Develop your research skills – info tip

Research materialsIf you are a postgraduate student carrying out research there are a variety of resources and services available from the Library to help you.

In addition to the suggestions below, don’t forget that your Department or School has a designated subject liaison librarian, who is happy to offer you further advice about locating information for your research.

Suggested resources

Subject databases

The best way to find articles published on your dissertation or thesis topic is to search subject databases in your subject area. These will give you references to journal articles and other published materials.

Online journals

Use Enterprise, the Library catalogue, to see what online journals we have access to. Remember to search for the journal title, not the article title. Enterprise lists the online versions of journals separately from the print versions, so look for the words [electronic resource] after the journal title. Limit your search results to e-journals by selecting “Online” access and “Journal” format.

If you are using subject databases that display the Search for item at Reading button button, use this to see if we have access to the journal in question. If conference papers are commonly used in your field then you might like to look at our finding conference papers guide.

Theses

Use Enterprise to find Reading PhD and MPhil theses related to your subject. Theses are kept in the Library’s Closed Access section and Off-site Store (see below). To locate relevant theses written at other institutions use the sources recommended in our Finding theses guide. The British Library’s EThOS service is free and enables you to download digital theses held on their system and order paper theses for digitisation.

Closed Access and Off-site store

Material which is rarely used and University of Reading theses are kept in the Library’s Closed Access section and Off-site Store. These items have a note in Enterprise saying ‘In Closed Access – available on request’ or ‘Off-site Store – available on request’. To request these items use the ‘Request Item from Closed Access / Off-site Store’ link in its Enterprise record and complete the online form. Your items will be collected for you by Library staff and you will receive an email notification when the items are ready for collection. For more information see Requesting items from closed access collections using Enterprise.

Keep up-to-date

You can keep up-to-date with published information in your subject by using Browzine or setting up current awareness alerts. For help setting up current awareness alerts see the keeping up-to-date guide.

For items not held at Reading…

The Inter-library loans service enables you to access journal articles and borrow books that we don’t have in our library stock.

Other libraries

If you wish to use another library, University staff and students can access most Higher Education libraries in the UK and Ireland via the SCONUL Access scheme. This free scheme allows all students reference only access. Taught postgraduates and research postgraduates may also be able to borrow items. To use the scheme, register on the SCONUL Access website.

Further help

Our dedicated page for researchers gives links to many of the most important sources of information. Alternatively contact your subject liaison librarian who will be happy to help advise you about sources for your research.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.
This tip was written by Melvin Morbey, Research Support Co-ordinator and Liaison Librarian.