Essay Tips: Referencing and Finding Readings!

As a university student, you’ve always got an essay to be handed in. Which in itself isn’t terrible, what is terrible is finding readings, and referencing. So today I’m going to be sharing with you some tricks and tips I’ve learnt while doing essays!


Referencing. It’s something that many people struggle with because if you don’t stick to the set Harvard Style, you can end up getting marked down. Fortunately, in my first year I discovered: Neil’s Toolbox, so I’ve never had an issue with my references. Neil’s toolbox is a website that helps you generator references for books, e-mails, journals and websites! All you have to do is input the information, and the rest is done for you, ready for you to copy and paste into your bibliography!


When writing an essay, reading materials are a must. They’re needed so you can construct points, support your case/argument, and most importantly so you can reference them. As I stated above, referencing is super important when it comes to writing any academic piece of work, however, you may be asking yourself: ‘where can I find academic readings to reference?’ And to that, I highly recommend: ‘The Library Catalogue’ and ‘Google Scholar’.


Google scholar is my go to when writing an essay because you can use the search engine to type in keywords to find books/readings catered towards your topic. The only downside is that sometimes they might have the whole book on there you’re looking for, and sometimes it only has a couple chapters or even pages of that book uploaded. On the other hand, if that does happen you can always see if the university library has the book you’re looking for, using the online catalogue!


The online library catalogue works similarly to google scholar, as you can type in keywords to find your subject, however, with this resource you have full access to the books and readings. The catalogue has both online and physical readings, which is great in case you can’t make it down to campus as you can narrow your search to online texts and look through those. Additionally, you can look and see if the book you want is currently available at the library and reserve books to collect later at the library!


Other quick ways to find readings for you essays are:
Checking your module’s handbook: Each week tutors recommended readings for that module, and by going through the weeks of readings you may find a book which may help you, especially if it’s a book that was recommended on the same week your topic was taught. 

Check your notes: Hopefully, through your lessons you’ve taken notes and wrote down helpful things your tutor has said. By looking through your notes you may find a quote or book that your teacher recommended that you forget about which will lead you to more readings.

And finally, the powerpoints on blackboard: as uninteresting as it may be to sit and look through loads of lecture slides on your Friday night, you may find the exact reading you’ve been looking for to complete your essay, and depending on how niche the area your essay is, that could be a massive help.


Thanks for reading this post, I hope you found it useful or informative in some way. Hope you have a good week.
Until next time!

Film /Show of the day: Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

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