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Faculty of Arts and Humanities A Guide to Study Skills

UG & PGT/LDC/generic /A Guide to Study Skills



Study skills in the humanities



Writing essays 1) The value of the essay 2) What we are looking for in your essays 3) A quick guide to the stages of essay writing 4) Thinking, planning and writing 5) Note-taking and avoiding plagiarism 6) When and how to quote 7) Structure 8) Writing accurately and persuasively 9) Presentation and layout



Citing sources, references and bibliography 1) Why citation is important 2) Citation methods 3) The author-date (‘Harvard’) method 4) The ‘humanities’ style 5) Citing from electronic sources, newspapers, magazines, television programmes and film



Improving your writing 1) Spelling 2) Punctuation 3) Some common grammatical errors 4) Further useful hints



Making the most of seminars Improving seminar presentations



Doing well in examinations 1) Preparation 2) Revision 3) The examination 4) Examination answers – what we look for


G. H.

Making the most of feedback Preparing for the job market, or postgraduate study

28 28


The Learning Enhancement Team


UG & PGT/LDC/generic /A Guide to Study Skills

UG & PGT/LDC/generic /A Guide to Study Skills

This Guide aims:

  

to help you improve the principal skills most of you will need as a student of one of the schools of study in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. These include essay writing, giving oral presentations in seminars and coping with unseen examinations. to provide clear help and guidance on practical matters such as grammar, punctuation, style and the presentation of your written work. to enhance your awareness of the broader skills you will develop during your course of study at UEA and increase your understanding of how you can present these transferable skills to, among others, potential employers.

This guide was prepared by Ian Farr in 2010. It was last updated in July 2013.

Study skills in the humanities

The skills you develop at university will stand you in good stead throughout your future life and career. These include not only those acquired and enhanced through academic study, such as your ability to research, analyse or communicate effectively, but also the skills you develop through active involvement in extra-curricular activities, volunteering or paid employment during the vacation. Yet, obvious though this point is, it is very easily overlooked by those actually going through the system, and particularly by students such as yourselves, who are embarking on courses of study which may have no obvious or immediate practical application once you graduate.

For this reason you may find it instructive to look down the following list, checking off which of the skills mentioned - all of which have wider applications - you are called upon to use in the course you are taking:                  

Working to deadlines Listening and taking notes Researching and organising information, ideas and theories Analysing and interpreting texts Evaluating alternative hypotheses Understanding abstract concepts Problem-solving Appreciating other people's viewpoints and motivations Giving oral presentations Participating in group discussions Collaborating on group projects Expressing yourself clearly in writing, using correct grammar and spelling Comprehending how and why other cultures differ from your own Being familiar with computer software packages such as Microsoft Office Using audio-visual resources Interpreting visual images Evaluating and presenting statistical data Reflecting on and your own performance and learning how to improve it

Throughout your studies at UEA, therefore, reflect on and develop those high-order skills you acquire through the study of your subject, as well as what you have done in the way of extracurricular activities, vacation jobs or part-time employment. Make contact with the Careers Centre sooner rather than later, and make the most of the many valuable services and opportunities on offer. For further guidance on how you can turn your university experience and academic skills into a successful and rewarding career, go to Section G at the end of this Guide.


B. Writing essays

1) The value of the essay The writing of essays is central to most subjects in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. For most of you, the individual module grades at UEA and the class of degree you obtain will depend in no small measure on your ability to write successful essays. Essay writing combines a wide range of interrelated and higher-order skills: 

sustained research and investigation

collecting and analysing bodies of information and evidence

discussing alternative ways in which problems can be addressed

expressing your ideas and arguments clearly and in ways that will interest and inform your readers.

In short, essays are a good test of how well you have grasped and are able to handle the subject matter you came to university to study. Whatever your future career the skills you deploy in essay-writing will remain with you long after your memories of the particular topics on which they were initially used have faded. It follows, therefore, that you should pay close attention to the techniques of essay writing. It is a craft, and, like any craft, requires practice and reflection about your own performance in order that you become more proficient. A factual error or an aberrant interpretation is soon remedied, but a faulty technique, such as an inability to structure your thoughts effectively or poor grammar, will dog you throughout your university years - and your subsequent career. 2) Things you should check before submitting your essay 

Knowledge and understanding: Do you demonstrate a firm grasp of the key facts and arguments and an ability to deploy them?

Relevance: Do you retain a focus on the essay question or title?

Structure: Is your essay coherent? Can the reader follow clearly what you have written and why?

Referencing and acknowledgement of other scholars’ work: Is there an adequate range of reference to the full range of sources appropriate to the subject in question? Is the bibliography clear and adequate to the task? Are references/footnotes clear, consistent and in accordance with School guidelines?

Literacy: Is the quality and accuracy of the writing of a sufficient standard? Is it free of errors in spelling, punctuation, syntax and sentence structure?


Layout: Is it neat, tidy, paginated, adequately spaced and easy for the marker to annotate and correct?

There follows a summary of the processes involved in achieving these characteristics: 3) A quick guide to the stages of essay writing Choose the right question Select a question that will interest and challenge you. Think about the question Reflect carefully on the demands of the question. If you are unsure, ask the person who set the question for initial guidance. Start early You will have more choice of books in the Library, more time to test your argument and to check through your essay. Read widely and sensibly Read with the question, and your emerging answer, clearly in mind. Take notes carefully Ensure you can distinguish between your thoughts and the words or ideas of those you read in the course of preparing your essay. Think about your Try to work out a provisional answer or argument as you are preparing; argument as you prepare don’t leave this stage until you have finished all your preparatory reading. Plan your answer A plan is an outline of how you intend to persuade the reader of your argument. It is NOT a way of showing how much you have read or organising your notes. Answer the question It may be obvious, but you would be surprised how often students fail to do this! Make sure you check the marking criteria that will be used for the assignment. If you do not know what these are, ask your module organiser to show them to you. Argue Having weighed up alternatives, you should construct a coherent argument supported by examples and evidence. Don’t just throw Avoid lapsing into unnecessary detail (narrative); ensure that the information at the reader information you deploy assists in the development of your argument Keep the discussion Don’t meander or lose the thread of your argument. “Sticking to the relevant question” does not, however, mean repeating the essay title at the beginning and end of every paragraph or section. Have a clear structure Make your approach or argument clear at the outset and work systematically towards your conclusion. Think always of the needs of your reader. Make the conclusion Synthesize your argument. Don’t just rehearse briefly every point in the lively and interesting essay in the same order in the same words. Be aware of debates, Essays must reveal your grasp of, and engagement with, the relevant theories and existing scholarly debates, theories or thinking on the issues which are central understanding to the essay question. Quote effectively Don’t overload the essay with quotations; reserve these for when and where they will achieve the most impact. Write as much as you can This is the best way to avoid any suspicion of plagiarism, as well as to in your own words improve your own writing. Be clear and concise Write straightforwardly and accurately. Look to improve the way in which you write. Study how good scholars and writers achieve their effect. Cite or footnote correctly Check the method of citation preferred in the School of study of the 3

