Category Archives: Research Students

Changes to Library Search

The OU Library is always trying to improve the results you can find in Library Search.

Ex Libris (the Library Search providerhave created a new, more accurate and far reaching index. This index contains a vast amount of information from a large range of publishers. Since November we have been working with Ex Libris on integrating this into Library Search to give you an improved service. 

From 4th May you can expect Library Search to surface more content. You are also more likely to see the results you want at the top of your results list and fewer broken links.If you have set up search alerts in Library Search, you will notice the first alert after the update will contain a large number of results due to these improvements. This applies to both email and RSS search alerts.  

 The way you use Library Search and your My Favourites area will remain the same. 

Literature searching for postgraduate researchers – online training

We have a series of online training for OU postgraduate researchers, full details and sign-up information is below:

Literature Searching for Postgraduate Researchers 1 (online)

Mon, 7 October 2019

14:00 – 15:00 BST

Online access – via the Research Support online training room

This session involves reflecting on a model of the literature search process in order to (re)conceptualize literature searching, increase confidence with the process and assess the model in relation to your practice. We will then look at formulating and revising a search strategy in order to perform a systematic and comprehensive search – this includes choosing databases, choosing keywords and recording your searches.

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literature-searching-for-postgraduate-researchers-1-online-tickets-73822925357

Literature Searching for Postgraduate Researchers 2 (online)*

Wed, 16 October 2019

15:30 – 16:30 BST

Online access – via the Research Support online training room

This session involves identifying techniques for narrowing and broadening searches and when to apply them in order to construct and revise a search strategy. We will then identify and reflect on means of saving and exporting search results, this will allow us to manage search results effectively and understand the benefits of doing so.

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literature-searching-for-postgraduate-researchers-2-online-tickets-73824522133

Literature Searching for Postgraduate Researchers 3 (online)*

Mon, 21 October 2019

10:00 – 11:00 BST

Online access – via the Research Support online training room

This session involves analysing search results using the CRAAP framework in order to identify the most appropriate papers on a topic and revise your search strategy. We will then describe and apply a scoping search process in order to establish the extent of the literature that exists on a topic.

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/literature-searching-for-postgraduate-researchers-3-online-tickets-73825523127

 

*Note – Advanced literature searching 1, 2 and 3 are designed to complement each other. You are very welcome to attend (or watch the recordings of) whichever of the sessions you need but please note that familiarity with content from previous sessions will be assumed and won’t be recapped in detail.

We look forward to seeing you at the training!!

Postgraduate researcher (PGR) training survey results – 2019

The Library Research Support team recently undertook its annual survey to capture the training needs and communication preferences of postgraduate researchers (PGRs). We got a good response rate (19.3% of PGRs available). Here are some takeaways:

Over a quarter (25.6%) had not attended any OU training whatsoever, whether run by their faculty, the Graduate School, the Library or anyone else

Email was the most common way that PGRs heard about the training they attended (75.7%). Twitter (2.7%) and Facebook (0%) were not well used in this regard

A clear majority felt Library training met their learning needs (89.2%), had clear learning outcomes (89.2%) and included sufficient interactivity (75.6%)

PGRs who attended Library sessions using flipped learning felt it improved their understanding of the topic (86.3%), led them to reflect more about the topic than they would have done otherwise (81.8%) and led to more efficient use of session time (81.8%). Although, fewer (68.2%) felt it enabled the group to discuss issues in more depth

Additional training needs were diverse and the majority were in areas outside the Library’s traditional remit – Nvivo, presentation skills and academic writing were the most requested training topics

 The results will inform the planning and communication of Library Research Support training in the 2019/20 academic year as we continually develop a tailored programme in response to PGR feedback. We are also sharing findings with colleagues in relevant departments/faculties.

“Getting the most out of your doctorate” – new ebook available

We’ve just procured a new ebook at the request of academic staff:

Dollinger, M. (2019) Getting the most out of your doctorate : the importance of supervision, networking and becoming a global academic. First edition. (OU login required).

It focuses on the importance of networking and building relationships as a postgraduate researcher or early career academic:

Beyond the doctoral thesis itself, the most significant factors in the progression of PhD candidature and early academic careers are: the relationships between the researcher and their supervisor(s), the ability to network, and understanding one’s place in the global research arena. Navigating these critical factors and moving from a novice to expert, is a critical undertaking for every PhD candidate and a process that will continue for years following one’s PhD. In this book, scholars from around the world offer practical advice on how to get the most out of one’s doctorate. Readers will get helpful tips on how to sustain healthy and long-lasting relationships with their supervisors, learn how to develop their networks, and understand the important changes impacting the modern PhD candidate.

