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Key advice and tips from UEL staff and students.

    Academic integrity

    Academic integrity is about a set of values the university adheres to. In this video Jules Cassidy examines the university’s approach to academic integrity and the resources available to support you in understanding your role in academic integrity.

    • Jules Cassidy - Chair, Academic Integrity Sub Committee, University of East London
    Academic integrity, it is crucial to protecting the value of UEL’s degrees out there in the marketplace. All those people beyond the academy -employers, the government - all sorts of people who are interested in knowing what goes on within the University about this issue because it does affect the value of our degrees. Any University that’s known to be soft on plagiarism and issues of academic integrity, the value of those degrees go down. So, that’s why it’s important for all students that UEL makes this commitment to academic integrity that all of us do have, and that we uphold those values.
    Academic integrity is about a set of values and those values are very important. Though being expressed by the Academic Integrity Centre, based in Climson University in South Carolina, many Universities subscribe to this set of values and our policy reflects these values - our academic integrity policy – and they are the values of, obviously, integrity in the first place but also honesty, trust and trust worthiness, responsibility, fairness and justice, respect and self-respect.
    The first year level Study Skills modules do introduce students to academic integrity. It’s one of the learning outcomes of that module and all students have a Study Skills module in their first year. That will teach them about academic integrity in the sense of referencing, bibliographies, plagiarism and how to avoid it and, in particular, now focusing on our new referencing system. So that is a very important place for students to start to think and learn about how to deal with academic integrity.
    Academic integrity week is always held in the 4th week of each semester and that is for a particular reason that that is the time when students are starting to have to think about their first assessment for the semester. And of course, for our first year students, the first assessment they are ever going to do at University. So they need to know and have this information about how to reference, how to avoid plagiarism and so on. So we put that into academic integrity week at that particular time of year to try and give them that support.
    If you’re worried about any issues to do with academic integrity, we have lots of resources here to help you at UEL. You can ask your tutor of course or your seminar leader, your Study Skills module leader or whatever. You can go to the academic integrity web pages. You can go to the UEL Plus Student Academic Integrity site. You can go to the library and ask any librarian. You can ask a librarian online. There’s Cite Them Right, our referencing book is online on UEL Plus on the opening pages. The English Language Centre, you can drop in there or make an appointment. You can also go to the Skillzone drop-in at Stratford and Docklands.

    Academic integrity

    Advice for new students

    Starting at university can be overwhelming experience. In this video students and staff provide hints and tips on how to approach your studies when you first start at university.

    • JJM: John Joe Mulherin - Student Liaison Officer, University of East London
    • FT: Finance Tskiwa - Student, University of East London
    • MC: Maureen Cupid - Student, University of East London
    • KB: Kevin Byrne - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
    • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London

    JJM: University life is an independence and you’re expected to work as an independent learner. That shouldn’t be daunting. I can imagine it can sound daunting for somebody who knew to the idea of that. Or if someone’s returning to learning and they haven’t been involved for a long time and that can be really sort of overwhelming. The idea that you’ve got to come back in. ‘Where do I find things?’ that kind of stuff. But, my advice would be - embrace that. You know, just go and have an explore. Go and find things, go and search for things and do that early. Get in early and have a good look round, explore the web pages, see what’s on UEL Plus, look at UEL Direct, look at the library pages and look at the amount of journals that are on there. It’s phenomenal. So, have a good look round and just see what there is for you.

    FT: My top advice for a new student would be, just come in, explore everything, explore the library catalogue, explore the library itself, explore UEL Plus. You know, it would be quite helpful and ask your tutors for help. They do have office hours. You can go into the office and ask if it’s about the lecture, something you didn’t understand or the question, you don’t understand the question. They are quite helpful as well, not to take the study skills module for granted because it’s really, really helpful. It tells you about, you know, outright good essays, good introductions, good conclusions, good bodies for your essay or report. So yeah, not to take the study skills module for granted but it’s really helpful.

    MC: One thing I wish I had known at the beginning of my studies, that I need to use the module guide in order to aid me in doing my assessment. The module guide is not only about the different subject area to be covered but it actually tells you how to frame your essays, how to make your essay plan and what the lecture is really looking for when you do your assessment.