module you are taking. Above all, be clear and consistent in the form of citation you use. Provide a bibliography List clearly and accurately, according to relevant School guidelines, the works you have read or consulted when preparing your essay. Check for errors Read through your draft and eliminate errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. If you are unsure about aspects of grammar, take time to learn what is correct. Finish in good time, so Give yourself time to read through your draft afresh to ensure that it that you can edit makes sense to an intelligent reader who wants to know your answer to the question. Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases. Obtain feedback Make the most of the oral and written feedback that will be offered to you. Ask for clarification if you do not understand the written feedback that has been provided. Think and act on Reflect carefully on the feedback you have been given, particularly feedback where the judgement of your tutors is at variance with your own. Identify consistent weaknesses and try to rectify them in subsequent assignments.

Some of the points covered in the quick guide require further elaboration. At this point it is important to stress that there are many routes to a cogent, persuasive and readable essay. There is no set approach or magic formula that is guaranteed to work. What will work for one student will not suit another. That having been said, you should consider the following suggestions and evaluate how far they might help you overcome difficulties in essay writing, or bring marginal but rewarding improvements to an already sound essay technique.

4) Thinking, planning and writing The process of constructing an essay is typically a mixture of anything from frustratingly slow progress to sudden inspiration. An unproductive way of approaching the task of essay writing is to read so widely and take such voluminous notes that, when seated in front of a blank screen or sheet of paper, you have such an unorganised mass of knowledge that you are incapable of putting it into any order. By this stage it is too late to plan properly, and your essay will almost certainly suffer as a result. To avoid this sort of problem read quite a small amount at first to familiarise yourself with the key issues and then construct an initial essay plan before returning to read more thoroughly. This enables you to read selectively, looking for evidence both to back up, revise or challenge ideas and hypotheses contained in the initial plan. Some of you may find it useful to extend the essay question by breaking it down into a series of questions that are thought to be implicit in it. Finding the right questions is half-way to finding good answers! Remember that writing is a means of thinking. It is rarely the case that you get everything clear in your mind first, and then just write it down. Rather, it is through the process of writing that you can clarify and indeed change what you want to say - or even discover that what you thought you wanted to say was hopelessly confused or not worth saying.


5) Note-taking and avoiding plagiarism 

When you take notes from a book or article in preparation for an essay take care to keep them to the essential points relevant to the essay you have in hand. Be careful not to let the line of argument of the author direct you far away from your topic. If your notes are too long or poorly organised, they will be of little use to you in constructing the essay.

As suggested above, planning helps to direct your reading and thinking, reduces the risk of diversion into side-issues and enables you to slot new bits of argument and evidence into place.

Always record with scrupulous care where your notes come from since you can otherwise waste a lot of time if you later have to go back and check them. You also run the risk of inadvertently plagiarising and suffering the serious penalties for that offence (see your University StudentHandbook). By far the most effective insurance against any suspicion of plagiarism is to ensure you follow good note-taking and essay-writing practices. When making detailed notes for an essay, for example, make sure that you:  put as much information as possible in your own words (paraphrasing), thereby showing that you understand both the arguments themselves and the evidence that supports them.  avoid writing out long extracts verbatim. In an essay of, say, 2,500 words you would rarely quote at length.  record the necessary details of any source (author, date and place of publication, page reference).  outline the overall structure of your source (number of pages, chapter contents etc.) so that you can recall later how much of the source you have read or made notes on.  distinguish clearly between the words and ideas of your source and your own thoughts and reflections.

6) When and how to quote 

An apt use of quotations greatly enhances an essay. This is especially important, for instance, when you want to take issue with an author’s statement, because giving the precise wording allows your reader to judge whether your criticisms are fair. If in your reading you come across a striking or memorable phrase that encapsulates what you would like to say, note it down and then consider where in your essay it will achieve the most impact.

On the other hand there is seldom any point in quoting from secondary works if you can say the same thing equally well in your own words. Dotting your essay with quotations is annoying if all you are doing is showing off your breadth of reading, and the more so if what is being said is unremarkable.

Remember: whether you quote or paraphrase, you must cite your source (see section C).


 Short quotations (i.e. of less than about 50 words) should be enclosed in single quotation marks and run on with the main text. Use double quotation marks for quotations within quotations thus: ‘We have learned that “more” is not necessarily “better”.’ Longer quotations should be separated from the main text by being indented, without quotation marks, using single spacing. 

Interpolations in quotations are permissible if enclosed in square brackets (never parentheses) thus: ‘To be true to ourselves [he argued] we must be true to others.’

Ellipsis, that is missing text within a quoted sentence, should be indicated by three ... full stops, taking care to leave a space before the first one; ellipsis at the end of a sentence should be indicated by four full stops.

7) Structure At some stage you may well have the experience of a lecturer commending your essay for the well-researched content and interesting ideas, but criticising your essay for being poorly structured. But what does it mean for an essay to benefit from a sound structure? There are three crucial elements:

Introduction Take particular care over how you begin your essay, for the way you start out will determine the direction in which you go. Surprisingly often the quality of an essay is revealed by its opening sentences. In other words, if the opening paragraph is clumsy, ungrammatical, contains misspellings, misapprehensions, contradictions or is in other ways askew, the chances are that the same will hold true of what follows. Bad writing means confused thought. On the other hand, a well-constructed first sentence or two is a fair indication that what follows will be worth reading. Try to arouse your reader's interest. You may need to define terms or set limits but try not to be too laborious about it. Also do not be afraid to state, in general terms, your answer to the question. (It is a mistake to think that, in the manner of the ‘who-dunnit’ writer, you should not give away the solution until the last page.) Indeed, if you are not at this point able to answer the question in a few sentences you are almost certainly not ready to begin writing. There is no such thing as a good answer which defies summary.