Edited by Dr Mollie Dollinger (Higher Education Researcher at La Trobe University, Australia) it features contributions from a wide variety of academics, including our very own Prof. Bart Rientes.

New Podcast – Copyright and your Thesis

You may remember earlier in the year that we created some guidance for Postgraduate Researchers for including third-party copyright works in their thesis. You can now find out more in our new copyright podcast which covers the basics of copyright: what it is, what works it protects, and why and how to seek permission to include copyrighted materials in your thesis.

Between the online guide and the new podcast, we’re confident you’ll get to grips with copyright in no time!

Still got questions? We’re always happy to help. Contact us at: library-research-support@open.ac.uk

 

 

 

New academic writing mini-collection

We have a new mini-collection of books on academic writing, purchased on the recommendation of PACE (Professional and Academic Communication in English) in order to support postgraduate reseachers.

There are a handful of print books, which are housed on the second floor of the Library building alongside the research methods print books (near The Park). They are available on a reference basis (i.e. they cannot be taken out of the library) in order to maximise the number of people who can use them.

There are also a number of ebooks, which you can access online:

We will be adding a few more titles to this collection in the near future.

We hope you enjoy using them and do feed back any comments regarding the collection!

New research methods print books

In response to feedback from postgraduate researchers, we now have a collection of over 70 print research methods books.

They are housed on the second floor of the Library building (near The Park) and are available on a reference basis (i.e. they cannot be taken out of the library) in order to maximise the number of people who can use them.

These titles were recommended by postgraduate researchers and cover many topics, including:

  • literature searching
  • writing research proposals
  • surveys
  • SPSS
  • ethnography
  • qualitative data analysis
  • mixed methods research

There are specific titles addressing subject areas such as education, business, management and the social sciences more broadly.

We hope you enjoy using them and do feed back any comments regarding the collection!

CANCELLED – Shut Up and Write sessions for postgraduate researchers (PGRs)

*Edit – 28.05.19 – Just to let you know that, unfortunately, the Shut Up and Write pilot has been cancelled due to extremely low interest.

This means that there will be no Shut Up and Write on Wednesday 29th May or Wednesday 5th June.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

We will investigate whether to try running it at a different time later in the year.

If you have any feedback, please contact library-research-support@open.ac.uk *

Library Services are starting Shut Up and Write sessions for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) on campus in Milton Keynes*. Sessions involve meeting with other PGRs in the Library building, writing for 25 minutes at a time then taking a 5 minute break. The idea is to make academic writing more productive and social.

If you are a PGR then simply turn up, bringing anything you need to write and to make yourself comfortable.

The first session is Wednesday 1st May, 13.00-15.00, using desks on the second floor of the Library. Signs will be put up on the day to guide you.

Subsequently, sessions will take place every Wednesday, 13.00-15.00 in the same place (unless notified otherwise). This will run on a pilot basis for 6 weeks in the first instance. If successful, Shut Up and Write will be continued.

Contact library-research-support@open.ac.uk if you have any questions.

 

*Details of the Betty Boothroyd Library’s location can be found on our Contact us page and on the campus map.

Copyright and your thesis: new guidance for conquering copyright confusion

We are pleased to announce the release of a new guidance document entitled ‘copyright and your thesis’ (OU log-in required), designed to help postgraduate research students understand their copyright responsibilities during thesis production.

Copyright law can be confusing, but for anyone wanting to use third-party material in their thesis, it’s really important to get to grips with.

The Open University has been making postgraduate research theses publicly available online since 2010, via the Open University’s repository Open Research Online (ORO) as well as via the British Library EThOS service.

Along with a whole host of benefits, this online publication has created a new set of copyright responsibilities, making it particularly important for students to understand their obligations when it comes to using other people’s work in their thesis.

This practical guide helps users understand why, when, and how to obtain copyright permission, and what do if permission is not given.

We’ve done all the hard work for you and even included some handy templates for seeking permission from the copyright holder, so it couldn’t be simpler!

 

PGR Tea and Cake Social! 11th April

We’re developing our offering to OU postgraduate researchers and want to know what existing support you find useful and what other support you would like.

So we invite you to drink tea and coffee, eat cake, hang out with other PGRs, meet Library and Grad School staff, and give feedback on the PGR experience!

2.30pm – 3.15pm, Wednesday 11th April,
The Park, 2nd floor, Library

See you there!