Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Barbara allan   study skills-handbook
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Barbara allan study skills-handbook


Published on

Published in: Education

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. Study Skills Handbook Barbara Allan
  • 2. Study Skills Handbook (Seventh edition) Barbara Allan Published by Hull University Business School, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK © The Authors and The University of Hull All intellectual property rights, including copyright, in this publication are owned by the authors and The University of Hull. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or in any country without prior written consent. Any breach of ownership shall result in legal proceedings, such proceedings being determined by the UK courts and under UK law. Seventh edition produced August 2010 Acknowledgements Many staff within the University have been involved in the writing or editing of this Study Skills Handbook. Their time and effort is much appreciated. Special mention must be made of colleagues within the Business School and, in particular, Ray Barker, Ian Pownall, Wendy Robson and Steve Trotter. Amy Cowling produced Appendix A, English Grammar, using text provided by the Study Advice Service. A big thank you to colleagues from the Study Advice Service for their suggestions and ideas. In addition, I want to acknowledge the work of Julia Cook who co-authored the first edition of this handbook, Sarah Clark who provided the material for the sections on Personal Development Planning and Your future career, and Nora O’Hara who provided material for parts of Chapter 9. Finally, thanks to all those students whose queries and comments have helped to inform the fifth edition of this handbook.
  • 3. Contents Chapter 1: Introduction Introduction ...................................................................................................... 6 Aims and learning outcomes of the manual .................................................... 7 Other sources of help ........................................................................................ 7 Disability issues ................................................................................................ 8 Chapter 2: Studying at the University Introduction .....................................................................................................12 Approaches to learning and teaching .............................................................. 13 Becoming an independent learner .................................................................. 15 Closing comments............................................................................................19 Chapter 3: Time Management Introduction .................................................................................................... 20 Key factors in managing your time................................................................. 23 Key factors in completing specific tasks ......................................................... 24 Closing comments........................................................................................... 25 Chapter 4: Information Skills Introduction .................................................................................................... 27 Finding your way around the library .............................................................. 28 Introduction to the Internet ........................................................................... 28 Using subject information sources ................................................................. 29 Evaluating information sources ..................................................................... 29 Closing comments........................................................................................... 30 Hull University Business School 3
  • 4. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 5: Making Notes Introduction .................................................................................................... 31 Making good notes .......................................................................................... 32 Working with others........................................................................................ 35 Referencing your notes and plagiarism .......................................................... 35 Closing comments ........................................................................................... 36 Chapter 6: Academic Reading Skills Introduction .................................................................................................... 37 Improving your reading skills .........................................................................38 Strategies for effective reading: ...................................................................... 39 Closing comments .......................................................................................... 40 Chapter 7: Writing Skills Introduction .................................................................................................... 41 Writing assignments ....................................................................................... 41 Feedback on assignments ...............................................................................49 Essays .............................................................................................................49 Writing reports ............................................................................................... 52 Closing comments ........................................................................................... 53 Chapter 8: Referencing, Bibliography and Plagiarism Introduction .................................................................................................... 54 Referencing...................................................................................................... 56 Common questions.......................................................................................... 59 Bibliography .................................................................................................... 62 Working in groups ...........................................................................................64 Plagiarism and unfair means .......................................................................... 65 Closing comments ........................................................................................... 67 Chapter 9: Presentation Skills Introduction ................................................................................................... 68 Preparing a presentation ................................................................................ 68 Rehearsing ....................................................................................................... 71 Giving a presentation ...................................................................................... 71 Closing comments ........................................................................................... 73 4 Hull University Business School
  • 5. Chapter 10: Working in Groups Introduction .................................................................................................... 74 What is an effective student group? ............................................................... 74 First meet-up .................................................................................................. 76 The organisation of meetings ......................................................................... 76 Managing group work ..................................................................................... 78 Common problems in group work.................................................................. 79 Closing comments........................................................................................... 80 Chapter 11: Making effective use of eBridge Introduction .................................................................................................... 82 What is available on eBridge? ........................................................................ 82 Introduction to on-line learning and teaching ............................................... 84 Closing comments........................................................................................... 86 Chapter 12: Examination Skills Introduction .................................................................................................... 87 Information about examinations ................................................................... 87 Revision........................................................................................................... 89 Sitting examinations ........................................................................................91 Practical tips and advice ................................................................................. 92 The use of unfair means.................................................................................. 93 Closing comments........................................................................................... 94 Chapter 13: Reflection Introduction .................................................................................................... 95 What is a reflective learner? ........................................................................... 96 Getting started in reflection............................................................................ 96 Learning journals ............................................................................................ 98 Personal Development Planning .................................................................... 99 Your future career ......................................................................................... 106 Closing comments..........................................................................................107 Chapter 14: Conclusion Feedback ....................................................................................................... 108 Closing Comments ....................................................................................... 108 Resources and Bibliography .............................................................................. 109 Appendix A: English grammar and punctuation Hull University Business School 5
  • 6. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 1 Introduction Introduction The purpose of this manual is to provide you with general academic support. It is written for all students studying within Hull University Business School (HUBS). This manual is one of the many ways in which the Business School and the University provide support and guidance to students. This manual is written as a reference guide. We suggest that you read this chapter and then skim through the rest of the manual. You can then choose when to read individual chapters in depth. The manual is written so that you can read and work through individual chapters in any order. This means that you can relate your reading to the academic demands of your programme of study. This is your manual. Make it your own by writing your name, Student ID number and programme of study on it. Use the margins or the blank pages to make notes, write down questions or mark areas that you think you require further information on. Use a highlighter pen to mark out sections that are of particular interest to you. Study Skills Handbook Learn from it Use it Keep it safe 6 Hull University Business School
  • 7. Aims and learning outcomes of the manual The aim of this manual is to provide you with guidance on the academic skills needed for success on your programme of study. As a result of reading and working through this manual you should be able to • • • • • • • • manage your time and balance your academic studies with other aspects of your life identify, evaluate and use a wide range of information sources produce essays and reports that meet the required standard work in groups take full advantage of a virtual learning environment make a formal presentation supported by appropriate visual aids prepare for and take examinations reflect on your current academic skills and identify an appropriate action plan Other sources of help This manual is a starting point to help you with your studies. Many students will complete a module that provides detailed guidance on academic skills, for example, the undergraduate module called Academic and Professional Skills or similar postgraduate modules. Other students may be introduced to these topics as part of an induction programme or research methods module. It is important to remember that as a student in HUBS you will have access to help and support from a number of different sources and these are outlined in the following section: Personal Supervisor Name: Phone number: Office location: Email address: Hull University Business School 7
  • 8. Study Skills Handbook Other sources of help and support The following information is correct for the 2010/2011 academic year. If you are using this manual after 1 August 2011 then please check the most recent edition (available on the school’s website and eBridge) for up-to-date information. Programme Leader Name: Phone number: Office location: Email address: Disability issues The school’s Disability Officer is Graeme Reid who may be contacted on 01482 463091 or or Wharfe building Room 106. Disability Services offer advice and support to all students and staff on a full range of disability issues including • • • • • • • • • 8 arrangements for support in the classroom – for example, note-takers and readers alternative examination arrangements advice and assistance with applying for a Disabled Students’ Allowance specialist equipment advice on accommodation information on the Disability Discrimination Act Access to Work scheme for staff referral for an assessment for dyslexia with a psychologist referral for individual and group dyslexia study support sessions Hull University Business School
  • 9. Hull Campus The Disability Office Your first port of call for help and advice. Based on the third floor of the students’ union building, which is accessible either by staircase or lift. The Miriam Hebron Centre Based on the ground floor of the Brynmor Jones Library. The Centre is equipped with specialist equipment to assist students with disabilities. To contact the Hull office you can visit in person or call on (46)6833. Scarborough Campus Students on the Scarborough Campus should contact Rosemary Laidlaw, either through Office Services or by email on The Disabilities Officers can also be reached by mail The Disabilities Officers Disability Services The University of Hull Hull, HU6 7RX Rosemary Laidlaw Disability Support Advisor The University of Hull Scarborough Campus Filey Road Scarborough, YO11 3AZ Study Advice Service This service provides advice and guidance to support your academic studies. The service covers the following topics: study skills, academic writing, and mathematics. Individual or small group appointments may be made with experienced tutors. The service also offers taught workshops and drop-in sessions. Hull University Business School 9
  • 10. Study Skills Handbook Hull - Brynmor Jones Library 01482 466344 Scarborough - Room C17b 01723 357274 General email queries This website provides lots of useful information on study skills. It includes leaflets, quizzes and video clips. You are advised to explore this website. Language Support The Language Institute provides support and learning activities to help members of the university develop their language skills. The Language Learning Advisers guide students towards suitable resources to match their needs. In addition, they manage the Tandem learning scheme which teams non-native students with a native speaker who is studying the foreigner’s native language for mutual advantage. If English is not your first language then you may benefit from additional support. You will find it useful to discuss your requirements with your Personal Supervisor. The Language Institute within the University offers numerous English language programmes and training courses. You are advised to contact them as soon as possible to find out how they can help you with developing your language skills. The Language Institute Ferens Building The University of Hull HU6 7RX Telephone: +44 (0)1482 465900 (Reception) Fax: +44 (0)1482 466180 E-Mail: Library You are strongly recommended to spend time learning how to use the library and also how to access both printed and electronic information sources. 10 Hull University Business School
  • 11. The library has numerous guidance leaflets for students (these are available from the library and also through the university website). The library also runs specialist workshops in advanced information searching skills. The library website is available at Members of library staff are always available to help students, especially those in their early days at the university, so do not be afraid to ask for help. Chapter 4 in this manual includes a general introduction to information skills Hull University Business School 11
  • 12. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 2 Studying at the University Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to introduce you to studying at university and to help prepare you for the different approaches to learning and teaching used in the Business School. If you are an international student, then you may find the Study Skills Guide for international students useful. It is available from the International Office. Many students find that studying at university involves new ways of learning and relating to others. Some students come to the school having experienced traditional and perhaps very formal education systems where the tutor’s role is to transmit information to the student who is then expected to learn and then repeat this information in assignments, dissertations or examinations. This is not the way in which learning takes place at the University of Hull. At this university you are expected and encouraged to critically think about ideas and then discuss and debate them with your peers and tutors. Students who achieve 12 Hull University Business School
  • 13. high marks are those who study relevant information sources, think critically about their findings, discuss and debate them, and then construct their own valid perspective. The first section in this chapter explains the different types of learning and teaching activities within the school, and what you can expect in them. During your programme of study you are expected to develop your skills as an independent learner and the second part of this chapter provides you with guidance on developing these skills. Approaches to learning and teaching In HUBS you will experience a number of different approaches to learning and teaching. Typically these will include • • • • • • lectures seminars group and team activities tutorials on-line activities independent research Lectures In lectures you are likely to be in a large group of students listening to a member of staff (tutor or lecturer) giving a talk on a specific topic. Lectures are often used to provide an overview of a subject and to identify key themes and issues. The lecturer will normally use audio visual aids or provide a handout to identify the key points. There may be opportunities to ask questions. During a lecture you will normally make notes. See Chapter 5 for more guidance on note-taking Seminars Seminars involve smaller groups of students coming together with a tutor. Seminars normally focus on a particular topic and issue, and these are often Hull University Business School 13
  • 14. Study Skills Handbook outlined in your Module Handbook. You may be asked to prepare for the seminar by reading a particular article or book, working on a case study, or by making a short presentation to the group. Seminars are very important as they give you the opportunity to discuss and debate ideas with your tutor and peers. The UK university system encourages debate and discussion; you will find it invaluable in helping you to sort out ideas and the evidence that supports them. If you prepare for seminars by reading the relevant information sources then you will find it easier to become an active participant. Group and team activities Many modules include group and team activities in which you will work with a number of other students on a specific task. This is an important part of the learning process as it enables students to get to know each other, learn more about a particular topic, learn from each other and also develop their team working skills. The ability to work in teams is an important skill that everyone needs for working on projects and in organisations. Chapter 10 provides more information and advice about working in groups When you are working in small groups or teams, it is important to spend time getting to know each other and organising yourselves. Decide how you are going to communicate with each other. Decide how you are going to carry out the task. Make sure that everyone knows what is required to complete the task. If you have problems within your group or team that you cannot resolve, then talk with your tutor. Tutorials Tutorials are meetings between you, other students and your tutor. The focus of these meetings may be specific academic issues, for example, feedback on an assignment, or they may be about more general matters such as module choices, or a study tour. 14 Hull University Business School
  • 15. On-line activities You may be expected to take part in on-line activities for some modules. The University provides access to a range of computer-based learning packages, for example in statistics, and these are available on the University computer system. You may also be involved in working and communicating with others in an online environment using bulletin boards and discussion groups. This will involve accessing an on-line learning environment such as eBridge (available at You will be given specific instructions about gaining access to and using on-line learning environments from your tutor. Independent research University studies involve independent study which is when you research and evaluate information from a wide range of sources. This is covered in Chapters 4–6 of this manual Becoming an independent learner During your time in the Business School you will develop your skills as an independent learner. What is an independent learner? Independent learners are motivated to learn. They accept responsibility for their own learning and have the confidence to approach others for help if they need it. Independent learners manage their learning processes effectively. This includes • • • • • identifying what they want to learn, for example, reading the learning outcomes in the module handbook identifying how they are going to learn, for example, individual study, working with a friend, asking for help managing time, stress and other commitments using a wide range of learning opportunities and resources, for example, using appropriate printed and electronic sources adapting the learning process to make use of new opportunities Hull University Business School 15
  • 16. Study Skills Handbook The material in this section is adapted from Allan, B., Cook, M. and Lewis, R. (1996) Developing Independence in Learning, Hull, University of Lincoln Independent learners are able to monitor and reflect critically on how and what they learn. Through this they develop an awareness that helps them to learn with increasing effectiveness. They also demonstrate a more questioning attitude to what they are learning. The last point is an important one. In the UK education system students are expected to discuss and debate ideas with their tutors; you are not expected to accept passively the ideas and concepts presented by your tutor. Learning is an active process and you are expected to engage in it during seminars, tutorials and private study sessions. The following questionnaire will help you to identify and think about your approach to study. Please complete this questionnaire and then reflect on your findings. How can you help yourself to develop as an independent learner? Developing yourself as an independent learner The aim of this questionnaire is to help you to think about your approach to learning. When answering these questions you might like to think about a particular learning situation, e.g. learning a particular subject, or you may answer them in relation to how you generally approach learning. Everyone is unique and there is no ‘right’ approach to learning. By learning how we learn and by exploring new and different approaches to learning it is possible to become even more effective learners. We hope that this questionnaire will help stimulate your learning. 16 Hull University Business School
  • 17. Introduction not very very a) How independent do you 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 think you are as a learner? b) Ask a friend for an estimate of how independent you are as a learner. c) How would you define ‘independent learning’? Here is some space for you to write your thoughts. Section one: Motivation not very very 1 How interested are you in your studies? 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 2 How keen are you to succeed in your studies? 3 How keen are you to become a better learner? 4 4 Please write any comments on section one here. Hull University Business School 17
  • 18. Study Skills Handbook Section two: Managing your learning never rarely sometimes always 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 4 Before a class/workshop/study session, are you clear about what you hope to learn? 5 Do you plan how and when you are going to learn something? 6 Do you ask for help if you are having difficulty learning something new? 7 If you come across new study methods do you try them? Please write any comments on section two here Section three: Reflection 8 Do you question what you are told e.g. by tutors, in books? 9 When you have finished learning about something do you think back about how effective your learning process was? 10 Do you change the way you go about learning new things as a result of thinking about past learning situations? Please write any comments on section three here 18 Hull University Business School