Developing the argument  This is where the bulk of your argument is to be found. Always keep in mind that you are being tested on your ability to determine what is and what is not relevant to the question under discussion. Irrelevance - or the inclusion of material whose relevance has not been demonstrated - is one of the principal deficiencies of undergraduate essays. On the other hand you should not relate the material to the original question in a manner that is laboured or repetitive. Finding fresh and interesting ways of performing this task is one of the many challenges of essay writing.  A vitally important feature of good essays is clear signposting of the overall development 6

of the argument. This helps to keep the reader informed. For example you might begin a paragraph with the sentence "A significant, if minor, factor in the development of...." This alerts the reader to the fact that: a) you are now treating one specific factor; b) you believe this factor to play a part in explaining what you have been asked to explain and c) though significant it is not the principal factor. These signposting sentences are crucially important to the reader who, unlike the writer, does not yet know how the essay will develop. In much academic writing a paragraph is an idea unit, coherent in itself but also furthering the argument of the entire essay. Paragraphs may be of any length, depending on how much material you choose to include, but as a general rule it is advisable not to make a habit of employing either short paragraphs of the kind used by tabloid journalists or excessively long ones in the manner of Proust. As with all writing, think of what your readers - or you yourself - would find acceptable.

The conclusion The conclusion essentially synthesizes the argument that has been developed in the body of the essay. Try to make it more than just a recapitulation of the key stages of your essay. You want the reader to be enlivened by a lively, authoritative and reflective conclusion, not dulled into submission!

8. Writing accurately and persuasively It is essential that your work makes sense to the reader. Therefore:  

  

Syntax: are the sentences grammatical? Sentence structure: do your sentences read well and do they readily convey the meanings you intend? A feature of good academic writing is variation of sentence length and structure. Though good writers are seldom aware of it, they unconsciously vary both the length and the structure of their sentences in order to give greater freshness and vitality to their work. Short sentences, in particular, can be very telling. Longer ones, though often difficult to control, equally have a part to play, especially when they have been preceded, and may be followed, by shorter ones. The semicolon is effective; it should not be overused. Spelling: minimize spelling mistakes by using dictionaries and spellcheckers; draft and redraft an essay and read through it before you submit it. Punctuation: is it correct, appropriate and varied? Do you use the range of punctuation necessary for clear expression? Vocabulary: remember that you do not need to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of something by using overly complex and difficult words. Try to write clearly. Before you use an unfamiliar word, check its precise meaning. Avoid copying concept and expressions from your academic sources into your essay if you do not know what they mean. Formality: markers often prefer students to adopt formal modes. We therefore recommend that you consult your seminar leaders and lecturers who set an assignment 7

before you use colloquialisms, but also ‘text language abbreviations’, such as ‘BC’ for ‘because’.

Do not expect to be able to complete this process in a single draft. Remember that, in their own work, your teachers expect to have to revise everything they write, often several times over.

Finally, it is essential to leave yourself sufficient time, once you have completed your final draft, to check through the text for errors and to ensure that your essay makes sense to the reader. If at all possible, leave the essay for at least a day or so and then come back to it fresh. You will then be able to see the essay a little more from the reader's perspective.

9. Presentation and layout Before handing in your essay (see the University Student Handbook for information on submitting coursework) make sure that: 

Pages are either stapled at the top left-hand corner or secured in folder. Check that staples are not located so as to obscure part of what you have written. [Note: this only applies to work that is not submitted electronically.]

You have numbered the pages consecutively.

You have completed a cover sheet.

You have provided a word count, especially if you have been asked to write an essay according to a clear word limit.

You leave margins of at least one inch at the top, bottom and sides. The marker needs this space for comments and queries.

You have used double spacing or one and a half spacing between lines, and a sufficiently large font (e.g. 11- or 12-point), again to enable the marker to make intelligible comments on the text.

Any tables, graphs or charts that you insert into the text to bolster your argument are clearly labelled (Table 1; Figure 2 ….)

You have consulted your tutor or module organiser if you wish, for example, to submit an essay in sections with sub-headings or to make use of bullets or numbered points. Most markers will have no objections; some might prefer you to write continuous prose.

A reminder: save and back up your work! Whether you are working on your own computer or on one of the university’s work-stations, you should make backups. 8

C. Citing sources, references and bibliography 1. Why citation is important  The reason for citing sources is to indicate to your reader where you have obtained your information and ideas. Careful and accurate citation, and an understanding of why and how to cite, also ensures that you are much less likely to plagiarise the work of others.  Scholarship is a cumulative process whereby successive generations of scholars discuss, amplify and, where appropriate, build on the work of their predecessors. There is no point, therefore, in going to elaborate lengths to draw attention to sources which are merely repeating what is generally agreed. You are not required to demonstrate where you learned that the Great War broke out in 1914. The object is to allow the readers to locate information, ideas or types of approach with which they may not be familiar, are out of the ordinary in the sense of being controversial, or which are characteristic of some school of thought you propose to discuss or with which you intend to take issue. It is also the common convention to give sources for direct quotations, whether from original sources or later commentators. You should also cite the source for any statistical data that may be open to interpretation.  Since the object is to allow readers to locate the sources of your information it is essential that your citations are accurate and specific. For example, when citing a book you should normally give a page reference as well as details of author, title, date of publication and – less crucially - publisher. You should not attempt to impress by lifting other people's citations. Be honest and show where you got it by citing both sources.

2. Citation methods The two most common conventions for citation of books, articles and other sources are: a)

The author-date method (often referred to as the Harvard system). This method of citation tends to be used most often in the social sciences and natural sciences, but it can work for sources in many other fields as well. Under this system, the author’s last name and the year of publication are given in the text; the full details of publication are provided in a single alphabetical list of works at the end of the book. The author-date method is suitable if most of the works cited have readily identifiable author(s) and publication dates. It is not so well suited if citations are to classical works or to unpublished and documentary sources.


That is one reason why the humanities style (footnotes and bibliography) tends to have been preferred by many in literature, history, and the arts. This style presents bibliographic information in notes and a bibliography. It accommodates a variety of sources, including those less appropriate to the author-date system. For a helpful introduction to the differences between the two systems of referencing, see: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

You can also find copies of the Chicago Manual of Style in the Library.


Remember:  You must check with your tutor or module organiser whether one or other of these methods is preferred or required. Thereafter the essential thing is to remain clear and consistent in the method you adopt.  You may be penalised if you are not, particularly once it can reasonably be assumed that you should have learned an appropriate method of citation.

3. THE AUTHOR-DATE METHOD Prepare the reference list:  Arrange all works in the reference list as a single list sorted in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. For each entry, give the author’s last name first, followed by a comma and the author’s first name or initials. If there is more than one author, give the other authors’ names in normal order.  The second item in each entry is the year of publication.  If there are several entries by the same author, arrange them as follows: first, all books and articles written or edited solely by this author, in chronological order; then, co-authored or co-edited works that list this author first, in alphabetical order by the next co-author’s name (list two or more works with the same co-author[s] chronologically).  If there is more than one work by the same author(s) published in the same year, arrange them alphabetically by title. Then, differentiate them by adding “a”, “b,” and so on to the date, both in the references and in citations in the text.  The year of publication is followed by the title of the work and the facts of publication, arranged as follows: • For books, give the title and subtitle in italics, followed by the place of publication and the name of the publisher, for example, “Boston: Beacon Press.” It is permissible to omit the name of the publisher, but this must be done consistently throughout the reference list, and you must be sure to include the place of publication.  For periodicals, give the article title and subtitle enclosed in quotation marks, followed by the title of the periodical in italics. Then, give the issue information (volume, issue number, month or season) and page reference.

