Summer term in the Library

The start of Summer term signals a new chapter for the Library.

This term, the Library can provide both 24-hour access and full seating capacity – that means 1500 study spaces available!

Students studying at one of the large tables in the Short Loan study area on the Ground Floor of the Library

Short Loan quiet study area on the Ground Floor.

Measures in place throughout the pandemic, such as wearing face coverings and socially distanced study spaces, have been removed. We’ve retained sanitisation stations and lone lift occupancy, and additionally, as part of ongoing good practice, we encourage you to test if you’re feeling unwell and to follow University guidance on attending campus. 

 

What’s available from the Library this term? 

We close at 21:00 on Saturday evenings and reopen on Sundays at 8:30 for the entire term. 

  • Bank holidays included!

We’ll be open throughout the bank holidays (Monday 2 May, and on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee dates Thursday 2 June and Friday 3 June). Keep an eye on our website for opening hours and information about services. 

  • More choice of study spaces on campus.

As well as providing 1500 study spaces in the Library, URS remains available 8:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday, as do the 24hr PC labs. See alternative study spaces for further details about other spaces on campus. 

  • Got a quick query? Visit the Study Advice & Maths Support desk.

Visit the desk, on the Ground Floor of the Library, weekdays between 10:00 – 14:00 for quick questions about your studies. You can also find details for your Academic Liaison Librarian on the Library website along with information about forthcoming workshops – online and in-person, 1-2-1 assistance with your studies and more. See the website for further links and details.  

  • Need something else?

Remember, we’re here for you so if you have any questions about your Library account, loans, or anything else to do with the Library services, please get in touch and we’ll help you to stay on track.   

Your Library team

Library website migration

The Library webpages have moved over to the University’s new content management system (CMS) – you may already be familiar with the new interface as many areas of the University website have already been migrated.

Partial image of the new Library website.

The migration means that the look and feel of our webpages have changed, but access to all our guidance, resources and other information should remain available. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, please email us at library@reading.ac.uk so that we can help you stay on track with all your information needs.

Your Library team

New year, new habits – making the most of your Library

Happy New Year and welcome to the Spring term. Our Library teams look forward to continuing to support you with your studies.  

If you’re a January starter, we recommend that you look at our top recommendations in the Information for new students LibGuide. If you’re returning to Campus, we’d like to share the following reminders on how to make the most of the services, resources and facilities. 

 

Support with your studies 

Do you need help with an aspect of your studies? Your Academic Liaison Librarian and the Study Advisors will be happy to assist. Take a look at the Training and workshops webpage for more information, links to guides, training materials and more!  

 

Study areas  

Study space is available on all floors of the Library, including individual silent study on the 5th Floor. If you are using this study area, please remember that it is entirely silent so you may prefer to use the individual quiet study areas, located on all other floors, or the range of group study spaces.  

‘Want to know more? 

  • Watch our YouTube video about study areas in the Library or see our Instagram tour to find your favourite space.
  • Find out about additional study space on campus. Visit the Essentials webpages https://www.reading.ac.uk/essentials/Study/Study-space to discover more and, if you’re a postgraduate student, you can also enquire with your department to find out if they can advise on other suitable locations.  

 

Please note: you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with other locations as, at peak times, you may need to find alternative study space. We are currently operating at a slightly reduced study space capacity due to the increased need for ventilation within the building. This provision is aligned with University health and safety guidance. 

 

Stay safe 

If you are using study space in the Library, help us to keep open and stay safe by: 

  • Not moving furniture – study areas have been specifically configured to comply with capacity allowances in relation to ventilation requirements. 
  • Keeping windows open, on ventilation mode, if studying in a space next to a window.  
  • Wearing a face covering (unless you are exempt) when using the Library.  

Masks and other face coverings should cover the nose and the mouth and should remain in place at all times. 

  • Following the one-way systems, using the sanitisation stations and not using the lifts in groups.  

