School of Communications - Student Handbook

School of Communications

Student Handbook

“Everything you always wanted to know about being a student, but were afraid to ask”

Click here for a listing of the CONTENTS of this handbook.

Editors Note:

This handbook is intended to act as a guide addressing some of the questions most commonly asked by students. We should stress at the outset that at third-level, primary responsibility for gathering information relevant to progress through academic life lies with the student him/herself. On the whole the onus lies with you to check course requirements, to keep abreast of deadlines, to understand what conditions may be imposed on your taking one option or another etc. To this end we would encourage you to become familiar with the DCU website and to check your DCU email for messages from lecturers on at least a daily basis.

It should also be borne in mind that this handbook does not claim to be a definitive guide to every problem you may encounter. Rather it is a work in progress which will be updated on an ongoing basis. To this end any comments, corrections or any suggestions that might improve it will be welcomed by the editor who will include them in updated versions.


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date it should not be taken as a legally binding document.

© School of Communications, DCU, 2009.


  • Attendance
  • Assignments
  • Writing an essay
    • Why you do essays at all
    • What is a good essay?
    • Presentation
    • Structure
    • Argument
    • Understanding of the subject
    • Planning an essay
    • What you must NOT do!


Attendance at class should be regarded as compulsory. Students who do not attend class regularly are likely to have poor grades or, indeed, fail. Individual lecturers are not required to issue warnings to students with poor attendance records. The responsibility for attending class lies solely with the student. Although a roll may be not called, lecturers do note student attendance patterns. Good time-keeping, regular attendance and active participation in workshops and seminars are required of all students.

In addition students should note that it is their responsibility to keep up with the progress of the course. If they are unable to attend classes they should inform the lecturer of this and make it their business to ascertain what they missed and to acquire any course materials given out during their absence.

In the pages that follow we have attempted to anticipate as many of your queries as possible relating to the preparation of assignments. At the outset we should note that although we often take it for granted that we have the ability to write it is important to stress that academic writing poses a unique set of challenges. Putting together a good academic essay involves not only the presentation of facts and figures but also requires that you learn to marshal that information to construct convincing and coherent arguments. Very few people have an innate ability to do this - it is a skill that must be learned through practice. Once acquired, however, it is a skill that can dramatically impact upon your grade performance throughout your academic career.

Why you do essays at all?

• They provide important feedback to the teaching staff.
• They make you construct arguments, using ideas with which you are beginning to become familiar as a student. They are mainly active as opposed to mainly passive.
• They make you aware of what you know and what you don’t know in a given field, helping you to clarify and organise ideas.
• They make you read around the subject, and therefore less dependent on the lecturer’s point of view.
• Taken together with lecturer’s comments they make useful revision material.

The traditional view of academic work often portrays the process of study as being primarily about reading. When the process of reading has been accomplished, it is assumed that the student will have completed his or her studies. In fact being a student is a job in at least this respect: ultimately, it’s not about consumption but the production in written form of one’s own take on the material addressed in lectures. Reading plays a very large part in this; but it is not an end in itself.

In sum, we would argue that it is impossible to know what one has learnt until one demonstrates the ability to express it. In practice, therefore, discussing course material with classmates, writing notes, short pieces and essays is a necessary part of study as well as a requirement of academic life.

What is a good essay?

In considering this you should also look at the explanations of what marks mean below. However in general terms, a good essay is one which:

• Is well-presented
• Has a clear structure
• Expresses a cogent, coherent and convincing argument
• Demonstrates a deep understanding of the subject and, where appropriate, an ability to use the abstract theoretical concepts encountered in the study of that subject
• Displays knowledge of the relevant facts/data
• Backs up its arguments with reference to clearly identified, relevant source material.

Let us consider these characteristics in turn:


This may come as a surprise but marks are frequently lost not because the student doesn't understand the subject but because they are unable to clearly express that understanding. This often comes down to a failure of presentation: poor proofing and poor writing. At an absolute minimum it is assumed that essays will be presented in a typed/wordprocessed form. In addition it is taken for granted that students have proofed their essay for spelling and sense. Finally it is assumed that no student will submit an essay which does not have good syntax, punctuation and grammar.

Please note that running a word processor spellcheck or grammar check does not constitute proofing for the following reasons:

• The spellcheck may fail to pick up words which although incorrectly spelled in context are nonetheless real words (i.e. "were" when you meant "where").

• The particular dictionary installed on the word processor you are using may not be set up for UK English. (It is not safe to assume that your lecturer will accept US English spelling as correct. If in doubt stick with UK spelling.)

• Spellcheck dictionaries can be customised, added to and therefore screwed up. In short to rely on the spellcheck not only means placing your faith in the good people of Microsoft© (or some other corporation) but also the person who previously used that word processor.

