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Making the Most of Your Dissertation

Welcome

Dissertation Week is all about how the Library can support the student dissertation experience: from exploring what library resources are available to support a research question, to managing the bibliographic and research data students find. During the week a series of events will highlight the training, support and resources we offer to our undergraduate and taught postgraduate students undertaking their dissertations, as well as staff supervising dissertations.

This was first held in November 2019 and you can find resources from the week on this page. 

Get the best from the library for your dissertation

Do you want to know more about how the library can help you produce a high quality dissertation? What research materials are available? How to get help with referencing and organising your reading? This is a brief overview of what the library can help you with for your dissertation. 

(This is a recording of the online training provided in Dissertation Week)

Disseration Week News

Dissertation Week Reflection

It’s the final day of our very first Dissertation week at Edinburgh University Library. Here are some reflections and impressions of how it all went.

What we did
Our Dissertation week highlighted over 20 events delivered by the Library Academic Support Team, Research Data Management Team, Centre for Research Collections, Institute for Academic Development and Digital Skills team which could help students make the most of their dissertation experience. With some of these being delivered online, these events were able to reach a wide audience. A Dissertation Week guide https://edinburgh-uk.libguides.com/dissertation supported a timetabled social media campaign and will form a curated collection of the rich range of resources and support. We were able to incorporate student voices into these resources, with the School of LLC supplying a video clip on dissertation tips written by Francesca Triggs, a former LLC student, as well as including ‘Data Mindfulness’ videos by PhD student Candela Espeso Sanchez-Rodilla.

At the heart of Dissertation Week was a brand new Dissertation Fair event, which focused on exploring what library resources are available to support a research question, and managing the bibliographic and research data students find. The stalls at the fair featured not only our University teams but also digital resource suppliers, the National Library of Scotland and National Museums Scotland Libraries. Over 100 staff and student attended the Dissertation Fair and the programme of bookable presentation sessions which accompanied the Fair.

What staff thought
We were pleased that several Dissertation Course Convenors for Schools and Subject areas across the University were able to attend the event and delighted with their obvious enthusiasm. These academic staff spent time talking to Dissertation Fair stallholders and at the staff preview lunch. “Absolutely brilliant” was the comment from a paediatric surgeon who spent at least an hour there. One member of staff had moved his timetabled classes so that his students would be able to attend the Dissertation Fair. Others talked about how they wanted to integrate the event into their future programmes for dissertation students. One commented, “We’d like to be part of a discussion about how we can make as much of this as possible available to our online students”.

What students thought
We had 122 pre-registrations for the Dissertation Fair event which was encouraging, and on the day, students were engaged and enthusiastic. One commented that the most useful part of the event had been “Talking with all the stalls. Found out so many things and places to research I didn’t think about”. Lots of students had positive comments about the presentation sessions which gave in-depth introductions to digital resources.

What we thought
Planning this event, in close collaboration with the Centre for Research Collections and the Research Data Management team, generated a lot of energy and creativity in the Library Academic Support Team. This was rewarded by the successful turnout to events, but even more so by the depth of engagement that we had with visitors to the Dissertation Fair day. One colleague commented, “Of all the student & staff facing events I have been involved in over the years – and there have been many – I felt that we were making a very real impact yesterday.”

What we’ll do next
We received 67 feedback responses from the 171 attendees across all of the Dissertation Fair events on 14 November, and we’ll be taking time to look at these and learn from them. We’d like to run the Dissertation Week and Fair again, potentially in semester 2, 2020. Next time around we think we can make it bigger and better, and we’d like to have greater student involvement in planning and developing Dissertation Week. Watch this space.

If you would like to get in touch about Dissertation Week, please contact Christine Love-Rodgers Christine.Love-Rodgers@ed.ac.uk

Dissertation Fair presentation

Top 5 tips if you’re stuck with your dissertation literature search

Are you stuck with the literature search for your dissertation or final year project? Not finding as much on your topic as you hoped? Here are 5 suggestions to help you move forward.

How using a reference manager can help you manage the references for your dissertation


Finding literature and gathering references from here, there and everywhere? Don’t want to get to a few days before hand in and realise you don’t have the full details of one (or more) important articles/books/etc., to cite properly? Find typing up your citations and bibliographies time consuming? Well, reference managers may be exactly what you are looking for.


Image credit: CC-BY futureatlas https://www.flickr.com/photos/87913776@N00/5129607997

'Citation Needed' protest sign

Not sure how to approach your undergraduate dissertation?

These five tips may be just what you need.

These tips were written by Francesca Triggs who graduated with a Chinese MA (Hons) degree in 2017. With thanks to the School of Languages, Literature and Cultures for sharing this video.  

Undergraduate dissertation tips video

Getting Beyond Google Scholar – great tools to help you find information for your dissertation

Are you planning on consulting Google Scholar to find literature for your dissertation? While it is very easy to use and can be a good place to start, particularly since you can set it to retrieve what we have in the Library, it does have its limitations. As its coverage is not clear, you cannot be sure just what you might be missing with Google. Which is where the Library can help!

Details from the ceiling space of the McEwan Hall

Dissertation Fair 14th Nov

As part of our Dissertation Week (11-15 Nov), we are holding a Dissertation Fair on Thurs 14 Nov at the Main Library. The Fair highlights the range of resources and support available across the University, including the Institute for Academic Development, IS Digital Skills and more.

The Dissertation Fair is open to all students (13:30-16:30) to allow you to discover the wealth of library collections and resources available to support you with your dissertation research 

A staff preview event is also available 10:00-12:00 on the same day.

Dissertation Fair 14th Nov

Making the Most of Your Dissertation Week

For the first time at the University of Edinburgh Library we are planning to hold a Dissertation Week in November 11-15 2019. This week is all about how the Library can support the student dissertation experience : from exploring what library resources are available to support a research question, to managing the bibliographic and research data students find. During the week a series of events will highlight the training, support and resources we offer to our undergraduate and taught postgraduate students undertaking their dissertations, as well as staff supervising dissertations.

Making the Most of Your Dissertation Week

Dissertation Fair 14th Nov 2019 - Presentation Slides


Thank you to everyone who came along to our Dissertation Fair. We hope you found it useful. Slides from the presentations will be added below when available.

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For more information please get in touch