Single occupancy of lifts and other measures are all still in place so please refresh your knowledge of our Covid-19 safety information. Look out for our signage and notices displayed throughout the building to assist you.  

  • Not eating in the Library.  

Help us to keep the building clean, safe and tidy by eating in the Library Café or other suitable spaces on campus. Please do not bring hot food into the Library at any time as this creates unpleasant smells, and is disruptive for other Library users.  

  • Using lidded containers, when bringing drinks into the Library.  

Non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks are permitted – we have recycling facilities for single use cups and plastic bottles.  

 

Visiting the Library between midnight and 8:00? Remember to bring your campus card for entry via the keypad next to the right hand side entry door.  

 

Recalled items 

The Library is a shared resource, so please look out for our recall emails and courtesy reminders. If someone places a hold on an item that you have out, a recall notice will be sent to your University email account. Recalled items must be returned so that other users needing a particular book can gain access. If you still need the item, simply place a request once it has been returned so that the next available copy can be held for you. Further information on recalls can be found here.

 

Opening hours 

24/6+ opening hours resumed on Sunday 9 January – full details of the opening hours may be found here. 

 

Do you follow us on social media? If not, this may be the perfect time to begin so that you can stay up to date and make the most of your Library! 

 Social media icons

 

Your Library Team

Welcome to new and returning students – getting ready for Spring Term

Happy New Year from the University of Reading Library

Welcome – or Welcome Back – to the University of Reading Library!

Your Academic Liaison Librarians wish you a Happy New Year. Now that you are preparing for Spring Term, here’s a reminder of some of the support we can provide to help you with your assignments and research this term. If you’re new to the Library building, you can take an online tour.

How to find books and academic journal articles

If you found it tricky to find the right materials last term, you can remind yourself of the Library’s search tools Enterprise and Summon via our playlists. Our playlists are all available on the University of Reading Library YouTube and will show you

  • how to search for books, journals and other materials
  • how to locate print books
  • how to borrow print books

Manage your references

When you’re planning assignments, keeping track of the books and articles that you read is really important and saves a lot of time when you’re writing your bibliography at the end of an essay. Making good notes about your references now can help you later on, so it’s a good habit to get into.

Look at the Referencing tab on your Subject Guide for guidance specific to your programme, or visit our Citing References Guide for information on when to reference, how to structure a reference and a bibliography. You’ll also find lots of helpful advice on reference management tools.

Contact your Academic Liaison Librarian

At the University, there is a Librarian for each subject. They can help you with finding information and referencing. You can email any queries to your Librarian, or arrange a 1-1 appointment to discuss a specific question.

Find out who your Librarian is here: www.reading.ac.uk/library/liaison

If you are a new student, you’ll find all the information you need on our New Students Guide.

Kim Coles,
Academic Liaison Team Manager

 

New Year: have a plan

File, calendar, notebook with pencil and laptop graphic

A term in, it’s time to reflect on what has worked and what new strategies we need to try to keep on top of our studies. Study Advice have some videos to help you, a new webinar series and some top tips to starting the New Year on the right track.

 

