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UNIV 1003 University Strategies: Student Success

College Tips

Avoiding Plagiarism

Citation Styles

When you write a paper, it's important to always cite any books, articles, or other resources that you use. Depending on your field of study and the classes you are taking, there are several different citation styles you may need to use.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a great resource for learning about citations.

In this course, you will use either APA or MLA. The library has copies of their official manuals if you would like to learn more about these styles.

Top Ten Things to Know About College Libraries

Transitioning to College: Helping You Succeed

Top 10 Things First-Year Students Should Know about Using College Libraries to do Research

10. The Book Collection in a College Library Doesn’t Look Like the One in Your Local Public Library.

College libraries need to support students and faculty doing work in many different areas of study.  The books in college libraries are added to the collection because they support the curriculum, the courses that are being taught at a specific institution.  There are no engineering courses taught at NSU, so there are very few books in the college on that topic.  On the other hand, there are many nursing books on the shelves as there are many students who are studying nursing here.

9. Research Is a Process.

Research involves looking in several places, taking careful notes, asking questions, and sometimes dealing with a few false starts.  No kidding, research is usually hard work.  It involves a lot of small steps.  The information you find might range from one small detail that makes your paper perfect to the discovery of new information that eventually helps you with a career choice.  You never know; the information you find today could change your life tomorrow.

8. Know your ABCs and 123s.

That’s all you will need in order to understand the Library of Congress (LC) classification system that is used to organize materials in the main collection of our library.  LC numbers can seem confusing at first because they begin with letters instead of numbers.  Just take it one letter at a time.  There is a Youth Collection on the 2nd floor of the John Vaughan Library, in support of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs, which is classified in the Dewey system like books in high school and public libraries.

7. Ask Questions.

Library catalogs will lead you to items that are physically on the shelf and online.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how to find what you need.  No one can be expected to navigate the complexity of the library on his or her own.  Librarians are available to help you in person, on the phone, and via email.

6. Become Familiar with Citations.

A citation is a listing of the key pieces of information about a work that make it possible to locate it.  Think of it as an address for that particular items.  The elements of a citation normally include author, title, and date of publication, and depending on the type of material (book, article, video, etc.) other elements will be present such as volume, issue, and page numbers for journal articles.  Citations represent a basic element of scholarly research.  You will use citations to locate information and also to give credit to the works of others when you write about them.  Different disciplines use different citation styles – become familiar with the one used in your subject area.

5. Evaluation Is Key!

Your ability to evaluate the information you use is more important than ever, especially because the Web has become so popular.  Since anyone can post information on the Internet, it is important that you turn a critical eye to the information you find and use.  Ask questions such as, “Who wrote this?  What are their credentials? How old is this information?  Are there any errors of fact or logic in the information?  Does the author display bias in any way?”  You probably already know how to do these types of evaluations.  Just don’t assume that because you are now in college you will always be dealing with information that is credible.  This habit of evaluating needs to become a life-long habit.

4. Learn to Avoid Plagiarism.

Plagiarism is intellectual theft.  Your professors take it very seriously.  Simply stated, to plagiarize is to use another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without giving credit.  Turning in another person’s paper as your own is a blatant example of plagiarism, but something accidental like failing to correctly cite a source because it isn’t clear from your sloppy notes is also plagiarism.  So be careful and be aware of the rules.

3. Get an Early Start.

With all the technology available today, you might think that getting an early start on your research wouldn’t be that important, but it is.  Sometimes you expect to be able to find information on your topic and discover that it is more difficult than you thought.  By starting early, you can avoid the frustrations that can arise when you hit dead ends.  Besides, when you give yourself a head start with your research, you will most likely have the time to make use of Interlibrary Loan. You’ve probably heard this many times already, but getting an early start really will make things go more smoothly.

2. Everything Is not on Google.

Many students have the misperception that they can find everything with search engines like Google.  But the truth is – search engines have certain limitations.  Using library resources will give you access to licensed information that has been reviewed by publishers, editors, and librarians and that is not freely available on the Internet.  A librarian is often your best search engine – this research expert can point you to the best databases for your topic as well as reputable Internet sites.

1. Focus on Scholarly Literature.

Time magazine and Sports Illustrated are not considered scholarly journals.  Scholarly journals report research.  Your professors will expect you to focus your investigations on these types of sources.  Most scholarly articles include an abstract (summary) of the article, are written by faculty members and/or researchers, have charts or graphs but not colorful graphics or ads, and include the citations for their research.  Scholarly journals are also known as peer-reviewed or refereed.

This list was adapted from:

Common Read

2024 Common Read Book

The 2024 Common Read book is There is No Good Card for This by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell. 

There is No Good Card for This

What is Common Read?

All first-year students enrolled in University Strategies are asked to read a book, which is chosen on an annual basis via a committee and a campus-wide vote. This book is an important part of the UNIV 1003 class as it encourages insightful discussion and creates connection between university students, staff, and faculty. 

For more information about the common read, be sure to check out the links below. 

Paying for College

College can be expensive, but there are resources available to help.

Majors & Careers

Library Books

Online Resources