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.

Books added to the Library by students in ECLS (Semester Two 2017/18)

We have a service called “Books on Time” for students. This allows you to tell us about the books you need for your studies. If we don’t have the books you need, simply complete the web form and we’ll see if we can buy them. For books we already have in stock, if they are out on loan please make a reservation/hold request using Library Search.

Further information about Books on Time

In Semester two, academic year 2017/2018 we bought the following items after requests from students in ECLS.

There were 42 requests from 24 students totaling £2498.33(4% of requests from undergraduates, 58% from Postgraduate taught and 38% from Postgraduate Research)

Title Now in stock
Handbook of Research on Foreign Language Education in the Digital Age 1xlong
Handbook of Research on Learning Outcomes and Opportunities in the Digital Age 1xlong
Understanding Narrative Inquiry The Crafting and Analysis of Stories as Research 1xlong
Agency at Work: An Agentic Perspective on Professional Learning and Development (Professional and Practice-based Learning) 1xlong, 1xebook
Team Teaching and Team Learning in the Language Classroom Collaboration for innovation in ELT 1xlong
Global Mental Health 1xlong, 1xebook
The Child at School: Interactions With Peers and Teachers 1xlong
An Introduction to Systematic Reviews 2xlong
Communities of Practice: Critical Perspectives 2xlong
Early Childhood Matters: Evidence from the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education Project 1xlong
Arabic in the City: Issues in Dialect Contact and Language Variation 1xebook
Mindful L2 Teacher Education: A Sociocultural Perspective on Cultivating Teacher’s 1xlong
The Research Interview: Reflective Practice and Reflexivity in Research Processes 1xlong
Best practice in professional supervision 1xebook
Survey Methods in Multicultural, Multinational and Multiregional Contexts 1xlong
Survey Methodology 1xlong
The Network Challenge: Strategy, Profit and Risk in an Interlinked World 1xlong
The Handbook of Communication Science 1xlong
Entrepreneurial Marketing (2nd Edition) Sustaining Growth in All Organisations 1xlong
The Sage Handbook of Process Organization Studies 1xlong
Supporting Communication for Adults with Acute and Chronic Aphasia (Augmentative and Alternative Communication Series) 1xlong
Reconceptualising Feedback In Higher Education: Developing Dialogue With Students 1xlong
From Testing to Productive Student Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment in Confucian-Heritage Settings 1xlong
Lesson Study : A Handbook of Teacher-led Instructional Change 1xlong
Transcribing Talk and Interaction 1xlong
Peer Learning in Higher Education: Learning From and With Each Other 1xlong
Differentiation and Diversity in the Primary School 1xlong
Religion, Identity and Politics in Northern Ireland: Boundaries of Belonging and Belief 1xlong
Through the labyrinth: the truth about how women become leaders 1xlong
Handbook on Peace Education 1xlong
Educating for Peace in a Time of Permanent War: Are Schools Part of the Solution or the Problem? 1xlong
Encyclopedia of Peace Education 1xlong
Peace Education: Exploring Ethical and Philosophical Foundations 1xlong
Colombia: Building Peace in a Time of War 1xlong
Young People and Political Participation: Teen Players 1xebook
Shaken & Stirred : The Feminism of James Bond 1xlong
Getting Published in Academic Journals : Navigating the Publication Process 1xlong
Introducing English for Academic Purposes 5xlong, 1xebook
Corpus Approaches to Discourse: A Critical Review 1xlong
The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English 1xlong
The Routledge Handbook of Language Awareness 1xlong
Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It 1xlong

 

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.

 

Speech and Language Science: explore the best resources for your subject

As we are a few weeks into the start of term, it’s time to think about doing some wider reading for your assignments or perhaps making a start on your research project or dissertation. Library Search is a great place to start when you’re looking for information. In one simple search you will find books, Ebooks, journal articles and more.

 

However, there are times when you want to narrow down your search by limiting yourself to a subject specific database, such as Education Abstracts (EBSCO) where you can find information on adult education, comparative education, Government funding issues for example.

Perhaps you are looking for a particular type of information like conference proceedings on your subject so using Scopus or ERIC (EBSCO) would be useful.

That’s where your library Subject Guide can help. We have put together your Subject Guide so that you are able to find the best resources and advice for your programme, all in one place.

 

We have grouped together the most relevant journal collections, databases, eBook collections and specialist resources we have, so that you don’t need to go hunting for the right database from the 300+ available at Newcastle University.

You will find links to Support for your studies too. These quick links will take you to resources to help you develop your own academic skills, including tools to help you plan a search, quizzes to test your knowledge and advice on how to find, evaluate and reference the best information for your academic work.

There is a link to your Subject Guide within all of your Blackboard modules or you can explore them all from Subject Support on the Library website.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

How to be a Fake News Ninja

As a University student it is imperative that you arm yourself against the barrage of fake news that can be found in today’s media.  To produce academically sound assignments and research, you need to be able identify and evaluate information quickly and with authority.