  • 19. Interpreting the results 1. Now add up the numbers you circled in sections one, two and three. 2. Write the number you score in the TOTAL SCORES column. 3. Circle the numbers you scored in the adjacent row. 4. Add up your total scores and circle your FINAL SCORE in the last row. Low Moderate High TOTAL independence independence independence SCORES Section one: Motivation Q1– 3 345 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Section two: Managing your learning Q4–7 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Section three: Reflection Q8– 10 345 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 FINAL SCORE 10-19 20-30 31-40 This questionnaire gives an indication of how independent you are as a learner. If you rate yourself as having low or moderate independence, you could probably benefit from working at increasing your level of ‘learner independence’. You might like to discuss this with your peers or tutor. A good starting point for developing your independence in learning is to work through this study skills manual. Closing comments You will find that different learning and teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials take place within your programme of study. If you are not experienced in these approaches to learning then you will find that you will need to spend a little time with your peers and tutors adapting to new ways of thinking and behaving. During your time at HUBS you are expected to develop and become an independent learner. This involves actively engaging with new information and ideas, discussing and exploring them, and then developing a valid perspective or viewpoint. This manual provides a good starting point. Hull University Business School 19
  • 20. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 3 Time Management Introduction Time management is all about being in control of your life. It involves organising your time – both study and personal – into manageable sections that will allow you to complete your programme of study. It is worthwhile investing a small amount of time into thinking about time and how you prioritise and organise your study schedule. As you progress through your programme you may need to re-visit your approach to time and change the balance to take into account your changing circumstances. All students have different pressures on their time and they need to take these into account when they are planning their work. Here are some typical examples of the different pressures students face: James is a first-year full-time undergraduate student. He has a part-time job (three evenings per week) and likes to play football at least twice a week. Anisha is a part-time distance taught student and she has a fulltime job plus family commitments – three children under the age of 7 years. 20 Hull University Business School
  • 21. Claire is a part-time undergraduate student who is a single parent with a full-time job. Tim is a part-time MBA student who runs his own company. He is single and likes to spend as much time as possible skiing. Setava is a final-year full-time student who is also busy applying for employment after she has completed her studies in HUBS. She has a part-time job in a local store. Willie is a full-time MSc student who is settling into his studies in the UK. He has serious family problems and has recently had to return home for a week to help support his ageing and very poorly father. The annual workload for a full-time student is approximately 40 hours per week during the two 15week semesters When you think of your own situation you will need to be practical. One approach to planning your time is to start by keeping a time log for a week. This will enable you to identify exactly how you are spending your ‘spare’ time. It usually surprises students when they realise how much time they fritter away! You will then be able to identify how you can organise your time. Planning your studies You may find it helpful to complete the following type of chart and to identify • • • the times you will be attending taught sessions. times you will be able to study (from printed materials) best times for you to use a computer (at home, work or in university) Hull University Business School 21
  • 22. Study Skills Handbook Morning Afternoon Evening Night Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Each credit of study corresponds to a notional 10 hours of student learning, and you should therefore expect to spend around 200 learning hours on a 20-credit module. This includes taught sessions, seminars, tutorials, independent learning activities, and revision and assessment. Full time students who also take part-time work may find there is a conflict between their university requirements and their paid employment. You will have to find a sensible balance between the different pressures on your life. If you find that you have problems with your time management, for example, as a result of part-time work or a change in your personal situation, you should raise this with your Personal Supervisor. Your Personal Supervisor may advise you to speak to a member of the Counselling Service if you require more specific support or support of a personal nature. 22 Hull University Business School
  • 23. Study Advice Service can also help with time planning and meeting deadlines, and they have a leaflet on this topic. It is available at Key factors in managing your time Good time management is about being able to identify what you need to do and then to set priorities. When you are thinking about time management you need to consider activities such as • • • • • • attendance at lectures and seminars independent study time for accessing resources and materials, for example, information searching, visiting the library paid employment or voluntary work sports and social activities personal and family time The following factors are all useful tips to becoming an effective time manager: Identifying goals • The first step is to identify short-term and long-term goals Getting organised • Buy and use a diary or wall planner – whichever you prefer • Keep a to-do list – daily, weekly, for the semester • Organise your study space • Make sure you have the right equipment and stationery • Set up and organise simple filing systems • Invest time in learning how to use a computer • Invest time in learning how to access and use information sources • Identify useful support and help services within the University Hull University Business School 23
  • 24. Study Skills Handbook Sort out key documents and information • Make sure you have your module handbooks • Identify key dates, including examination dates or submission dates for assignments; make a note in your diary of all such dates, or put them all onto your wall planner Module leaders and tutors are not expected to answer questions about personal timetables and schedules. This information is provided by the appropriate HUBS administrative office. Produce a work schedule • Many people find it helpful to work backwards from key dates and to work out a schedule of study times Keep up-to-date • Check your University email address, eBridge, notice board etc. on a regular basis for any changes to teaching timetable, assessment submission dates etc It is up to you to keep upto-date – your lecturers and the support staff do not have time to track you down to give you specific information personally Key factors in completing specific tasks Once you have created your framework for good time management you can begin to look at the individual tasks. You will now have your list of tasks for the semester, you will have noted them in your diary and on your wall-planner, and so you can begin to tackle each individual task. The following is a list of factors to help you in your day-to-day management of time. 24 Hull University Business School
  • 25. • • Identify each individual task. Manage the tasks – establish your priorities, identify when you will work on it and when it will be completed. Record this in your diary or wall planner. Always build in some flexibility to allow for the unexpected. • Break down the tasks into smaller parts and think about how you will complete them. Identify activities that involve working with other people and those which involve accessing information resources. Be aware that you need to build in additional time to allow for materials not being available or delays in meeting up with people. • Many students find it useful to prioritise their tasks. One way of doing this is to identify the • urgent tasks • important tasks • • • • Another approach is to identify • must do • need to do • nice to do Whenever you are carrying out a task be really clear about what you are trying to achieve. Keep a detailed record of what you do and resources that you have used. This is essential in the write-up stages of your work. Allow time for technical failures e.g. print out your work well in advance of the hand-in time so that you are not caught out by last minute technical problems. Review your work and schedule. There will be times during your studies where prioritising itself becomes a priority – do not be afraid of spending an hour of your precious time reviewing your time management plans. Reflect on your experiences and learn from your mistakes. Closing comments Time management is a skill that you only need to perfect once – once learnt it will stay with you and will be a skill that you will use throughout your working and personal life. It is worthwhile spending some time learning how to manage your time. Different techniques work for different people and we suggest that you explore and use a range of techniques until you find the one that suits your working style. Hull University Business School 25
  • 26. Study Skills Handbook However, time management is not simply about organising your time in order to complete all the tasks required of you by the University. It is also about ensuring you have ample time for rest and relaxation, sports and other activities, for socialising with newly-made friends, or spending time with your family. 26 Hull University Business School
  • 27. Chapter 4 Information Skills Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to guide you to useful tutorials and resources on finding and evaluating information. It provides information on starting points for finding out more about information sources available from the University library and the Internet. It also provides guidance on evaluating information sources. During your time as a student you will need to use a wide range of printed information sources including books, journals and reports, as well as electronic sources, including e-journals, databases and websites. You may also need to contact organisations or individuals for specific information. You may be quite experienced in using and navigating the Internet and while this may be useful for general searching you will find that your university studies require you to develop advanced information skills so that you can identify and use reliable and credible academic information sources. Our experience is that students often think that they are effective Internet searchers because they can use Google. However effective searching involves more skills than the ability to use Google or Google Scholar, so you are advised to spend some time developing the more sophisticated Internet searching skills that are required for academic study. The key skill that you should develop here is that of judgement – can you trust this source? Is it reliable? Is it credible in the context of academic study and research? Hull University Business School 27
  • 28. Study Skills Handbook Sites such as Wikipedia can be very unreliable and of doubtful quality since they contain unreferenced articles which are not peer-reviewed. DO NOT USE WIKIPEDIA IN YOUR ACADEMIC STUDIES. The Internet is a source of two different kinds of information: firstly, it is used to distribute information that has previously been published in another source; and secondly, it is used to disseminate information that is only available on the Internet. It is very important that you take the trouble to find the proper reference for materials that have been obtained through the Internet. This is outlined in Chapter 8. In the second case i.e. material that is only available through the Internet you need to be concerned about the quality and validity of the information. This is considered in the section on Evaluating Information Sources. Finding your way around the library The library provides access to information resources in both physical and virtual formats. As a new student you will find it helpful to visit and explore the library. The staff provide many leaflets to guide you to relevant information sources. There is a physical Enquiry desk on the ground floor of the library and you will find the staff here responsive and helpful. The University Library site is available at Guidance on information skills with relevant handouts is available at Information about Information skills courses is available at Introduction to the Internet TONIC – an introduction to the Internet 28 Hull University Business School
  • 29. Using subject information sources Internet Business Manager – a tutorial on Internet information skills for business management students Internet Economist – a tutorial on Internet information skills for economics students Internet for Leisure Sport and Recreation – a tutorial on Internet information skills: Internet for Travel and Tourism – a tutorial on Internet information skills Electronic information sources Access to the University’s electronic information resources is available at Evaluating information sources Once you have identified relevant information sources it is important to evaluate them. This will help you to make sure that you provide accurate, reliable and upto-date information in your assignments. Checklist for evaluating information sources Is the information accurate? What evidence is it based on? How up-to-date is the information? Does the information source repeat information available in other reputable sources? What topics are covered? Are there any omissions? Is coverage of the material superficial or thorough? Are the explanations and arguments logical and coherent? Have any steps or discussion points been omitted? Hull University Business School 29
  • 30. Study Skills Handbook Are there any other interpretations of this data? What assumptions are made in this work? Does the author identify the weaknesses in their work? Who is the author? What is the author’s background? Is the author a credible source? Who has sponsored the information resource? Is this likely to result in bias in the information? Closing comments Learning how to identify and access relevant information sources will help you to be successful in your university studies. It is also an important life skill and you will find that you will use your information skills during your working life too. If you are having problems finding information then contact the university library either in person or through the online reference desk at uk/lib/libhelp. Alternatively ask your tutor, supervisor or programme leader for help. 30 Hull University Business School
  • 31. Chapter 5 Making Notes Introduction Making notes is a skill that will help you to manage the information content of your programme of study. Making notes is something that you will do in many different situations: lectures; seminars; tutorials; reading a book or journal; surfing the Internet; watching television or a video. It is a very important practical skill and your notes will help you to • identify and understand key ideas • learn key ideas and information • keep a record of information for future use • prepare for examinations The purpose of this chapter is to provide help and guidance on making notes. The following table shows the difference between making notes and taking notes. Hull University Business School 31
  • 32. Study Skills Handbook Making notes Taking notes This involves making your own record of key information and ideas. You will use your own words. You may add your own ideas or questions, or make links to the work of others. Used during lectures or reading. This involves copying information ‘word for word’ from another source e.g. tutor, book, handbook. Used when copying specific information, for example, advice on an assignment, details about room changes. Making good notes During your university career you will make notes from a variety of sources, including lectures, books, and the Internet. Making good notes is about identifying and selecting relevant information. Think about why you are making notes. • • • • Do you want an overview of the subject? Do you want to record extremely detailed information? Will you be sharing your notes with a friend? Are you looking for a specific piece of information? This is important as it will affect how you make notes. There are different ways of making notes. You can • • • • 32 list main headings and topics – keyword notes draw a Mind Map or spider diagram use software such as Inspiration copy out specific details, for example, a quotation from a book, or factual information Hull University Business School
  • 33. BEWARE Direct copying (verbatim) or close paraphrasing (putting into your own words but still closely following the structure and argument contained in the text) may lead to plagiarism in assessed work. Always keep notes of your sources, for example, book details, so that you can reference them. This is covered in Chapter 8. It is usually impracticable to try and copy all the information presented to you during a lecture. Instead, listen to what the lecturer is saying, read any visual aids, and make notes from your understanding. This will be a summary, the key points, or details about the original source. Spend some time after the lecture, or after you have finished reading an article, reviewing your notes. Ask yourself some questions. • • • Is there anything you can add? Is there something that you might benefit from discussing with a fellow student? Should you do some additional reading on the topic? To engage fully in the process of making good notes it is a good idea to ask questions within your notes and to consider the accuracy and relevance of what you are reading. Useful questions to start off this process include • • so what? how can this be verified? Hull University Business School 33
  • 34. Study Skills Handbook • • • how can this be backed-up? do other researchers agree with this position? what assumptions does the author make? Finally, you may find that in the early days of your study programme you make copious notes, but as you become more experienced you might make fewer, but more specific, ones. Different people make notes in different ways. Do not be distracted during a lecture by people making different types of notes to you – everyone develops their own style. What is important is that you find and use a method that works for you. Advice on how to make notes • Start with background details, for example, lecture notes should include the module title, the date, the title of the lecture, and the lecturer. • Make sure you can read your notes. • Only use one side of the paper. This makes it easier to organise your notes for planning or revision. • Leave spaces for additional notes or comments. • Use arrows, symbols, diagrams. This will speed up the note-making process. • To help avoid unintentional plagiarism make notes in your own words. DO NOT COPY WORD-BY-WORD when making notes from books, journals, Internet. • Try reading a relatively long section, CLOSE THE BOOK OR SWITCH OFF THE COMPUTER SCREEN, and then make the notes in your own words without looking at the original source. This checks your understanding and avoids intentional plagiarism. • Use highlighter pens or a colour-coding scheme to distinguish different sections of notes. • Notes should be concise, clear and consistent. 34 Hull University Business School
  • 35. • • Review your notes. File your notes – be organised. It is no good discovering two months later that you have lost them. Working with others Some students find it helpful to work with others and to exchange notes and discuss their subject. This is a good idea as it improves learning and enables you to exchange and share ideas. A word of warning. Beware of collaborative working on assignments as this may lead to accusations of plagiarism. DO NOT work together as a group and produce a ‘model’ answer that you individually present in an assignment or exam. This type of collusion may lead to accusations of plagiarism or unfair means. The safest idea is to work collaboratively while you are learning a subject and to produce your assignments independently. See page 65 for further information about avoiding collusion in assessment. Referencing your notes and plagiarism It is very important to keep full details of the information sources you use when making notes. You will need to include this information in your list of references. If you do not include this information in your assessed work then you may find that you fall foul of the Code of Practice on the Use of Unfair Means. You should also keep your notes after you submit your work. They may be helpful in your defence if an accusation of plagiarism is made against you. In addition, you may find them helpful for revision as well as other learning and teaching activities. More about this is in Chapter 8 Hull University Business School 35
  • 36. Study Skills Handbook Closing comments Making notes is a skill that you will develop as you progress through your studies. Like time management, making notes is a personal matter and you may develop a method totally different to that of your friends. Providing your method works for you, do not worry if it differs from that of other people. 36 Hull University Business School
  • 37. Chapter 6 Academic Reading Skills Introduction Academic reading skills are different from leisure reading skills. Academic reading involves identifying new ideas, understanding different perspectives and developing your understanding about a particular topic. Many students groan when they receive a reading list and wonder how they will ever read all the books on it. You don’t normally need to read every book or indeed whole books. What you need to do is to identify and follow up key ideas. There are different approaches to reading that will help you to read effectively and stay focused on your studies. It is worthwhile spending some time on developing your academic reading skills as this will help you to focus your reading and will save you time. Hull University Business School 37
  • 38. Study Skills Handbook Improving your reading skills This involves the following processes Purpose Think about why you are reading. Ask yourself why you are reading. Is it to • explore and understand the subject in greater depth? • obtain specific information? • complete an assignment? Identify relevant information sources Identify key information sources. The reading list in your module handbook provides a good starting point. Your lecturers may provide you with additional reading materials during a lecture or through eBridge. Carry out an information search (see Chapter 4). Reading techniques There are a number of different approaches to reading. Scanning involves looking at the item to decide whether or not it is relevant. Check the introduction, conclusions, contents pages, look at pictures and diagrams, and the index. This means you can quickly assess the content and decide whether or not it is relevant for your purpose. Skimming enables you to identify specific information that may be useful to you. Skimming involves using the index to check the contents of the information sources and then surfing through specific sections or chapters. Deep reading involves reading whole sections, chapters or a complete book and is an active process. You may be making notes or a mind map. As you are reading you may be thinking about how your findings relate to a question raised in a tutorial session or in an assignment. If you are reading your own materials you may mark relevant passages with a highlighter pen or post-it notes. But you should never make any marks on library materials. 38 Hull University Business School
  • 39. Critical reading involves evaluating the information source and criticising it. You may want to compare it with the work of other authors, assess the methodology, or criticise it in the light of your own experiences. Critical reading is time consuming and it is worth spending time developing this approach to reading – students who are critical readers often do well in assignments! Strategies for effective reading Here are strategies that will help you develop your academic reading skills. • • • • • • • Be active. Think about why you are reading and what you want to gain from the information source. Choose the right time. You might find that you are more alert during the morning and that, by evening, your attention span is short. Read at times when you are most alert. If you are not in the mood for actively reading something – do not do it. Place the book to one side and tackle another task until you feel ready to read the material more effectively. Work in the right environment. You should be somewhere quiet where you feel comfortable. Choose a place where you will not be interrupted. Make sure that you are able to make good notes during the reading process. Reduce distractions. Turn off the television and your mobile phone. Be selective. Do not think that you should read everything in depth. Time will not allow you scope to approach in this way every book, journal, newspaper, or lecture hand-out that you will see during your period of study. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Pick a journal article and read it, adopting each of the techniques to demonstrate to yourself what can be achieved from each strategy and if, in fact, there was much more to be gained from a more detailed reading than a skimmed reading. Use a wide range of sources. Relevant sources may include: friends or members of staff, watching a relevant television programme, keeping up to date with current affairs information, printed books and journals, resources on the Internet, market research reports, company annual reports, etc. Hull University Business School 39
  • 40. Study Skills Handbook See also Chapter 4 Closing comments You will find that your reading skills develop with practise. New undergraduate students will have time to practise their new skills before any formal assessment takes place. It is expected that postgraduate students will already have achieved a certain level of skill from their previous studies; although you may find that these skills need refreshing. 40 Hull University Business School
