The first thing you should do when working on an essay/thesis is to search for relevant literature. Searching for and finding sources can be time consuming, so be sure to set aside enough time for this. You might also find sources that the library has to order in for you, and this can add additional time to the process. Doing this preparation before writing is well worth the effort. A good academic text will demonstrate that you are familiar with the field in question, and able to discuss research questions based on a wide selection of sources. You can find tips on how to get started on searching here.
It is important to cite your sources correctly. You need to make clear when you reference someone else’s ideas or research and when the words are your own. It is important to demonstrate that you can relate to relevant research within your field, and you need to prove that you can base your own thoughts and reasoning on existing research, while at the same time crediting your sources. Not citing your sources properly is plagiarism. Lastly, you need to cite your sources correctly so that your reader can easily locate them, either to read them or to see if your interpretation of them is correct.
Useful resources for learning more about academic writing
Search and write is a thorough guide to different aspects of information gathering and academic writing. This site will help you with everything from searching techniques to putting together a reference list. Search and write contains examples from different styles, like APA, Harvard and Vancouver.
The Citation Compass is a resource that focuses on source evaluation and referencing in APA. This is a good place to go if you are wondering how to reference an article with several authors, or how to cite a blog post correctly. The Citation Compass answers these questions in a thorough and easily accessible way.
Students at NLA can get access to Endnote, a source management program, by contacting IT