• In particular, computer grammar checks are not an effective way of ensuring good syntax, punctuation and grammar.

Given this, the best way to make sure an essay is readable, is to read it yourself or to have someone else (i.e. another human being) read it for you. There are numerous textbooks on writing, that are geared specifically to students. Check the library holdings on this subject. A copy of William Strunk's 1918 classic The Elements of Style is available online at Despite its age it remains an excellent resource. One obvious caveat should be adverted to, however: the book was written for a US audience and as such uses US spelling. This should not be interpreted as justifying the use of US English in your own essays.


"Structure: a set of interconnecting parts of any complex thing; a framework"
Oxford English Reference Dictionary 1996 edition.

Your essay is a "complex thing", as it should include plenty of raw data, your own ideas, reasoned argument and devastating conclusions. Structure renders this "complex thing" comprehensible to the ordinary reader i.e. your examiner. Although in general terms a structured essay is one which moves in a logical sequence from an introduction, to developing an argument, to reaching a conclusion, it should be stressed that structure is not a single given thing. Rather the structure of your essay should be shaped by the content of your argument: since no two essays are likely to present precisely the same argument it follows that no two essays will have exactly the same structure. Thus it follows that you should customise your structure with a view to making your argument as clear and thus as convincing as possible.

Notwithstanding this, the traditional dictum - that essays have a clear beginning, a middle and an end - still holds good. Put another way, your essay should firstly have an introduction, in which you state the argument you are going to pursue (and briefly indicate how you are going to set about the task). The following section should pursue the argument in orderly fashion, marshalling data, facts, reason and analysis. Finally, your conclusion should review the argument and offer a summary of your judgments on the matter (which should in any case already be implicit in the main body of your argument). You will achieve all this more successfully, if you remember some basic rules:

• The attainment of clarity and structure are both served by careful paragraphing. Each paragraph should deal with a single topic and no more. You should be able to put a (mental) headline on each paragraph which summarises the subject-matter dealt with there. If you can’t identify one clear subject for each single paragraph, then your essay is muddled and needs restructuring.
• You should group together all things you have to say on a particular topic. Don’t introduce a particular issue and then leave it for something else, before coming back to it again (or worse still just leave the issue hanging in the air, unrelated to anything else in your essay). This produces a disconnected feel to your essay, is often repetitive, wastes space and ultimately tries your reader’s patience.


In considering what an argument is we should first note that in writing an academic essay the terms "structure" and "argument" are practically indivisible. It's virtually impossible to construct a strong argument in the absence of a structure that allows the reader to comprehend that argument. By the same token, a clear structure allows you as the writer to assess whether or not what you have written actually constitutes an argument.

The argument in an essay can be thought of as a series of "If X, then Y" statements. In other words, having presented a piece of data or information, you as the writer then draw a conclusion on that basis. That conclusion may in turn constitute the basis for a further conclusion. It is critical to stress that the points that you make should connect with each other, cumulatively developing an overall argument. In this regard consider the following parable:

"A developer approaches two builders she's never worked with before. She needs evidence that the builders are capable of actually constructing a house. Builder A goes off to a supplier and gets the materials needed for building that house but rather startlingly leaves them in a pile. Meanwhile Builder B gets the same raw materials but goes on to assemble them into a house. When the developer returns she awards the contract to Builder B. Builder A is disappointed and complains that if the developer had taken the time to go through all the material he's assembled then she could have 'inferred' that he was capable of building the house. The developer responds that in fact no such thing can definitively be inferred and that she would have to take it on trust that the Builder A really understood how to assemble an entire building. By contrast Builder B had clearly demonstrated such an ability."

Now replace the word "builder" with "student", "developer" with "lecturer", "house" with "argument" etc. If you just put down a series of isolated, disconnected bits of information, which you nonetheless feel are related to the topic of your essay, your lecturer will complain that the essay is ‘bitty’, that there is no discernible argument. It is not sufficient to present information in a form that demands that the lecturer must infer your argument/understanding of a subject - you must demonstrate it. You can help develop a coherent and flowing argument through careful use of language which clearly demonstrates the links between points, e.g.:

“Further support of this argument has come from ...”
“Additionally, we might consider the evidence presented by ...”
“This position could be further strengthened by ...”
“Therefore, we might suggest that ...”

Your finished essay should have links of this kind between each of the points that you make. Each point should lead on smoothly to the next. (Do try and be conscious, however, of the danger that over-reliance on the specific examples given immediately above will render your writing style rather formulaic - do try and retain a natural quality to your writing.)

Understanding of the subject

As noted above the writing of an essay is a demonstration of a working knowledge and understanding of a particular topic. Acquiring such knowledge and understanding means:

- attending lectures
- undertaking purposeful reading
- discussing study material with your classmates
- writing about what you've learnt

The last two in particular deserve singling out - it is sometimes assumed that attending lectures and diligently working through prescribed reading material will automatically lead to "understanding". Yet while these activities are critical your understanding of a subject will be infinitely enriched by actively working through the material in verbal discussion and your writing.

