Vital Library tools for Masters dissertation success
When your dissertation storm strikes, don’t get caught without an umbrella…By Karina Beck.
Dissertation station at the PG Hub
If you are a postgraduate student writing your dissertation, then this is especially for you.
The programme runs from April to June and offers a variety of events that will help you manage your work-life balance, as well as providing you with advice on academic writing and study skills.
Dissertation Station offers a mixture of practical workshops, bringing together expertise from the Library, Academic Writing Programme and Masters Skills Programme, along with social events where you can share your dissertation highs and lows. Take a look at the events calendar for more info.
Information Finding Tools
If you’re descending the seven levels of literature review hell and think there’s no way back, these are for you.
We’ve a range of guidance on the Library’s subject pages for finding just the piece of information you need, whether that’s historical primary sources, company financials, legislation or just your bog standard journal articles and reading list items.
If in doubt, or if your search is turning up nothing, you can always contact the Academic Support Librarian for your subject for a one-to-one consultation on sources and search strategy.
Reference Management/Citation Tools
If you’re forever fighting your bibliographies, you might want to invest some time in these.
A really quick win for formatting your bibliography is exporting citations in a particular style from databases. Lots of them will let you do this – pick a style, copy and paste, and ta’dah you have the beginnings of a bibliography. There are lots of free tools which will do similar, such as Citelighter and Reference Me, or more advanced tools like Zotero and Mendeley, but you’ll likely need to play around to find the right one for you.
If you’re more invested in this and want some face-to-face reference management training as well, you can sign up for an ‘Endnote Online’ workshop or webinar. Library staff can introduce you to your Endnote Online account, show you how to collect references in to your own library and use the Word plugin to automatically generate citations and bibliographies. The software takes a bit of time to get used to though, so you’ll need to decide early on in your dissertation whether to take the plunge.
The study blog already has a collection of dissertation relevant advice and this will only be growing over the coming weeks, with advice from your fellow students and expert Librarians. Follow the Library on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date, or sign up for email notifications by clicking ‘follow’ on the blog (bottom right).
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