This is how a list comprising different types of source would look: D’Souza, Stan, and Lincoln C. Chen. 1980 “Sex Differentials in Mortality in Rural Bangladesh.” Population and Development Review 6: 257-270 Durkheim, Emile. 1965a. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Trans. J. W. Swain. New York: Free Press. Durkheim, Emile 1965b. Montesquieu and Rousseau: Forerunners of Sociology. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 10

Huang, Philip. 1985. The Peasant Economy and Social Change in North China. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Huang, Philip, and Kathryn Bernhardt. 1994. Civil Law in Qing and Republican China. Stanford: Stanford University Press Skinner, G. William. 1964. “Marketing and Social Structure in Rural China, Part I.” Journal of Asian Studies 24: 3-43. Citations in the text:  Basic citations in the text consist of the author’s name and the date of publication enclosed in parentheses. For direct quotations, page numbers must also be included. Place citations at the end of a sentence or clause whenever possible. In some cases it is possible - perhaps even preferable - to incorporate part of the citation into the text itself. If the author is mentioned in the sentence then this does not have to be repeated in the citation.  If more than one work is cited, the citations should be separated by semicolons and given in chronological order, except that the source of a direct quotation should come first. If the work cited has up to three authors, give all of their names; if more than three, use the name of the first author followed by “et al.” The following two examples demonstrate several ways in which author-date citations can be given properly in the text:  The Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk (1997, 34) writes of “an oversensitivity, on our part, to opinions about Turkey expressed by foreigners and, above all, Westerners. I do not know if the same phenomenon occurs anywhere else” (see also Yoshino 1992, 40-43). A character in Robertson Davies’s The Lyre of Orpheus (1992, 844) says: “Do you like Canada? That’s a silly question, of course, but you must forgive me; we always ask visitors if they like Canada as soon as they step off the plane.” According to James Bowman (1992, 27), “Americans have always been, more than people of most nations, solicitous of the opinions of foreigners about their country.”  These two surveys have provided detailed pregnancy, birth, and contraceptive history data for Chinese women as far back as the late 1940s, enabling researchers to trace the process and origins of China’s rapid fertility decline (R. Freedman et al. 1988; Wang 1988; Lavely and Freedman 1990; Zhao Zhonwei 1998).  Footnotes and endnotes: If the author-date citation method is used, the main purpose of footnotes or endnotes is to provide a definition, additional evidence or elaboration of an argument where doing so in the body of the text would disrupt its flow. Do not use them lazily just to avoid the effort of working a significant point into the main body of the essay. 11

4. THE HUMANITIES STYLE  Footnotes (and endnotes):  In this method citation of the source(s) being referred to take the form of numbered footnotes, which appear at the bottom of each page of text, or endnotes, which appear all together at the end of the text. It is preferable to use footnotes. They are more convenient for the reader; a quick glance to the bottom of the page is sufficient to check the source of information, without having to shuffle backwards and forwards to the end of the essay. The crucial point is that footnotes and endnotes be numbered consecutively throughout the text (as opposed to starting a new sequence of numbers on each new page). Microsoft Word has fairly intuitive systems for inserting footnotes at the bottom of the page concerned.  To repeat the advice given above (C1) footnotes should always be used when: -


referring directly to a particular work by an author (if you want to reinforce your argument by citing some information or arguments made by another writer, you should always acknowledge the work that you are referring to, perhaps by starting a sentence, `As David Blackbourn argues in the case of Germany...', and then placing the footnote at the end of the sentence, or alternatively, at an appropriate break in the sentence); giving a direct quotation from an author's work or using a quotation from, for example, a historical figure that appears in the particular work; using statistics to support your argument; referring to and quoting from specific documents.

 In principle, adopt the form of citation used in the bibliography (see below). The first time you refer to a work in a footnote, you should provide the author's name, full title, date and place of publication, just as you would in the bibliography. If you are quoting from an author or referring to a specific point, you should always cite the exact page reference this applies above all to books. Quoting a chapter is not sufficient.  Strictly speaking, it is not always essential to refer to pages in articles because they are shorter and more accessible, particularly if you are only referring to the author's general argument. In general, however, you should always give the exact page reference relating to the particular point or quotation that you are using.  When referring to a work frequently, it is permissible and preferable to abbreviate subsequent references to the book / article already quoted. The most straightforward way of doing this is to cite the author’s surname and an abbreviated title. Here are some examples: 1. W. Carr, A History of Modern Germany 1815-1990, 4th edition, (London, 1991), p. 88. (= first reference with full title) 2. Carr, History of Modern Germany, p. 227. (= short title reference to a work previously cited) 12

3. J. Noakes and G. Pridham, eds., Nazism 1919-1945 (4 vols, Exeter, 1983-95), I, pp. 216-21; III, pp. 16-19. 4. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, quoted in Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York, 1987), p. 189. 5. M. Housden, 'Personal Rivalry in the Hitler State: A Case Study', German History, Vol. 8 (1990), pp. 294-296. 6. U. Herbert, 'Labor as Spoils of Conquest', in D. Crew, ed., Nazism and German Society (London, 1994), p. 220.

 Bibliography  At the end of the essay you should list, alphabetically by author’s surname, the books and articles consulted.  Books should be listed according to the author's surname and should also include his / her initials. You must give the full title of the book, and this should usually appear either underlined or in italics, preferably the latter. The place and date of publication should then be given in parentheses after the title. It is usual to place a comma after the author's name.  Some of the works you will be using, especially textbooks, are updated after an interval of some years. If so, it is important to make it clear to which edition you are referring. This is done by noting subsequent edition numbers after the book's title, and before the place and date of publication. Remember that the dates in the book's title may sometimes change when a new edition appears.  Some books contain more than one volume; here you may need to distinguish between the volumes being used. If you are referring to the work as a whole, you need only give the general title of the work, with the number of volumes after the title. If, however, you are only consulting one volume of a multi-volume work, you should specify precisely the one from which you are citing, by including the sub-title of that volume in the reference.  When citing articles from journals, the essential information you should provide is: the author's initial and surname, the title of the article in inverted commas, the title of the journal, volume number, year of publication and exact page references. The title of the journal should always be underlined or written in italics, in order to make it clearly distinguishable.  When listing articles (essays) in collected volumes, the rules are similar to citation from journals (author’s initial and surname and the title of the essay), but note that the title of the article should be placed in inverted commas if it is in a collected volume. As well details of the article in question, you need to give the full details of the book in which it appears, including the name of the editors or main editors (note that if a book is edited by 13