To this end you should consider setting aside within your personal timetable space for discussing course material in groups. It is no exaggeration to say that such activities may do more to enhance your understanding than any other study method.

For writing, reading should serve the specific ends of the particular essay. Given a crowded work schedule this may mean that leisured reading, for ‘reading around’ your subject may have to be pushed down the list of priorities. By all means try to make time for background and related reading but finish the main job first.

Note also that you should examine carefully the proportion of your time devoted to writing or its active preparation. It probably isn’t enough. Learning takes place in the activity of writing notes and essays - i.e. in learning to actively use the ideas - not just in passive reading. It’s here, too that revision is located; and this ought to be an all-year-round activity.

Be critical of what you read. Always ask “Do I understand this?” and “Do I understand how it fits in with other things I want to say in the essay?” Don’t expect to understand everything, and its relevance, straight off. Not understanding, making mistakes, are important ways of learning. They should be acknowledged, at least to yourself and used as points of development. In sum the function of reading is not just to learn but also to identify what you haven't yet understood.

Understanding implies that you have acquired the ability to see limitations in one’s own and others’ approaches, and to arrive at some reconciliations or decisions regarding these. An essay is always improved by an author showing awareness of counter-arguments and attempting to deal with evidence that does not fit the argument being presented.

Planning an essay

It should go without saying that good time management is a prerequisite for successful essay writing. On time management, you should consult library material on good study practice such as Stella Cottrell: The Study Skills Handbook (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) or Joan Turner: How To Study – a short introduction (Sage Publications, 2002) for guidance.

Moving to consider the planning of the essay itself:

• Decide what is required of you in the question. “What topics, problems, principles, etc. will need to be dealt with somewhere in my essay if I’m to answer this?”
• Jot down any ideas, headings, notes, queries and references that occur to you.
• Decide what books or other sources look like being useful.
• With each, check the contents page and index for chunks that seem useful.
• Skim these to see if they are, in fact, any use.
• If so, make notes, either on index cards or on loose leaf sheets, as follows:
Author, title, publisher date at top.
Page numbers down the left-hand side and, alongside, whatever notes or quotes you want to make.
Check the bibliography for anything else that may be worth adding to your reading list.
• Repeat until you feel you’ve got enough material.
• Read over all your notes and decide what the main points are. Try summing these up in a few sentences.
• At this point it would be useful to discuss these points with your classmates to subject them to a critical focus before you commit them to your essay
• Order them for importance.
• Organise these main points/chunks into a logical sequence perhaps by putting them on bits of paper and shuffling them around. What you’re after is some reasonably coherent structure.
• Focus your attention on the first “main chunk” and try to decide what minor or supporting material should go in at this point.
• And so on, perhaps changing your logical sequences as you go (for this reason, a first draft makes sense).

At the end of this you should produce a plan or outline BEFORE writing. An outline should clarify:

• that you have a clear, relevant and workable topic;
• how the essay is structured - in chapter or section headings;
• that your essay has a focus and object;
• that your essay plan is efficient and to the point of the title;
• that the different sections are inter-related as a necessary part of a coherent discussion and not merely casually related to the title;
• that your approach / method is critical and analytical rather than simply discursive;
• that your use of source material is adequate and balanced
• that your essay has a conclusion

The outline should contain a very brief discursive statement of the overall argument. This is not easy. It requires tight construction and it serves to highlight the coherence of the outline and to control the volume of information and the direction of the discussion in the process of writing.

Finally…what you must NOT do:

1. Do not chat to the reader (“I”/”you”) asking coy questions and generally presenting the stuff in a light-hearted way. A proper note of solemnity is necessary.

2. Do not make assertions that are wide-open to questions and/or have no supporting argument. Cultivate the diplomatic phrase (“It has been suggested that " or "It has been argued that "; rather than "It has been shown that"). Try to avoid unsupported assertions of an ethical or emotive kind. Normative assertions (assertions that proceed from a subjective moral or ethical stance) are not considered academic precisely because they are subjective, based on unstated assumptions about how the world is or should be. This is not to suggest that such stances can be entirely factored out of your work but they need to be explicitly subjected to critical analysis.

3. Do not use the “blunder buss technique (lots of points fired randomly in the hope that some stick) or the “machine-gun” technique (staccato statement, of great obscurity delivered in a rapid but disjointed stream).

4. Do not use logical connections (“Hence”, “Thus”, “ As a result”, “It follows that” etc.) when there’s no logical connection or where it’s so badly expressed it isn’t clear to anyone except you.