    JJM: If I could give one piece of advice to a student who was just starting or somebody who maybe didn’t commit themselves fully in the first year, the second year, they find themselves in the third year, they really need to get their head down and learn about the library. I would say, ‘You know what, just go into the library and speak to the people in there’. The librarians, the staff and just say, be honest with them, ‘I don’t know that much, what is there?’. And they would be more than willing to help.

    KB: When you start your studies, what I would suggest or remind you of is the fact that studying is a marathon and not a sprint. It takes time for you to develop as a student. Take time for you to be comfortable with what it is you’re expected to do and that will happen with time. But you do need to give yourself time.

    BD: For any new student, I would say, take advantage of everything it has to offer and the library is there for you and you know, it’s just such a good resource for your learning. So take advantage of it.

    Advice for new students

    Advice for searching

    It is important you allow yourself enough time to undertake a search for information. In this video academic and library staff provide hints and tips on how to effectively search for information.

    • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
    • SB: Sharon Brown - Principal Lecturer, University of East London
    • KT: Kelly Travers - Subject Librarian, University of East London
    • SNO: Simone Ngozi Okolo - Academic Services Manager, University of East London
    GF: One of the most important things to remember when you’re searching for your assignments is to allow yourself enough time to do it. Searching isn’t a quick process. It’s easy to think that it is because it’s so easy to type something straight into a search box and you’re used to doing it in your everyday life when you’re looking for a tube map or cinema times or something. With research, you have to do a lot more thinking, you have to go back and do things again, you have to think about what you want to find, what you’re typing into the search box, where you’re searching, you need to evaluate the quality of your results as well. This isn’t a quick process. You will have to set aside a few hours, potentially a few days if it’s a big project like your dissertation. Just give yourself the time to do it. Otherwise, if you just use the first sources you find, they’re not likely to be the best sources.

    SB: Sometimes when you’re searching, you just cannot find what you want. Whether that be on Google or the library catalogue or the journal databases. The easiest thing to do then is to just stop. Stop for a short period of time and go and grab a coffee, walk around the library a bit and then come back to it. Often, it just means you’ve put the wrong combination of words in, you haven’t thought around the subject, you’re not finding the information you think you should and that. So just rethink it and start again. It will be out there.

    KT: Some people find that the search terms they are using in a database aren’t finding them any articles at all that are useful to them. I would say to those people, ‘Don’t give up. Try different search terms’. Some of the databases actually have a thesaurus for you to use. If you try your search terms in the thesaurus, it may be that you’re using the wrong term for that particular database. Some of the databases are bought from America and, therefore, they will user Americanisms. For instance, in business, we would perhaps be searching for the phrase ‘management’ but, in America, perhaps they would prefer the phrase ‘administration. If you’re still having trouble with finding search terms and getting results from those, come into the library and speak to your subject librarian and we can go through it with you.

    SNO: My key message is for you not just to go to Google. Make sure that you’re using good quality information which is accessible really from the library website. The library has spent a large amount of money making sure that we buy access rights to good quality online information. You ought to be using those and make sure that you do and not just go to Google. In fact, I’m going to recommend that you go via the UEL library website for good quality information.

    Advice for searching

    Assignment advice from other students

    Writing an assignment can be a daunting process. In this video fellow students give advice on how to approach an assignment and where to look for additional help if you need it.

    • MB: Maxine Beckford - Student, University of East London
    • BL: Brendon LaTouche - Student, University of East London
    • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London
    • OP: Oluwatosin Praise-Fowowe - Graduate, University of East London
    • DO: Daniel Onah - Student, University of East London
    MB: Previously, I’ve gone through a lot of stress trying to finish an assignment. Not because I left it too late, it is because it was my first time in an education facility. I didn’t really know what was expected of me 100%. So I did what I could and I still didn’t think it was good enough but, in the end, I put it in and I got a merit. The stress I had trying to get it together, I would not put myself through that again because it’s just not necessary. You’ve got to plan your time. You’ve got to make sure you have the time to do whatever you need to do.

    BL:The first thing that I do is I go through the e-catalogue and I enter a keyword search on my particular area of research. I look for the main text book, the latest core text book on that topic. Then I will go search for the core text book. From that, I will look for whatever reference is made to other hard copy text books and also, I would go look for any other articles, journals which would point or is directly relevant to that area of study.