Tip #1: Reflect on the last term
Regular reflective practice is an important part of doing well at university. It involves looking back on a recent period of study, evaluating your approaches, and setting yourself targets for further development. Before you start planning for the coming term, think back on how the term just gone went:
• What did you enjoy the most? Can you think of why you enjoyed it so much? Equally, what did you enjoy the least, and why?
• Was there anything you did particularly well at? What did you do that worked so well?
• Was there anything you could have done better? If you had to do something similar this term, how might you approach it differently?
• Did you get the support you needed last term? If not, do you know where to find it?
Tip #2: Make a plan
If you don’t have a study timetable, now’s the time to make one. Follow these 5 steps to make a workable weekly plan and ensure you keep on top of your studies this term:
1. Note down everything you need to complete each week. For instance: watching videos, attending seminars, working on assignments, and reading around your subject.
2. Allocate time. Work out how much time you have for each task each week. You should see studying as a full-time job, so aim to allocate 35-40 hours a week to studying.
3. Schedule in time. Using a weekly planner, add in your fixed appointments, then begin slotting in your other study activities. Use the times that you are motivated for study and mix up reading, writing, and listening tasks within a day.
4. Making it easy to stick to. Try to have a set routine, starting study at the same time each day, plan in regular breaks and move things around if your plan is not working for you.
5. Plan backwards from assignments. Give yourself weekly targets to work towards. Try using a termly planner and put it up near to where you study.
Tip #3: Read actively
It’s called ‘reading for a degree’ for a reason: no doubt you’ll be asked to read lots of articles, book chapters and other material to support your learning. But if you find that you read without knowing why you’re reading, you don’t think about what you’re reading or you fail to make connections along the way, then you’ve fallen into the trap of passive reading. Instead, consider why you’re reading, what question might it answer? And consider if you agree with what’s been said. How does it fit in with your course material and other ideas you have come across? In short: think more and read less.
Tip #4: Be more proactive
• Start working on your assignments sooner, even if it’s just setting up a way of organising your lecture notes according to which assignment they’ll be useful for.
• Make sure you’ve done enough preparation before going to your lectures. Give yourself enough time to engage with the required reading, screencasts, or other materials. Take active notes where you are not just summarising the content, but also processing your own thoughts, identifying key terms you don’t understand, and noting down your questions. Using your notes this way will help you participate in class more actively!
• Look for support sooner: don’t ever think you will be penalised or judged for needing support. Students succeed because they use the support available to them, not because they are ‘naturally’ good students.
For more
Watch our new short videos on Organising your studies and Reading academic texts; and see our Time Management Guide
Visit our Study Advice website for more resources, to book a 1-2-1 or attend a webinar this spring term. Our webinar on the 12th January is: ‘work smarter not harder’ and is essential if you want to use your study time more effectively.

Study Advice

Christmas Vacation – Library loans, opening hours and more

Close up image of the word Library as mounted on the library building cladding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a busy Autumn term!  

The final week of term begins on Monday! We thought this would be a good time to share the Library vacation information with you, to help you get the most out of your Library through the break. 

 

Online help 

All our expert staff are available online to help and advise you through the vacation before, and after, the University closure period. Through this time, the following services will be available 

  • For advice on resources for all your course needs, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian, they can assist by helping you to make the most of the Library resources.  
  • Study Advice can help you develop your study skills through the online tutorials and bookable sessions on offer.   
  • The Research Engagement team are available to help support your research needs. If you require help with Open Access, research data management and other research related matters, visit their webpages for further support. 

Once we enter the University closure period, you will still be able to gain help and support through the range of training guides and videos that the teams have produced. 

 

Store and Closed Access requests 

If you need materials from the off-site Store or from our Closed Access shelves, please make sure you place your request in good time. The final dates of collection are as follows 

  • Store collections – Thursday 16 December. Requests for items should be submitted by 8:00, that morning so that they can be processed for retrieval.  
  • Closed Access collections – Wednesday 22 December. Please submit your request before 13:45 if you wish to consult a closed access item in advance of the closure period. 

We will resume Closed Access collections on Tuesday 4 January and from Store on Thursday 6 January. For more information, see Requesting items from Store and Closed Access. 

 

Vacation loans  

To ensure you have good access to resources over the break, vacation loan periods will apply as follows 

  • Items from our Short Loan/overnight loan collection borrowed on Friday 17 December will not need to be returned until Tuesday 4 January 2022, but they must be returned by 11:00 to avoid any charges.  
  • 7-day loans borrowed from Monday 20 December will not need to be returned until the end of the closure period (Tuesday 4 January 2022).  
  • Standard loans (3-week loans) will naturally issue over the break from Friday 3 December. Term loans will update on 2 December so that any items issued then will not be due until Tuesday 22 March 2022.  

Recalls will still apply until the University closure begins so, please remember to check your University email and return any recalls in good time.  