5. Essays should not exceed the requested length - those in excess may be penalised.

6. Because the ethical and political values which guide instructors will be apparent in the lectures and seminars, students may be tempted not to question them or not to take an opposing view in essays, either as a gut reaction or as an insurance against a low mark. This is a mistake. Essays are not viewed by lecturers as a personal challenge, but as an exercise to be evaluated according to academic norms.

7. Do not use extravagant language, unless you're not 100% confident of the meaning of the words you're using. Samuel Coleridge Taylor in his Biographia Literaria described good English as "the best possible words in the best possible order". "Best" doesn't necessarily mean the biggest. Indeed if you are to explain complex ideas successfully, you will almost certainly need to use plain English. Using "big" words in an effort to impress is actually likely to do the opposite if you don't fully understand the meaning of the words you are using.

As we note below, failure to fully reference your writing leaves you to open to possible accusations of plagiarism. To avoid this, cite references for every quote, statistic or opinion that is not your own. By "reference" we mean both in the body of the text and a full bibliography. (Note these comments would not apply to journalistic writing i.e. pieces of assessment that are intended to mimic material in a newspaper or magazine.)

A reference is a set of data describing a document, or part of a document, in a sufficiently precise and detailed manner as to identify it and to enable it to be located.

You need to give a reference

• if you quote the exact words of another author
• if you paraphrase or summarise a passage by another author
• if you use an idea or material based directly on the work of another author

Failure to do this can leave you open to accusations of plagiarism. However, there are other reasons for knowing how to write a reference:

• it enables you to find an item you have consulted previously
• it allows you to accurately communicate details of an item that you have consulted
• it contains all the information that School of Communication lecturers will need to obtain an item you have used in your work which we are unfamiliar with (and indeed which we may wish to introduce to the library).

There are a number of widely-used referencing standards. The School of Communications has adopted the Harvard System and all students will be expected to use the same system. This system is outlined in the DCU Library’s Guide to Citation and Referencing, available from the library’s information desk.

Students should familiarise themselves with the Harvard system so that all work presented for assessment, will have cited accurately the sources of all quotations, paraphrases, summaries, tables, diagrams or any other material which have been used from the work of others.

In addition, students will be expected to provide a complete bibliography of all works and sources used in the preparation of projects, essays, assignments and dissertations and to include the following signed declaration on a separate page after the title page of each piece of work so presented:

This work is entirely my own work, produced specifically for this assignment. None of it has not been taken from the work of others, except where fully referenced and acknowledged. In particular, I/we have not copied or paraphrased an extract of any length from a document or source (including book, article, report, thesis, website, etc.) without identifying such document or source and using quotation marks as appropriate. I/we understand that I/we may be required to discuss with the module lecturer/s the contents of this submission. I/we understand that plagiarism is a grave offence in the university and that it carries the severest penalties.


There are two points to stress here: the appearance of the cover page and of the main body of the paper.

Cover Page

Students should include the following information (starting from the top lefthand side of the page):

Student surname, first name
Class Code (e.g CS3, MAFTS etc.)
Module Title
Lecturer Name
Essay Title

Main Body of Text

Don't choose a font that looks pretty/funky/futuristic simply for the sake of making your essay look pretty/funky/futuristic. Times Roman or Arial (or one of their derivatives) in font size 12 are generally fine. Furthermore don't mix fonts or font sizes - if you do need to make font distinctions, use italics or bold. With regard to line spacing you should bear in mind that dense text is not easy to read - keep line spacing at 1½. The end of paragraphs should be signalled by a double return (i.e. hitting "enter" twice).

To be absolutely safe follow the guidelines below:

Font: Times New Roman or Arial
Font Size: 10 or 12
Line Spacing: 1.5 lines
Page Number: Right justified in footer (i.e at bottom right of page)
Margins No strict rules here but as a guideline, margins should not be less than 1 inch on all sides (i.e. top, bottom, left and right).

KEEP COPIES OF ALL YOUR WORK. Occasionally an external examiner may decide to re-examine work submitted previously. It is therefore important that you retain copies of all your work at least until marks for the semester are posted.


1. All assignments should be left in the project box outside C179 (School Secretary's Office), unless lecturers have specified another method of delivery, e.g. e-mail or Moodle.

2. Regardless of the due date for your essay all work should be submitted before 12 noon on the due date. As the project submission bin will not be emptied at weekends (or indeed public holidays), work submitted over a weekend will be regarded as having been submitted on MONDAY.

3. Again, it is your responsibility to KEEP COPIES OF ALL YOUR WORK until marks are posted.


It is a central tenet of a fair assessment procedure that all students should be assessed under the same conditions. By definition an essay which is submitted late without reason is not being assessed under the same conditions as those essays submitted on time since the student has had more time to work on the essay. In short, it's a question of equity. Essays and other course work MUST be handed in on time. (Clearly, punctuality is also particularly important for those intending to pursue a career in the field of journalism, or other media fields, where work submitted late cannot be published or broadcast.)

