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Many universities have specific variations within these general conventions and you should check with your university whether a specific referencing style is required.There are two British Standards that outline referencing styles.
They use an author-date format: You can download a free guide based on these British Standards here: Free Essay Referencing Guide (right click and save file as...).
We have summarised this guide online here: Harvard Referencing Guide.
For example, if your search statement was: I want to find out about the consequences, harm, risk or side effects - of giving or denying the MMR vaccination, either as a triple vaccine or as three single injections, to children You might be looking for: Once you have a clear idea of what you need to know about your topic to deal with the assignment posed, you will be able to look more closely at the individual resources available to you, such as database, to see what information they contain.
You will need to weigh up the relevance of the information you find, and develop a critical awareness of the positions represented in what you read - in some cases, authors may be explicitly expressing a particular viewpoint but in others there may be hidden bias, which can be misleading.
With so much material available to you, translating your essay question into a search strategy or statement is an important first step in tracking down the information you need.
Your development of a search strategy must start with thinking about the kinds of words related to your topic that you might expect to find in books or in newspaper articles.
Most word processors have spelling and grammar checkers and so there is no excuse for poor spelling, grammar and punctuation!
We have produced the following basic guides which cover some common problems that students experience with punctuation when writing essays: However, if you would like a free lesson in English grammar, try the Grammar Guide Online at Grammar Station - this even has a grammar checker so that you can verify sentences of up to 25 words instantly.
We have compiled this guide to essay writing skills, including structuring essays, reports and dissertations, to help you in planning and producing your essay.
We hope that you find it helpful - please let us have any comments and suggestions you may have for improving this free study area.