Posts about: Environment and Life Sciences

Is formatting your dissertation/thesis harder than you expected?

17 July 2017

If you’re struggling with word processing your dissertation/thesis, then you’re not alone. It can be a demanding task, with many students find this aspect of the process more time consuming and stressful than they anticipated. But MS Word provides tools and features that make this task so much easier to manage. You can save time, learn the skills to work more effectively and reduce your anxiety levels too.

Do you know how to…?

  • Create an automatic table of contents for your document headings?
  • Apply Word’s ‘Captions’ for figures and tables, and create automatic listings for them?
  • Apply different page numbering formats to the different parts of your document?
  • Change page orientation mid-document, e.g. to accommodate a large chart?

No? What??? Then you need to check out our handbook and video resources… read more

Email etiquette tips

30 June 2017
Email etiquette cartoon

Cham, J. (2015). How to write an e-mail to your instructor or T.A. Retrieved from http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1795

When emailing friends it is fine to use an a familiar and informal style, however, when you write an email about a job application or internship, an interview or when emailing your tutors it is good practice to adopt a more formal style.

Tips for writing a formal email:

  • First impressions count – Think about your email address a prospective employer might remember you for all the wrong reasons if you contact them using an email address such as wildandcrazygeek@gmail.com.  It is a much better idea to use your university email account – you can forward emails from this account to your personal email using the instructions here.
  • Include a greeting– if you know your tutor using their first name in the greeting is fine. If you do not have a familiar relationship with them then use their family name e.g. Dear Dr. Smith.  If you are applying for a job and don’t know the name of the person who will be reading your email it is good practice to include the greeting Dear Sir or Madam.
  • Use the subject line and be informative – try to avoid just typing “hello” or “help”. If emailing your tutor tell them why you are contacting them e.g. Query about case study in Clinical Skills lecture.  If you are applying for a job include details about the job being applied for e.g. Application for Library Assistant post ref: LIB/6291.
  • Avoid text speak – Save ROFL and YOLO for emails to friends. Use full sentences and punctuation when emailing tutors and prospective employers.  Use the spell check to make sure your message is correct before pressing send.
  • DON’T SHOUT – Names, dates, places, most acronyms and the start of a new sentence should be capitalised, entire sentences shouldn’t.
  • Size matters – Tutors and employers are busy people so be as concise as possible. Also avoid sending large attachments – find information about compressing files here.
  • Provide details – Give the person you are contacting the information they need to answer your query effectively e.g. if you are querying something that was said in a lecture include the date and time.
Good manners cost nothing but are always appreciated – include a please and thank you when making a request.

Photo of Sue

Sue is blogging about email etiquette.

  • Include a sign off:
    1. To a tutor – “best wishes” or “regards”
    2. To a prospective employer you have addressed as Dear Sir or Madam the sign off should be “Yours faithfully”.
    3. To a prospective employer when the name is known e.g. Dear Mr. Smith the sign off should be “Yours sincerely”.
  • The sign off should be followed by your full name. read more

    Looking for dissertations and theses? Library Search can help.

    29 May 2017
    Tracy Breheny

    Tracy talks you through finding and accessing dissertations and theses.

    During the course of your studies, you may find that you need to look for dissertations or theses.  Maybe you would like to see what other research has been undertaken in relation to your topic, or perhaps you would like to see what a dissertation or thesis looks like.

    You can use Library Search to help you find them and there are a number of different ways to search depending on what you want.

    Finding University of Salford dissertations and theses

    You can use the ‘Advanced Search’ option in Library Search to find the dissertations and theses by previous University of Salford students. read more

    Looking for newspaper articles? – Try Nexis Business and News

    22 May 2017

    If you are searching for full text newspaper articles on almost any topic, Nexis Business and News is a great place to start. It provides content from local, regional and national papers from around the world.

    You can find Nexis via Library search, which gives access to all the Library’s resources.

