There is so much more to the life of a postgraduate student than staring at books and going to the library. There’s so much that is available in terms of resources . One of the perks of being a postgraduate student is that you get your own room to study in, usually with nice comfy leather seats and a plentiful supply of plug sockets!
While it is rather lonely to study at times, the postgraduate experience is so much more than just that. You have much more to experience than you had as an undergraduate, which allows you to learn in more exciting ways.
An important part of postgraduate studies will be the library or learning resources within the university. Your work will be mainly focusing on topics of your own choice rather than having to research themes and topics that everyone on the course is studying. You will need to be able to search for information, literature and resources to find the data and materials for your chosen topic.
- University Library
- This is the key resource for students. The people working at the desks in the libraries are willing to help you with any issues, such as how to locate a historical source on the library website or if you are unable to connect your computer to the printer for example. Many university libraries even offer daily classes on how to access sources using the library database or how to buy a book on the university library website or even how to reference your sources, and do a bibliography correctly. They are so useful for helping you to ensure you have the key skills of a postgraduate student.
As a postgraduate, finding information can be difficult. At times like this the internet and its directness are useful. Many journals are at your disposal at the click of a button (and with a few other slightly less speedy keystrokes). The last thing you want as a postgraduate student when you are searching for information to meet an assignment deadline is having to wade through copious amounts of information or switchboards.
JSTOR and Google Scholar are databases that make the task of searching for information a much less daunting one.
These databases are all free for students. There is no need to be afraid when you see the article you need is only available for those with a subscription. There is always the: ‘Are you a student?’ option with an institution section.
It is important to use credible internet sources when researching for assignments or exams as part of the postgraduate course. These include:
- Google Scholar
- Oxford Academic
- Academic Journals
- SAGE Publishing
- Taylor and Francis Online
- Worldwide Sources
There is no need to worry about paying hundreds of pounds to gain access to information found online. All you need to do is be aware of inter library loans. Inter-library loans are a national approach where libraries work together to supply items to satisfy an end user request. The library can search the national public library catalogue and the British library catalogue on the requester’s behalf to find and source the items that students are looking for. Some libraries do charge for this so you may have to set up a British Library account.
The British Library
The British Library can search other libraries in the UK and Ireland providing you with a list of locations where the requested item is stored. This is compiled in the form of a list of library codes. You will need to look up the code in the Directory of Library Codes to find out which libraries have the item and what their supplying policies are.
- Don’t think in a box
When it comes to learning there are plenty of options. You can attend talks or workshops being held by intellects in lecture halls connected to a subject. Most libraries also have private study rooms where you can arrange to meet with classmates and discuss assignments or practice presentations in front of them.
All these opportunities are things that can increase your understanding of a specific area. Not to mention that they will all allow you to leave the dusty library and socialise around people.