  • 41. Chapter 7 Writing Skills Introduction The ability to write clear and logical assignments or reports is an essential academic skill and it is also an essential professional skill. Individuals who can present well-written reports containing ideas that are clearly backed up by evidence are able to influence the thinking of their colleagues. Written assignments are a very common method of assessment as they provide your tutors with an opportunity to assess your knowledge and understanding of a subject area. Writing is a form of active learning; if you can explain something to another person in writing then it clearly demonstrates that you understand it. In fact struggling to find the right words often helps to make the ideas clearer in your mind – writing is, in itself, a way of learning. Written assignments will cover all or some of the learning outcomes of a module. The specific requirements for each module are explained in the module handbook. Writing assignments The following general guidelines may be used for carrying out any piece of assessed work and they are particularly relevant for writing reports or essays. If you are writing a dissertation then you will be provided with additional guidance. Hull University Business School 41
  • 42. Study Skills Handbook Analyse the task Before you start any piece of written work you should ask yourself the following questions. • • • • • What is its purpose? Who is it for? What are my aims? Which form of writing will best accomplish these aims? What structure will best suit the purpose and aims of this piece of writing? The main factors that will determine what mark you receive for a piece of written work will be: • • • • Did you actually answer the question? To what extent did you critically respond to the question and not just regurgitate other people’s knowledge? Did you keep to the point and use relevant information and evidence to support your arguments? How is your work distinguished – does it stand out from the mundane, is it original, does it stretch the boundaries of knowledge? Assignments that receive a poor mark often demonstrate the following characteristics • • • • • • • • badly researched lack an introduction and conclusion lack focus do not answer the question set by the tutor do not provide supporting evidence poor grammar and spelling lack references or contain incorrect references do not satisfy the required word limit Terminology of assessment questions It is worthwhile spending time analysing the assessment question(s) in an assignment, an examination, or a presentation. Do not glance at a question then 42 Hull University Business School
  • 43. rush off trying to locate vast amounts of information without having a clear understanding of what is being asked of you. Spend time identifying the key words of a question. Look at the verbs as these will indicate both what the content of your answer should be and the process or method you should adopt to provide that information. Underline them. Spend time thinking about exactly what is being asked of you. If you are unclear about anything, you should consult your tutor before starting work on an assignment. The following verbs are frequently used by tutors in assessment questions: Words used by tutors in assignments, examinations and presentations Account for Analyse give reasons for, explain the causes of break up into parts, examine in detail the elements or structure of, investigate, a combination of criticise and evaluate Assess how successful/unsuccessful, important/unimportant, consider the points for and against Comment on give your own point of view with supporting evidence Compare what are the similarities/differences, which is best/worst, provide a conclusion as to which is preferable Consider weigh up the advantages/disadvantages, pros and cons, think carefully about, discuss Contrast consider both similarities and differences but emphasise the differences between Criticise make a judgement using evidence to support it, consider all the positive and negative aspects of the topic Define give the meaning/s of Demonstrate show how, use examples Describe give a detailed or graphic account of, write in detail about the characteristics of Differentiate/distinguish explain the differences between Discuss give reasons for and against, examine by argument, examine the implications look at the wider ramifications of Hull University Business School 43
  • 44. Study Skills Handbook Evaluate Examine Explain Explore Illustrate Interpret Justify Outline Relate Review State Summarise Trace give your judgment about the merit or importance of something, back up your judgment by discussing evidence, make an appraisal of the worth of something consider in close detail, in depth examine and give reasons for; interpret and account for; examine thoroughly, consider from various viewpoints give examples that make the point clear decipher the meaning of, make clear and explicit give reasons to support an argument or action indicate the most important aspects, ignoring the minor detail narrate or tell, show the connections between things make a survey of, examine the subject carefully write briefly and clearly the main points of give a concise account of the main points omitting detail and examples show how something has developed from start to finish, provide an overview of the development of something Plan your assignment Work out a general structure or framework for your work. Some students prefer to write out a list of headings and sub headings while others prefer to produce a diagram, for example, mind map or spider diagram. This is a draft overview and you may find that you need to make changes as you work on the assignment. Guidance on information skills is covered in more detail in Chapter 4 Identify and use a range of information sources You will need to identify and use a range of academic information sources. Remember to allow time for this – you may need to recall items from the library or obtain them from a range of different sources. 44 Hull University Business School
  • 45. Identify key ideas and supporting evidence As you work through your information sources you will need to identify key ideas and also supporting evidence. Make notes and keep a record of all relevant information sources, for writing your references. Write your first draft This involves working with your general structure or framework and starting to write notes under each topic. It is often best to leave writing the introduction and conclusion until the end. There are two approaches to academic writing. The first, or traditional, approach is to use a serious and formal impersonal tone. It involves presenting different ideas and the evidence to support them. This means not writing in the first person (not using ‘my’, ‘I’, ‘we’) and presenting an objective and depersonalised approach. You should always use language that is clear, concise, and unambiguous. One method of identifying an appropriate style is to look at textbooks recommended by your tutors. The second approach is to use a more personal style. This involves writing in the first person, using ‘I’. This approach is often used in learning journals or workplace projects. It is increasingly used in academic writing in the discipline of management. If you are in doubt whether to use an impersonal or a personal style then ask your tutor. See the Study Advice Service leaflet ‘How to write academic English’, available online at Hull University Business School 45
  • 46. Study Skills Handbook Reviewing your work The first completed draft of an assignment will never be good enough to submit. It is important to review your work and to check the content making sure that • • • • • • you have met the assessment requirements your introduction clearly introduces your work and also the topic the ideas are presented in a logical order the ideas are supported by evidence your conclusions follow on from the ideas and evidence that you have presented your work is based on a good range of relevant and up-to-date references If time permits it is a good idea to leave a piece of work for a day or two and then come back to it. This will help you to see new ways to improve the work. If you are unclear about the correct use of English, you can look at the appendix of this handbook. Alternatively, ask for help at the Study Advice Service. You may find that you need to re-write parts of your work. You may see that you have skimmed over an important topic and that you need to do some more research so that you provide a well balanced account. Time spent reviewing your work is likely to earn you additional marks as it will improve the quality of the final assignment. Editing your work Editing involves checking the presentation of your assignment. Remember to double check any assignment requirements provided for you by your tutor. If you are writing a dissertation then it is important that you double check the presentation requirements given in your handbook. Whatever your assignment you will need to make sure that • • • • 46 it includes a title, date and your Student ID number you have met the word count requirements (you are normally allowed the word count identified in the module handbook plus 10% or minus 10% – any greater variation may result in a loss of marks) if you use headings and sub-headings then these are meaningful and consistent there are no missing or duplicate words Hull University Business School
  • 47. • • • • the grammar is correct spelling is correct the references are correct the whole assignment is clearly written It is best to edit your work at least twice as this will help you to identify different areas for improvement. Study Advice Service The Study Advice Service offers assistance in helping students to develop their writing skills, and for nonEnglish speaking students, the Language Institute will provide more specific guidance. All students should check their work for spelling and grammar before submission. It is not wise to place your trust blindly in spell or grammar checkers provided with your word processor. A student’s work will not, however, be penalised if their style or their use of the English language is not 100% perfect. Hull University Business School 47
  • 48. Study Skills Handbook Presenting your work Read the instructions that are provided in your module handbook or that are available from the undergraduate or postgraduate offices. Here are some general guidelines • • • • • • • • • • Your work should be word processed. Use fonts ‘Times New Roman’ or ‘Arial’. Use font size of 11 or 12. Use 1.5 line-spacing. Leave an adequate margin on all four sides of the piece of paper. Do not indent paragraphs but leave an extra space between them. Long quotations should be in single line spacing and indented at both sides. References should be in single line spacing and with a space between each separate reference and formatted with a hanging indent in order to distinguish between items. Assignments should be stapled in the top left hand corner. Ensure your assignment has a cover sheet that states your Student ID number, programme of study, module title and tutor, assignment title, submission date. Do NOT include your name on the assignment but make sure that your Student ID is clearly visible. Make sure your name is not in a running footer either. Submission You will be given instructions on when and where to submit your assignment. Students are required to submit their assignments in two forms • • a bar-coded paper submission (one copy with a cover sheet), and an electronic submission to Turnitin It is important that you follow the submission guidelines. If you fail to submit your work correctly, e.g. you do not use Turnitin correctly, then you may be penalized. Allow plenty of time, at least three hours, to use Turnitin and submit your work correctly. There are very few excuses that will be accepted for late or non-submission of assignments (see your Programme Handbook or ‘Guidelines for Mitigating Circumstances and Absence from Examinations and Coursework Extensions with Good Cause’ available in the University Student Handbook). Make sure 48 Hull University Business School
  • 49. that you leave yourself plenty of time to meet the deadline. Remember that there may be many other students also queuing up to submit their assignment! Normally computer failure is NOT accepted as a reason for late submission. Make sure that you keep back-up copies of your work and print your work early. In your time management allow for technology breakdowns! Feedback on assignments You should read carefully the feedback you receive on your assignment. Your tutor will provide guidance on the strong points of your work and also areas where it could be improved. You can use the suggestions for improvement as a means of gaining a better mark in your next assignment. However, please be aware that work achieving a poor mark cannot be resubmitted for a better grade later in the year. You should also check for any generic feedback through eBridge. Essays A good, well-ordered, easy to read, logical essay should comprise the following components: Introduction The introduction should state your interpretation of the title and demonstrate that you understand it by outlining the way in which you intend to answer it. It should prepare the reader for what will follow. Hull University Business School 49
  • 50. Study Skills Handbook BEWARE Direct copying (verbatim) or close paraphrasing (put into your own words but still closely following the structure and argument contained in the text) may lead to plagiarism in assessed work. Always keep notes of your sources, for example, book details, so that you can reference them. This is covered in Chapter 8. The introduction should also provide a brief outline of the information and arguments that you are going to consider and why you have chosen that approach. However, be wary of being repetitive or simply providing a list of what your assignment contains and do make sure that the essay actually does contain what you say it will. Many pieces of work lose the marker’s interest within the first few sentences, so spend time making sure that your introduction is distinguished and captivating. It is often easier to write the introduction last. Main body of essay The main body forms the substance of a piece of work. It will present your arguments with supporting evidence that you have prepared in response to the question that was set. Ensure that each paragraph makes a specific and necessary point, usually with the first line of each paragraph presenting the point that you intend to discuss within that paragraph. Your essay must flow from one paragraph to another and use linking comments to provide continuity between the paragraphs. Maintain a clear focus and be careful not to digress from the particular topic under discussion. It is important to ensure that you provide evidence to justify your claims. It is a good idea to 50 Hull University Business School
  • 51. include a few short quotations to support your findings and these also demonstrate your use of different information sources. Providing relevant examples that illustrate the points you make can bring your writing to life and show that you understand your material. Conclusion The conclusion should provide a summary of the key ideas or issues, and your concluding thoughts that either answer or respond to the main question. Your conclusion should not include new ideas or evidence. Similar to the introduction, it helps if the conclusion is not repetitive but gives a reflective overview of the issues discussed and ends with a snappy sentence or two that maintains the marker’s interest to the very end. Bibliography At the end of your assignment you need to include a bibliography or list of references. It is important to use the title Bibliography for this section of your work as this will mean this section is ignored by Turnitin. Remember to include all the items that you referred to in the assignment in your bibliography. Chapter 8 provides examples of the format the bibliography should take The bibliography is a vital and essential part of any piece of written work. It serves to provide the reader with a comprehensive list of the sources and material that you have referred to or quoted from in your essay. It further provides sufficient information to enable the reader to locate them if they want to clarify a point or seek further information. Tutors will use it to check on your information sources and they may also alert you to an important reference that has been omitted from your work. If you do not use a particular source then do not include it in your bibliography. Your tutor will be able to identify from the content of your assignment whether or not you have referred to that source. Trying to convince the reader you have undertaken more research than you have actually done is deceitful. Hull University Business School 51
  • 52. Study Skills Handbook Writing reports Report writing is a key skill that you need to develop; you are likely to be asked to write reports when you work in businesses or other organisations. A report is a formal and structured document normally used to present factual findings following some specific research. It differs from an essay in that it has a formal structure with headings and subheadings. Essays also usually include your opinions while essays do not. Reports tend to have a standard format. However different companies or academic departments might use different formats so you should ensure you are aware of the necessary format before embarking on the compilation of a report. Below we have provided you with two standard formats. Short report format This format is useful for relatively short pieces of work e.g. up to 3000 words long. • • • • • • • • • • • • • Title Summary Contents page (if appropriate) Introduction (introduces topic, context, scope, audience) Methodology (if appropriate) Theme 1 (presents the first theme or topic using an appropriate heading) Theme 2 (presents the second theme or topic using an appropriate heading) Theme 3 (presents the third theme or topic using an appropriate heading) Discussion (interpretation or analysis of your findings) Recommendations (if appropriate) Conclusions Bibliography Appendix (if appropriate) Long report format This format is used for reports in many businesses and other organisations. • • • 52 Title Abstract / summary Contents Hull University Business School
  • 53. • • • • • • • • • Executive summary (a brief summary of the report e.g. a single page of A4, written for busy executives) Terms of Reference / Introduction (statement of what you were asked to investigate, by whom, your aims and objectives, what date the report is required by) Procedure / introduction (what you did to gather facts, sources of information used, methodology of research) Findings / results (report your findings but do not discuss them, use graphic illustrations if necessary) Discussions (interpretation or analysis of your findings) Conclusions / Recommendations (the main points for consideration drawn from your findings, do your findings prove or disprove your hypothesis?) Date / Signature Appendix Bibliography Closing comments Tutors will tell you that they find it enjoyable reading an interesting and challenging piece of work. If you can satisfy a marker’s expectations of what they wanted the student to fulfil in an assignment then you will gain a good mark. Remember that many of the Business School modules have large numbers of students taking them, and if you make an effort to produce something that stands out from the rest, you will receive a mark that will reflect this. Don’t forget to look at Appendix A for guidance on English grammar. It is worth mentioning again that the Study Advice Service offers assistance in helping students to develop their writing skills, and for non-English speaking students, the Language Institute will provide more specific guidance. All students are advised to check the spelling and grammar of their work before submission. It is not wise to place your trust blindly in spell or grammar checkers provided with your word processor. The Study Advice Service does NOT edit or proof read whole assignments. However, they will look at a section of your work, e.g. one page, and also answer specific questions. Hull University Business School 53
  • 54. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 8 Referencing, Bibliography and Plagiarism Introduction This is one of the crucial areas that any student – experienced or novice – must fully understand. All Business School students should make time to read this chapter, noting its contents, and implement its advice and guidance in all pieces of assessment that they undertake whilst at the University of Hull. Referencing means acknowledging the sources you have used and proves that you are not attempting to pass the work of others off as your own. It is important to reference your work as this will • • • give your work academic credibility demonstrate how your work links into your subject area prevent accusations of stealing other people’s ideas or words (plagiarism) Credit must be given when quoting, citing, or paraphrasing (that is, summarising someone else’s idea and reproducing it in a shortened form, in your own words) the work of other people. There are no exceptions to this rule. Failure to acknowledge the sources you have used in writing your assignment is likely to result in an allegation of plagiarism being made against you. 54 Hull University Business School
  • 55. If you are unsure whether the information that you have provided should be referenced or not, then it is better to provide one to be on the safe side. The consequences of providing too many references are far less severe than those of not providing them at all or providing a list full of omissions. You do not need to reference common knowledge e.g. Tony Blair was the prime minister of the UK in 2004. Overview: how to reference Your essay or report should contain a reference to other people’s work. This indicates to the reader that you are using other people’s ideas. Here are some standard ways of referencing in your text: You need to reference other people’s work: Example Explanation If you quote another author ‘word for word’ David McConnell suggests that “students in cooperative environments perform at a higher level than those working in competitive or individualistic environments.” (2002, 19). Date only, because the author’s name is already clearly given; and page number because it is a direct quotation. If you are using someone’s ideas, theories or models - using your words rather than their words. David McConnell (2002) provides an overview of collaborative and cooperative learning and he identifies the following benefits: This sentence is ‘paraphrased,’ that means the student has used their own words, and they mention the source of these ideas by including the author’s surname and date. Hull University Business School 55
  • 56. Study Skills Handbook If you refer to a specific fact or piece of information Between 1979 and 1999, the number of women in employment has risen by 6% (DfEE 2000). The student provides the source of this fact and the date of publication. This means that the readers can check the fact for themselves. If you use someone’s ideas that are described in another book McConnell (2002) describes the work of Johnson and Johnson (1999) who.... The student hasn’t read the work of Johnson and Johnson (1999) and doesn’t want to mislead the reader, so it is made clear where the ideas of Johnson and Johnson have come from i.e. the work of McConnell. The details of all the work you refer to in your assignment are then given in a list at the end of your written work. The title for this section is Bibliography. If you use this heading then the plagiarism detecting software, Turnitin, will ignore the section. Example bibliography DfEE (2000), Labour Market and Skill Trends, London, HMSO. McConnell, D. (2002), Implementing Computer Supported Cooperative Learning, London, Kogan Page. Referencing There are several different ways of referencing. The Business School’s preferred style is the Harvard System, often called the ‘author date’ system and used in the examples above. In this system the text reference is kept as brief as possible and contains the author’s surname plus date. If there is more than one author then it is presented as author1, and author2, date, e.g. (Smith and Jones, 2007). If you are using a verbatim quotation (the words of the author) then you will need to 56 Hull University Business School
  • 57. include the page number in the format; author, date, page number, e.g. (Johnson, 2007, 32). This information directs readers to your bibliography at the end of your work. This will be arranged in alphabetical order so that they can find the full reference for the work. They will then be able to obtain a copy of that work and read it for themselves. You are therefore strongly recommended to familiarise yourself with the Harvard System and to use it consistently in any piece of work that you produce for an assessment. You are urged not to use footnotes in any of your written pieces of work When you are working on your assignments and reading your course materials you are advised to keep a record of all the items and the basic information needed which will allow your reader to find the original to which you refer. This is outlined here: For books The name of the author (surname + initials); date i.e. year of publication; the title of the text; the edition (unless it is the first edition); and any further details necessary to track down the source – publisher’s details (name and place), e.g. Cottrell, Stella. (2003) Skills for success: the personal development planning handbook, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan. For journals The name of the author (surname + initials); date i.e. year of publication; the title of the paper; the title of the journal and volume, issue and spread of pages over which the article is found. Many journals and reports are now available from gateway services such as JSTOR and Business Source Premier. In this situation the web address alone is an insufficient reference, because it shows only the access mechanism used to get the material and does not properly identify the source of the ideas or the Hull University Business School 57
