Study Hack – Writing

SkeletonplanAcademic writing can be tough whether it be writing an essay or a literature review. We have some great resources in QUT Cite Write which will help you to get started, no matter what writing style you need.

First things first, make a skeleton plan. You can do this for your whole assignment and there are a lot of templates that can help you with this and some of them sound good! Try the hamburger or the diamond templates. After this, you can follow the same template (or try a new one) for each of your paragraphs. Use these templates to decide what information will go where. This will make it a whole lot easier to start writing when you know exactly what you are trying to say and when you want to say it.

ProofreadyourwrokOnce you have finished your assignment it is important that you edit and proof read. Check your grammar, punctuation and the flow of your words. Get someone else to have a look at it for you as a fresh pair of eyes may spot something you have missed. By editing and proof reading your work you will make sure your assignment works as a whole and most important of all, that it answers your task question.

Need more help? Visit QUT Support for learning.

Study Hack – Academic Honesty, what is it?

What is Academic honesty? You might have heard it referred to as plagiarism or cheating, at QUT we have a huge pile of resources to help you give credit where credit is due and be authentic in your studies.

BelieveOnline_JBSo what do you do if you have a whole bunch of great resources you want to use in your assignment? First off, it is great that you have found some resources relevant to your assignment but remember to have a good look at what your source is and where it came from. You want to use good quality information to back up your ideas and arguments. So make sure you don’t quote any information you haven’t verified!

findingInfoEasy_JB Next, you need to work the information into your assignment. You do this by direct quoting, summarising or paraphrasing their work. Remember, direct quotes should only take up 10% of your word count. Paraphrasing is the hardest but recommended. It is worthwhile aiming for as you can demonstrate your own understanding and show off your critical thinking skills! How to Paraphrase will give you some helpful tips so that you can put your best foot forward.

The final step you need to make is to acknowledge the work of the people whose resources you think are awesome have used in your assignment. Referencing or citing another person’s work is really important and there is loads of information about how to do this on QUT CiteWrite.

To avoid plagiarism make sure you reference and give credit to those who have come before you. And don’t forget, pictures and music need to be referenced too!

Need more help? Come and see us at the Library Help desk. No appointment needed.

O Week Must Dos!

New to QUT? Welcome! Returning for another semester? Welcome back!

The beginning of the semester can be a busy time, there are new places to check out, workshops to attend and study to organise. But luckily Orientation Week has arrived along with a whole host of activities!

To help you get everything under control here are our Top 5 Must Dos for O week.

    • Meet QUT’s Vice Chancellor, Peter Coldrake, as he welcomes you to QUT.

  • Grab your free Semester Planner to help you get on top of your assignments and exams this semester! During O Week these will be available from Welcome Tents at Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove and from the Student Centre at Caboolture.
  • Check out QUT’s online portal, OrgSync, where you can explore activities happening at QUT such as clubs and sporting teams you might want to join, career development and campus life.
  • Pop into your campus’s library and talk to our friendly Helpdesk team. You can also pick up your free copy of QUT Cite/Write which will give you a great introduction to citing, referencing and academic writing at QUT.
  • Make sure to attend your faculty specific orientation. Whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate or an international student, these orientations will make sure you get the best possible start to your semester.

And don’t forget to grab your ID card! You can do this at any campus.

We look forward to meeting all the new faces and seeing the familiar ones this semester at all of our QUT Libraries!

 

Referencing 101 – APA Style tips

It's still puzzling me

In the library we get a lot of questions about referencing – so here are some handy tips to get you on the way with citing in APA Style (remember to check with your tutor or lecturer for what referencing style you need to use in your assignments).

APA (American Psychological Association) is one of the four main referencing styles used at QUT.  It follows what is known as the author-date system and is pretty simple once you figure out the rules.

When gathering information to format your reference you need to think about four key parts:

  1. Author name or organizational body
  2. Date/year the work was published
  3. Title of the work
  4. How/where the work was published

If you can find those four parts of the reference then you are ready to go! It’s just a matter of piecing it all together to fit with the style rules of APA – this means things like knowing when to put titles in italics or where to put a comma.

Example:

Neal, M. J. (2005). Medical pharmacology at a glance (5th ed.). Malden, MA: Blackwell   Publishing.

