individual academic library catalogues online. Need to look further afield? Search library catalogues internationally via WorldCat.
If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it via our Recommend a book service.
If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, you can apply for it via our inter library loan service, which is currently free.
You can search UK doctoral theses via the national EThOS service. This has records for over 500,000 theses, dating back to the year 1800, of which over half are freely available online (do note you have to register with EThOS before being able to download: it’s a separate login process to your usual University login).
The SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to visit most other academic libraries around the country, and in some cases, borrow from them. This service has recently resumed since its suspension during the Covid pandemic, but please note that not all academic libraries are currently participating in the scheme, so do check carefully before you visit, and read the latest information on the SCONUL Access site.
You will need to register with SCONUL Access before you can visit another Library, so do allow time for your registration to be processed.
If you want to consult archives or special collections elsewhere, you’ll need to check with the organisation in question beforehand (you’ll usually need to request to consult items in advance of your visit). If you can’t visit in person, archives services may still be able to answer queries, provide access to selected digitised items, or even operate a Virtual Reading Room, so it may well be worth enquiring.
Where can I find pictures relating to transport which I can use in my project? How do I find out what was broadcast on British television and radio on a particular day in the 1970s? Where are the best places to find examples of digital art? I need audio clips of scary sounds for my presentation – where to start? Are there any interesting oral histories in my subject area? How do I reference a podcast? I’ve found an ideal picture online, but I don’t know where it’s from – what can I do? Is there an authoritative list of famous music plagiarism cases anywhere, including audio clips?
We’ve updated and expanded our old images guide, and included new databases and resources for finding films and television programmes, plus audio content such as radio programmes, sound clips, podcasts and oral histories.
We’ve also updated the original still images section, which helps you find images of all genres and subjects, such as anatomy, archaeology, architecture…. and all other letters of the alphabet!
Need more help?
Keyword searching isn’t always the best way to search for audiovisual content, so if you want to find an image which looks like another one, search by colour, or find exactly what you want on Box of Broadcasts, visit our guide.
Finally, if you’re unsure whether you’re permitted to use an audiovisual resource in your assignment, and/or how to cite it, we can help with that too. Our guide contains plenty of helpful advice on using and citing audiovisual materials, and we’ve tried to include links to collections and databases which are licensed for educational use where possible (but please do check the terms and conditions in each case).
One of the most frequently asked questions in the academic skills drop-ins in the Walton Library is about how to write an essay.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to begin a piece of assessed written work, it is worthwhile thinking about writing as a process as opposed to a final product. Thinking about it in this way means that you break the task down into smaller manageable chunks, but you can also review, reflect, and edit your work as you go along which helps you to meet the marking criteria.
It is important to remember that although we call it a process, you are likely to move back and forward between stages reviewing, evaluating, revising, and editing as you go along.
The first stage in the process is planning, this includes looking over the marking scheme as well as the questions, this will give you a clear idea of what the marker is looking for, you can then begin generating ideas, this will lead you to begin the research process. It is worth reading broadly at first to get an overall picture of your topic, here you’ll use the materials you’ve been taught in lectures, look at your reading list as well as other resources you’ve been directed to. At this stage (and throughout your work) it is a good idea to have the assignment question to hand so that you can refer to it, this will help you keep focussed on the task you’ve been set. You’ll then be in a position to decide how you want to respond to the assignment question, this will then help you source more detailed texts. Deciding on your position at the planning stage will help make your writing focussed and coherent. Once you’ve decided on your position, you can begin to map out a rough plan.
It is important to have a plan because this gives you a clear overview of what you’ll write about, it will guide you as you work through the assignment and will help you ensure that you’ve included everything and addressed the task fully. The plan doesn’t need to be detailed, even a list of headings and subheadings can be helpful to guide you. Regardless of how you plan your work out, this process will enable you to organise your argument and the evidence you’ll use to support this, you can also establish connections between points. It will also help you read with a clear purpose, as you’ll be looking for material to support your point, as opposed to summarising relevant texts and adding them to your work.
After the planning stage you’ll move onto the composition of the assignment. Here you’ll use the rough plan as a guide, and you’ll begin formatting ideas and incorporating references to support your points. You’ll think about how to structure and the composition of each paragraph and add the appropriate references. Remember it is important to integrate sources when you are writing, not simply summarise one text per idea.
Then you’ll go over what you’ve written and review it, you should evaluate what you’ve written thinking about the evidence you’ve found and your argument throughout the essay, and as you look through your work you are likely to revise and edit what you’ve got. This process will continue until you have completed your assignment.
Reviewing, evaluating, revising, and editing your work is likely to occur in several cycles. Eventually you’ll have a completed draft. At this stage it is worth ensuring that you read the whole piece of work to ensure flow throughout, you can also check for any language, structural, referencing, style or grammar issues. If possible, take a break from writing so that when you do your final checks you are looking at your work with fresh eyes and therefore will be more likely to spot any potential errors.
Our video illustrates this process and can help get you started on tackling a piece of work you’ve been given. Don’t forget that we’ll be able to answer your questions about essay writing and much more when we visit the Walton Library for our drop-ins, the next one is scheduled for Wednesday 16th from 11:00-13:00. We’ll add more dates after the Easter break, however, in the meantime if you’ve got any academic skills queries, we’ve now got a Live Chat widget on all the Academic Skills Kit pages, it’s live from 12:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.
We always love to hear from students, if you’ve got any feedback or questions about our support or resources please get in touch! AcademicSkills@newcastle.ac.uk
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 Walton Library’s Medicine in Literature team have created a Box of Broadcasts watch list to showcase films with a female story at their centre. The selection contains tales about women and their relationships to health, medicine and science. From Frida to Gravity to Suffragette the collection looks at both fictional and non-fictional accounts of the strength it takes to navigate the world as a woman. We hope you enjoy watching!
We are also celebrating International Women’s Day in the Walton Library with a display highlighting the achievements of female graduates from the Faculty of Medical Sciences. These are shown alongside books written by, or about, women who are making an impact in the world of medicine and breaking the gender bias in the process.