Posts by Amy

How to use the ProQuest Social Sciences Database

4 October 2019

This video will show you how to use the ProQuest Social Science database to find academic journal articles and other high-quality resources for research, essays and assignments. You can access the ProQuest database from our Library Databases web page.  

Revision, exams and looking after yourself

7 December 2018

We all know that revising is tough. It is difficult to know where to start and very easy to get drawn into other things. Here are a few tips, tools and apps to help you ace your revision and exams!

  • Check out our revision tips
  • Learn how to improve your study concentration and cope with exam nerves
  • Have a look at our study guides on revision and exams
  • Access past exam papers. Have a look at Tracy’s blog post to learn how to do this.
  • Come to our Revision and Exam Techniques workshop on the 13th Dec 1-3 pm.
  • Don’t forget to live well for learning. Revision and exams can be stressful and time consuming. Make sure you find time for yourself!
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    Don’t be daunted by your dissertation

    6 February 2018

    Here are a few tips for completing your dissertation.

    Writing your dissertation is a big job. You need to plan it, find information, do a lot of reading and note taking, structure it, write it, reference, proofread…

    Skills for Learning has resources that can help! Have a look at our web site for guidance on writing your research proposal, writing your dissertation and formatting your dissertation.

    Knowing some of the tricks and tools in MS Word can save you hours. So if you are unsure about page numbering, creating a table of contents, using styles, headings and section breaks you should have a look at our guides and videos or book yourself onto our Formatting your Dissertation or Thesis workshop on the 16th April.

    Our Academic Support Librarians can help you if you are struggling to find information for your dissertation. We have lot’s of specialist databases that they will be able to direct you to.

    Finally, don’t forget to live well for learning. Writing a dissertation can be stressful and time consuming. Make sure you find time for yourself!

    Need to get some reading done? Here are Ella’s 5 favourite places to read on campus.

    9 October 2017

    Another academic year is upon us which many will see as a fresh start. You may be just beginning your degree; or you may see this year as an opportunity to change last year’s habits. One thing we all have in common is we have new reading lists this year! If you are new to University of Salford, you may want to see the previous post Reading Lists and How To Use Them. To mark the occasion, I’ve toured my camera around campus to show you what are, in my opinion, the top 5 reading locations on campus.

    #1 Clifforth Whitworth’s 2nd Floor “Deck Chair Bay”

    This was a very easy choice. My favourite place to read is in this quiet, scenic spot overlooking Peel Park campus. Not only is there easy access to any library book you require, but you can ponder away while overlooking the hustle and bustle of student life.

    #2 Peel Park Campus

    If it’s a nice enough day, take advantage of the seating areas and green space situated between the New Adelphi, Chapman, and Clifford Whitworth Library buildings. Marvel at the giant Friedrich Engels head as you tuck into your course material. Who knows, maybe with that knowledge someone will build a giant sculpture of your head someday.

    #3 Chapman Lounge

    Chapman Lounge offers all the scenery of Clifford Whitworth and Peel Park’s green space, but with more space to collaborate. The small but mighty Chapman Lounge is a great place to meet a friend or get a group of classmates together to power through some work.

    #4 B-Hive – Allerton Building

    If you find yourself on Frederick Road Campus you can’t miss the B-Hive in the Allerton Building. It offers a ton of comfy sofas to unwind, as well as some couches for collaborating. And it’s always fun to take a peek in their Donation/Swap Library. You can pick up a new novel for a bit of light reading and donate a book you think someone else might like.

    #5 Blue Peter Park – MediaCity

    University of Salford is lucky to share its MediaCity campus with the likes of ITV, BBC, and many other young creative companies and institutions. If you’re there, take a stroll through the Blue Peter park or stay dry in one of its many cafes or the University of Salford Building. Be sure to look up once and awhile – you never know which TV personality may be walking right past you!

    Now it’s your turn

    Go forth and venture into the many beautiful reading spaces the University of Salford has to offer. Maybe your new favourite spot to read is yet to be discovered. Good luck finding it and Happy Reading!

    If you find any good ones share them on the #SalfordSmart Discussion board!

    Reading lists and how to use them by Ella

    6 October 2017


    Ella Haggis, 2nd year English Language student

    Entering any of our English Programmes, you’ll have a lot of reading to do. The type of reading – Fiction or Non-Fiction – will obviously vary from course to course. Some classes will have one or two “core textbooks” that the lecturer will use throughout the whole course. Other classes may give you a wide variety of authors to read from, which is equally fantastic, but maybe not the most convenient for buying the books for your course outright. Ugh, are you feeling stressed already? Don’t worry.

    In this blog I’m going to tell you

  • How to strategise for either type of class; as well as
  • How to strategise for the type of reader you already are.
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    Need to get a task done? Me too. I’m going to put the Pomodoro Technique to the test

    5 October 2017

    How many pomodoros did it take for Amy to write this blog post?

    My email and phone are off, I’ve got a brew and the tomato is counting down from 25 minutes. I’m going to see how long it takes me to write this blog post. I’m reckon I can get it finished within one pomodoro but it may take two.

    Confused? Then read on to learn all about managing your time and tasks using the Pomodoro Technique.

    What it the Pomodoro Technique?

    The Pomodoro Technique is all about breaking time down into intervals by using a timer. When Francesco Cirillo developed the method in the 1980’s he used a tomato shaped kitchen timer. Francesco is Italian, pomodoro is the Italian name for tomato and so the Pomodoro Technique was born.

    My pomodoro timer

    How does it work?

    Basically you identify a task that you need to get done. This could be small or large, cleaning your flat or writing your essay for example. You then set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the task for whole of that time – this is why I have switched my email and phone off, getting rid of interruptions and distractions is important.