  • 58. Study Skills Handbook arguments e.g. Orshansky, M. (1965) Counting the poor: another look at the poverty profile, Social Security Bulletin, 28 (January), pp.3-29. For electronic journals The name of the author (surname + initials); date i.e. year of publication; the title of the paper; the title of the journal and volume, issue and spread of pages over which the article is found; web address plus date accessed e.g. Harnack, A and Kleppinger, E. (1997) Creating models for electronic citations, Ariadne [online], 7. Available: [Accessed 15 August 2008] For websites The name of the author (surname and initials) or organisation; date i.e. year of publication; the title of the page or paper; web address plus date accessed e.g. Shields, G and Walton, G. (2001), ‘Cite them right’ How to organise bibliographical references [online], Newcastle, University of Newcastle, Available: [Accessed 25 February 2005] For chapters in an edited book (a book edited by an editor, which consists of chapters written by several different authors) The name of the author(s) of the chapter (surname + initials); date i.e. year of publication of the book; the complete title of the chapter, including any subtitle(s); the word “In” followed by a colon; the name of the editor(s) of the book in which the chapter appears (surname + initials) – followed by the word ed(s); the complete title of the book, including any subtitle(s); the place of publication; the name of the publisher; the inclusive page numbers of the chapter within the book. Law, D. (1986) Doctors and books. In: Baker, D., ed. Student reading needs. London: Library Association. pp.88-98. 58 Hull University Business School
  • 59. Common questions What if the source has no named author? Use the corporate author, if there is one – for example, BBC Newsnight, or the name of the newspaper or magazine where the article you are quoting from or citing is not signed. If the information comes from a government department and you cannot identify the individual author then give the name of the government department. If there is no corporate author given, consider whether this source is credible enough to be used in an academic assignment. Anonymous information is not always reliable. If you do decide to use it, identify this source with the author name of ‘Anon’ and provide the full reference in the list of references under the name Anon. How do I reference my own work? Students rarely need to reference their own work e.g. another assignment. If you do need to reference another assignment then use the general guidelines for books (top of p.56). BEWARE: If you use the same information and text in more than one assignment then you may be guilty of a special form of plagiarism – ‘autoplagiarism’ or ‘self-plagiarism’. Self-plagiarism is treated as seriously as other forms of plagiarism. It is quickly identified by Turnitin. Make sure you do not auto-plagiarise. What if the book or article has two authors? If there are two authors to one text then give both surnames, e.g. (Smith and Jones, 1999). If there are more than two authors to one text then give the first surname followed by ‘et al.’ e.g. (Brown et al, 1995). What if I want to keep referring to the same text? You will often be able to do so without repeating the same reference several times. Where you do need to repeat the reference, do repeat it. This is preferable to using the Latin ibid that used to be common practice. What if I want to refer to two books by the same author? If an author has written two books in the same year and you want to refer to each of them, then indicate the different texts using alphabet numbers. e.g. Smith (1997a) and Smith (1997b). Hull University Business School 59
  • 60. Study Skills Handbook How do I reference an email? The appropriate format is: Allan, B., ( 20 May 2005. Writing Essays. 20 May. Email to: Sheena Another ( How do I reference lecture notes? You are advised NOT to quote lecture notes in your assignments. Lectures provide a general guide to a subject or topic. You are expected to find and refer to the original sources, e.g. journal article or textbook, the lecturer has used in preparing the lecture. How do I present a short quotation? Place double quotation marks (“ ”) around all words that are being quoted. You should also include any particular punctuation, spelling or italics of the original. You must give as reference for your quotation the author’s surname, year of publication and the page number(s). Place these details in the text in rounded brackets, e.g. (Smith, 1987, 15). Note that the page number is not preceded by ‘p’ or ‘pp’ or ‘pg’. “Students in cooperative environments perform at a higher level than those working in competitive or individualistic environments.” (McConnell, 2002, 19) You should not give the page numbers of a quotation in your list of references. How do I shorten a quotation? If you do not want to include a full sentence from the source you are quoting, you can shorten a direct quotation by the use of omission marks (…) However, the quotation must still make sense in its shortened form so it might be necessary to add an extra word or two into a quotation to ensure it reads correctly. These extra words should be contained within square [ ] brackets. How do I know if a source is appropriate to use as an academic reference? This can be particularly a problem with online sources and weblogs. Consider whether the person you are quoting is credible. 60 Hull University Business School
  • 61. What do I do if I want to quote something that contains something that is inaccurate, grammatically incorrect or misspelled? Use the indication [sic] within a quotation if it contains a claim or phrase that you feel is incorrect, outdated, or unacceptable, or a word or phrase that is grammatically incorrect. It should be inserted directly after the phrase to which it refers e.g. Jane Smith said “I got mad [sic] with the worker.” How do I set out quotations? Short quotations (a few words only, less than one line of print) can be incorporated within the body of your argument. Make sure the sense flows properly between the quotation and surrounding text. Use quotation marks. Place the reference details at the end of the sentence in which the quotation occurs. For example: Within the Gillette company, out of every forty-five carefully developed new-product ideas, three make it into the development stage but “only one eventually reaches the marketplace” (Armstrong and Kotler, 1999, 263). Always use quotation marks at the start and end of ALL quotations Longer quotations should be separated from the body of your essay by a space before and after the quotation. The quotation, with quotation marks, should be indented on either side, and the reference should appear in brackets on the line immediately below. Use single spacing for the quotation. “Dupont has found that it can take as many as three thousand raw ideas to produce just two winning commercial products, and pharmaceuticals companies may require six thousand to eight thousand starting ideas for every successful commercial new product” (Armstrong and Kotler, 1999, 263). Continue your essay using normal spacing. The full reference for the above quotations would appear in your list of references as: Hull University Business School 61
  • 62. Study Skills Handbook Armstrong, Gary and Kotler, Philip, (1999), Marketing: An Introduction, 5th edn, New Jersey, Prentice Hall. How do I reference information from the Internet? The Internet is a source of two different kinds of information: firstly, it is used to distribute information that has previously been published in another source; and secondly, it is used to disseminate information that is only available on the Internet. It is very important that you take the trouble to find the proper reference for materials that have been obtained through the Internet. The first case, i.e. material that has been published elsewhere, is shown in the following two examples: Nentwich, Michael, (1996), ‘Opportunity structures for citizens’ participation: the case of the European union’, in European Integration online Papers (EioP), Vol. 0 (1996) no.1, < htm>, accessed 5/11/99. Smith, F. (1994), ‘Is there life on Mars?’, The Telegraph, 14th March, <http: //>, accessed 8/6/95. In the second case i.e. material that is only available from the Internet then you will reference the material in the following manner: BBC (2005), ‘Healthy eating in schools’,, accessed on 3/9/05. Bibliography A bibliography should appear at the end of your work and it should contain details of all the information sources that you actually refer to or cite in your text. Therefore, you must ensure that every piece of written work that you submit for marking has a list of references that contains details of each and every source that you have mentioned in your work. The references should be listed alphabetically by author’s surname. Use single line spacing, using hanging indents to distinguish each separate reference or with an extra space left between each reference. This is illustrated below. 62 Hull University Business School
  • 63. You do not need to put a page reference for any particular detail or quotation in your list of references. However, when you give details for an article in a periodical, you should give the page numbers of the first and last pages. Examples of the correct format for entries in a bibliography are given below. In the sample below you will be able to see how to correctly reference books, articles in periodicals (i.e. any form of publication that comes out regularly, such as an academic journal, a professional magazine or a newspaper) and websites. Example bibliography Galliers, R. D. & Baker, B.S.H., (1995), ‘Strategic information management’, in Jackson, T. (ed.), Cross-Cultural Management, Oxford, ButterworthHeinemann. Handy, Charles, (1991), The Age of Unreason, 2nd edn, London, Arrow Books. Keble, J., (1989), ‘Management development through action learning’, Journal of Management Development, 8, no.2: 77-80. Nixon, B. & Pitts, G., (1991), ‘W.H.Smith adopts a new approach to developing senior managers’, Industrial and Commercial Training, 23, no.6: 3-10. Nutt, P., (1984), ‘Types of organisational decision processes’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 29: 414-52. Noakes, Stephen, (1997), ‘Consumer spice’, Logistics Manager, (Nov. /Dec.), 67. Nentwich, Michael, (1996), ‘Opportunity structures for citizens’ participation: the case of the European union’, in European Integration online Papers (EioP), Vol. 0 (1996) no.1, < htm>, accessed 5/11/99. Payne, R. and Pugh, D.S., (1971), ‘Organisations as psychological environments’, in Warr, P.B. (ed.), Psychology at Work, Harmondsworth, Penguin. Peters, T.J. and Waterman, R.H., (1982), In Search of Excellence, London, Harper & Row. Rowntree, D., (1996), ‘Making open and distance learning work’, The Implementation of Open and Distance Learning, England, Open University <http: // ROWNTREE/MBL.htm.MOADLW.htm>, accessed 7/4/99. Smith, F. (1994), ‘Is there life on Mars?’, The Telegraph, 14th March, <http: //>, accessed 8/6/95. Hull University Business School 63
  • 64. Study Skills Handbook Both the Study Advice Service and Library provide handouts and information on how to present the different sources that you use in a list of references (see Chapters 1 and 4) Working in Groups Some of your assessment activities will involve group work, that is, a group presentation or a group project. In these cases, it is acceptable to produce a piece of work that is a culmination of a joint effort, or includes work, ideas and thoughts of both you and your colleagues working in the same group. The principle behind group assessment activities is to give you some experience in being part of, or perhaps leading, a team. It provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate transferable skills such as communication, negotiation, participation, compromise, decision-making, and obviously teamwork. With this type of assessment activity you may be asked to identify the role each group member took in producing the final product. Many students find it helpful to form and work in informal study groups as this gives opportunities to discuss ideas and concepts, forge friendships, and consult one another over draft versions of their written assignments. Be aware that this approach may introduce a certain element of danger if members of the group then present very similar pieces of work. It is not acceptable for members of the group to produce very similar pieces of work, that is, assignments that are either identical or alike – in either content or structure, or in their arguments and conclusions. Therefore, although you are encouraged to discuss your work during the preparation stages, you are discouraged from swapping or showing your colleagues final versions of assignments. It is worth reminding you that if a marker identifies two, or more, pieces of work that have similarities all students involved will be asked to answer to a formal allegation of the use of unfair means, or plagiarism. The consequences, should the allegations be proven, are laid out in the next section. If you have any queries about forming a study group you are advised to seek advice from your Programme Leader, Module Tutor or Personal Supervisor. 64 Hull University Business School
  • 65. Plagiarism and unfair means The University has had a Code of Practice on the Use of Unfair Means since February 2000. You should make sure that you download a copy from the university portal, read it, understand it, and keep it for future reference. The use of unfair means relates to any form of illegitimate conduct that might give one student an advantage over another – and includes: copying another’s work without providing adequate references (including information taken from the Internet); stealing another’s work; cheating in an examination by taking prohibited materials into the examination room, whether or not they are used, such as revision notes; impersonating another person during an examination; falsifying a transcript or other official documentation; and removing, hiding or destroying library materials without permission. The Code of Practice provides further examples of what might constitute unfair means. However, the most common use of unfair means is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the use and presentation of somebody else’s work as though it were your own. This includes plagiarism of a colleague’s work, from a textbook, from the Internet, from a journal, or from other sources. All coursework submitted to the Business School will be routinely scrutinised using the Turnitin plagiarism prevention system. Turnitin provides information on the similarity between the work you have submitted and a wide range of existing material in the Turnitin database. It is not a plagiarism detection system and interpretation of the Turnitin similarity report requires careful consideration by assessors. Traditional plagiarism detection mechanisms will still be important. When assignments are submitted electronically through turnitin they are checked against all work that has been submitted through the system as well against other electronic sources. This means that work which has been submitted previously will be visible to staff marking your assignments. There are two particular situations that you should be aware of and guard against whenever possible. First, students are being assessed and given credit for their own work, not that which has been written by another student. Sometimes two or more students submit work that is similar or submit an assignment that has been submitted Hull University Business School 65
  • 66. Study Skills Handbook previously by another student. It is then unclear who has written a piece of work and this will be investigated to establish if it is the result of the use of unfair means. If it is found to be the result of the use of unfair means then penalties will be applied in the same way as if the work had been plagiarised. The school encourages students to share their understanding and learn collaboratively, however assignments are usually individual pieces of work and students should exercise caution in how they work together and help each other. Second, students should be aware that seeking to gain credit twice for the same work is also considered to be the use of unfair means. Thus if a student is found to have submitted their own work for a second time, and they have already been given credit for the first submission, then this will also be investigated and, if found to be the use of unfair means, penalised. Students who wish to refer to their own previous assignments should reference them as they would any other source, although they should realise that this may not be seen as a good piece of work by the marker if it does not answer the question being set. Any form of the use of unfair means is dishonest and is unacceptable. Therefore, the University has decreed penalties that reflect the seriousness of the matter. As a rule, the very least penalty you can expect to receive is zero or 0 marks for the module in question. Reassessment is often permitted for a first offence by a student in the early stages of their study, however the further you progress into your programme of study the harsher the penalty becomes, as it is assumed that you have had sufficient time to familiarise yourself with University procedures and what constitutes good academic practice. The right to reassessment may therefore not be granted. Should a student be proven to have committed a second breach of the code the penalty will be termination of the student’s programme of study unless there are good reasons to impose a more lenient penalty. You will not be permitted to continue with your studies at the University of Hull. Penalties such as these should be a clear indication to you that the use of unfair means is taken very seriously by the University. It is not worth risking your academic and future employment opportunities. A little extra time spent making note of the full reference of any source of material you consult or use, and ensuring that the reference is included within your piece of work, will ensure that you do not jeopardise your future at the University of Hull. 66 Hull University Business School
  • 67. It is therefore essential that you meet the necessary requirements for referencing and bibliographical standards within every piece of written work that you submit, and that you do not attempt to deceive or gain illegitimate advantage in any other way. Closing comments The need for you to provide full and correct referencing and bibliographies cannot be overestimated. It is essential that you understand this skill and you should spend as much time as it takes to ensure that you learn it. Failure to understand this process may lead to unpleasant consequences. There are several points of guidance to help you - the Study Advice Service, the library, your tutor, your Personal Supervisor, the Students Union. Hull University Business School 67
  • 68. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 9 Presentation Skills Introduction Presentation skills are important as presentations are frequently used in the workplace as a means of disseminating information and influencing people. The way in which you communicate by speaking will determine how successful you will be during your working life. Nowadays many interviews involve a formal presentation. Therefore, it is imperative that you enhance and develop your presentation skills in readiness for future employment or progression into senior posts when the stakes will be much higher. Some of the assessments for your programme of study may involve giving a presentation. This could take the form of an individual presentation or a group presentation; or you may be asked to give an informal presentation, perhaps as part of a seminar. During your time in HUBS it is worthwhile spending time preparing for and delivering presentations as you will find you develop useful skills for the workplace. Preparing a presentation Analysing the presentation This involves answering the following questions. • • 68 Who is the audience? What is the objective of the presentation? Hull University Business School
  • 69. • • • What is the topic? How long is the presentation? What audiovisual aids will you use, for example, PowerPoint presentation or Internet demonstration? Researching the presentation This involves identifying the main elements of the presentation title and identifying key topics or themes. Planning the presentation This involves working out the order of your presentation. One frequently used presentation structure is as follows. • • • • • • • Introduction. You. The topic. The presentation – its structure and organization The reasons why the presentation is important or relevant to the audience The actual topic – this may be broken down into a number of sub topics Implications for practice (if appropriate) Summary Conclusions Thank the audience for listening Using this structure it is worthwhile identifying what is essential information and what is additional or supporting information. This can be looked at as essential ingredients and decorative ingredients. This is helpful as if you find that you are short of time then you can stick to the ‘essential ingredients’ and if you find that you have some ‘spare’ time then you can develop the ‘decorative ingredients’. Making it interesting In addition to the factual content of your presentation think about ways of making it interesting. Think about ways of illustrating the main points: use quotations, images (clip art, graphs, charts or diagrams), stories or anecdotes BUT DON’T use images and other features as gimmicks – they must add to your argument. Beware of trying to present a lot of numerical information since this can be very boring; detailed information is perhaps best presented using a handout. Hull University Business School 69
  • 70. Study Skills Handbook Make the presentation more interesting by providing summary or basic information using PowerPoint. You can also use these facilities to present a graph, cartoon or a picture containing information that is most easily presented as a visual image. Don’t present too much information on each slide. A general rule is that each slide should contain no more than seven lines of information and seven words per line. PowerPoint is a standard method of making business presentations. The Study Advice Service and also the Computer Centre provide guidance on presentations and the use of PowerPoint. Other forms of presentational resources include a flip chart or a white board (if you wish to talk and write at the same time), hand-outs for your audience, a short video clip, a demonstration, or even interactive role-plays. Getting organised Once you have structured your presentation according to the permitted time schedule and created any additional presentational material, you can write the main points of it on plain postcards or use the notes feature of PowerPoint. Postcards look more professional than the use of A4 paper or a notebook, they are also easier to follow, as you can use one postcard for one point then flip it to the back of the pile. Some people staple or string them together so that if they drop them then they don’t go out of order. People sometimes lose their place during a presentation and have to spend what seems like minutes finding the section they were up to – by using postcards this problem is unlikely to occur, as you are not looking at a great deal of information on any one sheet. Break your talk into segments or manageable sections, each one with its own heading, and jot down the main points of your talk accordingly on each postcard. Remember to number the postcards for ease of reference. Check the facilities in the room that you will be giving your presentation. If your PowerPoint presentation is on a disk, CD or USB memory stick then double check that the appropriate facilities are available and that you know how to use them. Group presentations If you are preparing for a group presentation then ensure that the team works together. If individuals go off to complete their section without any interaction 70 Hull University Business School
  • 71. with the other team members this can result in a disjointed presentation that would appear to the audience in exactly the way in which it had been prepared. You must work together. Prepare your PowerPoint presentation or handouts in the same style and ensure that each member uses a similar form of language. By all means split the researching responsibilities between the group, but check each section carefully to avoid overlap or gaps in the information provided. All group members should speak for an equal amount of time with perhaps one person opening and closing the presentation. Dress appropriately if you are giving a formal presentation. Rehearsing It is very helpful to rehearse your presentation. This means that you can become comfortable with your material and also your presentation aids. It also means that you can check and adjust your timing. Ask someone to watch it and give you constructive feedback – the Study Advice Service tutors will do this if you make an appointment. The more time you put into preparing your presentation then the more successful it is likely to be. If you are giving a group presentation then it is particularly important to rehearse and make sure that your presentation is integrated and well organised. In particular you may find it helpful to practise the handovers from one student to another student. Giving a Presentation • • • Prepare yourself. Have a good night’s sleep. Eat a proper breakfast or lunch. Arrive in plenty of time. Organise the room. Some people feel more comfortable using a lectern or table. Think about how you want the audience to sit. Do you want a formal or informal seating arrangement? Do you want the chairs in theatre style, circle or a horse-shoe shape? Once you have organised the room then sit in different locations so that you can check how different members of the audience will view your presentation. Check how things work: light switches, electric sockets, heating, windows, blinds and computers. Hull University Business School 71
