Library Subject Guides

French: Assignment Help

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I am available to help you throughout the academic year. Please e-mail me with a requested date and time, and a brief description of your topic. I'd be delighted to meet you

Recommended Databases

These indexing databases are
recommended for this subject - see
also: Databases for French

Assignment research process

This page gives you 9 tools for finding and using information for your assignment. 

1. Define your topic

Make sure you understand the topic.

1) Identify the main concepts or keywords in your question

2) Work out why the topic is being offered, and what makes the topic interesting.

3) What parts of the topic do you already know plenty about? Where are the gaps in your understanding or knowledge?

Answering the above questions will help you formulate a search strategy.

Reading about the topic will give you further ideas -you may want to come back and define your topic a little more later.


Library/Study help

Using the Library
Online tutorials from the UC Library

UC Skills
Online study help from the UC Academic Skills Centre

2. Gather background information

Use dictionaries and encyclopaedias to find definitions and background information.
Articles from specialized subject encyclopaedias are authoritative and often substantial.

reference resources for French

3. Think about what information you need

  • How much information do you need?
    Lecturers often give guidelines on the number of sources you should use.
  • Do you need current information or is older material relevant?
    Sometimes you might need both, as you might have to give both the historic background and the current thinking on a topic.
  • Do you need primary sources that give original accounts or reviews from that time, or secondary sources which are interpretations of someone work? Or both?

If you don't understand what you have to do for an assignment, ask your lecturer, your tutor or someone at the Academic Skills Centre

4. Find books

Search the Library catalogue:

  • Check for books on High demand using your course code
  • Use Title and Keyword anywhere searches to find additional material.
  • When you find a useful title, click on its subject headings to find books on similar subjects.

finding French books
catalogue searching tutorial

5. Find journal articles

The catalogue lists journal titles, but not the titles of the articles inside the journals. To find these you'll need to search the recommended databases for French

If you can't find the kind of information you want on these databases, ask the subject librarian for help.

6. Find information on the internet

 The internet has a lot of information, but not all of it is useful or reliable. Consider the source of the page. Suitable sources are

  • a government department
  • an academic or university department
  • a research institute

Use the Advanced Search features of Google to restrict your search to results from reputable sources.

Do not use articles directly from Wikipedia, although you can use its content (eg keywords or phrases) to search other sources

Use Google Scholar to find reliable journal articles. Adjust the Scholar Preference to recongnise the University of Canterbury, and you will get full text whenever it is available through our library subscriptions.

7. Evaluate your sources

References recommended on reading lists will already have been evaluated for quality. You'll need to evaluate sources that you find yourself. Think critically about the information you find. The quality of your information has an effect on the quality of your assignment.


Read more on:
evaluating your sources

8. Write your assignment

Visit the Academic Skills Centre for workshops and/or personal help.


9. Cite your sources

 Make a note of the sources that you are using as you write, including page numbers for any quotations.
This will make it easier and quicker to create your bibliography.

Cite all the sources of information you use in your essay, using the appropriate citation style.

Remember to avoid plagiarism by citing all the sources of information you use in your essay.

See also the Library's online tutorial:

 Referencing tutorial (Learn)

Read more on:

Liaison Librarian

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Kim Hall
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