What constitutes a reason for being late?

There are two main reasons:

1. Medically certified illness or other medical condition which prevents the student from completing the assignment on time. (Please note that lecturers have the right to contact a doctor giving a medical certificate to confirm their authenticity.)
2. Bereavement in the family.

Beyond this there are conceivably other unpredictable reasons which may be advanced as grounds for an extension. Such grounds should be notified in writing to the relevant lecturer in advance of the due date. Such cases will be examined on their own merits by the lecturer involved but resulting extensions may have to be confirmed by the programme board. Lecturers are not obliged to accept late projects but they should make it clear at the time of setting assessments what their policy is.


Within an academic context, plagiarism is considered one of the worst possible crimes - it constitutes intellectual theft. The official university regulations offer the following definition:

"Plagiarism is the presentation of another person’s words, ideas, arguments, concepts or
designs, in whatever format it appears e.g. print, electronic, digital, visual, sound, etc.,
as one’s own. Plagiarism comes in many shapes and forms ranging from the copying,
without attribution, of whole sections of published works to the unattributed use of text,
diagrams, illustrations or formulae taken from the unpublished work of others.
Associated dishonest practices include faking or falsification of data, cheating, or the
uttering of false statements in order to obtain unjustified concessions."

There are other practices which may escape the strict definition of plagiarism but which nonetheless constitute constructive plagiarism: e,g. presenting a page of material taken from another source but only referencing (giving a source for) the last sentence. This may be the result of a genuine misunderstanding on the part of the student with regard to referencing procedures but it nonetheless reads like (and will be understood by readers as) plagiarism. The best rule of thumb (and your best protection) is that if you're not sure if something needs to be sourced then source it. You can never have too many references. Students should also be aware that they may be required to attend for an oral examination on the content of assignments they have submitted.
Sanctions or What happens if you get caught

Allegations of plagiarism are automatically referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the University which considers the matter. The Disciplinary Committee then produces a report shall making a precise recommendation to the relevant Programme Board. The precise content of that recommendation will vary according to the specifics of individual cases but assuming the allegation is upheld, university regulations spell out the following punitive measures:

"8.6 A candidate found to be in breach of Examination Regulations may have all written examinations of that diet declared void. Such candidates may not be permitted to present for that diet of examinations until one year has elapsed.

8.7 Any candidate disqualified because of infringement of Examination Regulations might not subsequently be eligible for consideration for an award with honours, credit or distinction.

8.8 Other forms of assessment undertaken in that academic year may also be declared void if this is considered appropriate or necessary.

8.9 In addition to its recommendation(s) to the Progression and Award Board, the Disciplinary Committee may, at its discretion, impose other sanctions." (Our italics)

"Other sanctions" may well include the suspension of expulsion of the student.

First class honours (1) - 70% or above.
Second class honours, grade 1 (2.1) - 60-69%.
Second class honours, grade 2 (2.2) - 50-59%.
Third class honours (3) - 40-49%.
Fail - 39% or less

First class honours (1) - 70% or above.
Second class honours - 60-69%.
Pass - 40-59%.
Fail - 39% or less

For those students who are close to a pass in an individual module the programme board retain the discretion to allow them to ‘compensate’ in order to allow the student to progress or to graduate pass. In such cases the following factors will be taken into account:

- the objectives of the programme;

- the standard of the student's overall performance; and

- the maintenance of the University's standards.


Your work is marked using the following criteria. Note that these are broad criteria and each category will also have more specific criteria.

First Class - 1 (70%+)

The answer contains all relevant information and has a coherent, logical and precise argument. It also shows an awareness of the broad and more subtle implications of the issues. There is evidence of wide knowledge and reading, an understanding of the issues and a critical analysis including original and fresh insights into the problem.

Second (60-69%)

The question is approached in a confident manner, the issues are identified, evidence and reading are used and some awareness of broader issues is displayed. There is some critical analysis but lacks the poise and fluency of a first class answer.

Third (50-59%)

There is a solid answer which grasps the material, but does not always recognise the broader implications. Whilst it shows some intelligent application and understanding it lacks a clear grasp of the critical analysis required.

Third (45-49%)

Shows some basic knowledge but there is difficulty in comprehending the material in general and the question in particular. Critical analysis and awareness of the broader implications and subtle issues in the debate is lacking.

Third (40-45%)

Weak development of argument, showing little evidence that substantial work was carried out by student. Barely adequate.

Fail (0-39%)

Little, if any, evidence of a grasp of the basic course material - a simplistic approach to the question, disorganised, insufficient material and awareness of reading. Shows no awareness of the issues and related debates. May well contain errors of fact and understanding.