  • 72. Study Skills Handbook • • • • • • • • • • • • 72 Check that your postcards and presentation are in order. Take your watch off and place it on the desk in front of you. Check it regularly (although without making it obvious) to ensure that you are keeping to your schedule and not running out of time. Do not begin until your tutor and audience are settled and ready to begin listening. If you are nervous then do some deep breathing. Let the audience know when you want to receive questions – during the presentation or at the end of it. Try to bring vitality and variety into your speech pattern. Vary your tone. Use your hands and face to make expressions either to stress a particular point or to raise doubt over somebody else’s findings. If you have practised your presentation sufficiently, you should be able to remember your main points without having to read or refer to your cards. This will give you the opportunity to talk to, rather than talk at, your audience, which will make you seem more interesting and will capture your audience’s attention. Maintain regular eye contact with your audience. Remember to look at the whole audience not just the tutor. If you feel uncomfortable doing this, choose a few people in the audience and glance at them at regular intervals. Raising your head and looking out to your audience throughout your presentation is better than standing, head down, reading from your cards. Try not to rush your presentation. If you have prepared it thoroughly you will have enough time to cover all that you need to in the given time. Take a moment to catch your breath after each postcard – this also gives your audience time to consider the point that you have just made. Many presenters speak too quickly. Try to make sure that you speak more slowly than you would in normal conversation. If you are part of a group presentation, thank the person who spoke before you and when you have completed your section, present the next group member to the audience. When it is time for questions handle them with confidence. If you do not know the answer to any question then be honest and say that you will find out. When you want to close the question session then signal this to your audience by saying ‘We have time for one more question.’ Thank your audience when you have finished your formal presentation. Do not finish your presentation with your last sentence, quickly gather up your Hull University Business School
  • 73. material and rush to sit down. After you have thanked the audience and ended your presentation, then calmly collect your material and sit down. Closing comments Presentation skills are important and you will need them throughout your career. The more you practise these skills, the more comfortable you will be in giving presentations. The key to all good presentations is preparation and planning. This enables you to ‘be yourself’ and make an impact on your audience. Hull University Business School 73
  • 74. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 10 Working in Groups Introduction Team working is an essential skill required by employers for almost every job. During your programme of study you will be asked to work in groups and some of your assessment activities will involve group work, that is, a group presentation or a group project. The principle behind group assessment activities is to give you some experience in being part of, or perhaps leading, a team. It provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate transferable skills such as communication, negotiation, participation, compromise, decisionmaking, and obviously teamwork. This chapter will help you to identify different ways of approaching group work so that it becomes a successful and enjoyable experience. What is an effective student group? Here are some comments from students about their experiences of assessed group work: It was very easy. We got well organised and agreed to meet every fortnight. We spent some time getting to know each other. We shared the work out and everyone kept their promises and delivered on time. If we couldn’t attend a meeting then we texted 74 Hull University Business School
  • 75. the others. By the end of the assignment we were all good friends and we got a high mark. It was hard arranging a time to meet up. After a month of hassle and wasted time we decided to meet every Monday after the main lecture. This worked well and after that we got on with the assignment. We got a good mark. Our group never got going. We never all met up and the presentation was poor. It was obvious that we hadn’t planned it – there was a lot of repetition and it was a bit boring. We got a poor mark and we deserved it. The group work was hard. All the other group members lived in hall and they began to meet up in hall and make decisions without me. I felt left out. In the end I spoke to the tutor and she raised it as an issue in the tutorial. The other students were upset as they hadn’t realised I felt left out and they would have preferred me to talk to them direct. After that we met on campus during the day and the group worked well together. We only met up twice but we kept in contact by eBridge. It worked well (to my surprise). I found I had to go onto eBridge every day which was a pain. Effective student group work often shows the following characteristics. • • • Well organised – arrange to meet at the same time/place on a regular basis, everyone attends, keep a record of their activities and agreed actions, monitor their progress against the deadline. Manage the process – students spend time getting to know each other, they support each other and include everyone. Communication – students listen to each other, they give everyone a chance to join in, they keep in regular touch with each other. Hull University Business School 75
  • 76. Study Skills Handbook First meet-up The first step in group work is to meet up! It is often best if one student takes the initiative and suggests a date, time and place to meet. It is always best to meet on ‘neutral’ territory e.g. library, Staff House or one of the University’s cafes, rather than in one person’s home. It is best not to meet in locations such as a bar as this may not fit in with an individual student’s religious beliefs and this type of environment is not conducive to study. Once you have met it is important to get to know each other so spend time on this. Exchange contact information e.g. names, email address, mobile and land line phone numbers. Talk about your expectations of the group work e.g. how often do you want to meet, what will you do if someone cannot attend, how will you record meetings? Do you want to nominate someone as ‘group leader’ or ‘coordinator’? Then spend some time focusing on your task and what is required. Look at the task details e.g. in your Module Handbook and make sure that you understand what is required and the deadline for handing in or presenting work. You may then want to work out an action plan and agree key dates e.g. for completing research, producing a first draft, editing, finalising hand-in or presentation details. Finally, decide what the next step is. Decide who is going to do which part of the task (and keep a record). Arrange the date, time and location of the next meeting. The organisation of meetings There are standard methods of organising meetings in the workplace and this helps to make sure that the meeting is productive and there is no time wasting. • • 76 Make sure that everyone knows when and where the meeting is going to take place. Ask one person to act as leader or chair person. Their job is to make sure that the meeting is organised in a business-like manner, everyone contributes to the meeting, it keeps to time, and decisions are made. Hull University Business School
  • 77. • • • • • Agree an agenda (or list of topics for discussion) either before the meeting or at the start. Discuss each topic on the agenda. Don’t spend too long on any one topic. If necessary decide how long you will spend on each topic. Make decisions! The purpose of the meeting is normally to share information and ideas, and then to make decisions. Record these decisions. Decide when and where you will next meet. Most student groups find it best to have a regular meeting slot. Write up the minutes or action notes of the meeting. These don’t need to be long but they will help everyone to know how the group work is progressing. This record is also useful if there is confusion or conflict within the group. Sample notes from a meeting: APS Module: Group 32 Meeting on 12 February 2006. 11.15 BJL Present: Tom, Bushra, Sam, Jane, Anne, Muhammid Apologies: Takako (hospital appointment) 1 Notes of last meeting – everyone agreed with them. 2 Research – everyone reported their progress. Takako had sent a note in an email. The topic appears to be too big. Suggested that we focus on 3 instead of 6 countries (UK, India and China). Everyone agreed. Anne to inform Takako. 3 Producing 1st draft. Muhammid suggested that everyone produced 250 words on their topic. He would put it together into one document and add an introduction and conclusion – agreed. Bushra said that she would then sort out references. Anne offered to read through whole document and edit it so that it read as one piece of work. This was agreed and everyone to have their 250 words to Muhammid by 11 February. Anne to inform Takako. Muhammid offered to have 1st draft ready for 15 February. 4 PowerPoint presentation. Decided to leave this until 1st draft produced. 5 Referencing. Some confusion about referencing websites. Bushra to email tutor. 6 Next tutorial. There is one booked for 14 February at 3pm. Everyone to meet up at 2.50. Main issues: topic being too big. Hull University Business School 77
  • 78. Study Skills Handbook 7 Next meeting: 15 February at 11.15 in BJL. Tom will book room. 8 Notes of this meeting: Jane to write up and email to everyone by Sunday. On some modules you may be asked to hand in the minutes or notes from your group meetings. Check your Module Handbook. Managing group work A major advantage of group work is that it enables different people to work together and share their ideas, perspectives and experiences. Nowadays the workforce in organisations and also student groups are increasingly diverse as people from different backgrounds and countries work together. The ability to work in a diverse team is an important skill and essential for working in a global economy. During your programme of studies you are likely to work in diverse groups and this is a great opportunity for broadening your experience and perspectives. Sometimes it can be a challenging experience and lead to some feelings of discomfort, and also the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills of team work. It is a great opportunity for learning and developing your communication skills. Working in a diverse team normally involves more effort than working in a group where everyone comes from the same background and has a similar perspective. It is particularly important to spend time getting to know each other, learning each other’s names (and how they are pronounced correctly) and talking about your expectations of group work. Students coming to HUBS from different educational backgrounds will have different experiences of group work – some students may have never been involved in group work before. Cameron (2005, 237) writes: “Working in mixed groups takes more effort. It becomes even more vital to check understanding at every stage than it is with a homogenous group. Words mean slightly different things within different cultures. Some cultures are less assertive than others: their ‘agreement’ may be mere politeness. Some cultures express themselves very directly, in ways that may seem almost offensive to 78 Hull University Business School
  • 79. others but are just the ‘normal’ way of saying things to those concerned. Some cultures treat deadlines differently from others.” The general advice for working in diverse groups is to • • • • • • • meet in a place which is acceptable to everyone and that is ‘neutral’ territory spend time getting to know each other make sure that everyone has a chance to speak include everyone and ask for individuals’ comments check understanding and use of terminology check agreement make sure that there is a common understanding about deadlines Common problems in group work The following table outlines some common problems in group work and different strategies for managing them. Working in student groups is similar to working in teams in organisations. Different people put different amounts of effort into their work and this is sometimes the cause of frustration and conflict. Learning how to deal with these situations in the university environment will help you to develop leadership skills for the workplace. Problem Strategy for managing it Student doesn’t attend or make contact via email or text message Keep contacting the student and inviting them to meetings Inform your tutor Use meeting notes/minutes to demonstrate attendance and participation Strategies for managing this include: meeting on neutral territory, sharing leadership and coordination roles by taking turns, making sure that everyone has a turn. You may find it useful to talk to each other about the best ways of working together and sharing the work. Some students may want to take over and dominate group work. They may want to hold meetings at their house/room, be the group leader, and control the group work. Hull University Business School 79
  • 80. Study Skills Handbook Students who don’t commit to the group work or are only aiming for a low mark Free-loader. The person who doesn’t do any work or turns up the week before an assignment is due to be handed in and then wants to get involved. Conflict between group members This can be very frustrating. It is worth talking about it in the group and deciding how you are going to organise yourselves and work together. You may also want to raise it as a group issue. If you have a choice over assignment title then choose a topic that everyone is interested in. The marking of some group assignments takes into account different levels of participation. Another awkward situation. Your meeting notes/minutes will enable you to demonstrate attendance and levels of activity. The marking of some group assignments takes into account different levels of participation. If a student doesn’t contribute to group work then it is appropriate for the group to inform the tutor. There may be some reason for non-participation and, if this is the case, then the student concerned should complete a mitigating circumstances form and hand it in to the relevant HUBS office. Occasionally conflict does arise between group members. It is worth remembering that conflict may lead to extremely creative and high quality work. However, it sometimes results in uncomfortable and awkward situations. Strategies for dealing with conflict include: having a cooling off period; discussing the situation and ways of resolving it; building on common ground and agreement; asking another person to mediate. Closing comments Team skills are important and essential for working in different types of organisations. Effective teams are well organised, spend time building up relationships, and have good quality communications. Working in diverse teams gives all students the opportunity to learn from people with different experiences and perspectives. 80 Hull University Business School
  • 81. IMPORTANT WARNING You need to ensure that your assessed group work does not contain material that has been plagiarised. ALL group members are responsible for the whole assignment. Hull University Business School 81
  • 82. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 11 Making effective use of eBridge Introduction eBridge is the University’s virtual learning environment and it provides a virtual space where students may find information, take on-line assessment and communicate with each other. You can access eBridge via the Internet from anywhere in the world. You will probably need to spend some time learning how to use eBridge and the University’s computer centre provides handouts which describe how to log-on to the system and navigate around it. Many tutors use eBridge as a means of communicating with students, disseminating student handbooks and course materials, and providing access to on-line communication tools. Some tutors use the on-line assessment facilities for tests. You will find that eBridge provides a useful way of keeping up-to-date with your module and its different learning and teaching activities. What is available on eBridge? You access eBridge via the Internet using your University computing ID (see computer centre handout). Once you enter eBridge(see Computer Centre handout) you will be able to click onto your modules and also other features. The majority of modules taught within the Business School now use eBridge. If you are unable to access a module on eBridge then please contact the module leader. 82 Hull University Business School
  • 83. Each module uses eBridge in a manner appropriate to that module. However, they are likely to include some or all of the following facilities. • • • • Announcements Learning materials and information sources Discussion groups Conference rooms. Announcements As their name suggests this is the area where your tutor(s) will post notices to students. It is an electronic notice board. The notices may be about • • • • changes in arrangements e.g. about lectures and tutorials clarification of issues raised by students guest lectures or speaker other module matters It is important to check into the eBridge site on a regular basis so that you can pick up these announcements. Learning materials Many tutors make their module handbooks, lecture notes, seminar papers and supplementary learning materials available on eBridge. If you lose any of your module materials then check eBridge before contacting the tutor. Your tutor may also provide you with hot links to websites relevant to that module. When you are doing assessed work additional information to support you in your assignments may be made available via eBridge. Discussion groups These provide a facility for discussion (much like an Internet newsgroup) under various topic headings and not in real time. They allow you to take part in a virtual classroom experience. This means that you will use it for tutor or student led discussions and activities. Any messages sent to a discussion group are visible to everyone who has access to it. If you want to send private messages to your tutor or individual students then use email. Hull University Business School 83
  • 84. Study Skills Handbook Conference Rooms Conference rooms provide a ‘real time’ text based conferencing facility (much like Internet chat or a face-to-face seminar). In the context of a particular module your tutor may use this facility to hold real time meetings or to set up syndicate work for groups of students. Introduction to on-line learning and teaching For most students on-line learning and teaching is a relatively new experience and one that is in a state of rapid development. On-line discussions and chat sessions offer a means by which students and tutors can communicate with each other. The main difference between the two is that the on-line discussions are asynchronous i.e. communication takes place without the people being available at the same time. Individuals post messages at a time that suits them and then read the responses to their message the next time they come on-line. This is in contrast to conferences or chat sessions where synchronous communications take place i.e. everyone is available at the same time and ‘talk’ to each other through on-line text messages. On-line discussions are particularly useful for group work as students can use it as a way of keeping in touch with each other and exchanging information and ideas through the discussion group. Taking part in on-line discussions As with face-to-face meetings there are some standard approaches to working together in an on-line environment. This section outlines the stages that a successful group working on-line is likely to experience. Many of the ideas in this section come from the work of Salmon (2000). Getting started. You will need to start with introductions and get to know each other. Remember the rules of netiquette (on-line etiquette). • • • • • 84 Be polite Keep it brief Acknowledge each other Respond to each other’s messages Don’t be too concerned about spelling or grammar Hull University Business School
  • 85. Ground rules It is important to establish ground rules for your discussion group as this helps it to work well. Ground rules can cover issues such as: importance of acknowledging each other’s messages, response times, methods of disagreeing, etc. Here is a set of ground rules agreed by one group of HUBS students. • • • • • • Check the discussion group at least three times a week Let people know if you are absent e.g. due to ill health or a family problem Keep messages concise Keep one topic per message. This enables threads to develop. Be polite Don’t write and send a message if you feel angry with another person Working together on-line This involves carrying out your group task and you may be involved in exchanging information and ideas, writing materials together, making arrangements for face-to-face working. If you are debating and discussing different ideas then it is important to acknowledge other people’s ideas (“I thought your idea was useful Sam….”) and to put your views across without causing offence or upset. Ways of doing this include starting your sentences with phrases such as: “in my humble opinion (often abbreviated to IMHO)” and “perhaps we could also think about…. “ In an on-line environment you need to be very sensitive to the feelings of others as there are no visual cues as to how someone is responding to your comments. Sometimes, an on-line discussion becomes confusing as there are lots of messages and it is difficult to see where the group has got to. In this situation it is helpful if someone writes a brief summary and posts it up in the discussion group. On-line conferences or chat sessions At different times during a module your tutor or group may decide to organise an on-line conference. This will enable you all to be involved in a real time (synchronous) communication process. This means that you need to be on the appropriate part of the eBridge site at the time that you have set for your chat session. Hull University Business School 85
  • 86. Study Skills Handbook At the start of the session introduce yourself (if necessary) and then get going with the chat session. Chatting with two or few people is relatively simple. If there are four or more people on-line then it is worthwhile asking someone to act as chairperson or coordinator. Handling difficult situations As in face-to-face learning, difficult situations may arise within your on-line group. It is worthwhile being prepared for this possibility and developing a range of strategies for handling them. The following table provides a starting point for managing situations that arise on-line: Difficult situations Strategy for handling the situation Flaming (the on-line equivalent of road rage) Keep your cool! Try to defuse the situation. Ask the student what they would like to happen. Ask others for their opinions. Quiet students or browsers (sometimes called ‘lurkers’) Invite people to join in by name. Ask them for their opinion. If they are not coming on-line then send them an email or text message and invite them to get involved. On-line work fizzling out. Discuss it on-line or in a face-to-face meeting. Produce a new action plan. Close the on-line group. Closing comments Many students find eBridge an invaluable source of information and ideas. It is an important means of communication for tutors and students. Remember to access eBridge at regular intervals. 86 Hull University Business School
  • 87. Chapter 12 Examination Skills Introduction Examinations are widely used within the University as a means of assessing students’ knowledge and skills. It is worthwhile spending some time thinking about and improving your revision skills and examination technique. This will help you to improve your examination performance. If you are returning to study after a break you may find that you need to develop your revision and examination skills. You will find that other students are in a similar situation. Read this guide and follow the advice in it, and also make use of the special revision and examination sessions that are organised by your tutors and the Study Advice Service. The experience of Business School tutors is that some students ‘think they know it all’, perhaps because they were successful in examinations held in schools or colleges. Sometimes these students are overconfident and, as a result, do badly in their first set of examinations at the university. All students are advised to read and follow the guidelines in this chapter. Information about examinations Examinations are an essential part of the assessment process. University examinations are normally held twice each year, during the assessment period Hull University Business School 87
  • 88. Study Skills Handbook for each semester. Information about examinations is normally provided in each Module or Programme Handbook. The assessment weighting for each module varies: some examinations may only amount to 20% of the assessment weighting; most will be 50%; and some may be 100% weighting. Ensure you know the value of the examination in the assessment process as this helps you to decide how much time and energy to invest in preparing for it. The exact date, time and location of the examinations will be posted on notice boards prior to the assessment period. You will not receive this information directly by post or by email although it will be available through the University portal. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fully aware of the examination arrangements. If you have a disability that may affect your performance in examinations then contact your Personal Supervisor or the Business School’s Disability Officer as soon as possible and well before the start of the examination period. It is also worth noting that, due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, the arrangements for some examinations may change. You should therefore double check what you think the arrangements are, nearer to the time of the examination, either by consulting the notice boards again or by asking the appropriate Support Office. Holidays should not be booked at times close to scheduled examinations, as arrangements are liable to change and the Business School will not accept your being on holiday as a satisfactory reason for missing an examination. Holidays should therefore not be taken until the assessment period is completely finished. This includes the reassessment period, which should also be kept free in case you have to resit an examination or resubmit a piece of written work. Similarly, it is not seen as acceptable to be late or to miss an examination for any reason that does not satisfactorily meet the criteria laid out in the ‘Guidelines for Mitigating Circumstances and Absence from Examinations and Coursework Extensions with Good Cause’ (available in the Student Handbook). 88 Hull University Business School