two or more people, it is common to give the name of the first editor, followed by the Latin abbreviation et al., which means ‘and others'). At the very end, give the precise page references of the article. Here is an example, incorporating these rules: D. Blackbourn, The Fontana History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (London, 1997) W. Carr, A History of Modern Germany 1815-1985, 3rd edition, (London, 1987) G. Hosking, A History of the Soviet Union 1917-1991, final edition, (London, 1992) G. Klingenstein, 'The Meanings of "Austria" and "Austrian" in the Eighteenth Century’, in: R. Oresko et al. (Eds.), Royal and Republican Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 1997), pp.423-78 G. Wawro, ‘Austria versus the Risorgimento: A New Look at Austria's Italian strategy in the 1860s’, European History Quarterly, Vol.26 (1996), pp. 7-29 T. Zeldin, A History of French Passions: Vol.1 Ambition, Love and Politics (Oxford, 1973)

5. Citing from electronic sources, magazines, newspapers, television programmes and film


When citing internet sources, use the authors’ name and initials, the date of publication, the title of the article or site, the date of retrieval and the URL: Fiske, R. (2012). Robert Fisk: If Alawites are turning against Assad then his fate is sealed. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-if-alawites-are-turningagainst-assad-then-his-fate-is-sealed-7965154.html Many Internet documents lack a named author. It may, in this case, be appropriate to use a corporate name: The Guardian. (2012). Bradley Wiggins: A dream comes true – now it's got to be Games gold. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/22/bradley-wiggins-childhood-dream-tour If there is neither a named author, or a recognizable corporate name you can cite, you can omit the author slot altogether, and begin the reference with the title of the document: Bradley Wiggins: A dream comes true – now it's got to be Games gold. (2012). Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/22/bradley-wiggins-childhood-dream-tour Some Internet documents have no obvious publication date. If this is the case, try to find the ‘last updated’ date, and use that. If you can’t find it, use the abbreviation ‘n.d.’ (for ‘no date’) in place of the date: 14

A dream comes true – now it's got to be Games gold. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jul/22/bradley-wiggins-childhood-dream-tour When referencing a document from a large Web site, whose ‘owner’ is not clear, some writers consider it good practice to include some detail about the site on which the pages being referenced are hosted. So you might see an example like this: FunnyCatSite. (2009). Retrieved July 23, 2012, from the Funny Cat Site Web site: http://www.funnycatsite.com/ There are different views on whether this is necessary or not. Please consult your seminar leader for advice before adopting a particular citation style. Magazines: User the author’s name and initials, the year and the month of publication, the title of the article, the name of the magazine and the page number: Smith, A. (2003, November). How to get thin. Woman’s Own, 29. Newspapers: User the author’s name and initials, the year and the month of publication, the title of the article, the name of the newspaper and the page number: Campbell, D. (2003, December 02). Intervention is the cure for Columbia. The Guardian, p. 18. If the article has no by-line (named author), the reference should begin with the title: Intervention is the cure for Columbia. (2003, December 02). The Guardian, p. 18. Television and Film

If you are quoting from a film or television programme the bibliography should include: the title, the year, the director, information about the source (DVD or Video cassette), the place of distribution and the distribution company. Please note that television programmes are sometimes collaborative ventures, with no single director. In such cases, please include all the main details that you have available. As a minimum, you should include the programme title, the year, the series (if applicable), the production company (or channel) and the date of transmission. In the essay: ‘In Channel 4’s documentary about Mo Mowlam (Mo, 2010)...’


In the bibliography: Mo (2010) Directed by Martin Philip [DVD]. Channel 4. 31 January. Godfather Part III (1990) Directed by Francis Ford Coppola [DVD] Paramount Pictures. D.

Improving Your Writing

Few things are more annoying to readers than poor spelling and grammar; none are more complained of by employers. Some of the mistakes noted below, such as bad spelling, are merely irritating; others have the effect of making what may seem perfectly clear to the writer appear absolute gobbledygook to the reader. Markers do not want to have to re-read a passage several times to find out what a writer is trying to say. However painstaking the research or thoughtful the argument, badly expressed essays are bad essays in the sense that they fail to convey their author's thoughts to the reader. Persistent mistakes in spelling and grammar raise in readers' minds an element of doubt as to whether you really know what you are talking about. In practice, avoiding most of the common errors that appear in essays or dissertations is not very difficult. Many can be eliminated if you take careful note of the points listed below. 1. Spelling When you compose your essays on computer you should certainly run the spelling check. However, remember that:  You should consult a dictionary if you have the slightest doubt as to the meaning of a word.  A spell checker should recognise when you confuse two words that sound the same but have very different meanings. However, make sure you keep an eye out for mistakes like this when you read through your essay. Here is an example of a frequent mistake: Wrong: Gordon Brown lead the Labour party to defeat in the general election. Right: Gordon Brown led the Labour party to defeat in the general election.  A spelling tool cannot check for meaning so there is no substitute for carefully reading through your essay to pick out missing words, words in the wrong order and so on. Remember also that, whenever you use foreign nouns (names, place-names etc.), ensure that you have spelled them correctly. Easily confused words Do not confuse the following; if in doubt use a dictionary. adverse and averse affect and effect allusion and illusion Beveridge and beverage block and bloc choose and chose cite, sight and site complement and compliment

contemptible and contemptuous credible and credulous dependent and dependant deprecate and depreciate derisive and derisory diseased and deceased disillusion and delusion disinterested and uninterested 16

economic and economical eligible and illegible eminent, imminent, immanent exceptional and exceptionable foreword and forward imply and infer ingenious and ingenuous judicial and judicious lead and led less and fewer loose and lose masterful and masterly might and may militate and mitigate

momentary and momentous moral and morale populace and populous popular and populist precede and proceed prescribe and proscribe principal and principle refute and rebut simple and simplistic systemic and systematic their, there and they’re urban and urbane waive and wave who’s and whose

Two of the most frequently confused pairs in the above list are ‘their/there’ and ‘affect/effect’. ‘Their’ is an adjective which indicates possession, as in the following example: There are more suitable places for them to make their protest than here. The most common meaning of ‘effect’ is as an abstract noun, meaning ‘result’. The most common meaning of ‘affect’ is as a verb, meaning ‘influence’. Here are some examples: Government policy affected the level of unemployment. The rise in unemployment was one significant effect of the Government’s policy. A mistake that is made my many is to confuse ‘effect’ and ‘affect’. ‘Effect’ can also be a verb, meaning ‘bring about’. Thus: Government policy effected a rapid improvement in the rate of unemployment.