 

Vacation opening hours 

The Library will be open 24/6+ until Friday 10 December, when we will be closing at Midnight. This also signals the start of the weekend closure, and the start of vacation hours as follows 

 

From  To  Opening hours 
Saturday 11 December  Sunday 12 December  CLOSED 
Monday 13 December  Thursday 16 December  Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Friday 17 December    Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Saturday 18 December  Sunday 19 December   CLOSED 
Monday 20 December  Wednesday 22 December  Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Thursday 23 December    Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Friday 24 December  Monday 4 January  CLOSED 

 

Much of the University will be closed between Friday 24 December and Tuesday 4 January. On Tuesday 4 January, the Library will reopen as follows  

 

Tuesday 4 January                        Thursday 6 January                              Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Friday 7 January      Open 8:30 – 17:00 
Saturday 8 January      Open 8:30 – 19:00 
Sunday 9 January    Open 8:30 24/6+ resume. 

 

Further information on the Library opening hours, including the IT Service Desk can be found on the Opening hours webpage.  

If you have a general enquiry, please contact us ahead of the University closure dates by emailing library@reading.ac.uk or phone 0118 378 8770. 

Best wishes, 

Your Library Team 

 

New in-depth Library drop-ins

Student visiting the Study Queries desk for guidance on using resources

New! Quick queries hour – ask a librarian that urgent searching or referencing question!

We’re excited to announce that from Monday 25 October, we’re offering an additional hour of enhanced library support every weekday lunchtime. Whenever you have a tricky question needing an urgent answer, but your own Academic Liaison Librarian isn’t available, drop in 13:00 – 14:00 to the Study Advice desk on the ground floor of the Library (to the right of the stairs). The duty liaison librarian will set you right!

This service complements our Study Advice drop-ins for urgent study queries (i.e. those which cannot wait for a longer appointment with a Study Adviser), available from the same desk at the same time, 13:00–14:00 weekdays.

The Study Advice desk is currently open 10:00–14:00 for you to ask quick searching tips, general library advice or to set up an appointment with a Study Adviser or your Academic Liaison Librarian.

What can your Academic Liaison Librarian do for you?

What can you ask an Academic Liaison Librarian?

  • What is the best database to use for my assignment?
  • How can I get started searching for books or journal articles?
  • Where can I find particular types of resources e.g., newspapers, archive material?
  • How do I search Enterprise or Summon effectively?
  • How do I find a reference listed in a reference list?
  • Which referencing style should I use? How do I format a reference to a source? – and other quick referencing queries.

What do students say about asking their librarian?

  • “I found it really helpful and supportive”
  • “[The librarian] made it simpler and easier for me to learn/understand how to use [Endnote]”
  • “Absolutely brilliant! Problem solved. 10/10”
  • “I came in confused but left relieved and with much understanding of how to reference and cite papers”
  • ” I haven’t used the library before, so it was very helpful”

What will you ask?

Kim Coles,
Academic Liaison Team Manager

Hello again and welcome back! 

Following on from Welcome last week, we wanted to ensure that we said ‘welcome back’ to the Library to all of our continuing students too. 

Large rectangular red pin on badge with white text that reads 'ask me... I work here!'.

We’re here to help you with all of your Library questions

We know last year was difficult for everyone and especially for those of you who grappled with online and remote learning. Many of you have been away from campus for a while so, please ask us for assistance if things feel unfamiliar.  

We are pleased to say that many of the measures that were in operation in the Library over the past year have been disbanded! 

 

Study space bookings 

Since 3 September, study space bookings are no longer required for individual study spaces and group study is available again. The 1st Floor Group Study Rooms can, once more, be booked in advance. See our recent blog for more information 

 

Click & Collect 

Click & Collect has ended and you can now browse the shelves and borrow items without having to place holds in advance of your visit. More information about how and when to place a hold on an item can be found on the Placing & cancelling a hold webpage. 

We’ve retained the one-way system, sanitisation stations and enhanced cleaning as these have all proven to be useful over the last year. Additionally, University health and safety policy is still single occupancy usage of lifts and, if you are able to wear a face covering, we encourage you to use one when moving around the building.  