  • 89. Revision The aim of the examination process is to test your knowledge and understanding in an environment with a time constraint. Examinations are not merely a memory test either – they test understanding, rather than the specific description of each and every theory and concept. They also seek to evaluate some generic skills such as time management (have you answered all the questions you need to in the given time period?) and your effectiveness under pressure. These are everyday occurrences in working life. Students who are successful in the examination process are those who have developed an effective preparation technique and who are also able to manage themselves and their time during the examination. Here are some general guidelines. • • • Some students prefer to plan and begin their revision well in advance of the examination date, studying small sections at a time when their schedule is less pressurised. Others prefer to revise continually, whether the module’s assessment involves an examination or not, just to maintain the knowledge and understanding of the module’s content. Some students prefer to leave revision until the last minute when there is little chance that they will forget what they have revised. Nobody can say which way is right and which way is wrong. You should work according to what suits you best. You may want to explore and experiment with different approaches so that you know which approach suits you best. It is during revision for an examination that you are likely to realise the importance of making good, well-referenced notes (see Chapter 5). Time invested in making notes will mean that you are well prepared for the revision process. Therefore, maybe without knowing it, you have already started your revision. Your revision will further be speeded up and made more efficient if you have continually revised your notes. It is easier to refresh your short-term memory than relearn what will amount to new information during a period of increased pressure. It is useful to look at some of the recent past examination papers for each of your subject areas. This will help to give you a flavour of the style of questions that may come up, the presentation of an examination paper, and the terminologies used in examination questions. Examination papers are available through the Portal by selecting the ‘Repository’ tab and then Hull University Business School 89
  • 90. Study Skills Handbook • • • • • • 90 selecting ‘past examination papers’ and then by choosing either ‘Business School’ if you are based in Hull or ‘Scarborough Management Centre’ if you are based in Scarborough. Working backwards from the date of the examination make the necessary commitments in your diary and work schedule. Remember to be realistic. You will have other activities during this time, for example, lectures and seminars, assignments, or part-time work. Remember to work on all the modules that are going to be assessed. Do not put all your energy into revising for one module at the cost of others. Allow yourself some relaxation time during your revision – you will perform better if you have some breaks from your revision, where you spend time with friends or even spend an hour having a coffee or going for a walk. The end result of 12 hours’ non-stop revision is likely to be less productive than 3 x 3 hours’ revision, with an hour’s break in between each session. Most Module Leaders will run a session called ‘revision’ – make sure that you attend it! These sessions are intended to help you, and you should not turn down an opportunity for the person who will be marking your examination script to give you guidance and help. Revision can be split into two categories. • Selective revision: Where you focus on specific topics, for example, those that you know best or find really interesting. However, do not be too restrictive – always prepare for the worst scenario: that your preferred question or questions do not appear on the examination paper, or that they do appear, but in a way that you do not feel you could effectively answer. So always revise at least one topic more than you know you will need to answer (for example, if you have to answer two out of five questions, prepare to answer three). There is no need to attempt to memorise everything that you have read, heard, or discussed throughout the module, but there is still a need to have an understanding of all the relevant issues of the subject matter. • Generic revision: If, however, you are not given an indication of what might appear in the examination paper then you will have to refamiliarise yourself with a condensed version of the module’s contents. You may need to look through all the notes you have made and revise the basics of each topic you have covered during the module. There are also several ways in which you could revise: some students work better alone, preferring peace and quiet to revise according to their own pace; other students prefer to work with one friend or a whole group. If you prefer Hull University Business School
  • 91. • to revise on your own then it is always useful to spend a little time discussing the subject matter with a friend to ensure that you have grasped the understanding of key ideas or points. Talking is a useful way of clarifying understanding. The choice is yours – remember to use an approach that works for you. Once you have carried out some revision, you may find it useful to practise answering typical examination questions. Many people find it helpful to write outline answers in response to sample questions. If you are working with a group of people then you may want to exchange and ‘mark’ each other’s answers. Sitting examinations • • • • • • • • • Some people like to allow 10 minutes at the beginning of the examination to jot down their revision planners before they even read the questions. This approach can help you to relax by knowing that you have remembered your plans or notes and that you have the basics of some outline answers there. Read and analyse the questions themselves – carefully. Think about every word in the question and consider what the examiner requires. Make a quick and very rough draft of the main points you intend to cover for each answer. Start writing. Most people find it best to start with the ‘easy’ questions. Keep an eye on the clock. Do not spend too long on one question at the expense of the others. If you are running out of time, structure your response in note form or bullet points – anything is better than nothing. Give yourself a minute or two rest in between answers to gather your thoughts and also relax your eyes and writing hand. Allow 10 minutes at the end of the examination to read through your answers, correcting any mistakes, adding further clarification that you may have forgotten originally, re-writing any words that are illegible. Cross out rough notes that you made at the beginning by putting a line through them. This tells the examiner that they are rough notes and do not constitute part of your formal response to the questions. It is worth remembering that practice makes perfect. At the end of the examination, and also when you obtain your results, reflect on the process and identify ways in which you can improve your examination performance. Hull University Business School 91
  • 92. Study Skills Handbook Use a poor mark effectively, by treating it as a lesson that you can learn from in order to avoid making the same mistakes again. See Chapter 13 on reflective practice Practical tips and advice • • • • • • • 92 Check the date, venue and time of the examination a couple of days before in case there has been any change to arrangements. If you do not know the location of the examination then find out and visit it. Have an early night so that you feel bright and refreshed. Last minute revision into the small hours of the morning may well be counter-productive as you are unlikely to remember very much and you will be tired for the day of the exam. Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready and reach the examination hall on time. If you have to rush you are more likely to be tense and anxious when you sit down and begin writing. Have some breakfast (or lunch) before the exam as it is hard to concentrate if you are hungry. Ensure you have at least one spare pen with you, as well as other items that you may need and which are permitted according to the rubric of the examination paper (for example, a calculator). Be aware of the ‘Instructions to Candidates for Written Examinations’ (available on the University portal), which clearly states the rules candidates have to adhere to during an examination. Remember that mobile phones are not permitted in the examination hall, so either leave your telephone at home or switch it off and leave it in a bag or coat away from your desk. International students are permitted to use their own English/own language dictionaries unless it is expressly forbidden in the examination paper’s rubric. However, students’ own dictionaries will be checked during the examination for notes and annotations, so do not think that it is possible to use your dictionary to take revision notes into the examination, as this will result in an allegation of the use of unfair means being made against you. Any annotation may be deemed an attempt at unfair means. Students must take a completely ‘clean’ dictionary into exams. Subject specific foreign language dictionaries are not likely to be permitted if they go beyond straightforward translations. Hull University Business School
  • 93. • • • • • • • Examination scripts are marked anonymously so it is essential that you know your student registration number and that you write it legibly. Take your student card with you to the examination. Try to write in a legible and easy-to-read style. Examiners do not have the time to decipher messy or unusual styles of writing. If they have difficulty in reading your writing then it is quite likely that they will have difficulty in understanding the content of your answer and how appropriate it may be to the question. You are therefore likely to be marked lower than you might be if your writing was legible. It is worth taking more time to write slowly and neatly. There will always be a clock in the examination hall. You may also want to take off your watch and place it on the desk in front of you so that you can keep good track of the time. Throughout the examination remain calm. Keep your focus on the questions and your answers. Start with the easier questions. Concentrate on what you can do rather than what you cannot. If you do start to panic, put your pen down, shut your eyes for a few moments, take some deep breaths, and then start writing again. If your mind goes blank then start to write – either write whatever you know about the topic or write about how you are feeling. This often helps people to get going again. Once your mind clicks into action then cross out this writing and get started on the examination answers again. You must leave all exam materials in the exam hall – taking your answer paper out with you and handing it in later will be deemed as unfair means. The use of unfair means The University’s Code of Practice on the Use of Unfair Means clearly states that it is an offence against the Code to take into an examination hall materials that are prohibited and that may give an illegitimate advantage over other students. Prohibited material can include revision notes, revision planners, quotations, essay structures, or dictionaries that have notes or annotations contained within the pages. Furthermore, the offence under the Code is actually having these materials on your person or on or around your desk – the Code does not state that it has to be proved that you have actually used the prohibited items. Therefore, you are strongly advised not to take any form of prohibited material into an examination hall with you. If you have any notes with you that you have been using for last minute revision prior to the examination, either leave them in Hull University Business School 93
  • 94. Study Skills Handbook a coat pocket at the back of the room, throw them away before you enter the hall, or give them to an Invigilator before the examination starts. To claim that you put some notes inside your pencil case, which is sitting on your desk, but that you have not referred to them, is not an appropriate excuse. The penalties for being caught with prohibited material, or indeed copying another student’s paper, are very severe. Chapter 8 provides further details It is recommended that you obtain a copy of the University’s Code of Practice on the Use of Unfair Means (available on the University portal) and ensure that you are familiar with its contents before you undertake any form of assessment. Closing comments Students who do well in examinations are those who have developed effective revision techniques and know their subject. They also follow the instructions in the examination papers and answer the set questions rather than questions that they hoped would be set! It is a good idea to take up all the assistance and support given by the University. Reading this manual is a good starting point and you may want to attend special sessions run by your tutor or the Study Advice Service. 94 Hull University Business School
  • 95. Chapter 13 Reflection Introduction Reflection is a natural human activity and we tend to reflect on our daily activities, our successes and failures, relationships and careers. This reflective process may take place during other activities – walking, swimming, showering, washing up. Reflection is important as it enables us to learn from our experiences – both our failures and successes. This helps us to improve our skills and practice. The benefits of reflection include • improved performance, for example in assignments • increased motivation and confidence • greater self-awareness • better understanding of the links between theory and practice • development of professional skills • development of career This short chapter introduces a structured approach to reflection and methods of keeping a record of your reflective practice as this will enable you to develop and improve your academic and professional skills. Hull University Business School 95
  • 96. Study Skills Handbook What is a reflective learner? Reflective learners are people who think about their learning either as they are learning something or at the end of a learning activity e.g. end of a lecture or seminar, end of a semester. Reflective learners reflect on • what they are learning • how they are learning it • their strengths and weaknesses in learning a particular subject or topic • how they can improve their learning processes • how well they are achieving their learning goals Getting started in reflection How to reflect Reflection is a very good tool for helping you to develop and improve your study skills. All it requires is a little time and a method of recording your thoughts such as pen and paper or a cassette recorder. There is more advice on this topic later in the chapter. Different people will prefer to reflect in different ways. It is very important to record your thoughts and many students use a diary or exercise book to do so. Other students may type up their thoughts and some people like to tape record their thoughts. The important point is to keep a record of your reflective practice. There are many different ways of reflecting on your experiences and the following three examples are regularly used by students. It is worth noting that each of these methods includes identifying what you will do differently next time, that is, producing an action plan. Example 1 The easiest way to start reflecting is to spend five minutes after a study period answering the following questions. • What went well? • What didn’t go so well? • What did you learn? 96 Hull University Business School
  • 97. • What will you do differently next time? The final question is vital as it enables you to identify and plan improvements to your approach. The following example was completed by a HUBS student after an independent study session. She used the four questions and noted down her responses as illustrated in the example. What went well? Understood the key readings. Managed to find most of the references on the Internet. Made really good notes. What did you learn? I can find my way around the Internet but perhaps could learn some short cuts. Using a colour coding system made it easier to make notes - they look good. What didn’t go so well? I was tired and seemed to be struggling to stay awake at the end of the session. What will you do differently next time? Time it better! Working in the evening after a full day of lectures was no fun. Next time I’ll do this kind of session on a ‘light’ day. Example 2 Critical incidents Critical incidents are those that often generate emotions or strong feelings. For example, you may be working on a group assignment and there are major problems between two students, you may obtain an unexpectedly low mark for an assignment, or you may find a piece of work very challenging. The following questions may be used to reflect on a critical incident. • Select a critical incident. • Briefly describe it. • What contributed to this situation? Hull University Business School 97
  • 98. Study Skills Handbook • What was your role in creating this situation? • What do you need to do differently in future? Example 3 Personal responses Another useful source of reflection is your own personal response to a situation or process. The following questions may be used to reflect on your personal responses. • How do you feel about this task, activity, group, or module? • What are you enjoying? • What do you dislike? • What do you need to do differently? When to reflect It is a good idea to identify a time when you will reflect on and identify ways of improving your academic practice. You will find it useful to reflect at different times during your programme. For example, at the start of your programme you may want to reflect after each new experience: lecture, seminar, library session, or ICT session. It is always important to reflect after completing an assignment when you can think about your process in producing the assignment. Once your assignment is returned then you can reflect on the feedback you receive from your tutor and identify ways of improving your next assignment. Learning journals Some academic programmes of study and modules ask you to keep a learning journal and this is a specific example of reflective practice. If you are asked to keep a learning journal as part of an assessment activity then you will be given guidance by your tutor. The Study Advice Service provides a guide to reflection and this covers what to write in your learning journal. You may be wondering what are the characteristics of a good quality learning journal; the following list was developed by Jenny Moon (2000) and it indicates the general requirements of a good quality learning journal. • • • 98 A range of entries. Clarity and good observation in the presentation of events or issues. Evidence of speculation based on theory and practice. Hull University Business School
  • 99. • • • • • • Evidence of a willingness to revise ideas in the light of experience and discussion. Honesty and self-assessment. Thoroughness of reflection and self-awareness. Depth and detail of reflective accounts. Evidence of creative thinking. A deep approach to the subject matter. • Representation of different cognitive skills (synthesis, analysis, evaluation etc) • Evidence of reading and reference to theory. • • A match of the content and outcomes of the journal work to module aim and outcomes. Identification in the reflective process of questions for further reflection and exploration. Personal Development Planning (PDP) This section will help you to think about your future career. Many students find that if they begin to think about this early in their degree programme then they can organise themselves to study the right modules and take up extra activities that will give them the CV that will help get that perfect job. Students who don’t think about their personal development are likely to end up with a degree but perhaps have not studied the right subjects for their chosen career. At the end of their degree programme, too many students say “I wish I’d thought of this earlier...” By taking action now you will help yourself do well in the future. What is PDP? Personal development planning (PDP) is a process you go through that allows you to reflect on your learning, performance and achievements and in doing this you are able to plan for your future development in your personal, academic and professional life. The record of this process and your achievements is called a personal development plan. This record may be kept in a paper file or in an electronic file. The choice is yours. The importance of PDP Undertaking PDP can benefit many different aspects of your life. Some of the benefits include gaining clarity in your learning and future plans, becoming Hull University Business School 99
  • 100. Study Skills Handbook more motivated, gaining knowledge of your abilities and skill set and having a clearer insight into yourself as a person. Students who have a personal development plan and use and update it regularly see clear benefits saying that PDP helped them make sense of the theory of their studies, recognise skills, increase awareness of personal values and ethics, recognise strengths and gain an insight into what to do better next time. PDP can help you when it comes to applying for jobs or providing evidence of training as you will need to locate the relevant resources easily. With PDP you build up a portfolio of your personal records over time and so you will not forget about some of the tasks that you have undertaken and will be less likely to miss out on different opportunities. Your personal development plan can also be used by you to monitor your personal progression and to evaluate how well you have progressed and see if you need to make any changes. How to undertake PDP Personal development planning is a process that you are probably already going through without realising. Whether day dreaming about what profession you want to go into to evaluating what went right and what went wrong in a presentation you are going through the process of personal development planning. To help you produce a personal development plan, spend some time undertaking the following actions:  Make notes on what you want to achieve in your life both personally and professionally? Are your plans compatible with each other? You may have to reconsider your priorities for the future in order for you to achieve what is most important to you.  Ensure you have all the information you require as it could save you time and money. When looking at your future career what the job title implies can be very different from what the job actually involves. By being fully informed you will be able to have a clear direction for your aims. 100 Hull University Business School
  • 101.  Make the most of the opportunities that come your way. You will gain knowledge of different areas and will have much more understanding of your abilities and limits.  Have a strong network of people around you who you trust to give you an honest opinion on how you are progressing and what you should do to improve further. Through discussing your plans with other people you will be provided with different ideas of what you could go on to do and gain a much broader view of what is available for you out there. It is a good idea to keep a small notebook with you at all times and use it to monitor your personal development. By writing aims and goals and when you want to achieve them by and also keeping notes on how you are progressing, what you are learning and what you need to change, you are monitoring your development. Keeping a notebook makes it much easier to document your thoughts and you can use it as a reference tool when evaluating your achievement of your targets. How you use the notebook is up to you - you could look at it once a day before you go to university or take it with you as a reference point throughout the day. Whichever way you use it you will find that you become much more focused on what you want to achieve and will actively work towards your goals, as they are fresh in your mind. It is also an idea to keep a folder where you can keep a much broader overview of your development. Depending on your work load and how you manage your time you could either update the folder continuously as you work towards your aims or set aside an afternoon once a month to go through the folder and notebook updating the relevant files gaining a broad overview of how you are progressing as a whole. How you use the folder and what you include is up to you but is a good idea to have documents along the following lines: 1. A personal statement of what you want to achieve in life. Look at updating this every few months as you will find that different aspects of your life plan will alter during your development. Your personal statement should cover where you are now, what you are looking at achieving and the actions you will take, your previous achievements and how they will help you reach your goal, your skills and Hull University Business School 101
