Don’t get lost on your dissertation journey

There are many steps in writing the perfect dissertation and Library staff are on hand to help you on your journey, especially if you’re just starting out.

Skills for Learning are running a themed week of workshops 20-24 November covering topics such as Finding Information for your Dissertation, Organising your Research using Pro-Study and Referencing Refreshers.

25DE18F2-E049-441F-9BF0-291BC29A8F95As part of the week Library staff will be out and about offering advice, support and signposting help on all aspects of writing your dissertation. There will also be a chance to win a £20 Blackwell voucher.

On Tuesday 21 November Academic Librarian, Karen Fisher, will be in Broadcasting Place 13:00-15:00.

On Thursday 23 November  Karen Croft from the Skills for Learning team will be in Headingley Library from 11:30 – 13:30.

One of our Information Services Librarians, Karen Carney, will also be on hand to offer advice and support.

And there are lots of Library staff not called Karen who can also help you!

The Library website includes information about finding past dissertations in the Library or obtaining Interlibrary Loans if you need to read something as part of your literature review that isn’t available in the Library.

You can also use our Beckett Books Extra scheme to request a book that you think should be in stock – just click Recommend on the web page.

Searching Discover gives you access to thousands of resources for whatever topic you pick or you can use the Subject Guides to point you in the right direction. These are created by your Academic Librarian who has expert knowledge of all the journals, databases and other material available to you.

As well as workshops Skills for Learning has lots of guidance on their website and they can also help if the subject you’re studying means you need to produce a dissertation based on a product. Their Dissertation IT Kit provides a really good guide on how to produce a professional looking document and avoid the potential formatting errors.

You can book an appointment with your Academic Librarian for one-to-one support on finding resources for your dissertation or project – see their contact information on your subject guide. And, of course, you can always contact the Library 24/7 and we’ll do our best to help.

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Those scary essays!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our Halloween stalls the other day, where our (hopefully not too scary) staff asked you what’s the scariest thing about writing essays.halloween HY

Some of you found the most frightening part getting started and acknowledged leaving it to the last minute. Our Little Book of Time Management might help with that.

The majority of you said that finding information was the scariest bit so you’re in the right place with the Library! Your Academic Librarians and the Skills for Learning Team offer tutorials and workshops in finding information and writing literature reviews. The Library website has subject guides to get you started and Discover gives you access to thousands of resources.  Our YouTube tutorials help you make the most out of this fantastic tool.

essaysUnderstanding the question and planning and structuring the essay can also be tricky. The Skills for Learning website has information to help with this and the Essay Writing workshops cover it in more detail. You’ll also find hints and tips in one of our essay writing books.

Not surprisingly referencing and concerns about plagiarising or using Turnitin can be scary too. Make sure you have a copy of Quote Unquote to help you out and take a look at our online guides to using Turnitin.

Remember that you can always ask Library staff to send you in the right direction for all aspects of writing your essay and help avoid all those ghouls and ghosts.

Don’t let your essay become a nightmare!

You might think (or hope!) that essay writing was something just for school but lots of university assignments require you to write an essay in some form; defined by Skills for Learning as “an extended piece of writing which attempts to answer a question or respond to a statement”.

To tie in with Halloween the Library will be offering help with essay writing so that it doesn’t become a nightmare for you. Look out for us in Headingley Library from 11:00 on Monday 30th October and in the Rose Bowl on Tuesday 31st also from 11:00 where we will be helping you overcome your fears by telling you all about the support available. Here’s a sneaky peak of the help on offer – if you’re scared of spiders, skeletons (or essays!) you may want to watch with a friend!

Also during the week there will be Skills for Learning workshops on essay writing, finding information and referencing to help you get started with your assignments. You can find lots of material online, pick up a book in the Library (or read an e-Book from under the covers!) or make an appointment with your Academic Librarian. There is even a Little Book of Essay Writing with lots of useful hints and tips, and software such as Inspiration or Pro-Study on the Library PCs to help you organise your work before you start writing.

In addition, Academic Librarian, Karen Fisher, will be in the Cultural Studies social learning space in Broadcasting House on Wednesday 1 November 11:30-12:30 offering extra help to students based there.

We also asked Holly Phillips, Academic Skills Tutor for her advice: “The most important thing is that you take a clear position in response to the question that is being asked, then the rest of the essay focuses on the evidence to support that position. Ultimately, the essay is an argumentative genre of writing where the author is trying to get their reader to accept their position. Make your case clearly, directly, and support it using the very best evidence you can find!”

Worth following to turn your nightmare essay into a dream high mark!