    BD: When I began university, there is a chance you could, well, I felt that I had to do things really on my own. But there really is no shame in asking for help and I ended up asking the lecturers different things and they are there to help you.

    OP: Another advice I’d like to give to new students is that when you get your assessment questions, the best thing can do is to start on time. Don’t leave it to the last minute because when you leave it to the last minute, you start to rush and you’re not composed enough to get in the right amount and you end up messing things up. Even though you have brilliant books, once you don’t give it enough time, you don’t get the best out of it.

    DO: Two things I always put in mine as a student is that - reading hard and reading smart. But I want to talk about the reading smart because the reading smart leads you to success. If you are reading hard, you’re just reading the whole material. I just want to finish the material at this time. Without understanding, it means that you are not really smart. So reading smart, you must focus on this page, you must grab the page before you go to the next page. That’s really smart.

    BL: I would advise that you do not just take two core materials or just the journals available but you make every possible use of library materials and resources, that will include making use of library staff, various other forms of resources that they provide. So make full extensive use of the library and all of its materials. I think that once you do that, then you should be on the right track when it comes to doing proper research.

    Assignment advice from other students

    Assignment advice from staff

    Writing an assignment can be a daunting process. In this video members of staff give advice on how to approach an assignment and where to look for additional help if you need it.

    • SB: Sharon Brown - Principal Lecturer, University of East London
    • KB: Kevin Byrne - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
    • KT: Kelly Travers - Subject Librarian, University of East London
    • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
    SB: The first thing you should do if you need some help with your assignment is speak to the module leader. If there’s something in the assignment you don’t understand, ask for help. It’s what we are here to do.

    SB: Once you get your assignment title, read it carefully. Pull out the key words, have a look at the subject area it falls within and think about what search you’re going to do. From those key words, do a couple of Google searches, try changing the words around and see what information you get. From that information, once you’ve read it first, take out some more key words, just expand the area and also look at your lecture notes. It will help you work out exactly what it is you should be researching.

    KB: When students receive an assignment title, what I would suggest is that the question is read and checks are made to see if students actually understand what they are being asked. There are a number of things that they can do once the question has been received which would include seeing if there’s anything in terms of instruction words -  ‘account for’,  ‘compare and contrast’, ‘discuss’ - what these instructions words actually mean, whether there are any limitations that are being set by the question. Are they being given any particular context to work in, any particular numbers?

    KT: Well, your assignment title is the way into getting a good mark for your assignments. You need to look at the title, you need to pull it apart, find the key words in that title, really get to the heart of what it’s asking you to do. If it’s asking you about a success, what are those successes, how is that success measured, is it a success when you compare it to others? If it’s talking about failures in a business, perhaps you could look at a failure, an example of a failure and then compare it to others as well. Really get to the heart of the title and pull the key words and phrases out and you can use those as your search terms with the databases as well.

    GF: The key thing to remember when you start at university is to try and read as widely as you can. It’s very easy to just stick with one core text book on your reading list and maybe just try and read a bit on the internet. In actual fact, you really need to have a good look through your reading list, try and read a range of materials from your reading list and also have a look in the library, see what other books we have, have a look at some journal articles as well. Just try and read as widely as you can and you will find that the more you look, the better sources you’ll find and in fact, the better marks you’ll start to

    Assignment advice from staff

      Being an HE Learner

      Being a learner in Higher Education can be a different experience from previous levels of learning. In this video John Joe Mulherin discusses how to approach your studies whilst at University.

      • JJM: John Joe Mulherin - Student Liaison Officer, University of East London
      JJM: There’s an expectation in British Higher Education, it’s sort of a step up from other areas of learning. You need to develop critical thinking, you need to be assessing a wide range of texts. You need to be looking at loads of different sources of information. So you might be looking at the difference between a book and a journal, maybe a documentary. You could be listing all of those in your references. But what’s different and what’s unique about Higher Education is you’re expected to be coming up with your own ideas. You’re expected to be looking at different concepts and different ideas and things that have been taught, so you’re using facts that are out there, you’re using people, like studies and history, so you’re using stuff that’s famously published, but what you’re doing is you’re taking a wide breadth of information. And you’re not just regurgitating it, you’re not just repeating what’s been written before. But you’re bringing it all together and you’re giving your own slant on it, your own way of expressing that set of information with possibly some new ideas of your own that haven’t been written before.