Find out more about keeping safe on the Student Essentials pages.  

 

Library tours  

Have you seen our Instagram tour yet? Library tours continue to be available online and there are several other options too. 

 

Opening hours back to 24/6+  

We’re back to our normal term time 24/6+ opening hours. This means the Library closes Saturday evening at 21:00 and reopens Sunday at 8:30, apart from that we’re open all hours. Please note that the Library Café closes at 22:00 on weekdays and IT Service desk hours can be found on the DTS website. 

 

Don’t forget to make the most of expert help!  

The Study Advice and Academic Liaison Librarian teams have been expanding the range of online materials available to help you make the most of the Library. Visit the Library website to see our new Training and events guide and links to our newest YouTube videos and other resources. 

 

Blog banner image for University Library News

Bookmark the Library blog to stay up-to-date with any changes

 

Further information 

We’ll continue to provide updates on the Library services on our websiteblog, and social media to keep you informed but if you have any questions, please get in touch via library@reading.ac.uk or see our contact information for other options.  

Your Library Team

5 tips for starting your Master’s dissertation

So, you may have just finished your exams but now you have to turn your attention to your dissertation. Where do you begin and how can you ensure you stay on track? Below are our Study Advice and Library tips to help you get started and stay focused.

Student studying in the Library

Tip #1: Have a plan

Having a plan not only helps you to stay on track but weekly goals keep you motivated. Work backwards from your hand in date and remember to build in extra time for proofreading and final touches. Our videos on managing your time offer some tips to get you started.

Tip #2: Start with something small

To help you get going, start with a task that you can get done easily. This might be something simple, like setting up a word template or printing off a couple of key articles. Being able to complete one task can give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to tackle more challenging ones.

Tip #3: Think about the information that you need…

…and how to access it! If you are carrying out a literature review, or analysing documents or literature, make sure that you are familiar with the key online resources in your subject area. You can find out more about what’s available to you, as well as contact details for your Academic Liaison Librarian, on your Library subject guide. Look at the COVID-19 page in the guide for top tips on how to access resources when off-campus.

Tip #4: Think more, read less

It’s important that you think critically about what you’re reading. This requires you to see the links between various theories and consider what they mean for your research question. So, when taking notes remember to not only record a summary of your reading but more importantly note what you think about what you have read. This will help you when you come to write up. Our video on critical note-taking offers some advice on this.

Tip #5: Attend a webinar

The Library and Study Advice teams are running a series of webinars for Masters students working on their dissertations. The Masters Dissertation Fayre is back for a second year, covering a range of topics from selecting a reference management tool, to structuring your literature review.

Webinars will run online at 11am and 2pm each day from Monday 7th – Friday 11th June. These friendly and helpful sessions are open to all Masters students, and you can book a place online.

Thanks for reading,

The Study Advice Team

Polishing up your Masters dissertation

Students studying in the LibraryAs you get into the last few weeks of work on your Masters dissertation or major project, it should all be coming together. This post aims to give you the tools to get everything done in time – and make your dissertation a shining success!

Editing, proof-reading and referencing

At this stage, you should be starting to think about editing and proof-reading. It’s best not to leave this till the last minute as it’s rarely just a matter of checking your spelling. There may be missing citation details to find, arguments that would be better placed elsewhere, repetition to remove, and word count to reduce. All these things take more time than you think.

Study Advice have a guide on writing at Masters’ level which will help you to see what you need to aim at when editing your writing. There is also a guide on academic writing including tips for more effective proof-reading. If you have five minutes, you could watch one of their video tutorials on dissertations.

It can make a real difference to your mark to make sure your citations are all correct, complete and consistent. This can be a slow process so allow plenty of time. There is information about different referencing styles and how to reference more unusual sources in our Citing References guide. You could also look at the Study Advisers’ video tutorials on referencing. If you’re still not sure, ask your Academic Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

Incomplete reference? What to do?

