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Modern Languages library guide

Frequently asked questions / emails

This section is broken down into Starting Research, Critical Thinking, Good Research, Referencing and Support headings and is designed to answer several frequently asked questions (FAQs) that Daren and Martin have responded to in their roles as Business Librarians.


Q. Is there anywhere I can go to get some advice on writing an assignment?

A: We (Martin and Daren) have lots of experience in advising students on how to start an assignment. Our general advice is to break down the assignment question into keywords and search a database (refer to 'Finding Journals' tab) or Find it at Lincoln on the library homepage ( We are very familiar with how the databases operate and what information they hold. Please email to make an appointment.


Q. I want to get a 1st class degree, but I'm just missing out. Is there any advice you could give me?

A. Obviously take note of all your tutor feedback. Go and see your tutor and ask for additional feedback if it is necessary.

A crucial piece of advice is to look at the marking criteria for your assignment, and notice how to obtain a higher mark. We've chosen the assessment criteria from the Consumer Culture and Tourism handbook. To identify what skills you need as a student it is worth noting the following keywords and phrases:

>70% Well-structured with an excellent introduction and conclusion. Wide and imaginative background research and reading, clearly referenced with sources acknowledged throughout. The topic is examined fluently and creatively, discussed clearly and succinctly, with a thorough critical analysis. An inspired, polished piece of work.

60-69% Well-structured essay with a good introduction and conclusion. Evidence of thorough background research and reading, clearly referenced with sources acknowledged throughout. The topic is discussed authoritatively and there is clear evidence of critical analysis. With additional inspiration and polish, essays in the upper sixties can achieve a first-class mark.

Judging from the marking criteria, what a 2:1 may lack includes close examination / scrutiny, inspiration and imagination, and a thoroughness attributed to a 1st class assignment. To get a higher grade includes thorough research, fluent structure and critical debate, in addition to a solid introduction and strong conclusion.

Finally, there's no substitute for hard work. The tutors will realise how much you have applied your reading and indeed, enjoyed writing your assignment. If you found the writing a chore then this may come across in your writing style.


Q. How do I write an academic essay and think critically?

A: It is a valuable skill that you will acquire during your study at university. One piece of advice is to look at journal articles. They are similar to essays and are worth replicating, but not plagiarising! Find it at Lincoln is a good place to start at

Q. My last assignment was marked down for not applying theory, and being too descriptive. Can you help me?

A. Yes, we can. Research is not just about reading, but effectively demonstrating your understanding and how the theory works in practice. You can either email us at and arrange for a 1-1 session in the Library, or come to one of our drop-in sessions run throughout the week (details to be released soon) and 9.30 -11.30 every Wednesday, during term-time on the ground floor of the Business building opposite the Book and Latte. We can advise on your assignment, but not proof read. We can offer advise on finding information, writing skills and referencing.


Q. There's nothing written about my assignment question and I've tried everywhere. Will you be able to help me?

A: Yes, we certainly can. It's our job to support students through their studies. You can either select the 'Finding Journals' or 'Finding Books' tabs on this guide (Library Guide for International Students) and search the various databases and Find it at Lincoln, or arrange an appointment with either Martin or Daren by emailing

Q. What is a scholarly article and why do I have to use one?

A. When an academic submits an article to a journal such as the International Journal of Production Research the article is reviewed by a panel of experts who will be able to check its credibility, thus ensuring the quality of the journal's research.

Q. Can I use Google for my academic research?

A. The web is a fantastic resource for research, and may be useful in finding company information, for instance, but it is not recommended for academic debate, which is a skill you need to develop at university. You will need to retrieve scholarly articles from either Find it at Lincoln, or a database such as Business Source Complete (see finding journals tab) and compare what they say about a particular topic you're researching, summarise the debate and evaluate what they are discussing in your own words.

Q. When seaching Find it at Lincoln I find a million results about business, how can I refine my results?

Once you have conducted your research iin Find it at Lincoln (, you can refine your results by following these steps:

  • Use the left-hand options, such as adjusting the date range, choosing scholarly articles, etc.
  • You can also use advanced search to specify keywords and phrases.
  • A good piece of advice is notice what keywords are included in your assignment title and use them.
  • Once you have done this other keywords will appear.
  • Take note of these and you will be able to refine your results.
  • Using this step-by-step approach you will be more successful in your research. Consider research is like a funnel, starting as broadly as possible and then narrowing it down, but not losing any of the essential ingredients.


Q. I was marked down on my last assignment for poor referencing. Where can I go for help?

A. Select the 'Study Skills' tab to either download our new Harvard referencing guide, or pick up a free guide from the library issue desk. Our Harvard Referencing Guide is the official referencing guide for all courses using the Harvard system, which includes the Business School. Both Martin and Daren offer advice on referencing too. It is advisable to notice how your tutor references and check with them to double-check any queries.


Q. How can an Academic Subject Librarian help me? I thought they only ordered books....

A. We are happy to meet students either 1-1, in groups or in lectures. We are contactable by phone or email, and we are based on the ground floor of the Library, in the last big open plan office on the ground floor of the Library. It's best if you email beforehand though, just to make sure that we can see you to discuss your research.

Q. I've heard that you have a RASH, what is that?

A. RASH is our new Writing Advice support centre starting in September 2014. Details about this service will be released on the Business Librarian blog at and on the Library homepage at

Q. Are you able to proof-read my assignment?

A. No, but the English Language Centre can proof read a paragraph. We may offer general advice on your assignment but it is important that your work is properly referenced (select the Study Skills tab and examine the 'Referencing' box) and is entirely your own work.

Q. If I make an appointment with one of the Business Librarians, when are they available?

A. Daren works from Monday (7.30-2pm), Tuesdays (7.30-2pm) and Wednesdays (7.30- 5.30pm).

Martin works from Wednesday (7.30-2pm), Thursday (7.30-4pm), Friday (7.30-4pm). These are additional hours from September 2014 to increase library support for the Business School. These times may vary depending on delivering lectures and workshops. Please email to make an appointment.

We also run drop-in sessions every Wednesday morning 9.30 - 11.30 on the ground floor of the Business and Law Building. We also run Learning Development sessions throughout the weeks (times to be confirmed) on Finding Information, Writing Skills and Referencing. See the Business Librarian blog for announcements on the scheduling of these drop-in sessions.