      Being an HE Learner

      Evaluating information

      In this video Simone Ngozi Okolo discusses the importance of evaluating your sources and the three key criteria you should use when evaluating the information you use.

      • Simone Ngozi Okolo - Academic Services Manager, University of East London
      We live in an information age where there’s so much information about. So it’s important that when you’re trying to use an information source to write an academic article that you think critically about the quality of that information.

      So when deciding the quality of the information you need to use in an assignment, you need to be looking at the following three criteria: For example, who wrote it and why did they write it?

      The other one you may want to consider is: when was that information actually published? Is it accurate? Is it up-to-date? Is it at the level that you actually require that information? Is it appropriate for you at that particular time?

      The last one you may want to consider is: is it relevant to the point you are trying to make at that particular time? So the information might be of good quality but if it is not relevant to your specific needs, then obviously it becomes bad information.

      Evaluating information

      Evaluating websites

      Websites are often used as a source of information for assignments. In this video Subject Librarians examine the pros and cons of using websites and the key criteria you should use when evaluating websites.

      • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
      • RS: Robin Stinson - Subject Librarian, University of East London
      GF: When you are using Google or other search engines to find information for your university assignments, it’s important to consider which websites you’re finding information from. If the website has ‘.ac.uk’ in its name, for example, then that is a British university and you are more likely to be able to trust the information you find. You’re also more likely to be able to trust information from government sources and from professional bodies. So consider these kinds of websites as the more reliable sources.

      RS: The information on an internet website is not necessarily very reliable compared to the information in a book or a journal article. There is no editorial control over what is put onto the internet. So anybody but anybody can put information on the net, not necessarily for proper academic purposes. Whereas a book has to be approved for publication, and a journal article probably has to go in front of an editorial board, as I just said, for the internet, anybody but anybody can put information on the net. So, because of that, you can’t trust every internet site that you retrieve from a search using Google.

      RS: There are various criteria that you should use in evaluating a website. The authority of the site, the accuracy of the site, the purpose of the site, whether the site appears to you to be objective or not. The currency of the site and by that I mean, are the links from that site still live links? In other words, if you click on that link, does it take you to the website that it’s meant to be taking you to? And then the final criteria is the criteria of ease of use - layout of the site. Now that final criterion is very subjective, in that what my opinion, or your lecturer’s opinion, or your opinion could be totally different from your opinion.

      Evaluating websites

      Getting help from the Library

      If you are stuck with where to start or need further guidance on finding resources, the Library staff are here to help you. This video explains the support mechanisms available to you and provides success stories of students who have sought help.

      • SNO: Simone Ngozi Okolo - Academic Services Manager, University of East London
      • FT: Finance Tskiwa - Student, University of East London
      • OP: Oluwatosin Praise-Fowowe - Graduate, University of East London
      • MB: Maxine Beckford - Student, University of East London
      • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London
      SNO: Although we’re asking you to empower yourself and take responsibility for your own learning, it is also important for you to recognise when you need assistance. This is where we say to you, ‘Ask the right people’. There’s nothing wrong with you going and asking your peers or your friend. The worst thing you can do is people giving you the wrong information. So make sure that you’re asking the right people the right question. So, for example, the library staff. All the library staff are there to help you become as effective as you can be, particularly your subject librarians. This is what they are paid for to do. So it is important that you take this on board and come for help and assistance when you do need it.

      FT: At the beginning, it wasn’t easy for me to find resources in the library. I didn’t know for instance that I had an Athens account. So what really helped me was just to admit that I didn’t know anything since I was new and this whole learning experience was new to me. So I used a librarian option. It’s really good because I didn’t even have to go up to the librarian. I just used it from my desk in the library. That’s when I was told about having my Athens account and how I can go into it.