Students who feel that the marks awarded by the Progression and Awards Board (“exam board”) at the end of the course does not accurately reflect the quality of their work may appeal that mark. To do so students must contact the Registry within 14 days of receiving official notification of their mark in order to acquire the appropriate paperwork (and R31 form). In such cases students are required to deposit a sum of €100 with the Registry. In the event that their appeal is successful this sum will be returned to the student. Otherwise it will be retained by the university. Students should also bear in mind that the university demands that such appeals will only be entertained on one or more of the following grounds:

(a) that the student’s performance in the assessment was adversely affected by illness or other factors which he/she was unable or for valid reasons unwilling to divulge before the Progression and Award Board reached its decision.

(b) that the Progression and Award Board did not give sufficient weight to any extenuating circumstances previously notified to the Registry prior to the holding of the meeting of the Progression and Award Board.

(c) that the examinations were not conducted in accordance with the current regulations as prescribed by the Programme Board and as approved by Academic Council.

(d) that there was a substantial error of judgement on the part of the Examiners.

(e) that there was a material administrative error or a material irregularity in assessment procedures which have made a real and substantial difference to the candidate’s result; appeals lodged in this category may be made by a third party on behalf of one or more candidates provided that such appeals are made with the full and written consent of all the candidates concerned.

Just for clarification, students should understand that the marks process works as follows:

1. Individual lecturers (possibly in consultation with an external examiner) decide marks on the basis of coursework, continuous assessment or examinations.
2. These marks are confirmed by a Progression and Awards Board.
3 Finally these marks are fixed by Academic Council.

Once Academic Council has fixed a mark it cannot be changed. Hence students must lodge an appeal before the first sitting of Academic Council after the publication of marks. Consequently appeals which are lodged more than 14 days after the publication of marks cannot and will not be accepted.

For further details on this check out the Registry's website on appeals

Rechecks of Examination Results

Candidates are permitted to seek a recheck of one module mark only per examination sitting/diet; if queries are in respect of more than one module, then a formal appeal must be made.

Candidates must submit all requests for a recheck to the Registry within the same time period as permitted for formal appeals, i.e. within 14 days from the date of promulgation of the results; valid recheck requests will be referred subsequently to the relevant Chairperson of the Programme Board for processing.

There will be no fee charged, at present, for this recheck facility.

Candidates should note that this recheck facility involves no more than a check being carried out by the lecturer concerned on the accuracy of the arithmetic tots and transfer of marks to the final broadsheet of results.


Room C105 is the equipment loans and returns area for the School of Communications. From here, students may borrow equipment to enable them to complete assignments in practical areas such as video and audio. Photography equipment is held at room J117.

The Loans desk in C105 is open from 10.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Loans usually span a two day period, i.e. borrow Monday, return Wednesday with the exception of equipment borrowed on Thursday, which must be returned Friday morning. We would ask that all returns be made before 1.00pm. Weekend loans may be taken on Friday am until Monday am.

Students should be conscious that at any one time there are up to 650 others who may need equipment and need it urgently. Inevitably, this leads to queues at peak times.

For this to work properly it is essential that all returns are made on time, as the equipment rarely spends too long on the shelf before it is borrowed again. We would also ask that you ensure the batteries in your machine are recharged. If this was not done notify the loans officer so that the next user may be informed or if time permits the machine may be recharged .

C105 is not only a loans facility but is also the home to our technical support staff. If you experience problems in any of the studios, editing rooms or media-related areas technical staff are available to troubleshoot from 10am until 5pm during term time.


1: No card, no loans or returns.

2: All audio equipment (minidisks etc...) are loaned out on a first come first serve basis and must be returned before 1.00pm on the day it's due.

3: All video equipment must be booked with loans staff at least 24 hours in advance. It is typically loaned out in the morning and due back before 4.30pm same day. If the equipment is required overnight, it must first be agreed with your lecturer and then a written submission stating your reasons, and details for transport and storage of the equipment. This must be signed and include contact details. (A form will be available from the loans office)

4: Late returns will result in a one week ban for the first time, a 2 week ban for the second, 3 weeks for the third and so on up to a 6 week ban. This applies to late returns up to two days late. Returns later than this will be subject to a review by the school and will result in a much longer ban.

5: Equipment borrowed is the sole responsibility of the borrower and only they may return it. If this is not possible, alternative arrangements must be made with a technician, otherwise it will be treated as a late return with the appropriate penalty starting with a 2 week ban.

6: Equipment lost or broken will be subject to a review by the school, and will result in a minimum of a 2 week ban up to a complete ban depending on the circumstances.

7: Equipment is only available for courses scheduled to use it and then only while doing project work.

Studios and labs:

1: All studios and labs must be kept tidy.

2: NO food or drink is allowed in any of the rooms.

3: Studios (Radio, TV and C165) must be booked at least 24 hours in advance

4: Studios are available from 10am - 5pm. Late use must be arranged with a technician.

