Student Recommended: a Guide to Mendeley

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Hafssa Anfishi, one of St George’s Learning Advocates has reviewed Mendeley, a free resource which can help you with referencing. Hafssa is in her second year of the Biomedical Science course and found Mendeley useful when completing her SSP. Select the link below to read her step-by-step guide on how to use this tool.

How to use Mendeley. A step-by-step guide by Hafssa Anfishi


A note from the library

There are many tools out there which can help you with referencing and citations. However, you should be careful that they are referencing according to the standard required by your course. Don’t forget that this is something that you will be assessed on. You are always responsible for double-checking your references to ensure that they are correct.

St George’s Library provides access to a tool called RefWorks which can also help with referencing and reference management. We can offer training and support in using this resource as well as general referencing support. For more information, consult the help page of the library website or contact the library.

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St George’s Library in 2016

As 2016 draws to an end, we bring to you the highlights for St George’s Library.

Supporting RAG Week

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This year, the Library supported St George’s Students’ Union’s Raising and Giving Week by donating fines for a day and raised £137.45. The supported charities were Equip Africa, MACS and St George’s Hospital Charity.

App Swap

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We’ve been continuing with our App Swap events. where staff and students get to talk about the apps that they have used, or have been involved with. Response has been great from student and staff who have attended, include Learning Advocate Ele Clancey. We aim to run more next year.

Supporting 10 Days of Wellbeing

June was the month for peace and relaxation in the Library, not least because it saw the St George’s Staff Development team launch its first “10 Days of Wellbeing” programme. We supported the new initiative by putting out a book swap trolley in the library foyer, where students and staff were encouraged to pick up or drop off books to share with others. We also added a selection of Mood-Boosting Books to the library collection.  To date, the most popular title of the Library’s 2016 Mood-Boosting collection is The President’s Hat by Antoine Laurain.

Library Refresh

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Regular library users might have noticed a few changes to the look of the library, especially the main Quiet Study Group area; this year we replaced all our chairs, brought in round tables, and then brought back rectangular tables due to student demand. We also added screens to create a more flexible study space and help reduce noise. We’re always looking for ways that we can make the space work better for all our users and are open to feedback – let us know if you have any thoughts by speaking to staff or filling in a feedback form at the Library helpdesk.

Extended Opening Hours

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In response to student feedback and after running some successful trials, this July we were pleased to announce that during the 2016/17 academic year we would once again be offering extended opening hours.

We’re now open longer than ever before; offering 24 hour access to the Library from 8am on Monday mornings to 9pm Saturday evenings and 9am-9pm on Sundays.

Library Treasure Hunt

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The start of the new academic year is always very busy for library staff and this September/October was no different as we welcomed all our new undergraduate and postgraduate students – we hope you are all now well settled in to life at St George’s! Alongside our busy programme of induction sessions, we ran a Treasure Hunt featuring a number of clues and activities to help new students find their way around the Library and its resources.

Fresher’s Fayre Winners

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Thank you to everyone who took part in our Social Media competition by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Our lucky prize draw winners went away with Honest Burger vouchers, Blossom tote bags and a St George’s teddy among other prizes. We also gave away a £20 Amazon voucher in our Treasure Hunt prize draw. Best of all, everyone who took part in the Social Media Competition can now get useful Library updates straight to their Twitter and Facebook feeds!

New Book Display

In September we introduced a book display to showcase various resources that we think you will find helpful.  Previous displays included our best books on study skills, and online resources recommended by the Learning Advocates.  Come and take a look to see what delights we have in store for the New Year!  You’ll find the display near the Library Helpdesk.

Children in Need

On 18th November we raised £100 for BBC Children in Need’s annual fundraiser by raising money through our staff sweepstake and donating fines. Pudsey was spotted all over the library waving hello.

Explore Archives

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In November we also participated in and celebrated Explore Your Archive week, a campaign organised by the UK National Archives and the Archives and Records Association. We ran two handling sessions where selected objects were taken from the archives and displayed.  The history of each object was shared by the archivist Elisabeth. It was enlightening to find out more about our history and wonderful to share in the positive reactions and interest from staff and students at St George’s who attended.  The sessions were supported by a series of daily hashtags showcasing photos from our archives. We loved taking part in Explore Your Archives and learnt more about the fascinating history of St George’s’.

Christmas at St George’s

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We end our blog with an original photograph from the archives showing St George’s Hospital at Hyde Park Corner at Christmas time in the mid-20th century.

In 2017 we are looking forward to working with all our users and the Students Union to continue to improve the study environment for everyone.

Book review: Writing Essays by Pictures a workbook by Alke Gröppel-Wegener

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Learning Advocate Grace Pike’s review of Writing Essays by Pictures

ksAlke Gröppel-Wegener aims to make essay-writing fun. The book helps students by using bright colours, metaphors, visual analogies, tasks that include making reusable resources and encouraging exploratory writing. She starts from the beginnings of writing an essay to the end process of using feedback from your tutor. Visual analogies are present in each chapter in order to explain step-by-step the processes of research and writing at university and are especially aimed at those students who have not attended university before and are beginners to academic research.

Strengths

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Example of a visual analogy explaining ‘The Assembly Approach’

This book starts from the very basics of writing essays by breaking the stages of essay writing down, and explains terms along the way. It also explains that you do not have to use the visual analogies; you can use the book more flexibly in your own way. For those who shy away from essay writing or get bored of self-help essay writing guides, this book uses bright text and pictures to keep readers interested. There are tips to keep students focussed on the task at hand and throughout the book these tips and ideas are referred back to. There are clear explanations of what primary and secondary research is which can be a problem for some students during school and transitioning to university. When starting university and throughout their studies, some students can be unsure of how to take effective notes and this book presents innovative tips on note-taking. Group and reflective study is encouraged and this may be good for tutors as a teaching resource. There is also a link to additional tips and tricks on WordPress.