Queensland Rail. (n.d.). Queensland Rail free wi-fi. Retrieved January 6, 2011, from             www.queenslandrail.com.au/RailServices/City?Pages?wifi.aspx

Look at the above examples, can you recognize each of the four key parts that make up the reference?

If you need some more specific help on the rules of APA style the APA Style Blog is a good resource which answers some of the trickier aspects of APA.

Make sure to always check QUT CiteWrite for examples of how to cite different types of sources.

You can borrow a copy of the APA Style manual (6th edition) from the library

Or, you can ask a librarian through any of our usual contact points.

Be prepared: Getting the best out of Study Solutions!

" Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!" By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

” Day133: Flickr keeps you studying!” By Abdulrahman AlZe3bi. CC BY-NC 2.0

At the Library, there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Did you know that the most common question we get asked is, “Where are the bathrooms?” Helping you to find the bathroom is just one of the many ways we can help in the Library.

Many students get stuck with pesky research, writing and referencing questions over the course of the semester. At every branch Library, you can have your researching and referencing questions answered straight away at the Library Helpdesk. Our staff are trained to help you get started and point you in the right direction to get your assignments started.

If you have a longer or more complicated question, the Library can provide support for your studies through a Study Solutions appointment. By booking a Study Solutions appointment, you can get a 25 minute face to face appointment for help with your study, research and assignments. From understanding your assignment question, providing feedback on a draft, to working in groups, or organising your work/study load, we are here to help.

You can book a 25 minute consultation from Week 3. Bookings open a week in advance and fill up quickly – so be prepared and book early.

If you miss out on an appointment, never fear! Drop-in sessions are available at both Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove libraries from 12pm-2pm, Tuesday to Thursday. The time of your consultation will depend on how many students are waiting – so be prepared and have your burning question ready and waiting to maximise your time.

So! You’ve booked a consultation or you’re planning on coming to a drop-in session…. what can you do to prepare yourself to get the best out of your Study Solutions session?

1. Be on time! Make sure to note the date, time, and location of your consultation. Write it in your phone, diary, or the back of your hand. Remember you can keep track of your bookings online.

2. Come to your consultation with something specific to work on. Whether it be your assignment question, your draft, a particular study issue you’ve been having, or a question about a resource – this helps us to tailor the support specifically to your needs. Please remember that library staff cannot proofread assignments for you, we can give you tips and strategies so you can proofread yourself (hint: read your assignment out loud to the mirror!).

3. Check our online study resources and see if your question is answered there. If you familiar yourself with resources such as Cite Write, Studywell, and Studysmart, you’ll be well on your way to being a top student on your own!

4. If you’re looking for specific academic language and learning support you can get in touch with Academic Language and Learning Services (ALLS) to arrange an appointment. Language and Learning Educators are specially trained to help students and staff who need help with speaking and writing.

 

Light! End of the tunnel!

You're nearly there minifig! 'Small Climb' by  Black Zack (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

You’re nearly there minifig! ‘Small Climb’ by Black Zack
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The weather’s warming up, and all that sunshine is like a beacon of hope – it’s almost the end of semester! You’ve already handed in a few assignments and things are rolling along. To make sure you keep the momentum going, here are a few tips:

  • Use the Assignment Calculator to help manage your time on these last assessments.
  • Set some time aside for each of your assessment pieces. A weekly planner is available here.
  • If you aren’t sure about your assignment task, talk to your tutor or lecturer about what is required.
  • Ask someone at the Library Helpdesk to show you our online learning resources and help you find information.
  • Book a Study Solutions appointment for a 25 minute one-on-one appointment to talk about your assignment.
  • Check out your faculty’s peer assistance program to talk to another student about your study.

Time can slip away quickly. For best results with less stress, start early, work consistently and finish strong!

Writing great assignments

 

"Maze Starts Here" by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Maze Starts Here” by Michael Coghlan (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The secret to writing great assignments is all about how you begin and end the process. Take the time to plan and edit to make your writing clear, logical, relevant and … great!

