First Assignment advice

UEA Library and the Learning Enhancement Team have made a website called UEA Your First Assignment and Beyond.

So far it consists of:

Finding and using information

  • Types of information
  • Finding your sources
  • Reading effectively
  • Evaluating your sources
  • Managing your information

Writing your assignment

  • Planning your assignment
  • Using sources in your assignment
  • Drafting your assignment

How to argue

How to Argue is a book by the lawyer Jonathan Herring.

Do you hate arguments and avoid them at all costs? Or do you
just find that you keep losing them? Perhaps even when you
win, somehow you feel it has all been counter-productive?

If so, this is the book for you. It will teach you how to argue

The book lists 10 golden rules:

  1. Be prepared
  2. When to argue, when to walk away
  3. What you say and how you say it
  4. Listen and listen again
  5. Excel at responding to arguments
  6. Watch out for crafty tricks
  7. Develop the skills for arguing in public
  8. Be able to argue in writing
  9. Be great at resolving deadlock
  10. Maintain relationships

It is available through O’Reilly, which UEA Library has (temporary?) access to. You will need to register using your UEA email address.

Most of the books and videos on O’Reilly are IT-related, but there are other topics, such as professional communication (e.g. writing and presenting).


Lander’s blog

Lander Hawes’s blog offers study advice to international students.

For example:

Lander used to teach English at INTO UEA. When not teaching, he puts on dark glasses and rows boats. He also has a Facebook page.


Citing Wikipedia

You’re not supposed to cite Wikipedia in your assignments, but hey, let’s stick it to the man. And there are occasions when citing Wikipedia is appropriate. Maybe you’re writing an assignment about Wikipedia!

For the year of publication, use the year when the Wikipedia page was last modified. This information appears at the bottom of the page:

This page was last modified on 17 August 2017, at 17:34.

Here is the format for a Harvard reference to a Wikipedia article about lithic flakes (archaeology).

In-text citation

(‘Title of article’, Year)

Channel flakes are caused by the fluting of particular Paleo-Indian projectile points ('Lithic flake', 2017).

Reference list

‘Title of article’ (Year) Wikipedia. Available at:… (Accessed: date).

'Lithic flake' (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 26 June 2019).

The same format is used when citing other wikis:

'Caxambu Style Borborygmus Potion' (2018) Harry Potter Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Corybas limpidus' (2018) Wikispecies. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).
'Law of Cosines/Proof 3' (2016) Proof Wiki. Available at: (Accessed: 27 June 2019).

Revision tips

Revising for exams? If you want some tips and resources, these might help:

There are some more links on our web page, Preparing for exams.


Study skills from Manchester Uni

The University of Manchester Library has some online resources on study skills. For example:

There are many others – on maths, referencing, revision, statistics, reading, research, etc.


Maths help

If your course requires some maths and you need help, try these sites:


Eating a frog

The ebook, Eat That Frog! : 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy, is available through UEA Library. We have a link to it on our study skills page.

As an explanation of the title, the author writes:

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.

I could not find the source for this quotation. It appears in various forms on motivational websites, in collections of quotes, etc., but never with any bibliographical details. Project Gutenberg’s collected works of Mark Twain include references to frogs, but nothing that I could see about eating them.

Finally, I came across Quote Investigator, which has a page on this very quotation: Eat a Live Frog Every Morning, and Nothing Worse Will Happen to You the Rest of the Day. Instead of the American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910), it attributes the saying to the French writer Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) and he refers to toads rather than frogs.

The moral of the story is: stop doing things in a hurry – and check your sources!


How to write better essays

Some essay-writing tips, e.g. “do not put new things in your conclusion”.

Also available as a video:


Study Skills for International Students

Our four-week FutureLearn course, Study Skills for International Students, is running again – until 26 September.


Bailey 5th edition

The textbook Academic Writing : A Handbook for International Students by Stephen Bailey is now in its 5th edition. Some of our students will have copies of the printed book.

The ebook is available through UEA Library.