Weaknesses

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Orange and purple text and illustration.

Having shown the book to several academics and then reading the book, we all found the colour scheme and font colour to be lurid and difficult to read. Those who are not starting university and have written essays before may find this to be a patronising book as it is very basic. The visual analogies and metaphors are stretched and sometimes the images can break the text up too much and can be irrelevant.

In my own experience I have found that a scientific essay structure can vary from course to course and year to year so it may not always be suitable to use all the tips from this book. Having read the book in an hour it does make me wonder whether a student writing an essay would have time to do all the tasks along with the essay to make the whole experience effective. One particular chapter has a “sources address book or casefile” to write in for all the sources you might want to use in your bibliography or reference list. This may not be relevant to students at St George’s, as many students now use their devices to take notes and keep a track of sources. Some essay tips are ideas that should have been covered in school or college at GCSE level.

Conclusion

The content of the book may be useful for students who are unfamiliar with essay writing, and it may work as a refresher  as it covers all the essentials. The use of visual analogies, and hands on tasks may appeal to some students. However, it can be visually hard to read due to the colour choice. Students who are familiar with essays, and tutors may find it is aimed at too low a level to be useful.

Review by Grace Pike T year


Writing Essays by Pictures by Groppel-Wegener, Alke  is available in the library collection.
Call number: PE1471 GRO

Help with writing and structuring is available from Rosie MacLachlan in Academic Skills Centre or Marcy Kahan, Royal Literary Fund Fellow. More information on Study+ in Moodle (SGUL login required).

Review: Brilliant Writing Tips for Students

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Learning Advocates Rashmi Saincher and Ele Clancey have written positive reviews of Brilliant Writing Tips for Students by Julia Copus, a new book in the library collection.

Review by Rashmi Saincher

The first thing that attracts me to this book is its size: it’s small and light which fits perfectly into any bag and even a large coat pocket, making it easy to carry around. Each section is based on different aspects of grammar, such as semicolons and paragraph structure. Each section includes a clear explanation regarding the grammar rule, and a short example. The book also contains tables and cartoons which help with the content organisation.

My favourite part of this book are the examples of phrases that can be used in essays (found at the end of the book), as they can help you express yourself more intellectually when writing formal work. I highly recommend this book to students who are writing their SSCs, reports, any formal writing pieces, or students who would like a quick revision on basic English grammar.It is an easy read, and relatively quick to get through. Brilliant Writing Tips for Students is available at the library, and you can take it out for three weeks, which is another bonus.

Review by Ele Clancey

This is a great book if you, like me, have ever struggled with making sense in writing. I found essay writing very difficult during my undergraduate degree, and I would always get feedback from lecturers about my grammar and style. As a result, I spent time trawling through websites to learn a lot of the content covered in this neat pocket guide.

This book covers common areas of grammar and punctuation that people struggle with, including semicolons, sentence structure and paragraphs. What is good about this guide is that it is very clearly written and each concept is explained succinctly. The guide also covers handy techniques to help writers proof read their writing and spot mistakes.

Unlike other books on writing for students, this one doesn’t offer advice about essay writing specifically. This guide is more about getting the basics of writing correct. It is also heavily grammar and style focused, so you would need to read something else for tips on academic writing, planning and how to start writing. Overall, I think this book is most useful for people who struggle to be clear and concise in writing, and to provide helpful grammar tips.


Brilliant Writing Tips for Students by Julia Copus is available in the library collection.
Call number: PE1408 COP

Help with writing and structuring is available from Rosie MacLachlan in Academic Skills Centre or Marcy Kahan, Royal Literary Fund Fellow. More information on Study+ in Moodle (SGUL login required).

Student BMJ Review by Rashmi Saincher

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Students at SGUL can access the Student BMJ for free with their username and password. Learning Advocate Rashmi Saincher has written a short review of this e-journal, giving her reasons for why it is a useful resource for students.

Student BMJ

This is a special magazine that is tailored towards medical students and biomedical students that are interested in transferring. Published every month, each issue focuses on a different specialty (psychiatry, emergency medicine, GI, etc.) where articles are written by a mixture of healthcare professionals, academics, and students. The magazine contains a good balance of visual aids (cartoons, pictures, graphs/data) and the written content is varied with essays, interviews, and reviews. Articles’ subjects also tend to range from hearing different perspectives, new medications & research published, and more careers related information. Medical students have the opportunity to subscribe to the magazine for free in their first year, but after that they can have the option of either continuing to pay for the subscription or you can take advantage of the library’s subscription as well!

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I would recommend this magazine to medical students including biomedical students who are looking to transfer into medicine (it can especially help in interview preparation). Information is presented in a concise manner with few jargon that makes it easy and entertaining to read. Even the ads present useful resources that could help you with your studies. For students that are in group learning situations (CBL/PBL/SBL), the magazine can contain helpful resources of clinicians’ point of views, interesting cases that can add to your learning, or important information about treatment options that you can mention in your discussions. However the biggest asset of this magazine are the clinicians’ interviews, which can help provide more information when thinking about pursuing a career into that particular specialty. The magazine has a few current news articles as well relating to new research into the particular theme of the month. Similarly, the magazine also invites students the opportunity to write for the magazine (you can look at their website online for more information).

By Rashmi Saincher

Accessing Student BMJ

Access Student BMJ through Hunter – Select the ‘View Online’ tab, and then select the ‘Go’ button. If accessing offsite you will need to put in your SGUL username and password.