 

The value of embedded Library sessions

We hope you all enjoyed the Library Inductions that Library staff delivered in September (and if you didn’t attend one, please talk to your module leader to see if one can be arranged!) These induction sessions are very much intended as a welcome and there is so much more that the Library can help you with.Karen F and Catherine 2017

One very effective way that you can benefit from Library expertise is by attending “embedded sessions” delivered by Librarians at appropriate points throughout the year.  Students find these sessions very relevant as they are timed to take place when they will be most useful, and the content is carefully chosen to closely tie in with students’ assignments.  Academic Librarians delivered many of these sessions in 2016-17, including:

A 1 hour presentation to MSc Accounting and Finance students from Academic Librarians Jennie Winterburn and Catherine Parkin. This focused on using the FAME database to find and analyse data on company financial ratios, and how to compare companies within a peer group. This helped students when completing their Financial Reporting assignment as they learnt the importance of using subscription databases for the information they needed, rather than relying on information found on the web, to ensure the information was accurate and up to date. They also found out how to properly cite financial resources in their assignments, in the Harvard style.

Level 6 Law students rated the “finding journal articles” sessions delivered by the same Academic Librarians very highly. These students worked together in small groups to evaluate the literature they were using for their dissertations and learnt how to effectively search databases using search terms and subject headings, in order to find high quality journal articles.

Level 6 Dance students undertake a final year module called “Publishing Project” that is focused upon the development of the students’ academic skills in reading, writing and independent critical ability. The module is designed to enable students to develop their research skills in order to produce an extended piece of academic writing. Academic Librarians Alison Park and Karen Fisher deliver a session every year as part of this module, showing the students the research process, helping them to select an area of interest for their extended essay, and assisting them in conducting their own research and enquiries.

Journals

Level 5 Architecture students were set a short critical review assignment in Semester 2, which required them to research a building allocated to them. Students were asked to research their case study in books and architecture magazines, and submit their research in the form of printed and digital copies of plans, elevations, axonometrics, collages and other visual and technical information, as well as excerpts collected from relevant sources. The aim of the assignment was to develop independent research skills by using the Library and the main printed sources of architectural knowledge, and to familiarise and practice writing critical analysis and commentary on a project/building.

Every subject has an Academic Librarian, and sessions can be delivered for all subjects throughout the year. If you are unsure who your Librarian is, check the Library Guide for your Subject.

 Catherine Parkin, Academic Librarian for Law, Accounting & Finance, Economics, Analytics and International, Leadership, Governance and People Management.

Celebrating Libraries Week

Libraries Week takes place 9-14 October and is a chance to showcase some of the amazing things that your Library offers such as:

And if you decide to take a break from studying why not listen to our latest Spotify playlist “The Great Library Songbook” full of library and literature related songs! Or come along to Leeds Beckett Book Club’s meeting on Wednesday 11 October to discuss The Famished Road by Ben Okri.

 

 

 

Have you discovered the Library yet?

A161122-2 Library City Campus-296 cropOur two University Libraries, Sheila Silver Library in the Leslie Silver Building at City Campus and Headingley Library in the James Graham Building at Headingley are open 24/7 365. They have different types of study space so you can choose to work in silence or in a group study area, or book a Student Meeting Room.

We also have over 140,000 electronic resources including eBooks and journals, available on and off-campus, easily accessible via our Discover search engine.. And it’s really easy to find the books and journal articles recommended for your course. Just click on the Resources List link alongside your modules in MyBeckett.

Our Skills for Learning team offer workshops and tutorials in academic communication, IT, maths, research and referencing. They are also running a peer mentoring scheme so you can get support from experienced students to help build your confidence.

Hopefully you will have already met your Academic Librarian for your course and have started to find your way around but there’s lots more help available for you. Take a look at the Get Started tab in MyBeckett and on our Library news pages.

You can also Phone Us or Chat with Us 24/7 – just see the Contact Us page on our website. And follow us on Twitter (@BeckettLibrary) for all the latest information.

Using other University Libraries

Leeds Beckett students and staff can use other university libraries via the SCONUL Access scheme. For full-time undergraduates this is for reference only but other students and staff can usually borrow as well. sconul

Apply online via the SCONUL website – watch our short video to see how – but make sure you pay any outstanding fines on your Leeds Beckett Library Account beforehand.  The website also lists the University Libraries you can visit, their opening hours and any restrictions. Please note, many Universities do not allow access during busy periods such as exams so make sure you check before making a trip.

Leeds Beckett Library staff will authorise your application by email within 3 working days. Once you have received your email, take it (either in print or on your mobile) plus your Campus Card to the library you want to visit. Your email will tell you whether you have reference access or borrowing rights.

SCONUL Access doesn’t usually give you access to PCs and electronic resources. eduroam_120pix You can however access the eduroam wireless network in other universities so you will still be able to access Leeds Beckett electronic resources, the Library website and MyBeckett. You need to connect to eduroam and log in before you leave Leeds Beckett.

If you’re looking for a book or journal that Leeds Beckett Library doesn’t have in stock you might want to visit the British Library or apply for an Interlibrary Loan. This service is mainly for final year and postgraduate students, but please contact your Academic Librarian if you’re not in your final year and can’t find what you need in the Library. You can also use the Beckett Books Extra scheme to recommended material for stock – just fill in the form in the Library Tab of MyBeckett.