    [I’ve had 10 minutes already]

    When the timer pings you have worked for one pomodoro and you get to take a short break, a few minutes to get up stretch your legs, get some cake, put the washer on, you get the idea. You then return to your work, set the timer for another 25 minutes and focus on your task. Repeat the cycle until you have either completed the task (well done, I haven’t yet and I only have ten minutes left) or you have completed 4 pomodoros. You have now earned yourself a longer break of around 20 or 30 minutes. If you want to carry on with the task then begin the process again, or you may not have time to do any more right now as you need to get to a lecture or pick the kids up. Either way, you’ll have done some good work.

    At the end of each pomodoro it is useful to spend a moment thinking about what you have achieved in the time. Are you surprise by how much you can get done when you really focus?

    According to the Pomodoro Technique website the benefits of braking your task down like this include making time work for you; preventing burnout; reduce distractions and manage your work-life balance.

    To learn more about it have a look on the Pomodoro Technique website. You can keep it simple as I have or you can become a Pomodoro master as you learn how much effort a task takes and how to cut down on interruptions.

    Boom, time’s up. One pomodoro done. I’ll be back in 3 minutes…

    …I’m back, the timer’s on and I feel ready to go again after taking the stairs to the top floor and back, a bit of physical activity is a good thing when working hard. I like how the timer interrupted me just as I was writing about cutting down on interruptions, I genuinally couldn’t have planned that better!

    Actually there isn’t much more to say other than:

  • Visit the Pomodoro Technique website to learn more about the technique
  • Get yourself a timer
  • Have a go
  • Share how you found it on the #SalfordSmart discussion board (in Blackboard) for a chance to win a pomodoro timer!
  • If you have other task and time management techniques that work for you then share those too!
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    Tackle common writing problems with Wordscope

    28 September 2017

    Amy Pearson

    Need help with your academic writing? Let me introduce you to Wordscope.

    Wordscope is a proven programme of tuition for helping you tackle common writing problems such as punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraphing. It is delivered through a series of ten writing workshops and is FREE to all University of Salford students.

    Here’s what one student said about Wordscope last year.

    “I cannot recommend Wordscope enough. I struggled for the first three or four weeks. My writing style then started to change and improve. The amount of red pen on my homework pieces (one piece of homework per week taking up to 45 minutes) has decreased, although, I still tend to make errors here and there. I think I might redo this course again either next semester or at a later date to remedy this. Each of the lectures has a handy guide for each lesson which could be useful for many years to come.” read more

    Tips, tools and apps to help with revision

    26 April 2017

    Amy Pearson

    Need help with revision? Here are some tips and tools to help you.

    We all know that revising is tough. It is difficult to know where to start and very easy to get drawn into other things. Here are a few tips, tools and apps to help you ace your revision!


    The trick to revision is to use more than one strategy to give yourself some variation on how you are revising. It is better to revise ‘actively’ (giving your brain something to do with the information) than revise ‘passively’ (just reading things through). This should make revision less boring, as well as helping you remember material!

    You can try the following:

  • Using colour coded highlighters or sticky notes to draw your attention to main themes or topics in your notes
  • Summarise your notes. Then, when ,you are confident with the material, summarise again, until you have a set of cue cards or one A4 crib sheet per topic
  • Use spider diagrams (or mind maps), timelines, pros and cons lists or any other kind of diagrammatical note-taking techniques to see the information in a different, condensed way
  • Practice doing exam questions from past papers under exam conditions
  • If there are ‘facts’ or ‘figures’ you need to memorise, try writing them on sticky notes and leaving them in places you see them all the time (e.g. your kitchen cupboard or by your mirror)
  • Try making up exam questions (although do be careful not just to make up ones which you’d like to answer!). This helps to put yourself in the mind-set of your tutors. If you were them, what would you test student on?
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    Do you know how to eSubmit your work?

    3 April 2017

    Amy Pearson

    Amy points out handy resources to help you with e-Submission

    Turnitin is used for the e-submission of your assignments. It is an online tool that you use to upload your work so that it can be marked by your tutor. You access Turnitin from Blackboard.

    Important things you need to know about submitting your work for marking

  • Use the correct naming convention for your files – your school may specify a particular format.
  • Submit your completed assignment to the correct, FINAL submissions folder when it is ready for marking. Work submitted mistakenly to the DRAFT folder at this stage will not be marked.
  • When you submit work for marking, you are accepting the submission declaration.
  • Check the file size. Files must be less than 40Mb. Contact your lecturer if your file is greater than 40Mb.
  • Use an accepted file type. File types accepted are: MS Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF or plain text. You can ask at The Library for help if you are not sure about a file type. For non text-based assessments (e.g. audio/video, etc.) your tutor may use the Blackboard Assignment Tool.
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    Planning and writing your assignment – your 6 steps to essay success!

    20 March 2017

    Amy Pearson

    This time of year is all about assignments. Amy has shared the Skills for Learning 6 steps to essay success!

    It’s that time of year again when deadlines are looming so we thought we’d share with you our 6 steps to essay success.

    • Step 1: Analyse and Plan
    • Step 2: Search and Evaluate
    • Step 3: Read and Make Notes
    • Step 4: Write your Essay
    • Step 5: Review and Submit
    • Step 6: Reflect

    Read on to learn more about each step!




    Step 1: Analyse and PlanStep 1: Analyse and Plan

    When you are given a question or task to complete you need to make sure that you understand what you are being asked to do and then plan how you will approach it. If you don’t answer the question being set you are more likely to get a low mark. With this in mind, the first step to essay success is to ANALYSE and PLAN. This involves analysing your task, making a plan and identifying useful words that describe your topic. You need to make sure that you pay attention to the instructions you have been given, be clear about the topic you have been asked to explore and any restrictions to the scope of your answer. read more