5: No equipment may be removed from any of the labs or studios without prior consent from the technical staff

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References need to be cited in two different places. Firstly at the point at which a document is referred to in the text of the work; secondly in a list at the end of the work - the bibliography.

Citation in the Text

All statements, opinions, conclusions etc. taken from another writer's work should be cited, whether the work is directly quoted, paraphrased or summarised. In the Harvard System cited publications are referred to in the text by giving the author's surname and the year of publication in one of the forms shown below.

If details of particular parts of a document are required, e.g. page numbers, they should be given after the year within the parentheses (i.e. in brackets).

1.1 If the author's name occurs naturally in the sentence the year is given in parentheses:-

e.g. In a popular study Harvey (1992, p.556) argued that ...

1.2 If, however, the name does not occur naturally in the sentence,
both name and year are given in parentheses:-

e.g. More recent studies (Bartlett 1996; James 1998) show that ...

1.3 When an author has published more than one cited document in the same year, these are distinguished by adding lower case letters (a,b,c, etc.) after the year and within the parentheses:-

e.g. Johnson (1994a) discussed the subject ...

1.4 If there are two authors, the surnames of both should be given:-

e.g. Matthews and Jones (1993) have proposed that...

1.5 If there are more than two authors the surname of the first author only should be given, followed by "et al.":-

e.g. Wilson et al. (1997) conclude that...

1.6 If there is no originator then "Anon" should be used:-

e.g. A recent article (Anon 1993) stated that...

However, if it is a reference to newspapers where no author is given the name of the paper can be used in place of author or Anon whichever seems most helpful. You will need to use the same style in the reference list so the name of the newspaper may be more helpful.

e.g. an unsigned article in The Times (1996) stated that....

1.7 If you refer to a source quoted in another work which you have not seen yourself you cite both in
the text:-

e.g. A study by Smith (1960 cited Jones 1994, p.24) showed that...

(You need to list the work you have used, i.e. Jones, in the main bibliography.)

1.8 Quotations:-

Short quotations (phrases, bits of sentences) can be run into the syntax of your own sentences, with the source’s name in brackets, eg: If “language is patterned activity” (Halliday 1992, p. 56) then ............

Longer quotations (a large bit of a sentence, several sentences) can be presented “blocked” in the centre of your page, perhaps following a colon at the end of your remarks leading up to the quotation, thus:

Of course, when I was young it seemed to me that there were many more cinemas - cinemas of the old type, divided into a kind of social hierarchy. There were good strongly middle-class city centre cinemas like The Metropole, The Savoy, and The Regal Rooms which showed serious films, family films, Shakespearean drama. Slightly lower down were The Carlton and The Adelphi.
(David Norris, cited in McBride and Flynn 1996, p. 77)

(Note that there is no need to use quotations marks in this context.)

As to what constitutes a short or a long quotation: a useful rule of thumb is that a short quotation is anything less than a line of text. Anything longer should be consider long and treated accordingly.

1.9 Diagrams:-
Diagrams should be referenced as though they were a quotation with the author and date given alongside and full details in the list of references.


Additional notes about citations

1.10 Personal communications:-

Personal communications (i.e. a telephone interview or personal letter) do not constitute recoverable data (i.e. ten years down the line someone finding your work will not be able to examine the source material). As such personal communications are not included in the reference list but should only be cited in the text. Give initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.

e.g. Many designers do not understand the needs of disabled people according to J. O. Reiss (personal communication, April 18, 1997).

The bibliography at the end of a piece of work

The term bibliography describes references to cited documents given in a list at the end of the text. These are usually described as bibliographic references. In the Harvard System, the references are listed in alphabetical order of authors' names. If you have cited more than one item by a specific author they should be listed chronologically (earliest first), and by letter (1993a, 1993b) if more than one item has been published during a specific year.

Whenever possible, elements of a bibliographical reference should be taken from the title page of the publication. Each reference should use the elements and punctuation given in the following examples for the different types of published work you may have cited.
Reference to a book

Elements to cite:

Year of publication.
Edition. (if not the first).
Place of publication:

e.g. KELLY, M. AND O'CONNOR, B., 1997. Media Audiences in Ireland. Dublin: University College Dublin Press.
Reference to a contribution in a book

Elements to cite:

Contributing author's SURNAME, INITIALS.,
Year of publication.
Title of contribution. Followed by In:
INITIALS. SURNAME, of author or editor of publication followed by
ed. or
eds if relevant.
Title of book.
Place of publication:
Page number(s) of contribution.

e.g. BANTZ, C.R., 1995. Social dimensions of software development. In: J.A. ANDERSON, ed. Annual review of software management and development. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 502-510.
Reference to an article in a journal

Elements to cite:

Year of publication.
Title of article.
Title of journal,
Volume number and (part number),
Page numbers of contribution.