The most frequent spelling errors Here are some words, spelled correctly here, that are often mis-spelled:

accommodate address argument bureaucracy Caribbean commitment conscience conscientious conscious consciousness consensus

corollary definite(ly) deterrent exaggerate existence fascist fulfil install instalment irrelevant irresistible 17

knowledgeable likelihood maintenance manageable medicine naive necessary occur occurred occurrence omit

omitted optimistic overrule parallel permissible phenomenon privilege quantitative racist recommend

refer referee reference referred representative responsible sacrilegious satellite seize separate

skilful sovereignty subtle (adjective) subtlety (abstract noun) subtly (adverb) supersede tariff wilful

2. Punctuation Many essays are marred by frequent and avoidable mistakes in punctuation. From the viewpoint both of improving a mark for an essay or project, as well of making you more employable after your degree, it is worth taking the time to absorb the following rules. Apostrophe Apostrophes are used for two quite different purposes: to indicate omission in common phrases and to mark possession in nouns. Examples of omission are: they’re, didn’t, aren’t, isn’t and who’s (abbreviation for who is). These are best avoided in formal prose, but you may sometimes need to employ them when citing a contemporary remark, such as Macmillan's famous words, "You've never had it so good". Examples of the use of an apostrophe to indicate possession are given below. Note that plural nouns which end in the letter s add an apostrophe after the final letter. the student’s class (the class of the student) the student’s classes (the classes of the student) the students’ class (the class of the students) the students’ classes (the classes of the students) Dickens’s novels James’s house (the house of James) The apostrophe is not used in possessive pronouns: yours, hers, ours, theirs or its (when it means belonging to it). The exception to this is one and its derivatives (e.g. one’s essay, someone’s essay, and someone else’s essay). There are two very common misconceptions about the apostrophe:  One is to confuse it’s with its. It’s is an abbreviation of it is; its is a possessive pronoun. The kitten chased its own tail. The kitten is chasing its tail. I think it’s a very cute kitten. 18

 The other is to insert an apostrophe in the middle of a plural noun. Thus: Wrong: The Nazi’s came to power in 1933. Right: The Nazis came to power in 1933.

Finally, note that the 1960’s is incorrect; it should be the 1960s.

The semicolon and the colon The semicolon should be deployed sparingly. It is used to separate what could have been two (or occasionally more) separate but very closely related sentences within one sentence. The reader is entitled to expect a close link between the two halves of the sentence. There are four such links:    

When the second half expands or explains the first. Not a single student failed; all performed well in their examinations. There is a sequence of actions being described or different aspects of the same topic are being considered. The event was moving; those witnessing it were deeply affected. Before parts of sentences beginning with 'even so', 'so', 'therefore', 'then' etc. James was a good runner; even so, he lost the race. To suggest a contrast: Calhoun defended slavery; Garrison attacked it.

One use of the colon is to indicate the start of a list. The colon can also be used before a longer quotation (see Section B, 6). A final way to understand the colon is to imagine that it means ‘namely’. Here are a couple of examples: One thing is certain: writers will continue to make mistakes with punctuation. After much soul-searching, he finally decided: he would tell the Dean.

The comma The comma is used to indicate a pause within a sentence. If in doubt, read the passage aloud and note where you are pausing slightly. The comma is usually inserted at these points. The following are examples of problems caused by either the absence or the wrong placing of the comma: 

Failure to employ commas at both ends of a phrase when the passage you wish to ‘fence off’ falls in the middle of a sentence. (Note how the incorrect versions are at variance with the cadences of ordinary speech.) 19

Wrong: The Conservatives who had adopted Eden as Leader in April 1955, won the general election a month later. Wrong: The Conservatives, who had adopted Eden as Leader in April 1955 won the general election a month later. Right: The Conservatives, who had adopted Eden as Leader in April 1955, won the general election a month later. 

The employment of commas which arbitrarily interrupt the natural flow of a sentence, for example by separating the subject from the main verb: Wrong: The lack of firm leadership, did nothing to help matters. Right: The lack of firm leadership did nothing to help matters.

The use of the comma to link together separate sentences, a very common error. Wrong: This advice is sensible, we hope that you will follow it. Right: This advice is sensible. We hope that you will follow it. Right: This advice is sensible; we hope that you will follow it. Right: This advice is sensible and we hope that you will follow it. Wrong: This advice is sensible, however many of you will ignore it. Right: This advice is sensible. However, many of you will ignore it. Right: This advice is sensible, but many of you will ignore it.

The opposite error to the above is to treat a phrase as though it were a sentence, instead of employing the comma to attach these words to the sentence where they properly belong. A simple test will show up this mistake. If, when you read out a passage, one of the sentences makes no sense in isolation, something has gone wrong. In most cases this is because the main verb is missing. Take the following example: Wrong: Hypocrisy bred hatred. At a time when the use of contraceptives was spreading rapidly. Spokesmen of the middle classes declared themselves aghast at the atheists’ shamelessness. (Here the middle ‘sentence’ is clearly not a sentence at all. It is a subordinate clause which is presumably meant to qualify either the preceding or the following sentence. But which? The uncertainty causes the reader to stumble over the passage and to waste time pondering its probable meaning. Had the correct punctuation been employed, all would have been plain sailing.) Right: Hypocrisy bred hatred. At a time when the use of contraceptives was spreading rapidly, spokesmen of the middle classes declared themselves aghast at the atheists’ shamelessness.

The absence or insertion of commas, thereby affecting how a particular phrase refers to a subject. In the following examples the phrase ‘who disliked the Dome’ is used 20

respectively to characterise or restrict the category of British ministers to whom the verb ‘condemned’ applies. British ministers, who disliked the Dome, condemned the new regulations. British ministers who disliked the Dome condemned the new regulations. (The two statements are anything but identical! The first declares that all ministers condemned the new regulations because of their dislike of the Dome, whereas the second declares that only those ministers who disliked the Dome condemned the new regulations. Once again you will quickly see the difference if you read the passages aloud, pausing wherever you reach a comma, but otherwise going straight on.) The ‘Oxford comma’, also known as the ‘serial comma’ The Oxford comma is an optional comma before the word 'and' at the end of a list: I like apples, bananas, and cherries. Not all academic writers use it, but it can help clarify the meaning of a sentence when the items in a list are not single items: I have the same jumper in red and blue, green and yellow, and grey and black.