Here are 10 tips on how you can be a Fake News Ninja:

  1. Be aware: just simply knowing that not all information is created equal is the first step.
  2. Check the source: Where did the information come from? This can be tricky, especially on social media.
  3. Read more: don’t just rely on the piece of information that’s in front of you… go an find another reliable source and see if the facts are the same.
  4. Check the author: Do a bit of Google stalking to see if the author is credible.
  5. Check the references: does the item have references? What sources have they used? Are they credible?
  6. Check the date: watch out for re-posts old news items.
  7.  Check your biases: You own beliefs and prejudices can have an affect on how you accept information.
  8. Is it a joke?: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  9. Ask a Librarian: Librarians are the original Fake News Ninjas.  Come and ask us about any reference that you aren’t too sure about and we can help you make an authoritative decision on  the information you use for your research.
  10. Knowledge is power: Read more about Fake News and how you can win the fight. Everything you need to know is in our Fake News Guide.

Read our other blogs on Fake News to be aware of the consequences of Fake News and the history and growth of Fake News.

References
IFLA (2018) How to spot fake news. Available at: https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11174 (Accessed: 23 March 18)

The consequences of Fake News

A scan of some of our “Fake or Fact?” stories this week might raise a few smiles, but as we’ve seen increasingly over the past couple of years, Fake News can have far-reaching consequences.
Hands up, who’s had the awkwardness of friends or family members reposting dubious material on Facebook? If so, you’re not alone. Apparently, according to a MIT study published this year, based on three years’ worth of Twitter meta-analysis, fake news travels up to six times faster than genuine stories. False stories were up to 70% more likely to receive a retweet – often due the novelty or shock factor.

In the sphere of politics, this can have worrying consequences. The U.S. election in late 2016 coined the term for us and is a particularly rich source of Fake news and political spin. Business Insider lists some of the most influential fake news stories to surface during this time; from false claims that WikiLeaks had proof of Clinton arms deals with ISIS, to a fictional Papal endorsement of Trump, said to have received nearly a million hits on Facebook. Only this month, the Jakarta Post reported on concerns of Fake News polluting the build-up to the Indonesian Presidential Elections next year as Facebook groups flood the country’s web spaces with doctored videos; something that has previous lead to protests in the streets of the capital.

And even when we know we might be dealing with dubious information, Fake News can continue to wield influence. Newcastle University’s own Dr. Gavin Stewart, a meta-analysis expert explains “claims with no scientific proof cast doubt over those with overwhelming evidence, leaving us at the best confused and in the worst case making totally the wrong decision.”

A strong example can be found in the now discredited research of Andrew Wakefield. Back in 1998, Wakefield drew unsubstantiated links between the MMR vaccination and childhood autism. Despite the widespread exposure of the fraudulent claims and rebuttals from the medical community, vaccination rates of the MMR vaccine dropped, and last year saw a 400% increase of measles cases across Europe.

So what does this mean for you as a current student?
The National Literacy Trust has been conducting research into pupils’ critical skills, and worryingly, has found that 35% of teachers in the UK taught pupils citing fake news and satire as legitimate sources. A fifth of pupils between 8 and 15 believe that everything found online is trustworthy and true. The antidote to this is building on one of your core graduate attributes and competencies – critical thinking. Always check out stories you’ve found online before using them in your work. Who have they come from, how partisan is that group or author? Is the material satire? What does the author stand to gain? Employers in all industries are looking for graduate with sharp reasoning skills and sound judgement. As students producing work in the current “post-truth” climate, your job is a little tougher, but you can turn this to your advantage by proving you have the skills and the smarts to outwit the Fake News racketeers.

Read our other blogs on Fake News to learn about the history and growth of Fake News and how you can become a Fake News Ninja.

References
1. Vosoughi, Roy and Aral, (2018). “The spread of true and false news online.” Science, 359: 6380, pp. 1146-1151.
2. Roberts (2016) “This is what fake news actually looks like — we ranked 11 election stories that went viral on Facebook.” Business Insider UK. November 17th
http://uk.businessinsider.com/fake-presidential-election-news-viral-facebook-trump-clinton-2016-11/#5-hillary-clinton-sold-weapons-to-isis-and-it-was-confirmed-by-wikileaks-7)
3. Pearl (2018). “Indonesia battels fake news as elections looms” Jakarta Post. 15th March http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/03/15/indonesia-battles-fake-news-as-elections-loom.html
4. Newcastle university (2018) “Filtering out Fake News” 7th March. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/articles/latest/2018/03/fakenews/
5. Houston, (2018) “Measles back with a vengeance due to fake health news” The Irish Times. Feb 23rd. https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/measles-back-with-a-vengeance-due-to-fake-health-news-1.3401960
6. National Literacy Trust (2018). “Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools” https://literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/all-party-parliamentary-group-literacy/fakenews/