You may find you have a key piece of information, but not all the details you need for your bibliography. If you have some information, it still may be possible to find the complete reference.

For a journal article, try Summon or one of the Library’s databases; for a book, try checking your reading list, searching the Library catalogue, or a database specialising in books such as Worldcat or Library Hub Discover. You can also look back through your Library account to see the titles of books you’ve borrowed over the last 6 months.

If you want to use a direct quote from your reading but don’t know where it came from, try typing it into Google, framed with quotation marks e.g. “the City’s collusion with slavery”. Google will then search for the exact quotation. You may find it’s better to use a short phrase rather than a longer quote; try to find a grouping of words that stands out. What you must never do is invent details, or include things in your dissertation if you cannot be sure about the source. This may lead to accusations of academic misconduct.

For more help watch this brief video tutorial on how to find bibliographic details.

Get the edge with up-to-date information

The best dissertations include the most up-to-date research so, if you have time, you can check for recent publications that you may have missed in your literature review. Many databases allow you to re-run your search for an author or on a topic to find only the most recent items.

For example, Web of Science allows you to save your searches to re-run against the latest updates to its databases. You can also set up feeds and citation alerts so that you are notified when someone cites your key articles. Watch the saving your search and setting email alerts video for detailed instructions on how to do this.

This service isn’t only available in the sciences, however – you can set up alerts in services such as BrowZine to find the latest articles across all disciplines and subjects. Most databases will have this function available, but each one will work slightly differently. If you want to set up alerts for a particular database but aren’t sure how, get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian.

For more, see our further tips on keeping up to date.

Student studying in the LibraryStaying motivated

It can be difficult to motivate yourself to get to the finishing line, and it’s easy to underestimate how long the finishing touches may take. Breaking your remaining tasks down and setting deadlines to get each ticked off can help. You might turn these into a Gantt chart and pin it up on your wall, so you can see your targets at a glance. Study Advice have some further suggestions on staying motivated.

Layout and binding

Find out ahead of time what is expected in terms of layout and binding and you are likely to save yourself from last-minute panic. The Study Advice website has some general principles on finishing up. More specific information should be in your course or module handbook. It may also be possible to look at past dissertations in your department to see how they have laid out their work: ask your tutor.

You do not need to hard bind your work, but if you choose to do so, do be aware that you will have to leave considerably more time. The Library have teamed up with experienced university binders Hollingsworth & Moss to offer a hard and soft bound printing and binding service.

Acceptable binding styles include thermal binding with a hard or soft cover, spiral and comb binding. These can be done at many print shops with a little notice, including Mail Boxes Etc in the RUSU building on Whiteknights campus.

If you have any last-minute queries, you can always come and ask your Academic Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser.

Planning your revision – info tip

Boy reading in sunshineEaster’s coming up fast, and you’re probably still completing assignments for the end of term. Exams might still seem a long way off now but they’ll be here before you know it. It’s a good time to start thinking about your revision – and the Library and Study Advice are here to help.

Working out a schedule

It’s important to have a plan, to make sure you have time to cover all the topics you need to. Avoid making your revision plan too detailed and prescriptive though – you will need to build in time for relaxation, exercise – and the unexpected!

The Study Advice guide on preparing for exams includes tips for planning your revision, including how to work out your revision schedule. You might also find our video tutorials on time management helpful – we have tips on planning and avoiding procrastination, for instance.

Finding materials for revision

You will probably start by reading through your lecture notes, and then looking at texts on your reading list. The Library has guidance on finding different types of publication as well as videos that will help you to get the most out of the Library.

You should also check the subject resources and guidance for information resources in your topic – much more reliable than ‘just Googling it’. And remember that, whether you’re revising on or off campus, our ebooks and ejournals are accessible 24/7.

Where will you revise?

It’s good to think about the place that you study best. Some students prefer to study at home or in Halls, and 24/7 access to e-resources makes this a viable option without taking mountains of books home. If you do this, make sure you make a schedule and stick to it – it’s easy to watch just one more episode of that box set!

