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Plagiarism search Ask the Doctor: help with essays, referencing, plagiarism & uni life

Ask the doctorHi there, let me introduce myself: I'm a lecturer with one of the UK's leading universities and have taught both undergraduates and postgraduates – as well as GCSE and A level – for over thirty years. During that time, I have probably encountered every problem, query and cause of stress that all students encounter from time to time and it has been my pleasure and privilege to help my students overcome their problems and achieve their goals.

Now I am offering my services to you...

I shall be contributing a regular blog to this site from now on with some of the questions I have come across answered for you so that you, too, can benefit from my years of teaching experience. I have also been through the process myself, of course, gaining A levels, a BA, MA and a Ph.D., so I know how it feels to be a student as well as a teacher!

So, check back in to the site regularly to see what queries I'm answering each time and why not send in anything you need to ask via the comments? Remember, I'm here to help you !

This week's topic is about referencing, not referencing styles but how referencing accurately and appropriately can help you get better grades. The reason I am starting with this is that the question I am most commonly asked is how to improve on grades and using referencing well is one of the better ways I know of doing just that. So, here goes!

Q: How can I use quotes more effectively in my written work?

A: The first thing to remember is that quotes are essentially evidence, they are there to support the point you are making and strengthen your argument. This means that quotes should never just be "stuck in' for no particular reason; they should always make a clear connection with a point that is being made.

Secondly, quotes should never be left "hanging'. By that I mean that they should always be commented on in the form of analysis.

Nowadays, very few academic institutions like students to use long quotes, so it is best to weave your quotes into your sentences: that way, you are quoting and analysing at the same time.

Thirdly, draw ideas from your quotes. Pick up on individual words and phrases the writer has used and build them into your argument. This is good for two reasons:

  1. It involves you directly with what the writer is saying.
  2. It makes your work original.

Referencing in this way will definitely increase your grade and it will also help hone you skills of argument: crucial for a top grade essay!

So, there it is, my first blog! I hope you have found it helpful and don't forget, check in again regularly to see what else I have to say. I promise you that before too long, if you follow my advice, you'll see your grades go up and up – just as all my hundreds of students have done – I'll be back very soon so watch this space!

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About the Author:

Doctor Jan

Doctor Jan is a Ph.D. qualified university lecturer at a leading UK university with over 30 years experience in Higher Education.