      OP: As an international student, I think one of the first things a student needs to have is self-confidence. Especially when it comes to asking questions, getting information, because you would realise that where you are coming from it’s a little bit different from where you are right now. Services you have paid for, you have paid for. One of the services is getting information whenever you need it. So don’t feel you are going out of your way, asking questions. Feel free to walk up to anybody, ask whatever questions you need to ask, get whatever information you need to get so that you can move on smoothly and easily.

      MB: I wasn’t able to do a printout so I went to two of the librarians to help me immediately because don’t be afraid to ask for help because you do need help. If you’re in a new facility, you need to know where things are, how to use them, how to work them because nobody will come and teach you if you don’t ask because they don’t know you need help.

      BD: When I went into the library initially, there was quite a few books I couldn’t find and the library assistant was so helpful. They were standing over me, going through the whole process and it helped me feel confident about finding books and to actually approach them again.

      Getting help from the Library

      Journal articles

      In this video staff and students discuss the uses and benefits of journal articles. Journal articles can be more up to date than text books and can be easily accessed both on and off campus.

      • RS: Robin Stinson - Subject Librarian, University of East London
      • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London
      • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
      • BL: Brendon LaTouche - Student, University of East London
      RS: Look on a journal article as being an essay written by an expert, like a lecturer, intended for people that have a serious academic interest in a particular topic. Your lecturers will expect that you do make increasing use of journal material because it is 100% academically reliable. It isn’t like dodgy material that you’ve got off the internet. Because a journal article has to go in front of an editorial board, you can rely upon it as being academically sound.

      BD: I found the journals really, really helpful. They gave an added extra to the resources when I was writing an essay or submitting a piece of work. They gave more information and a kind of more personalised view of the situation so I trawled many journals and they were really helpful.

      GF: One of the big benefits of using journal articles for your assignments is that the information that you’ll find in them is a lot more up-to-date. Books are great for background information. They’ll really give you a solid understanding of the background to a topic. But if you want to have the latest research, you’ve really got to be reading journal articles. Journal articles are published very frequently and they come out soon after they’ve been written as well, whereas, by the time a book has been through the publishing process, some of the information will already be out of date, which is why journal articles are really where it’s at if you want the very latest information.

      BL: E-Journals are very, very important. One of the main things is that you have easy access at home or basically anywhere off campus. That also draws back to show effective time management and efficient time use. It also helps to reflect extensive database research in your coursework assessments and other research projects.

      Journal articles

        Library resources

        The Library is not just about books, there is a wealth of resources available to you as a student. This video covers the types of resources available and the benefits of using a range of them for your assignments.

        • KB: Kevin Byrne - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
        • JJM: John Joe Mulherin - Student Liaison Officer, University of East London
        • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London
        • MC: Maureen Cupid - Student, University of East London
        KB: When using the library, it is good if you know where things are. It’s good if you know who your subject librarian is and there are times when you can’t be getting a book and actually having the book that you need in your hands, but the library is far more than that. We have access to e-journals, we have access to e-books. We also have databases. All of these things can be accessed either on or off campus. Increasingly, the likelihood is that you’re not going to be on campus and, as such, you need to be comfortable with finding this information.

        JJM: I attended a library e-learning workshop just recently and it was made clear to me just how many resources are available for students. It’s phenomenal. There are tens of thousands of online journals, articles and things like that and I was told that students have to over a hundred and sixty libraries through a scheme called SCONUL. Which you can find more about on the libraries web pages. But, just the quantity of texts available through the online systems and through that scheme is amazing to be honest.

        BD: It’s quite interesting coming so late on as a mature student because obviously, at college, there was very limited resources. Coming to such a big university was just amazing because there were so many resources, so many people to help you. It was just .. it added to, you know, my whole learning experience.
        MC: A very useful thing I found out at the beginning of my studies is that the library is not just books. It is more than books because when you go to the library there is a lot of information in the library. Not only going to the library to borrow a book but you can search the library catalogue and, if you need more information on the topic that you are researching, those catalogues will be able to help you to find more and more information that you need.

        Library resources

        Referencing and plagiarism

        In this video staff and students discuss issues of plagiarism and referencing and where to get help if you are unsure of where to start with referencing correctly in your assignments.

