Helen writes: spring-clean your thesis

In the next of our occasional series, Writing Skills Advisor Helen Williams talks about refreshing existing writing as a rewarding and important step on the road to your thesis.

In these uncertain times it’s nice to have a few constants and, whilst working at my desk overlooking my garden, I’ve been reminded that the changing of the seasons is one of these.

Helen's garden
Spring in Helen’s garden

As always, spring has sprung, and this put me in mind of other spring-related traditions that roll around each year. One of these that feels quite apt right now is spring cleaning; what better time than now to do all those tasks that get pushed to one side and ignored in favour of more ‘urgent’ ones?

You may be using this time to charge ahead with writing up and churning out new chapters, which is great, but if you’ve ground to a bit of a halt or want some variety, the following are some good ‘housekeeping’ activities that will pay dividends later on when your schedule may be getting back to normal (most of these assume that you have drafted some work already; if you need to start writing but are struggling, check out my previous post on this). Continue reading “Helen writes: spring-clean your thesis”

Avoid a referencing nightmare

The University of Birmingham has extended their licence agreement for EndNote, so this post about using reference management software from Lynne Harris, Research Skills Advisor, will be equally useful for new and continuing postgraduate researchers alike.

Why do I need to use referencing software?

Keeping an accurate record of all the material you have consulted in the course of your research is essential and can help you to avoid plagiarism.  Referencing software is an excellent way to manage your research literature.  EndNote x9 logoEndNote is the referencing software recommended to researchers as it is suitable for most subject disciplines, has functionality that is especially useful to researchers, and is fully supported by the University.  Other software is available (e.g. Mendeley) so find the option that works best for you.

When can I get help with referencing?

Act now!  Continue reading “Avoid a referencing nightmare”

To EndNote or not to EndNote?

In this post, Sue Stevens from Library Services’ Research Skills Team shares her experience on reference management software, and EndNote in particular.

Citing the sources you have used in a piece of research is obviously very important, but the task of citing and referencing correctly can be an onerous task. x8_mainapp_rgb-largeOver the years I have supported many students, undergraduates and postgraduates, with referencing and the use of referencing software.  I’ve also observed a range of different reactions when I introduce students to the wonders of referencing software, ranging from fear and scepticism to joy and ecstasy!   So what can referencing software do for you, and in particular, what can EndNote offer a researcher?  Continue reading “To EndNote or not to EndNote?”