Posts about: Referencing and Plagiarism

Finding Patents

4 July 2017

Looking for patents? Anne shows you where you can find them.

Patents are useful as they can show the latest technological development in a particular field, and often describe significant developments long before they are revealed elsewhere. If you are working in a field of engineering, for example, and need to think of a design solution to a particular problem you might like to look at some patents for inspiration.


You might be familiar with Scopus for finding journal articles, but did you know it provides access to over 28 million patents from five patent offices as well?

  • European Patent Office
  • Japan Patent Office
  • UK Intellectual Property Office
  • US Patent & Trademark Office
  • World Intellectual Property Organization

To access Scopus go to the Library’s Resources page, click the letter ‘S‘, select ‘SCOPUS’, then click ‘Link to Database’.

Scopus search screen

re-order by relevance

Because the patents on Scopus are drawn from different offices, the pages you click through to will look different – but look for links called “Image” or “Original Document”, etc.

You might find some great designs:

USPTO 595629

And you will almost certainly find some strange ones:

JPS 6031276

I think this cat has every right to look alarmed, don’t you?


Do you know how to reference a patent?

A reference for a patent is in this format:

Inventor, A. B. (Year). Title of patent. Patent Office No. Patent number.

For example:

Ichihara, A., & Maruta, F. (1984). Cat Washing Bag. Japan Patent Office No. JPS59139052U

Now here’s the tricky part!

Your in-text citation uses the Patent Office number and year, but not the inventor.
So this one would be:
(Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) or
Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U (1984).

If you wish though, you can include the inventors’ names in your text, for example:

Ichihara and Maruta’s innovative design (Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) helped restrain cats for the purpose of washing …

The 7 study mistakes too many students make – learn what they are and don’t make them yourself!

3 March 2017
Amy Pearson

You really don’t want to miss what Amy has to say about the 7 study mistakes that can cost you marks.


Some study mistakes are no big deal, others really are a big deal as they can affect your final degree classification. This is why we have put together a short online package to introduce you to the 7 things, why they matter and how you can avoid them. They are:

  1. Plagiarism
  2. Self-plagiarism (or double submission)
  3. Collusion
  4. Falsifying experimental or other investigative results
  5. Contracting another to write a piece of assessed work / Writing a piece of assessed work for another
  6. Taking any unauthorised material into an examination. Copying from, or communicating with, another examination candidate during an examination.
  7. Bribery

Spare 20 minutes to complete the eLearning – it really will be time well spent! Click on the image to get started…
Introduction to Academic Misconduct












Important Changes to Ref Me

17 February 2017
Jen Earl

Jen wants to make you aware of changes to Ref Me.

It has just been announced that RefMe will be changing to Cite This For Me on February 28th 2017. Full details on this news can be found on the Ref Me website.

If you have a RefMe account you will still have access to your account and saved Reference lists until June 1st, 2017, but you will need to export them before this date or you will lose them.

If you want to create an account for Cite This For Me it will cost £6.99 a month but you are able to generate a reference list without creating an account. However without an account your reference list won’t be saved for future use.

There are a number of reference management tools on the market and Salford University’s supported solution is EndNote. This comes in a free online version and the full desktop software, which is available on open access PCs in the library. As well as storing all your bibliographic references, EndNote can find and store PDFs plus it integrates neatly with Word to insert and format references. If you’d like to find out more about EndNote please look at our videos and Endnote link.

It’s Hedgehog Day

2 February 2017


Today, 2nd February, is Hedgehog Day, and this little fellow has been brushing up on his Skills for Learning.

He is doing his best to Get Ahead.

He has set up his device for learning, found his reading lists, learned how to find information for his assignments, improved his writing skills, and now knows how to reference the information he has used. What a great start to the semester!

Don’t you think he looks a bit tired now though?

Curate. Don’t drown in a sea of information. Organize.

18 January 2017


Welcome to day 3 of national Bring Your Own Device for Learning Week. Here at Salford we are offering a short online course to help you make the most of your mobile device, as well as on campus activities all week. There’s no need to book, just follow the link below and participate as much or as little as you like.

Day three

Today’s theme is curating – how to stay on top of the latest developments in your area, and how you can organise your documents, ideas and notes. Drop in to Mary Seacole, room 187, between 12:00 and 13:00 today to find out more.

There’s so much information, it can become overwhelming. Why not explore ways of using your devices and applications to filter, store, organise and manage information effectively?

Note taking
One Note

Document reader
Feedly (helps you keep on top of news and literature in your field)

Pocket (save webpages to view later, even without an internet connection)


For more apps, check out this curating shelf.

Don’t forget the twitter chat this evening, between 20:00 and 21:00 (UK time) to share your experiences so far. Check out: #byod4lchat

Can’t join in but want to get your device set up for learning? Try our online guide

Need some human help? Turn up with your device at Clifford Whitworth library, first floor, between 12 and 2, Monday to Friday. No need to book, pop along with your device and we’ll help you get started.

Struggling to get your essay started? Follow our 5 Steps to Essay Success

16 November 2016

essay sucess

Skills for Learning is hotter than a vindaloo!

11 October 2016


You are well into week 3 of your first semester, you have got to grips with your timetable and are attending all your lectures – pretty soon you are going to start writing your first assignment.

Remember that there is a wealth of information to help you on the Skills for Learning web pages.  We have study guides, e-learning packages and details of free workshops you can attend covering reading & note-taking, writing an assignment and how to reference your work.