        • SB: Sharon Brown - Principal Lecturer, University of East London
        • BL: Brendon LaTouche - Student, University of East London
        • MB: Maxine Beckford - Student, University of East London
        • OP: Oluwatosin Praise-Fowowe - Graduate, University of East London
        • FT: Finance Tskiwa - Student, University of East London
        • KB: Kevin Byrne - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
        • BD: Barbara Daniels - Student, University of East London
        SB: The first thing you should be aware of with plagiarism is not to get too scared. As long as you have kept a record of where you found the information you’re going to be using. So, when you’re reading a book, when you’re reading an online journal, when you’re using a webpage, keep a record. Know where you are getting the information from, make sure you keep good notes, make sure you keep the author, the name - all the things you need to keep. And you will be taught about this in your skills module in the first year. And it does help you keep good records of your research.

        BL: Referencing is very important because it shows that you know how to draw authority to what you’re placing in your assessment. It also is important because of the consequences that would fall out if you do not reference your work properly. You can get penalised, you can lose marks and so on. So it’s very, very important for every student to learn to reference adequately and properly. So my advice would be that if there’s anything you get right, get referencing right.

        MB: My seminar tutor has instilled on me the importance of plagiarism and, as she says, do not be frightened to reference because you need to reference because you didn’t think of the argument yourself, it’s already been said by someone else and if you don’t reference, it would be looked at as plagiarism. Even if you don’t intend to. So, over-referencing is better than under-referencing.

        OP: Plagiarism where I come from is not a big deal. I could copy and paste and get away with it. But here, I realise that plagiarism is a big issue. So, I think what I just did was to name, to source my writings. So that anything I write down, any ideas I get, I just back it up with the correct source. It might not be the original source but it has been cited by somebody else so you could always cite an author to back up whatever you are saying because you are not an author. You are not an authority, so it’s just not novel to you really. You need to get it sourced. You need to get it referenced and depending on the referencing style you are taught to use, you can always do referencing and do it the right way and that plagiarism doesn’t get to you.

        FT: On my first assignment, you know, referencing wasn’t so easy but what I found useful is, you know, where a whole reading list from our tutor in our module handbook. I just took that whole reading list, went to the library, found all those books and just piled them to one side. Just looked at exactly what I wanted to see and I studied going through the books and just taking the relevant information and referencing. It would be really good to reference as you go along.

        KB: If there are any problems with regards to work and if students aren’t sure about whether they are doing something properly, there are a number of different places to look. We do cover academic integrity in detail in the study skills module. We also introduce students to Turnitin with a view to them using that as a development tool. We’ve recently introduced ‘Cite Them Right’ across the board and there’s an electronic copy available for students. As with most things, if students aren’t clear, what I would always suggest is that they ask before they do and not afterwards.

        BD: I was really surprised when I came to the university and there was so much emphasis on plagiarism. It kind of spurred me on not to do it and to reference properly and to source all my information. The Skillzone was particularly good because it tells you how to do Harvard referencing. All sorts of referencing so there is really no excuse not to reference and it’s vital if you’re going to do well at university.

        SB: Students worry about plagiarism an awful lot. Most students don’t plagiarise. It’s only a minority of students that do set out to plagiarise. So if you keep your sources, if you know where you get your information from, if you make sure that every time you use information, use facts and figures, you are making sure you give credit where credits due, then you’ll be fine.

        Referencing and plagiarism

        Using databases

        A database is a collection of journals and other resources which you can access both on and off-campus. This video examines why databases are important to you and explains the use of your Athens password.

        • KT: Kelly Travers - Subject Librarian, University of East London
        • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
        • SNO: Simone Ngozi Okolo - Academic Services Manager, University of East London
        • MB: Maxine Beckford - Student, University of East London
        KT: A database is a collection of journals. It’s normally found online. We have a huge selection of databases for you to choose from for each subject taught at UEL here. You can access those via the library website. There is one exception to that. That’s the EBSCO database. I think, pretty much every subject taught at UEL will have contact with the EBSCO database. EBSCO is essentially a mega-database, full of smaller databases for different subjects but you would still access your database via EBSCO.