Ask staff if you need any help.

 

Library behind the scenes…meet one of our Academic Librarians

Hello, my name is Laurence Morris, and I am one of the two Academic Librarians for Health and Social Sciences, looking after the Library services for staff and students of Biomedical Sciences, Physiotherapy, Sports and Exercise Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Youth and Community Development, Social Work, Playwork, Mental Health, Art Therapy, other Psychological Therapies and Nursing.

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Essentially, my job is to ensure that the students, researchers and academic staff of these subject areas have access to the library resources which they need. In practice this makes my role enjoyably varied – it involves lecturing large groups of students on how best to use the Library, one-to-one appointments to assist individuals with their specific work, maintaining subject-specific support pages on the Library website, providing referencing tuition, supporting researchers, advising on open access publishing, allocating the acquisition budget for the subject areas I support, and – most importantly – extensive liaison with staff and students, both to see what they want from the Library and to ensure that they are aware of everything that the Library can do for them.

In practice, cliché as it might be, this means that there’s no such thing as a typical day! Usually, though, I come to work expecting to teach for two or three hours (whether one-to-one or to large groups), attend one or two liaison meetings, and then spend the remainder of the time working on any ongoing tasks from the list above. In reality, my plan for the day rarely survives first contact with email or voicemail – there’s usually something happening to react to! If I find that I have six emails from students on one course, all asking for help with the same topic, then that’s a good sign that I should speak to their tutor and arrange to provide additional support to their whole class ASAP, rather than spending my free time ordering a couple more textbooks!

The variety is definitely what I like most about the job. The diversity of the Academic Librarian role enables me to use all of my past professional experience to help students – and there’s usually a real feel of doing something useful. At the end of the day, I can always go home thinking of something tangible I’ve done to assist someone with their studies.

On the basis of common questions I receive, there are two tips that I would pass on to any students reading this:

  • Your library subject pages can often be very helpful, providing a range of subject-specific advice and guidance. Rather than working in isolation, this is your chance to benefit from the accumulated wisdom of past students, academics and librarians!
  • If I’m ever not round, you can still contact the Library – and have your questions answered 24/7.

Finally… when not in the Library, I’m a keen hillwalker and mountaineer, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society earlier this year. Some of the photos from my outings to places like Lapland, Hong Kong and the Sierra Nevada are viewable online.

Dissertations – don’t let them daunt you…

If you are starting to think about your dissertation or final year project there is lots of help available for you from the Library:

Skills for Learning has lots of guidance on their website and they are providing a wide range of workshops and support for research in February. They can also help if the subject you’re studying means you need to produce a dissertation based on a product.

The Library website includes information about finding past dissertations in the Library or obtaining Interlibrary Loans if you need to read something as part of your literature review that isn’t available in the Library.

You can also use our Beckett Books Extra scheme to request a book that you think should be in stock – just fill in the form on the Library Tab of MyBeckett.

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Searching Discover gives you access to thousands of resources for whatever topic you pick or you can use the Subject Guides to point you in the right direction. These are created by your Academic Librarian who has expert knowledge of all the journals, databases and other material available to you. One, of these, Laurence Morris, who looks after many of the health courses, gives us an insight into his role in this Library Behind the Scenes article.

You can book an appointment with your Academic Librarian for one-to-one support on finding resources for your dissertation or project – see their contact information on your subject guide. And, of course, you can always contact the Library 24/7 and we’ll do our best to help.

Popping up but trying not to scare you!

headingley-1Last week was a week of Library Pop ups!

We ran a spooky Halloween pop up at both campuses asking you whether there was anything you found “scary” about the Library. (Apart from this photo!)

Our Skills for Learning team also ran pop ups telling people about their essay writing week and highlighting their websiteworkshops and publications.

 

So what did you tell us?………………………

You said that you found finding information “scary.”

Deciding where to start can feel overwhelming but there’s lots of ways to make it easier:

  • Use Discover for fast and easy searching of our books and journals. We have a number of Discover videos to help you get started
  • Take a look at your subject pages for loads of useful information that will be specific to your topic
  • Make an appointment with your Academic Librarian – book an appointment online from your subject pages
  • Book on a “Finding Information for your Assignments” workshop from Skills for Learning. Or use their online tutorial to help you
  • Come and see us on the Help and Information Point in either Library

You said that you found assignments “scary.”

Again knowing where to start, which topic to choose and writing that first sentence can be hard, but follow our tips to help you get going!

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You said you found finding books “scary.” But don’t struggle and leave the Library empty handed!

You said you sometimes found it “scary” finding a PC or somewhere quiet to study

  • Use PC availability to help you find a free PC when you arrive
  • Have a look at our webpages to help you find the place that’s right for you to study

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Finally don’t forget there’s lots of help available from the Library, please don’t be afraid to ask!