    1. Connect to Library Search
    2. Search for Nexis Business and News
    3. The database should be the first item in the search results. Click on the link for online access

    You can use the search box to type in keywords, but your search will be more focussed, if you set some other criteria.

    It may be helpful l to –

    • Select where your keywords must appear – either in the headline, at the start of the article, or maybe as “major mentions”
    • Select which dates you want to search.
    • Select what which news publications you want to search. For example you may want to restrict your search to UK National Newspapers, or to Major World Publications (English)

    The full text of any articles you find can be read on screen, or downloaded as a file for you to save. read more

    Surviving your exam

    1 May 2017

    If you have exams coming up, here are some top tips to help you do your best

  • Double check the time, date and location of the exam. You don’t want to go to the wrong building or miss the exam! Also check what you’re allowed to take in with you.
  • Try not to stay up late the night before doing last-minute revision.
  • Eat a good breakfast / lunch beforehand.
  • In the exam, make sure you read the paper thoroughly from start to finish before you try to answer anything. Check the instructions (e.g. do you have to answer all of part A and choose one question from part B?) Don’t rush!
  • If it’s an essay-based exam, look at how many marks each part is worth, and split the time between the questions accordingly.
  • Plan your answer – jot down the main points you want to include, and think about how you’ll structure your answer before you start writing. If your mind’s gone blank, try and write down anything relevant you can think of, and hopefully this will help you to remember more information.
  • You don’t always have to answer the questions in order, as long as it’s clear which answer goes with which question. This is particularly useful for short answer papers, where you might want to leave a tricky question out and come back to it later.
  • Answer the question! Don’t just waffle on and tell the marker everything you know about the topic.
  • Read it through afterwards to check your answers make sense.
  • Ignore everyone else! The person next to you might have filled four answer booklets, but they could have written complete rubbish…
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    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!

    Tips

    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! read more

    Exams… preparation is the key!

    24 April 2017
    Tracy Breheny

    Tracy tells you how to find past exam papers to help with your exam preparation.

    Got exams coming up?  Looking over past exam papers can be really useful when preparing for an exam.   The Library has a collection of past exam papers which are all available electronically.

    To find past exam papers, you need to:

    1. Go to our past exam paper webpage here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/research/exam-papers
    2. Type in a couple of keywords to limit your search; often words from the module title bring back useful results.
    3. You will then be presented with a list of past exam papers we have access to that match your search. When you find the one you would like to look at, click on the title and you will be able to open it.
    4. If you are off-campus, you will be requested to sign in with your network username and password to view them.

    If you have any problem accessing past exam papers, please contact your Academic Support Librarian for further help: http://www.salford.ac.uk/library/help/academic-support

    There is also lots of help with exam preparation and revision tecniques available on our Skills for Learning webpage here: http://www.salford.ac.uk/skills-for-learning/home/assessment-revision-and-exams so take a look! read more

    Assignment feedback: the good, the bad and the ugly…

    10 April 2017
    Catherine Tomlin

    Catherine explains how to use your feedback.

    So you’ve received your assignment mark and feedback. Happy? Disappointed? Shocked?

     

    Here are a few tips on making use of feedback so your next essay is epic!

    Don’t ignore your feedback. Your tutor has spent time explaining how you can improve. Although criticism is hard to take, it is the best way to learn and develop.

    Confused by your feedback? Use our Feedback Glossary for commonly used feedback terms. Alternatively, get in touch with your tutor to discuss. read more

    Fake News

    7 April 2017

    Be a savvy news consumer – Joanna gives some useful reminders.

    Fake news has become a hot news topic! We all want our news to be accurate, truthful, and honest, so how do you sort out truth from lies, or identify exaggerated stories, or facts reported out of context?

    The simplest strategy is to make sure you get your news from a variety of sources – don’t get stuck in your own media “bubble”. Be critical and analyse any news you share on social media.  We all have a responsibility not to spread lies.

    There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some things to think about – read more

    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.
  • Keep copies of email receipts from Turnitin as proof of submission.
  • 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.
  • read more