Many students prefer to study in the Library, and study spaces will be available in the URS Building and the Library as usual. However it’s worth considering some of the other places to study on campus; being somewhere different may help you to avoid distractions. Or consider other places off-campus like public libraries. Going to a new place that you’ve identified as a ‘place to do revision’ can help you to focus.

Wherever you revise, remember to take breaks. Library@URS may be open 24 hours but that doesn’t mean you have to work through the night – your brain needs rest and time for processing information.

Making your revision effective

If you can find six minutes in your busy schedule, you have enough time to watch the Study Advice video tutorial on effective revision – and save yourself a lot of wasted time. Our guide on preparing for exams also has tips on revision and memory techniques. If you’re taking exams in the UK for the first time, have a look at our information on assessment by examination in UK higher education to give you a clearer idea of how they may differ from what you have done in the past.

Remember that the purpose of revision is not to memorise everything you can find about the subject, but to prepare yourself to answer exam questions. Check the Past Paper archive on the Exams Office website to find examples of questions for your modules which you can use to write practice answers – to time and by hand, ideally. We have a Study Seminar on Writing for University Exams on Wed 20 March 2019, 2-3pm in Edith Morley G25 – no need to book. And have a look at our video tutorials on exams for guidance on the best way to prepare for different kinds of exams.

This is one of a series of tips to help you save time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Kim Shahabudin, Michelle Reid, Sonia Hood and Linda Shroeder (Study Advice team).

Getting help with your dissertation – info tip

A shelf of books and some lightsNo matter how many essays you’ve written, working on a dissertation or research project can be overwhelming. They can involve lots of new skills from deciding on research questions through to those tricky final citations.

Whatever stage you are at, there is lots of help available from the Library and Study Advice team!

Starting out: Search strategies and finding information

It can be a little daunting starting such a big project so you might want to start with the Study Advice guide on dissertations and major projects or their video on defining your research question.

Once you have sorted your research questions you will need to start researching your topic. Look at the Library subject guide for your department to find key databases in your area. There is also a guide to doing a literature search, the LibLearn tutorials on Blackboard, or you could watch our videos on literature searching if you would like a break from reading!

If you are struggling to find the information that you need then you can contact the Liaison Librarian for your subject.

railroad tracksStaying on track

Once you have started your research the Study Advice team have some resources to help you keep going. If you are trying to tackle the literature you have found, it might be a good idea to watch their videos on reading academic texts and critical notetaking.

With large projects like dissertations it is easy to feel like you have lots of time left only to find the deadline creeping up on you. When you are trying to balance your dissertation with lectures, other coursework and revision it is easy to fall behind so take a look at the Study Advice video on managing your time to get some tips.

Dissertations and research projects can also be harder to structure than a normal essay due to their size. This Study Advice video on structuring your dissertation has some helpful suggestions to get you started.

Writing up and referencing

When you have a structure in place you will be ready to start writing up. If this seems a little overwhelming take a look at the Study Advice guidance on writing up your dissertation.

As it is a longer piece of writing than you are likely to have written before it is a good idea not to leave your referencing until the last minute – you don’t want to lose precious marks because you ran out of time to format your bibliography! Luckily there is software freely available to help speed this process up. We offer support for EndNote online and Mendeley, which both help to gather your references and automatically create bibliographies. You can check our guidance page to get started or sign up for a workshop.

If you choose to add your citations manually, and are not sure how to reference a particular resource or would like a refresher, there is lots of guidance on the Citing References guide. But don’t forget to check your student handbook for details of the referencing style required by your department.

When you’re finished, you’ll need to get your dissertation printed and bound – the University’s recommended provider is Hollingworth & Moss.

Further help

If you would like more information you can contact your Liaison Librarian or the Study Advice team.

Good luck with your research!

This is one of a series of tips to help save you time and effort finding or using information.

This tip was written by Dr Kim Shahabudin, Study Adviser.