3. Some common grammatical errors 

Use compare with to mean ‘examine for likeness and difference’; this is probably the form you will use most frequently. However, compare to means ‘liken’, as in the wellknown first line from one of Shakespeare’s sonnets: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’

Take particular care with phrases introduced by a verb-form ending in ing. (In the following incorrect example, the ‘-ing’ in the first part of the sentence relates to the first thing after the comma. As a result, the sentence reads as if it is the pub that walks down the street.) Wrong: Walking down the street, a pub caught our attention. Right: Walking down the street, we saw a pub. Don’t use the ing form of the verb as the only verb in a ‘sentence’; there can only be a sentence if you use a main form of the verb. Wrong: In 2003 Blair took Britain to war against Iraq. Having been persuaded that Sadam Hussein’s regime posed a threat to British security.


Right: In 2003 Blair took Britain to war against Iraq. He had been persuaded that Sadam Hussein’s regime posed a threat to British security. Right: Having been persuaded that Sadam Hussein’s regime posed a threat to British security, Blair took Britain to war against Iraq in 2003. 

Sometimes words can be combined into a single word - but sometimes not! a lot (not alot) in fact (not infact) as well (not aswell) all right and alright in so far and insofar

4. Further useful hints

The active and passive voice Occasional use of the passive voice can bring welcome variety to an essay but excessive use produces dull and laboured prose. It is a matter of judgement as to what is excessive. Note how passive sentences permit the source of an action to be lost from view and thus confuse both you and your reader as to what is actually happening. The active form is generally simpler and more forceful, as shown in the following examples. Active: The soldiers killed one of the demonstrators during the riot. Passive: One of the demonstrators was killed by the soldiers during the riot. Passive, with loss of the actor: One of the demonstrators was killed during the riot.

Don’t exaggerate The use of adjectives (or adverbs) such as ‘massive(ly)’, ‘huge’, ‘vast’ or ‘incredible’ is rarely apposite in more formal prose and may well be misleading. Carefully consider if it is appropriate to use them in a particular sentence.

E. Making the most of your seminars

You will spend a great deal of your academic career at UEA in seminars. They equip you not only with a better understanding of the subject, which will enhance the quality of your subsequent written work in essays and examinations, but also with a range of transferable skills that is prized highly by many employers. At their best seminars are enjoyable and challenging learning 22

experiences for students and tutors alike; ideas seem to spark off each other and alternative viewpoints are displayed clearly and memorably. Sometimes, however, seminars can be dull, with embarrassing silences, boring presentations, lacklustre contributions, one or two people hogging the discussion, and little energy or intellectual excitement. The success or failure of a seminar depends to a considerable extent on the aims and skills of the tutor. But it also depends crucially on you and your fellow students. Accordingly, here are some pointers to successful seminars that you should consider. They are followed by a guide to making effective seminar presentations. 

Be well prepared for the seminar, having done the prescribed reading and having thought about it.

Decide beforehand on the points you want to make, the questions you would like discussed and the issues you want clarified. It is up to you to raise them.

Ensure your seminar leader gives you the opportunity to get to know the other students in your seminar.

If you are more reserved, there are some simple ways you can gain entry into the seminar discussion without any risk of being challenged or ridiculed. You could respond to someone else’s contribution with a comment such as: ‘That’s an interesting point that I had not thought about before. Could you please explain it again.’

Never be afraid to ask. Sometimes what may appear to be the most basic of questions will elicit the most interesting discussion and debate.

Listen to what other students say rather than ride your own hobby-horse. Acknowledge other students’ contributions, both through eye contact and, for example, by referring back to ‘...the point that Rachel made a few minutes ago’.

Don’t spend the entire seminar making copious notes. Instead take at least a few notes of key points that came up in the seminar. Afterwards check them over as soon as possible and, perhaps, make a few additions.

Improving seminar presentations A recurrent complaint of many employers is the inability of students to give really effective presentations which stimulate and enthuse the remainder of the group. Interestingly, that view is also felt very strongly by students! The most common failing is to read out a mini-essay, perhaps to show others how clever and hard-working you are, instead of making a presentation which will generate interest and constructive discussion of the topic in hand. A presentation is a performance. You can use the intonations of your voice and body language to reinforce your points. Good speakers will retain their listeners’ attention by taking charge of 23

the situation, maintaining eye contact, noting their responses, pausing to clarify a point if they look puzzled, throwing out a challenging remark if they begin to look bored, asking them if they have grasped what is being said. From this it follows that a fully written out text is apt to be a liability because it prevents you from looking at your listeners and reacting effectively to them. Worst of all are speakers who cannot read their own handwriting or who become lost in their convoluted syntax. It is much better, therefore, to speak from notes, or, if you have prepared a text, to know it sufficiently well that an occasional glance will suffice. Think, too, about how much your audience can take in. Given that most class presentations are quite brief and that few will last for longer than 10-15 minutes, half a dozen general points are probably all they can manage. Make sure your presentation is punchy and brief. Once you have finished, do not sit back and expect the tutor to direct the seminar thereafter. Keep some supplementary ideas, examples and questions in reserve to help sustain the ensuing discussion. Also, avoid dominating it just because you may have more knowledge of the issue than other students; the aim is to draw out their ideas.


The following offers a checklist to consult when preparing (or listening to) a presentation:

Objectives  

Are you seeking to explain or to stimulate controversy ? How do you want the rest of the group to respond?

Structure      

Have a clear framework or structure Use "signposts" to let your audience know what you are doing Use one clear example to make your point; reserve others for later discussion Concentrate on key points, not on information Emphasise and repeat key points Provide a conclusion or summary

Props   

Can information be provided in handouts, thus allowing you to concentrate on the key points? Do you need to use a white/blackboard? Do you want to use Powerpoint? (If so, use the slides to support what you say and don’t read out what the audience can read for themselves.)

Delivery     

Think about your audience Keep looking at your audience (invite them "in") Do not read Do not worry about "mistakes" Never exceed the allotted time

Listening to a presentation     

Take your responsibility to the presenter seriously Assume that you will be the first to respond Focus on ideas and arguments, not on the presenter Ask for clarification, pose a constructive alternative, rather than criticise directly Give encouragement to the presenter.


F. Doing well in examinations

Many of the modules you will take during your degree course are assessed by a combination of coursework assignments and an unseen examination. By now you may imagine that you already have enough experience of examinations to render further advice superfluous. Unfortunately, many students do less than justice to themselves in their examinations, so this section offers some succinct advice about how to prepare effectively for modular examinations, and about the qualities which are looked for in examination answers. Here are a few points to bear in mind: 1.