        GF: One of the most common questions that we get asked in the library is, “How do I search the Athens database?’. The truth is that there isn’t an Athens database. Athens is actually the name of the password system that we use to protect all of the library databases that we have. We recommend you access the library database through the website, through the library website, and when you’re prompted that’s when you enter your Athens password. You’ll also find quick guides and other help if you access these resources through the website.

        KT: If you haven’t got your Athens password, you need to check your UEL Direct webmail for an email from us in the library with your username and password. If you haven’t received that email or you’ve deleted it, then you can come into the library and we can sort out a new one for you.

        SNO: Databases are really going to be important. Your lecturers want you, as a student, to use good quality information. That is why you need to know how to learn about how to use the databases when you’re on campus and when you’re off it. But crucially, not only are you going to need to learn about your databases but you also need to know the specific database that is good for your subject area.

        MB: Using the database EBSCO I found very useful because you can access articles that are relatively up-to-date, as recent as 2010 this year. There is a box you can tick that shows you that they are peer-reviewed. So they are authentic, they’re shorter, easier to use and I found them very useful in helping me with my assignments because they cover a wide range of topics.

        Using databases

        Using e-books

        Electronic books are available to students both on and off campus. In this video Subject Librarians explain how you access e-books and the benefits of using them.

        • GF: Graham Fennell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
        • EM: Ella Mitchell - Subject Librarian, University of East London
        EM: You can search for an e-book through our library catalogue. You do this by typing in a search word and then adding the term ‘electronic books’ as a kind of limitation on the search. This should show up the list of e-books in that area. Otherwise, if you fancy just doing a key word search, you can do this as well. So look for a subject and then, on the left-hand side of the page, you can limit your search afterwards by clicking on the e-book collection. This should bring up a list of e-books that are available in that area.

        GF: A big benefit of using e-books is that you can access them at any time. With print books, you have to come along to the library to borrow the book, you have to come back to return the book and you have to hope that there’s copies available for you in the library -that all your fellow students haven’t taken the copies out. With an e-book, you can access it whenever you like, just as long as you’ve got internet access and your Athens password.

        EM: So if you’re accessing an e-book from home, you will need to first-off go to the library catalogue and you can do this via the library home page. Once you click on the library catalogue link, it will take you through to the search page. You can search for the e-book and then when you click on the online resource tab in the catalogue, you will then have to put in your Athens username and password to get you through to that book.  

        GF: Another great feature of the e-books is that some of them have a ‘read out loud’ function which, at the click of a button, effectively turns them into audio books, which can make it much easier for you to take notes.

        EM:So it’s worth noting that there’s some different e-book platforms that we buy our books through. They will look slightly different in their format but all will essentially have the same functions and the same usability. The two main ones that we use are MyiLibrary and also Dawsonera.com - two very user-friendly platforms that allow you to look at our books off campus.

        Using e-books

        Using Wikipedia

        In this video academic staff members examine the pros and cons of using Wikipedia. Wikipedia can be a useful initial reference point, but should not be the sole reference point for an assignment.

        • KB: Kevin Byrne - Senior Lecturer, University of East London
        • SB: Sharon Brown - Principal Lecturer, University of East London
        KB: If a student wants to use Wikipedia, I would say that it’s not a bad place to start in as much as they can get an overview of what it is they’re looking for. Perhaps get a flavour for the issue. But what I would suggest is, if it actually comes to using it as a reference point in their work, it indicates that they’re not researching the subject area properly. Possibly that they’re being lazy by going there as opposed to going elsewhere. What I would also point out is that it’s open access which means that the information on there can be changed by anybody at any time.

        SB: Wikipedia’s always a thorny issue for students. It is a good resource and it can be a good starting point for research but Wikipedia has many problems, one of which is it’s written by ordinary people - some of which will be referenced, some of which will be researched, but it might not be in the best possible way. The second thing about it is the information is not always in the most accessible format. Sometimes the English on a Wikipedia page is not as good as it should be and therefore it can be confusing about what the entry is about. I suppose the third thing I always think about with Wikipedia is, it’s often the first search on Google which, to me, often shows that students haven’t done any more research. So they haven’t gone to the second or third or the fourth page that’s come up, they’ve gone to the first one, they’ve taken everything they’ve read and they haven’t backed it up. At university level, you should be looking at more than one source to back up your information.

        Using wikipedia