However – this week is National Curry Week which is great excuse to relax and enjoy a great meal with your new friends.

The first curry house is thought to have opened in Britain in 1810, now probably every village in the UK has a curry house – Brits love curry!  Celebrate National Curry Week by cooking up your favourite dish – get inspiration from the BBC website  or plan a visit to Manchester’s curry mile on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme*.

*(Other curry houses in other Manchester locations are available.)

Ambiguous Citations

15 July 2016

Or, how do you know what is what?


Let’s start with the basics:

When you are referencing your information sources you use citations within your text. These are brief, just names and a date in brackets, in your text.

Then at the end of your essay or assignment you have a reference list. This is a list of everything you have cited, with each reference providing the full details of the works you have cited in your writing.

This means if someone reading your work sees an interesting idea they can use the citation to find the matching reference, and then use the details in the reference to find the original work to read for themselves.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Yes, usually it is. But sometimes a citation might match two references, for example, an author might have written two papers in the same year and you have used both of them in your essay, or you might have two different authors with the same surname writing in the same year.

Which one is which?

These are called Ambiguous Citations, and when this happens you need to add extra information to your citations to differentiate them.

Part 1: Same author, same year

zombie writing
The same author has written two or more works in the same year.

To tell these apart, simply add the letters a, b, c, etc. after the year, for example:

(Davis, 1983a) and (Davis, 1983b)

If you are citing these two works together, treat them like this (Davis, 1983a, 1983b).

Here’s the tricky part! Assign the letters a, b, etc. in the order the works will appear in your reference list – which is not necessarily the same order they will appear in your writing.

You reference list is arranged alphabetically by author, then year, then title. P comes before T, so these two references will be ordered like this:

Davis, E. W. (1983a). Preparation of the Haitian zombi poison. Botanical Museum Leaflets, Harvard University, 29(2), 139-149.

Davis, E. W. (1983b). The ethnobiology of the Haitian zombi. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 9(1), 85-104. doi: 10.1016/0378-8741(83)90029-6

Part 2: Different authors, same name, same year

two zombies writing

Sometimes you might cite two or more works by different authors who have the same surname. If they have been written in different years this isn’t a problem, your reader will be able tell the apart. But what if they have been written in the same year?

Add each authors’ initials to the citation, before the surname:

(F. Parker, 2011) and (J. Parker, 2011)

Now when your reader looks at your reference list it is clear which work is which:

Parker, F. (2011). What would Foucault Think about Speed Runs, Jeep Jumps, and Zombie? In L. Cuddy (Ed.), Halo and Philosophy: Intellect Evolved (pp. 161-175). Chicago: Open Court.

Parker, J. (2011). Our zombies, ourselves: why we can’t get the undead off our brains. Atlantic Monthly, 307(3), 32-33.

Ahh, but what if the authors have the same surname and the same initial? Then you should write their given names in full:

(James Parker, 2011) and (John Parker, 2011).

Part 3: Multiple authors, same first author, same year

Okay, this is getting complicated now. Bear with me.

Quite often you will get research teams working together and writing papers together, and sometimes they will write several papers in a year.

research team

If you are familiar with the APA 6th style of referencing used here at Salford you will already know that when you have a work with three to five authors you list all their names the first time you cite the work, and in subsequent citations, just the first author followed by et al. – which is an abbreviation for “and others”.

So if you have a work written by five people list all their names the first time you cite it, like this (Maxwell, Scourfield, Holland, Featherstone, & Lee, 2012) and then when you cite it again you only need to name the first author followed by et al., like this (Maxwell et al., 2012).

But what if Maxwell and her research team wrote more than one paper in 2012?
They did.
Here’s the other one: (Maxwell, Scourfield, Featherstone, Holland, & Tolman, 2012).

In a case like this you can’t use (Maxwell et al., 2012) for subsequent citations, because you won’t be able to tell which work is which in the reference list.

To differentiate them you need to add more authors until the citations are unique.

In this example the first two authors are the same so you will have to list the first three authors in subsequent citations: (Maxwell, Scourfield, Featherstone, et al., 2012) and (Maxwell, Scourfield, Holland, et al., 2012).

To sum all of this up: if you can’t tell which reference a citation is pointing to, add more information to the citation until you can.

World Giraffe Day

21 June 2016

Today is World Giraffe Day, an annual event supported by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to celebrate the longest-necked animal in the world on the longest day of the year (or longest night if you happen to be on the other side of the planet).


Not only is 21st June the longest day, it is also the First Day of Summer – and this means that the Skills for Learning Summer School is underway. From now until the end of June we are running workshops which cover a range of areas, from finding information for your assignments, improving your study skills and building or refreshing your IT skills.

Click the link above to see what’s available, and book on to some courses to help you get a head start on your work. We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Go on, stick your neck out!

Join us at our Summer School 2016

6 June 2016

Events running 20-30 June

We’re running lots of workshops during June which are perfect if you’re new to the University or even if you’ve been here a while, but just not noticed some of the excellent workshops we provide! We’re calling it our ‘Skills for Learning – Summer School 2016’ and it would be great if you, and the sun, could join us.

So if you need to learn how to find information for your assignments, improve your study skills and build on your IT skills this is the place to start.

Some workshops/events require you to book a place whilst others just invite you to turn up.

To find out what’s on offer visit Summer School 2016

Image representing workshops