It’s that time of year again, when final year students turn their attention to their Independent Studies and final year projects. These can be pretty important pieces of work, especially if you hope to continue a career in academia. So, naturally, you want to get it right and make sure you’re covering all the relevant facts, latest research etc.
But where exactly do you begin?
Well, the Library Services webpages are an excellent starting point. Your lovely academic liaison librarians have collated loads of information about how to formulate a search strategy, how to search databases, and how to get the most from all the resources we subscribe to. Check out their subject guides.The study skills guide is also useful, especially the finding sources page.
You can use all of these resources, safe in the knowledge that it is genuine and accurate. Usually, there should be enough resources available through all of our subscriptions to provide all you need to prepare a really good Independent Study. However, in some subject areas, there may be a need to look elsewhere for material. This will take more time than accessing our resources, so plan ahead!
Helpful routes to try
If what you want isn't directly available via the Library there are other things you can do:
Inter Library Requests: We can get books and journals sent from other academic libraries. You can use the online form to request material and have articles delivered to your UW email address.
SCONUL Access: This scheme allows you to visit other university libraries to read, and sometimes borrow, items. You have to apply for a SCONUL library card online before you visit another library.
Worcestershire County Council resources: Thanks to the collaboration with WCC in the Hive, you have access to additional resources through the County databases, and a resource called Access to Research; check ‘em out! They’re free and full of good quality research.
Very occasionally, you may still be looking beyond even all those resources. (In which case, tell us; we may be able to acquire items to improve the collection). Do remember that once you are surfing the internet, there is no way of validating the quality of what you may find; our librarians will not have approved the content.
Things to be aware of include:
Bogus websites, either standalones or others imitating reputable companies.
Questionable publishers, offering ‘print on demand’ services for items they don’t own rights to.
Ropey publishers reproducing Wikipedia articles and presenting them as academic books (yes, really).
If any of the sites are asking for payment, stop and think. Is it genuine? What rights do you have? Can you get the material through our resources? Your subject librarian will be happy to advise, and maybe save you a few ££s!