Before

  • Plan your time carefully so that you will have time to edit before the due date. Aim to write at least one draft. This will remove the pressure to write perfectly and you’ll build momentum.
  • Know what type of assignment you’re writing. Reports, essays, critiques, annotated bibliographies, etc. have different structures, tones and styles. Know the difference before you begin.

During

  • Break the assignment into chunks and divide the word count by the number of paragraphs you plan to write. Start writing whichever paragraph you like: there is no need to write the introduction first!
  • Check regularly to ensure that your writing responds to the task sheet, the marking criteria and any other resources available on QUT Blackboard.
  • Take short breaks every hour and reward yourself when you reach the end of each section.

After

Edit and proofread by asking  these five important questions:

  1. Am I answering the assignment question?
  2. Do I use clear examples and good evidence to support my ideas?
  3. Is my assignment organised and carefully structured so a reader can follow my logic?
  4. Am I referencing correctly and consistently?
  5. Is my writing formal and free of errors? Am I using the scholarly language of my discipline: the technical terms, words and theories that are used by my lecturers and are relevant to my subject area?

For any help with writing assignments, come and see us at Study Solutions!

 

World Book and Copyright Day

UNESCO celebrates World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, an annual event where libraries around the world promote reading and the enjoyment of books.

Copyright is closely linked with the book publishing industry but is also relevant to us all when we are looking for content to reuse in the things we create. It is important to give credit where credit is due and provide the correct attribution details when you use the words, images or ideas of someone else.

AltamiraBison

Painting of a bison in the cave of Altamira by Rameessos (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

When I am looking for free images to use in my work I like to use Google Advanced Image SearchFlickr Advanced Search or Wikimedia Commons. These tools allow you to limit to Creative Commons licensed or public domain content.  Creative Commons is an organisation that supports the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge and even has tools that make creating licenses for your own content easy.

These tools are good because they make it easy to find what you need without worrying about the complicated stuff.

 

 

Help with writing and referencing a click away

Help! I have a report due on Friday…

My tutor went through it in class and it looked pretty straightforward but now I have to write the thing I just don’t know…

This is embarrassing, but I haven’t written an essay in years…

These are the types of questions and comments we hear at the Library Learning and Research Desk every day. The answers to these and many more questions are all found in one great tool…

cite write

QUT cite|write is more than just a heap of excellent examples showing you how to correctly cite sources and create an awesome looking (and correct) reference list. (Useful as that is.) QUT cite|write will also walk you through the process of creating your report/review/critique/ other type of assignment.

And don’t forget to double check your assignment information and ensure you are following the correct format.

Happy Writing!

 

How do you cite a tweet?

Just as social media has become a regular tool we use in our daily lives to connect with our friends and the world around us, it has also become an important resource for students and researchers looking for the very latest and most relevant information. One place with the very latest information–and directly from the source–is Twitter.

So with all this highly relevant information being published in the twittersphere by the second, how do you cite it? Well it’s quite simple – you just need to focus on taking the four pieces of information that form a reference (author, date, title, source) and putting these elements in the correct order.

Can you build a reference from the following historic tweet?

We did, and this is how we did it. Our first step was to identify those four key elements common to all references:

Author: BarackObama [We use the author’s name as it appears in the source, and Barack Obama’s twitter handle is BarackObama]

Year: 6 Nov 12

Title: Four more years: pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom [Because a tweet is already so tiny, you can use it in its entirety as the title]

Source: This is hidden from the regular tweet view, but if you click on the “Details” link within any tweet, you are taken to that tweet’s unique url, which in this case is https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744

Once you have identified these elements, building a reference is as simple as putting those elements in the correct order. Be aware that as this is an evolving area, the main authorities for referencing may not have covered this in their manuals yet. For example the Chicago Manual of Style only provides examples for websites and blogs. But as you do with all referencing, we have followed the spirit of these and other guidelines, and come up with some formatted references for a tweet for the three main styles used at QUT.

APA

BarackObama. (2012, November 6). Four more years: pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom [Twitter post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744

Harvard

BarackObama. 2012. “Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom”. Twitter post, November 6. Accessed 2 October, 2013. https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744

Numbered

[1] BarackObama. Four more years. pic.twitter.com/bAJE6Vom [Twitter]. 2012 Nov 6 [cited 2013 Oct 2]. Available from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/266031293945503744