  • 102. Study Skills Handbook qualities and perhaps most importantly what you are going to do next. Here is an example of a personal statement: ‘I have just completed my first year of university studying business and management and achieved marks that average at 58 which I am pleased with, but I want to increase them to over 60 this year. Over the summer I had two weeks work experience in a marketing company which I really enjoyed and learnt a lot from. I’m interested in going on a placement year ideally working in the marketing or sales department of an international company. After graduation I am also thinking of going on to do a masters although I’m not sure what area in. At the moment I am considering marketing, however to do this I need to ensure I achieve a 2.1. I work part time as a waitress and from this I have developed good people skills and it has taught me a lot about working for a company. As I am working during term time I feel that my time management skills have really improved.’ 2. A document with a list of your goals along with an action plan of how you aim to achieve them. Make a list of aspects of both academic and personal life that you want to develop further. This could include points such as developing confidence, improving people skills, meeting your progress tutor to discuss a presentation, joining a sports team, reading two non subject books a month or passing your driving test. You will then be able to determine the actions you need to take to achieve these tasks. Some of the tasks may only take an afternoon whereas others will be a much longer process. Also evaluate the tasks, as the skills you aim to develop may be incorporated in other activities. This is why it is a good idea to keep a notebook as you can track the different areas where you are developing the skills. From this list you can work out a timescale for completing the tasks. Consider how long it will take to complete the different tasks and how they will fit in around your existing schedule. A meeting with a tutor may only take thirty minutes whereas passing your driving test is a longer process which will take several hours a week for several months. 102 Hull University Business School
  • 103. Create an action plan for each aim. Make clear notes on what you want to achieve, the steps you will need to take, when you aim to achieve the target and evidence documenting your achievement. Use the following template to create your action plan: Target Steps to achievement 1 2 3 Completed by Evidence Remember that your targets and the steps you take towards achievement don’t have to be university based. Look towards the local community for different steps to achieving your target from joining a sports team to volunteering for a charity. 3. Evaluations of how you are progressing towards your goals and once achieved what you learnt in the process As you progress towards your goals, monitor and evaluate how well you are working. For each target answer the following questions to gain an overview of how well you are working:        What steps have I taken so far to achieve this target? How well have I performed so far? Do I need to alter the target? What feedback have I received and how have I utilised it? What have I learnt about myself and how have I changed? What skills have I acquired or have I improved in a certain area? What are the next steps I can take? After answering the points look back at your action plan and if needed create a new one incorporating any changes that you feel you need to make. Upon achieving your goal one of the key points to help you develop further is to evaluate your work. Along with looking at where you performed well look at any problems that occurred, how you overcame them and if they could have been avoided. It is also important to look at what evidence you are Hull University Business School 103
  • 104. Study Skills Handbook basing your achievement on, (e.g. feedback from others, marks achieved) and how reliable this information is. It is simple to say that you have achieved something however the evidence you supply and the knowledge gained needs to be solid and justifiable. 4. Evidence of your achievements (any certificates) along with copies of your module results 5. A list of your different skills and a brief note showing how you have achieved them Discovering what personal qualities you have can help you to determine the goals and targets you need to set yourself in your development plan. Often you don’t realise the qualities you have and it is a good idea to ask your friends, supervisors and work colleagues to discover the personal qualities you have but are unaware of. Make a list of the qualities you have and for each one determine the following:      Where and how have you developed this quality? What evidence can you give for demonstrating the quality? How has the quality benefited you (looking at academic, professional and personal life)? How will the quality help you in finding a job? Will the quality be a benefit to your employer or place of work? Create a profile of your qualities. You could do this by taking four pages of A4 and giving each one a heading for the different types of personal qualities (e.g. people, activities, academic etc) and under each heading write a list of your personal qualities. This way you will have a clear overview of your qualities and the areas that you need to develop. It is all very well having a broad spectrum of personal qualities but you need to understand the significance and value of them. Sit down with someone who knows you well and let them go through the list seeing if they agree, disagree or can think of any other qualities you can add. Then consider the value of each quality to you personally and the reason why it is important to you. 104 Hull University Business School
  • 105. Here are just a few examples of personal qualities and skills that you may have: people management, negotiation, empathy, public speaking, decision making, IT, selling, fund raising, learning from mistakes, personal motivation, honesty etc. 6. An up-to-date copy of your CV Personal development planning is, broadly speaking, completing the above steps. However you need to look at it as a life skill (like cooking!) that you will develop and expand over time, adding to what you have already learnt. The key ingredients that you need to use for personal development are:  Reflection - this involves thinking about the tasks you are currently doing, what areas you want to improve to how you will achieve this and looking at the past with regards to how you will develop for the future.  Self-awareness - your development is yours alone and you need to be aware of how you are progressing, looking at what is specific to you from strengths to preferences and ambitions, while also being aware of what your limitations are and how you can set about overcoming them.  Information - whilst working towards your goals you need to have up-to-date information in order to make the correct judgements and also to broaden your knowledge.  Responsibility - ultimately the choices you make are yours alone and in your studies and the activities you participate in it is up to you to take personal responsibility for your progression. Planning - PDP is a strategy to get you where you want to be, you need to set the targets, make the achievement and evaluate your position. Hull University Business School 105
  • 106. Study Skills Handbook Your future career When it comes to thinking of your future profession you will most probably fall into one of two groups; those who know exactly what they want to do and how they will get there and those who don’t really know what they want to do but will perhaps have an idea of what area they want to work in. First of all think of where you want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years time. Look not only at the type of job you want to have but also the lifestyle you want to have. Think of what you would want in an ideal world, to run your own business, have a large family, an expensive sports car or to go on long luxurious holidays twice a year. Then bring your ideas back to reality by removing what you can live without or compromise on. Now consider the following points with regards to future career development and what you want to achieve in life:  What do you enjoy doing and can this be related to what you plan to do in a job?  What environment do you want to work in, will you be happy sat in an office all day or would you prefer to travel and meet different people?  What type of people do you want to work with? Would you be happy working with extremely driven, motivated people or in a more relaxed environment?  How much income would you want and how important is money to you, think about your lifestyle plans?  What sort of lifestyle do you want to lead and how achievable will this be with your current career plans? With these questions in mind research the careers that interest you. From this you will gain an insight into the activities they involve and you can get an idea of whether you would be suited to the job. is a useful website that contains information on numerous different professions and aptitude tests that match your results to careers that are most suited to you. The University have a specialist careers service there to help you. From writing CVs to researching jobs the careers service offers invaluable advice to ensure that you know about and utilise the opportunities that are available. The business school also has a World of Work office that provides resources specifically aimed at the School’s students. Remember that the university resources have been designed for you so use them to your full advantage. 106 Hull University Business School
  • 107. With so many graduates applying for the same jobs you need to stand out from the crowd. Along with your degree choice look at the activities you enjoy outside of university. If you are studying management and finance and also enjoy playing sports you could consider applying for management and financial jobs within the sports sector. Your enthusiasm for sports will make you stand out from other candidates. When choosing your elective modules consider picking them from a career perspective looking at what modules will give you the most advantage for specific jobs. However at the same time you may want to broaden your knowledge and gain new perspectives on your subject. There are numerous optional modules available to you. Look to the future and how they will benefit you. Look not only at what interests you but also what the professional bodies require you to take in order to obtain qualifications from these bodies and progress in your career. When it comes to applying for a job it is not only your knowledge that is important but also your other interests and the skills you have gained from them. Activities that you participate in outside of your academic studies can provide you with a different skill set that will differentiate you from other candidates. From problem solving, project leading (for example organising a field trip) to communicating with people in different languages the activities that you participate in show that you have transferable skills. Your future employers are often under the impression that graduates do not have the required transferable skills. However many graduates do have the skills but don’t communicate their skills in the application process. Having undertaken PDP you will have an easily accessible list of your transferable skills and can communicate them to your prospective employer. Closing comments Learning from your experiences will help you to improve your study skills and become successful both as a student and in the workplace. Now is a good time to reflect on your experience of reading this chapter. Hull University Business School 107
  • 108. Study Skills Handbook Chapter 14 Conclusion Feedback If any student or member of staff has any comment or feedback on this handbook they wish to make – positive or negative – it will be welcomed by Improvements to the Study Skills Handbook will help the learning process of future HUBS students. Your comments can make a difference and will be much appreciated. Closing comments Thank you for spending some time reading and working through this handbook. We hope you have found it useful. There is a great deal of information and advice available on study skills. The introduction outlines a range of key sources within the university. The Study Advice Service is an important source of help and guidance. There are many excellent books available on study skills and this chapter is followed by a bibliography of relevant materials. 108 Hull University Business School
  • 109. Resources and Bibliography Useful resources Allan, B (2009), Study Skills for Business and Management Students, Milton Keynes, Open University Press. Cameron, S. (2007) The Business Student’s Handbook, 4th ed., Harlow, Prentice Hall. Cottrell, S. (2003), Skills for Success: the Personal Development Planning Handbook, Basingstoke, Palgrave. Cottrell, S. (2003), The Study Skills Handbook, 2nd ed., Basingstoke, Palgrave. Drew, S. and Bingham, R. (2001), The Student Skills Guide, 2nd ed., Aldershot, Gower. Giles, K. and Hedge, N. (1994), The Manager’s Good Study Guide, Milton Keynes, Open University Press. Moon, J. (2000), Learning Journals, London, Kogan Page. Peck, J. and Coyle, M. (1999), The Student’s Guide to Writing: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, Basingstoke, Palgrave. University of Hull (2003), A Guide to Study Skills for International Students 2003-2004, Hull, International Office, University of Hull. Bibliography Allan, B (2009), Study Skills for Business and Management students, Milton Keynes, Open University Press. Cameron, S. (2007) The Business Student’s Handbook, 4th ed., Harlow, Prentice Hall. Moon, J. (2000), Learning Journals, London, Kogan Page. Hull University Business School 109
  • 110. Study Skills Handbook Salmon, G. (2000), Emoderating, London, Kogan Page. University of Hull (2003), A Guide to Study Skills for International Students 2003-2004, Hull, International Office, University of Hull. 110 Hull University Business School
  • 111. Appendix A: English grammar and punctuation Hull University Business School 111
  • 112. Study Skills Handbook Appendix A English grammar and punctuation Introduction This appendix aims to provide you with a brief, simplified outline of the basic rules of English grammar and punctuation that you can use when undertaking academic writing. It has been put together using text provided by the University Study Advice Service. For more information about grammar, students can consult “Grammar: recommended resources” on the Study Advice Service website at, or contact the Service directly on 01482 466199 or via Non native speakers of English can also seek help from the Language Learning Advisory Service and can use the reference and practice materials for English grammar available in the Open Learning Centre for Languages. 112 Hull University Business School
  • 113.       Appendix: English grammar and punctuation Table 1: English grammar and punctuation (Hyphen) ! (Exclamation mark) . (Full stop) Description A hyphen is used inside compound words. There should be no spaces between the two parts of the words. It is a shorter line than a dash. The exclamation mark shows surprise in a speaker’s voice. Both the question mark and exclamation mark should be followed by capitals, as they are full stops with an extra mark above. Sentences involving question marks or exclamation marks are rare in academic work. An exception is personal learning journals. The end of all sentences, except questions or exclamations, are marked with a full stop. They enable the reader to make a major pause and draw breath. Full stops should always be followed by a capital letter. Example (s) double-edged, anti-nuclear, fifty-six, long-term, first-class, re-erect, coauthor Help! Stop! That is great! The ability to write clear and logical assignments or reports is an essential academic skill and it is also an essential professional skill. Incorrect practice re-build, pre-occupied The results from the experiment were surprising! The ability to write. clear and logical assignments or reports. is an essential academic skill. and it is also an essential professional skill. . The ability to write clear and logical assignments or reports is an essential academic skill and it is also an essential professional skill
  • 114.       ... (Ellipsis mark) : (Colon) ‘ (Apostrophe) The three dots or ellipsis mark is used to show You will now have your lists of tasks omission of material from quotations. This is often for the semester…and so you can begin used in academic writing to edit an overlong to tackle each individual task. quotation. “The strengths of systems dynamics rest on its claim that structure is the main determinant of systems behavior… If this claim is granted, then systems dynamics becomes a unifying interdisciplinary framework…” (Jackson, 2003,78) A colon (:) is used to introduce some additional We now turn to the nations: the US, information e.g. a list, or more detailed explanation. the UK, France and Germany. Think of it as having a meaning: ‘now I’d like to tell you some more about what I’ve just said’. In its simplest form, a colon is used to introduce a list. The writer names a group and then, after a colon, lists the members of the group; sometimes some examples rather than the whole membership. In the UK, colons and semi-colons are never followed by a capital letter. There are two main uses for apostrophes – 1) for possession and 2) for omission. Possession is quite easy – if you know the rule. When we write about someone (the possessor) possessing something, then this is shown by an apostrophe. The rule is: PUT THE APOSTROPHE AFTER THE POSSESSOR (AND ADD AN ‘S’ IF THE SOUND REQUIRES IT). We now turn to the nations: the US: the UK: France and Germany. We now turn to the nations: The US, The UK, France and Germany. POSSESSION One manager’s books - The books of one manager Two managers’ books - The books of more than one manager A woman’s rights - The rights of an individual woman Women’s rights- The rights of (all) women GP’s, 1960’s, book’s
  • 115.       Omission is also quite easy. If you leave letters out of words, then show you have left them out by putting an apostrophe instead. Important points to note:  In academic English avoid the use of shortened words. Use the full forms where possible  Plural nouns which are not possessors NEVER need apostrophes — even if they are abbreviations  it’s = it is and its = of it − (Dash) Dashes are examples of parenthesis. Dashes always come in pairs. If you use one, you must use two. The last one of a pair of commas or dashes is over-ridden by the end of a sentence – use the full stop instead. Avoid using too many dashes in your written work. A dash is not the same as a hyphen – though they are the same key on a computer keyboard. A dash, comes between, not inside words, is a longer line than a hyphen, and should have a space before and after the horizontal line – like this. (If Microsoft WORD Dogs’ behaviour - How dogs (in general) behave A dog’s behaviour - How one particular dog behaves The USA’s voting record- The history of how the USA voted The States’s record OR The States’ record - It depends on how you pronounce it James’s bike – The bike of a boy called James Giddens’s theory – The theory developed by Giddens. OMISSION (avoid these forms in academic writing) He is NOT He’s Is not NOT Isn’t Will not NOT Won’t You are NOT You’re The business was struggling – partly because of poor management – and needed a new direction. The business was struggling – partly because of poor management and needed a new direction.
  • 116.       Adjective Adverbs messes up – as it sometimes does after corrections – and gives you a symbol that is too short, use the Insert menu; go to Symbol; choose Special characters and choose En-dash (the second on the list that Microsoft offers you). Then press Insert and Close.) Adjectives are often described as ‘describing words’ or ‘words used to qualify (= say more about) nouns’. Adverbs are also ‘describing words’, but those used for describing verbs. (Note the structure of the word adverb.) They are also ‘words used to modify a verb’. They say more about the way in which a verb is ‘done’, or carried out, or ‘happens’. Note that many adverbs used with verbs – but not all – end in –ly. This is a way of forming adverbs out of adjectives. Compare He drew a rough picture (adjective) with He drew a picture roughly (adverb). Apostrophe (‘) Adverbs are also used to modify adjectives and other adverbs. There are two main uses for apostrophes – 1) for possession and 2) for omission. Possession is quite easy – if you know the rule. When we write about someone (the possessor) possessing something, then this is shown by an apostrophe. The rule is: PUT THE APOSTROPHE AFTER THE POSSESSOR (AND ADD AN ‘S’ IF THE SOUND REQUIRES IT). a red car; an ambitious manager; the biggest competition. Later, it became dark; She slapped him cruelly; he hit her hard; the car went quickly; then he spoke to all the staff; it was here; I’ll do it tomorrow; the dog ran forward, fast; he thought carefully. Importantly, we should consider …; However, it was not to be; Therefore we must reconsider our decision; Consequently the Government lost the argument. very, quite, extremely POSSESSION One manager’s books - The books of one manager Two managers’ books - The books of more than one manager A woman’s rights - The rights of an individual woman Women’s rights- The rights of (all) women GP’s, 1960’s, book’s
  • 117.       Omission is also quite easy. If you leave letters out of words, then show you have left them out by putting an apostrophe instead. Important points to note:  In academic English avoid the use of shortened words. Use the full forms where possible  Plural nouns which are not possessors NEVER need apostrophes — even if they are abbreviations  it’s = it is and its = of it Articles Examples of articles are the, a and an. The is called the definite article because it tends to define a definite or particular one. Dogs’ behaviour - How dogs (in general) behave A dog’s behaviour - How one particular dog behaves The USA’s voting record- The history of how the USA voted The States’s record OR The States’ record - It depends on how you pronounce it James’s bike – The bike of a boy called James Giddens’s theory – The theory developed by Giddens. OMISSION (avoid these forms in academic writing) He is NOT He’s Is not NOT Isn’t Will not NOT Won’t You are NOT You’re That is the car that I would like to buymeans the particular model, or machine. I would like a car - means ‘any car’. A (and an) are called the indefinite article(s), because they are much more vague. They tend to mean any one. The manager introduced an appraisal system. The manager introduced a appraisal system.(a changes to ‘an’ if the word that follows it starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u).
  • 118.       Brackets Brackets are used to insert additional information into a sentence. Brackets always come in pairs. If you use one, you must use two. With brackets, note that any full stop at the end goes with the sentence it closes. If the sentence is wholly inside the brackets, then the full stop should come before the closing bracket. (You must always close brackets.) The human resource manager introduced a new appraisal system (the APPRISE sytem). (This is incorrect). (This rule is demonstrated in this sentence.) If the bracket is inside a sentence, then the full stop comes after the closing bracket. This is (incorrect.) This rule looks (like this). Capital letters The square brackets [ ] show any material added to a quotation. Capital letters are used for:  the first word of a sentence We went to the park  the first person singular pronoun, as a subject, yes, even in e-mails; otherwise, it’s a spelling error! I do not understand the exercise.  a title Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr, Professor  a proper noun. e.g. the name of a person, place or language. Jane Smith, Tony Blair, Peter Wilson, Russia, Russian; Africa, African; Paris, Parisian; Andalusia, Japanese, Arab, Arabic Exception: If you are writing the title of a book or journal then the form is as shown in the opposite example. Warning: Do NOT use capitals to highlight key words Management and Organizational Behaviour i do not understand the exercise. The first stage in the Project Cycle involves a detailed analysis.
  • 119.       in your assignment. This is considered poor practice. Colon (:) Comma (,) A colon (:) is used to introduce some additional information e.g. a list, or more detailed explanation. Think of it as having a meaning: ‘now I’d like to tell you some more about what I’ve just said’. In its simplest form, a colon is used to introduce a list. The writer names a group and then, after a colon, lists the members of the group; sometimes some examples rather than the whole membership. In the UK, colons and semi-colons are never followed by a capital letter. Essentially, punctuation is a guide to reading aloud. Each punctuation mark represents a pause, or a tone of voice. If you are unclear about punctuation then read out your text. Where you think a reader should We now turn to the nations: the US, the UK, France and Germany. We now turn to the nations: the US: the UK: France and Germany. We now turn to the nations: The US, The UK, France and Germany. Mr John Smith, the company accountant, provided clear leadership to his team. The ability to, write clear and logical assignments or, reports is an essential academic skill, and it is
  • 120.       make a major pause (draw breath), use a full stop (.). Where you think a reader should make a smaller pause, use a comma (,). If you do this, you will rarely be wrong. You will not be using punctuation in a very sophisticated way, but you will make fewer mistakes. Sometimes, the use of reading aloud can help you decide whether you need a comma or not. The e-mentoring project, which used the online system iCohere, was funded by the European Union. Employers are looking for graduates with high level skills, e.g communication and team working skills, as well as technical knowledge. Commas are used to help the reader. They are often used to separate out a clause that provides additional information. If you are unsure about where to place the commas then a simple test is that if you remove the text that is marked by the commas then the sentence will still make sense. Conjunctions Warning: many academics disagree about commas. Where Dr X thinks a text needs commas for clarity, Prof. Y may feel there should be fewer commas. Some people use much more punctuation than others. But a good deal of punctuation is A MATTER OF TASTE AND PERSONAL STYLE. These are ‘joining words’ and they are used to join different parts of a sentence. Examples include: and, but, either, or, neither, nor, that. There are two kinds of conjunctions. Co-ordinating conjunctions join two units of equal importance. I went to the lecture and made some notes. also an essential professional skill.
