Ask the Doctor: help with essays, referencing, plagiarism & uni life
Hi 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:
- It involves you directly with what the writer is saying.
- 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!
Referencing and plagiarism
- Overview of referencing
- Using reference management software
- Referencing and bibliographies - what's the difference?
- Avoiding plagiarism
- Self plagiarism
- How can I paraphrase without plagiarising?
- Accidental plagiarism
- 5 reasons why all students should use plagiarism checker
- Tackling your first university assignment
- Basic essay ingredients
- Preparing to write an essay
- Developing ideas for your essay
- Finding source material for your essays
- Finding sources for a better grade
- Evaluating source materials for quality
- A step by step guide on how to write an effective essay
- Formatting essays
- Structuring an essay
- Rules and conventions of the English language
- Selecting the appropriate language and tone in essays
- Common mistakes in essay writing
- Why you should read other essays before you write your own
- Writing first class essays
- Writing essays against the clock
- The perfect guide to writing an essay
- More essay writing tips
- Making your work stand out
- Transforming your essay from good to excellent
- Polishing your work
- Presentation masterclass
- Quick essay proofreading tips
- Proofreading and editing
- 10 things to avoid in your essay
- 10 reasons students lose marks and how to avoid them
- Using feedback to improve
- Learning from poor grades
- Questions and answers
- Our top 6 essay writing tips
- Attending lectures - a guide for students
- Attending seminars - a guide for students
- Making the most of course readers and handouts
- Presentations: selecting a topic and allocating tasks
- Structuring your presentations at University
- Practising your presentation for university
- University presentations: dealing with problem presenters
- University presentations on the day
- Exam revision techniques
- Useful revision and memory techniques
- Last minute revision tips & dealing with nerves
- Starting at university
- Starting uni - three things you should know
- Starting uni - places to be
- Studying hard at university
- Finding time to relax at University
- Finding yourself at University
- Secrets of the University Library
- Top tips for living in the halls of residence
- Working hard while studying at University
- Student jobs which work around your schedule
- Socialising while studying at University
- Planning a budget while studying at University
- Sticking to a budget
- Making your weekly food budget go further