The most important precondition for doing well in examinations is to do the work for the module that is going to be examined! If a module has an examination component, engage fully with all aspects of the module and don’t just do the minimum necessary. Reading and thinking done for weekly seminars will reinforce your knowledge and understanding of the module and enable you to approach the examination with greater confidence. A final flurry of ‘revision’ cannot compensate for earlier neglect of your studies.



   

Look at previous examination papers for the module. The content and orientation of modules may change discretely from year to year, but past papers do provide a reasonable guide to the nature and style of the examination in that module. If in doubt, ask your module organizer for guidance. Copies of past examination papers are available on the Portal. Organise your revision with a realistic timetable. Stick to the timetable or, if you find that it does not work in practice, make a new one. Check off the revision that you do. This provides a source of satisfaction and reassurance. Structure your revision so that you rehearse the material on a number of occasions. Repetition aids retention. Be active in your revision. Do not simply sit there re-reading books or notes until you get bored and you stop thinking. Summarise, tabulate and set yourself different tasks. Write outline answers to questions on previous examination papers and perhaps attempt some timed answers. Think of revising with others so that you can set each other tasks. In this way you are learning how to apply your knowledge effectively. Recognise the distinction between information and understanding. We are looking for understanding, bolstered by an evident knowledge. This helps the revision process, since it is easier to grasp an argument, bolstered by the more important pieces of evidence and the most appropriate examples, than to recall disconnected facts. 26


The examination

 


In the days leading up to your examinations accustom yourself to working and thinking in concentrated bursts. At some stage you may have examinations soon after 9 in the morning. If you are usually asleep at this time your brain is unlikely to be geared up to perform adequately, so practise getting up for early morning examinations! You are responsible for arriving at the examination room at the correct time and day. Check that you have got these details correct, and then check again. Aim to arrive outside the examination room with plenty of time to spare. Make sure you abide by the rubric (the instructions on what to do in each examination). Your handwriting must be legible. Examiners are not obliged to read or mark illegible scripts. Even if they do persevere, placing unnecessary difficulties in their way is not going to endear you to them. If you do start to run out of time, write an answer in note form (with the key points or stages in the argument made clear) and write a full introduction and conclusion. In that way the examiners can see what you might have achieved had you not allocated your time inappropriately. You will still be penalized for failing to submit complete answers to every question, but that is much better than leaving an answer in mid-air.

Examination answers – what we look for

In the examination itself, what counts is not so much the amount of information you have acquired as your ability to bring it to bear on the issues raised by the questions on the paper. Again and again examiners encounter pages of material that do not answer the question. Therefore:

  

Read the paper through once. Read it a second time marking those questions you feel qualified to answer. Decide which questions you will answer and in which order. Think carefully about what the question means and what it requires you to do. Try to imagine what it is the examiner is getting at. Then compose an essay plan that responds to these requirements. Answer the question in front of you. Avoid the temptation to revise and then regurgitate a prepared answer. Considerable care is taken when setting examinations to ensure that you cannot simply repeat a piece of coursework in the examination, so do not do so. Aim to produce polished and articulate essays that display your discriminating knowledge of the facts and mastery of the issues. Be clear and concise.


G. Making the most of feedback Feedback is provided in a range of forms. You will receive feedback on  

formative work (this is work that does not count towards your module mark) and summative work (this is work that does count towards your module mark).

Much of the feedback you will receive will be in written form. However, there are many opportunities to receive additional, verbal feedback. Many modules have timetabled feedback tutorials and feedback lectures. On all modules you will have opportunity to ask your seminar leader or lecturers for an appointment to discuss your work. You are expected to make every effort to collect your feedback and to act on it. Read through the feedback that has been provided and ask for clarification if there is anything you do not understand or want to discuss in more detail. Remember that seminars are an excellent way to get feedback on your learning, not only from your seminar leader, but also from fellow students. If one of your modules is part of UEA’s peerassisted learning scheme, make sure you attend the sessions scheduled by your mentor. H. Preparing for the job market, or postgraduate study When you leave UEA you will want to be able to convince potential employers, or universities where you want to go on to postgraduate study, that you possess the appropriate motivation, skills and knowledge. You will need to present yourself effectively in letters of application (or application forms) and have an up-to-date curriculum vitae (cv) What you say must be accurate, but you should certainly not sell yourself short. In many cases, students fail to gather together in their minds all the range of abilities and skills they have developed, let alone learn how to convey these effectively and concisely in applications and interviews. The competencies (transferable skills) particularly in demand among graduate recruiters, in addition to motivation and an ability to adapt to and share the organisation’s vision, include:

         

communication - ability to communicate orally, in writing, or via electronic means, in a manner appropriate to the audience; teamwork - being a constructive team member, contributing practically to the success of the team; leadership - being able to motivate and encourage others, whilst taking the lead; initiative - ability to see opportunities and to set and achieve goals; problem solving - thinking things through in a logical way in order to determine key issues, often also including creative thinking; flexibility/adaptability - ability to handle change and adapt to new situations; self-awareness - knowing your strengths and skills and having the confidence to put these across; commitment/motivation - having energy and enthusiasm in pursuing projects; interpersonal skills - ability to relate well to others and to establish good working relationships; numeracy - competence and understanding of numerical data, statistics and graphs. 28

Graduate employers are mostly interested in your potential to develop rather than your existing knowledge. Some vacancies do require specific qualifications, specialist skills or experience, but many jobs are open to graduates of any discipline. There is overwhelming evidence, for example, that a student with demonstrable skills in analysis (problem-solving) and communication will be particularly attractive to any organisation recruiting for graduate-level employment. One of the purposes of this guide is to ensure that you are: a)

more aware of how such skills are enhanced significantly by successful study in the arts and humanities; b) more confident in articulating how the study of the specific subject you enjoy DOES provide you with a wide range of skills and attributes that ARE prized by graduate recruiters and will support you throughout your working life. We trust, therefore, that our Guide will be a valuable resource at every stage of your career at UEA – and beyond. To help you prepare for the job market or postgraduate study, we strongly recommend that you discuss your career ambitions and plans with your adviser. Make full use of the support services that are on offer at UEA. Explore the many events and mentoring schemes offered by the Careers Centre (https://www.uea.ac.uk/careers/students) and keep an eye out for postgraduate open days (for UEA: http://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/open-days).

I. Learning Enhancement Team The Learning Enhancement Team, based in the Dean of Students’ Office, offers free and confidential advice to UEA students wishing to develop the skills they need for academic study. Their tutors provide expert guidance on a wide range of study skills together with advice concerning academic writing, use of English, and mathematics and statistics. Students can access paper- and web-based resources, book individual tutorials and attend workshops. For more information visit www.uea.ac.uk/dos/let, email [email protected] or go to the Dean of Students’ Office.