  • 121.       Subordinating conjunctions are used to link clauses (or sentences) together in such a way as to show their relationship of meaning. He said that it was a fine day. Note: in formal academic English, use like as a preposition only (with nouns). With verbs (clauses) use the conjunction as. (In informal English, many people use like with verbs (e.g. “like I said”). This is regarded as a mistake in academic writing). Dash (−) Ellipsis mark (...) Dashes are examples of parenthesis. They always come in pairs. If you use one, you must use two. The last one of a pair of commas or dashes is over-ridden by the end of a sentence – use the full stop instead. Avoid using too many dashes in your written work. The business was struggling – partly because of poor management – and needed a new direction. A dash is not the same as a hyphen – though they are the same key on a computer keyboard. A dash, comes between, not inside words, is a longer line than a hyphen, and should have a space before and after the horizontal line – like this. (If Microsoft WORD messes up – as it sometimes does after corrections – and gives you a symbol that is too short, use the Insert menu; go to Symbol; choose Special characters and choose En-dash (the second on the list that Microsoft offers you). Then press Insert and Close.) The three dots or ellipsis mark is used to show You will now have your lists of tasks omission of material from quotations. The three dots for the semester…and so you can begin indicate that some text has been cut out from the to tackle each individual task. Like I said earlier in the essay. This should be written as: As I wrote earlier in this essay... Only use the word like if you are writing about ‘like’ in the sense of loving or friendship. The business was struggling – partly because of poor management and needed a new direction.
  • 122.       Exclamation mark (!) Full stop (.) original source. This mark is often used in academic writing to edit an overlong quotation. “The strengths of systems dynamics rest on its claim that structure is the main determinant of systems behavior… If this claim is granted, then systems dynamics becomes a unifying interdisciplinary framework…” (Jackson, 2003,78) The exclamation mark shows surprise in a speaker’s Help! Stop! That is great! voice. Both the question mark and exclamation mark should be followed by capitals, as they are full stops with an extra mark above. Sentences involving question marks or exclamation marks are rare in academic work. An exception is personal learning journals. The end of all sentences, except questions or The ability to write clear and logical exclamations, are marked with a full stop. They enable assignments or reports is an essential the reader to make a major pause and draw breath. academic skill and it is also an Full stops should always be followed by a capital essential professional skill. letter. Homophones A homophone is a word that sounds like another word, but is spelled differently.    to, two, too there, their principal and principle. The results from the experiment were surprising! The ability to write. clear and logical assignments or reports. is an essential academic skill. and it is also an essential professional skill. . The ability to write clear and logical assignments or reports is an essential academic skill and it is also an essential professional skill Where is the book?.
  • 123.       See Table 2 for further examples and explanations of correct usage. Hyphen (-) Interjections Nouns Paragraph Parenthesis Plurals A hyphen is used inside compound words. There should be no spaces between the two parts of the words. It is a shorter line than a dash. These are the single words or short phrases that are normally used only in spoken English, to express a (sudden) emotion or something similar. Interjections are NOT normally used in academic English. You may have learnt that ‘a noun is a naming word’ or that 'a noun is the name of a thing, idea, person or place.' Another way of identifying nouns is that if you put a word after 'the' or 'a' and it sounds and looks correct then it is probably a noun. However, this does not apply to all nouns – e.g. people's names only have 'the' before them in unusual circumstances, but they are still nouns. Assignments need to be broken down into paragraphs. Each paragraph will deal with one idea and should be made up of a number of sentences. Academic English probably has an average of between two and five paragraphs per page. Each paragraph should contain several sentences. See the sections on brackets, dashes and commas. Use a dictionary to identify plurals. Nearly all nouns (names of things) form their plurals by adding -s (or -es) – the regular plural form double-edged, anti-nuclear, fifty-six, long-term, first-class, re-erect, coauthor Gosh! Wow! My goodness! Ow! Ouch! See Table 2 for further examples and explanations of correct usage. re-build, pre-occupied the man, a car, a university, a course, the reference, a man, a town, a desk, a dog, a car, a bridge, a religion the Anne [that I am talking about] is the one in the History Department, the Hull I mean is in Canada One sentence paragraphs. Very long paragraphs e.g. paragraphs that are spread over one or two pages. dog →dogs, house→houses, match → matches woman→ women, sheep→sheep
  • 124.       (see opposite). There are some irregular plurals in native English but the vast majority of nouns form their plurals regularly. Some examples of plurals used in academic English are:  Words that ended -ex or -ix in Latin had a plural in -ices (pronounced with two syllables, ‘-i-’ as in ‘in’, and ‘sees’).  Words that end in –is form plurals in -es  Words that ended in -um in Latin formed their plurals in -a. Table 3 provides other examples of words in their singular and plural forms. These examples suggest that students who do not know the language concerned should never try to ‘work out’ the correct forms. Prepositions These are short words such as of, over, across, for, upon, as (when it is used as a noun), about, at, by, far, from, in, inside, into, on, outside, onto, to, with. They help to make the meaning of sentences clear. Compound prepositions exist too e.g. because of, out of. appendix →appendices, index→ indices, helix→ helices, vertex→ vertices, vortex→ vortice, codex→ codices. crisis→ crises, emphasis→ emphases, thesis → theses curriculum → curricula, datum → data. (‘Datum’ is a word rarely used in English though the word data, and data themselves, are essential for academic writing! The word ‘datum’ is rather like ‘a singular statistic’. In mapmaking and related subjects, it means ‘a base line’.) Use a dictionary to identify plurals. as (when it is used with a noun), about, at, by, for, from, in, inside, into, of, on, outside, onto, to, with, etc. Note that, while US and informal UK English use the form out the window (simple preposition), formal academic English in the UK prefers the compound preposition out of the window. The opposite is true of outside: the formal
  • 125.       academic form in the UK is outside the house but US English prefers outside of the house. Between you and me Between you and I Pronouns Personal pronouns include: I, you, we, he, she. A complete set of personal pronouns is provided in table 4. He managed the team. John and I wrote the report. He gave it to me. Relative pronouns – sometimes called wh-words – are pronouns (words which stand for nouns) – which relate one meaning to another meaning. The commonest are which, who and whose. Where and when also fit this pattern. ‘Who’ is like the personal pronouns. Note that whom is like him. If you are confused about when to use whom, try substituting he or him. If him sounds more natural, use whom. If he sounds more natural, use who. Beware a common spelling error: whose is the possessive form. Who’s is the contracted form of who is. (Contracted forms, like isn’t, I’m, she’s and can’t should be avoided in academic English writing.) Demonstrative pronouns show (demonstrate) what you are talking about. Examples include: This, that, these and those Don’t confuse them with demonstrative possessives (see above). This, that, these and those are the commonest – but they are That is the one I want I want that book John and me wrote the report. He gave it to I
  • 126.       only pronouns when they are single words, standing for a noun. Question mark (?) Quotation marks (‘ ‘ and “ “) Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions. Examples include: What, where, when, who, why The question mark is used at the end of a question. It shows the rising tone of a spoken question. Who wrote the book? The book was written by whom? What is that? Who are you? What is an independent learner? Quotation marks are also called Inverted commas and speech mark. They are used to indicate speech, quotations and to mark a word or phrase as having special meaning. “The four methods most frequently If you use a word-by-word quotation in your used to support the various stages of assignments then you must use quotation marks and the system dynamics methodology are…” (Jackson, 2003, 70) you should use the double quotation marks (“ and “). She said, “It is a very hot day”. Inverted commas (‘ ‘ and “ “) Semi colon (;) With quotation marks, note that any full stop at the end goes with the sentence it closes. If the sentence is wholly inside the inverted commas, then the full stop should come before the closing inverted comma. If the inverted commas are inside a sentence, then the full stop comes after the closing inverted comma. See the section on quotation marks. A semi-colon is a good example of more sophisticated punctuation: as its appearance suggests, it is half way between a full stop and a comma. Use it when you write two separate sentences, know they are separate "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." In the 1960s, the USA was the world’s strongest nuclear power; the USSR was not far behind. South Korea is a democratic country Whom wrote the book? The book was written by who?
  • 127.       and should have a full stop, but you’d like to keep them very closely linked. A semi-colon can also be used as a separator in lists of longer items. Usually items in a list are separated by commas. When we make a shopping list, for example, short items (simple names) are separated by commas: milk, butter, eggs, tea, brown sugar etc. In academic writing, however, the items may be quite long. In the second example given opposite, each of the ‘causes’ mentioned is so long that the three of them together need the semi-colon to make them easier to read. A simpler approach is to use separate sentences (see the third example opposite). If in doubt then keep it simple. Suggestion: if you find punctuation getting out of control, then break your thoughts into separate sentences. with independent political parties; North Korea is a one-party (communist) state. Among the most important causes of the Second World War were: the growing desire, and indeed policy, of Hitler for increased lebensraum for the German people; the growing fear and distrust of the democratic states for this and other manifestations of Fascism; and the sympathy of the democratic nations for the plight of helpless countries in the centre of Europe. Among the most important causes of the Second World War were the growing desire, and indeed policy, of Hitler for increased lebensraum for the German people. In addition the growing fear and distrust of the democratic states for this and other manifestations of Fascism and the sympathy of the democratic nations for the plight of helpless countries in the centre of Europe were also causes.
  • 128.       Sentence The main unit of language is the sentence. It starts with a Capital (upper case) letter and ends with a full stop. In academic English, sentences are often complex and contain phrases or clauses. When you are writing sentences then make sure that they express the idea that you want to share with the reader. If you use commas then make sure that you follow the guidelines on commas given in this table. When you are writing complex sentences read them out to make sure that they make sense. If you think they may cause confusion then split them up into shorter sentences. Speech marks (‘ ‘ and “ “) Verbs I went to the lecture and made some notes. The e-learning training programme, which was designed by an external consultant, was evaluated using a range of tools. Demand rose, but supply fell. He said that he would resign the next day See the section on inverted commas. You may have heard a verb defined as ‘a doing word’ or ‘a word that expresses an action or a state’. A more modern way of looking at it is as a word that can have tense – i.e. that can change, or be changed, to express past, present or future (etc). If you can say ‘I do it today’ (or ‘I am doing it today’) and then change it to ‘I will do it tomorrow’ or ‘I did it yesterday’, then it is probably a verb. This covers the case of verbs that express a state (e.g. to be and to become) as well as verbs of action (e.g. to fight, to play, to run.) To do, to be, to swim, to study, to speak, to shop, to read, to write, to want, to fight, to talk, to listen
  • 129.      
  • 130.       Table 2: Common problems Tricky words Explanation Here, there, everywhere Words that mean ‘a place’ are all formed from the word here. a) If you mean ‘in this place’, say here. (But note: you hear with your ears.) b) If you mean ‘in that place’, use there (th + (h)ere). c) If you mean ‘which place’, use where (wh + (h)ere). This applies to everywhere too. Whose, who’s Here, here Two, too or to? Your or you’re? Beware a common spelling error: whose is the possessive form. Who’s is the contracted form of who is. Avoid using shortened forms such as Who’s. a) Here means a place b) Hear means to hear with your ear. a) Two is the number ‘2’. b) Too (pronounced long) means as well, also. “I like coffee. I like tea too.” It also means over much, surplus. “The weather is too hot for me.” c) To is the spelling for all other meanings of words that sound like this. It tends to be pronounced very short. Sometimes it sounds like ‘teh’, or can be written (in slang) as ‘gotta’ a) Your is like their. It means ‘belonging to’, or ‘of’, you. “It’s your turn”. “Your assignment this week is …” b) You’re is like they’re. It means ‘you are’. “You’re Correct usage Incorrect usage a) Here is the shopping centre b) There is a Tesco shop in the shopping centre. c) Where is the shopping centre? The adverts are everywhere. a) Whose bag is this? b) Who’s coming to tea? Whose coming to tea? This sentence should be written: Who is coming to tea? There are to many managers. The sentence should be written as: ‘There are too many managers.’ Your not going to like this report. The sentence should be written as: ‘You are not going to like this report.’
  • 131.       doing well”. “You’re to write an essay about ….” Where or were? a) Where is a place, like here. b) Were is like was. So Where were you is the right way round. Its or It’s? a) Its = of it b) It’s = it is Their, they’re or there? a) Their = of them. “Have you seen their house?” b) They’re = they are. “They’re moving in today.” c) There is the spelling for all other meanings of words that sound like this. “I left it there, in that chair”. “There are three things I want you to remember.” “There, there, have you hurt yourself?” “There’s no chance you can get a ticket?” Affect or effect? a) To affect is a verb – to do something, e.g. “she was affected deeply by the death of her husband”; “to raise taxes affects everyone”. a) The researcher found it difficult to identify companies where children were employed on their production line. b) The countries in which these management practices are most commonly found were identified by a survey. a) The company advertised its training programme via the Intranet. b) It’s a long way to travel by canal . a) There company is recruiting new staff. Sentence should be written: Their company is recruiting new staff. b) There moving today. This sentence should be written as: They are moving today. c) Their are three points to note in this diagram. This sentence should be written as: There are there points to note in this diagram. a) The credit crunch affected their family income. b) The effect of the credit crunch The focus group involved working with the team who where working on the project. This sentence should be written as: The focus group involved working with the team who were working on the project.
  • 132.       b) Practice or practise? Found or Founded? Lie or lay – or laid? Principle or principal? An effect is a noun – a thing, or result. Cause and effect are opposites. “The effects of the war were…”. a) A practice is a noun – something that you do, “there is a football practice tonight”; “I did 5 hours’ piano practice yesterday”; “my usual practice is to warm up for five minutes first”; “she is in General Practice”. (If you can say “a practice” in your sentence, then it is practice.) b) To practise is a verb – to do something, e.g. “I practised my vocabulary last night”; “he practised Law in London.” a) To find is a verb, roughly the opposite of to lose. Its past tense is found. “Yesterday I found a five pound note”; “He found the reference in his textbook”. b) Confusingly, there is also a verb to found, which means to lay the foundations of, or to begin. Its past tense is founded. “Robert Owen founded the socially experimental community of New Lanark”; “Bill Gates founded Microsoft”. a) To lie is an intransitive verb – i.e. it has no object. You lie down. b) To lay is a transitive verb – i.e. it has an object. You lay something down. Confusingly, the past tense of to lie is lay: “She lay down for a moment at three o’clock”. The past tense of to lay is laid: “They laid down their weapons” a) A principle is an underlying idea, or a moral belief, etc. b) A principal is either a Head (e.g. a Head- was to reduce their monthly income by 30%.
  • 133.       teacher); or an adjective describing the most important thing, “The principal point in this lecture is…”
  • 134.       Table 3: Singular and plural forms of words Singular Plural Notes Abscissa abscissae OED also records abscissas. Addendum addenda ~ ‘the things that should be added’. Alumna alumnae These are the feminine forms, ~ old girl(s). Alumnus alumni These are the masculine forms, ~ old boy(s). Analysis analyses Don’t confuse with verb to analyse Appendix appendices Better academic plural than appendixes. auditorium auditoria automaton axis automata axes bacterium bacteria OED also records automatons. Maths (~ turning point; graph line); History (the Axis = Germany, Italy, Japan in W.W.II). N.B. a single tiny thing is a bacterium. cherub cherubim Academic religious contexts. Children are cherubs. colloquium colloquia compendium compendia consortium consortia continuum continua corpus corpora crisis crises criterion criteria curriculum curricula dictum dicta OED also records compendiums. The adjective is curricular. analyses.
  • 135.       emphasis emphases Don’t confuse with to emphasise emphasises erratum errata focus foci Also focuses; in U.K. often ‘irregular’ focusses. forum fora Many people say forums. fungus fungi Colloquially, sometimes funguses. ganglion ganglia genus genera helix helices hypothesis hypotheses incunabulum incunabula index indices locus loci maximum maxima medium media minimum minima nebula nebulae opus opera Musical plays use ‘the works’ to move the audience. persona personae - and personae non gratae. phenomenon postscriptum phenomena -scripta quantum quanta radius radii referendum referenda Also referendums. rostrum rostra “rarely rostrums” OED. Don’t confuse with verb to hypothesise. Better academic plural than indexes. Note adjective maximal. Note adjective minimal. Academics may add several post scripta to a letter. Others have i OED records quantums. emphasises.
  • 136.       seraph seraphim In academic religious studies. series series Singular and plural are the same. simulacrum simulacra species species spectrum spectra stadium stadia stimulus stimuli stratum strata syllabus syllabi Better in academic writing than syllabuses. synthesis syntheses - and verb to synthesise. thesis theses tumulus tumuli Mostly archaeological. ultimatum ultimata Ultimatums also exists. vertex vertices vortex vortices Singular and plural are the same. Still better in academic English than stadiums.
  • 137.       Table 4: Personal pronouns Subjective Objective Possessive Demonstrative Possessive Reflexive 1st person singular I me my mine myself 2nd person singular you you your yours yourself [In older English thou thee thy thine thyself] masculine he him his his himself feminine she her her hers herself neuter it it its its itself 1st person plural we us our ours ourselves 2nd person plural you you your yours yourselves [In older English Ye] 3rd person plural they them their theirs themselves ‘impersonal’ one one one’s — oneself 3rd person singular - Note: Singular: one of the word, e.g. a boy, a child, he. Plural: more than one e.g. boys, children, they. 1st person: means the person who is speaking — I. 2nd person: the person to whom the 1st person is talking — you. 3rd person: the one we are talking about — he, she, it, they.