e.g. EVANS, W.A., 1994. Approaches to intelligent information retrieval. Information processing and management, 7 (2), 147-168.
Reference to a conference paper

Elements to cite:

Contributing author's SURNAME, INITIALS.,
Year of publication.
Title of contribution. Followed by In:
INITIALS. SURNAME, of editor of conference proceedings (if applicable) followed by ed. or eds.
Title of conference proceedings including date and place of conference
Place of publication:
Page numbers of contribution.

e.g. SILVER, K., 1991. Electronic mail: the new way to communicate. In: D. I. RAITT, ed. 9th international online information meeting, London 3-5 December 1990. Oxford: Learned Information, 323-330.
Reference to a publication from a corporate body (e.g. a
government department or other organisation).

Elements to cite:

Year of publication.
Title of publication .
Place of publication:
Report Number (where relevant).

e.g. UNESCO, 1993. General information programme and UNISIST.
Paris: Unesco, (PGI-93/WS/22).
Reference to a thesis

Elements to cite:

Year of publication.
Title of thesis.
Designation, (and type).
Name of institution to which submitted.

e.g. FLYNN, R., 1998. The Development of Universal Telephone Service in Ireland 1880 - 1993. Thesis (PhD). Dublin City University.
Reference to a patent

Elements to cite:

Date of publication.
Title of patent .
Series designation.

e.g. PHILIP MORRIS INC., 1981. Optical perforating apparatus and
system. European patent application 0021165 A1.
Reference to a video, film or broadcast

Elements to cite:

Year. (For films the preferred date is the year of release in the country of production).
Material designation.
Subsidiary originator. (Optional but director is preferred.) SURNAME in capitals.
Production details - place: organisation.

e.g. Michael Collins, 1996. Film. Directed by Neil JORDAN. UK / Ireland / USA: Geffen Pictures.

Birds in the Garden, 1998. Video. London: Harper Videos.

Programmes and series: the number and title of the episode should normally be given, as well as the series title, the transmitting organisation and channel, the full date and time of transmission.

Yes, Prime Minister, Episode 1, The Ministerial Broadcast, 1986. TV,
BBC2. 1986 Jan 16.

News at Ten, 1996. Jan 27. 2200 hrs.

Contributions: individual items within a programme should be cited as

McCreevy, Charlie, 2000. Interview. In: Six-One News. TV, RTE1. 2000 Sept 11
18:03 hrs.
Electronic material - following the Harvard System.

No standard method for citing electronic sources of information has yet been agreed upon. The recommendations below represent best practice in the school.

Citation in the Text

Follow the author, date procedure specified above.

Elements to include in the list of references at the end of a work

2.1 Reference to individual works

Author/editor. (Year). Title [online]. (Edition). Place of publication, Publisher (if
ascertainable). Available from:

URL [Accessed Date].


Library Services. (1995). Internet user glossary [online]. North Carolina, North Carolina State University. Available from:
gopher:// [Accessed 15 Apr 1996].

2.2 Reference to E-Journals

Author. (Year). Title. Journal Title [online], volume (issue), location within host.
Available from: URL [Accessed Date].

e.g. Korb, K.B. (1995). Persons and things: book review of Bringsjord on Robot-Consciousness. Psycoloquy [online], 6 (15).
Available from: gopher://
[Accessed 17 Jun 1996].

2.3. Reference to mailbase/listserv e-mail lists

Author. (Day Month Year). Subject of message. Discussion List [online] Available from: list e-mail address [Accessed Date].

e.g. Brack, E.V. (2 May 1995). Re: Computing short courses. Lis-link [online]. Available from: [Accessed 17 Apr 1996].

Jensen, L.R. (12 Dec 1995). Recommendation of studentradio/tv in English. IASTAR [online]. Available from: LISTSERV@FTP.NRG.DTU.DK [Accessed 29 Apr 1996].

It should be noted that items may only be kept on discussion group servers for a short time and hence may not be suitable for referencing. A local copy should be kept by the author who is giving the citation, with a note to this effect.

2.4. Reference to personal electronic communications (E-mail)

Sender (Sender's E-mail address). (Day Month Year). Subject of Message. E-mail to Recipient (Recipient's E-mail address).

e.g. Lowman, D. ( (4 Apr 1996).
RE>> ProCite and Internet Refere. E-mail to P. Cross

2.5. Reference to CD-ROMs

This section refers to CD-ROMs which are works in their own right and not
bibliographic databases.

Author/editor. (Year).
Title [type of medium CD-ROM].
Place of publication,
Publisher (if ascertainable).
Available from: Supplier/Database identifier or number (optional)
[Accessed Date] (optional).

e.g. Hawking, S.W. (1994). A Brief history of time: an interactive adventure [CD-ROM]. Crunch Media.