Keeping track of your research

I’ve seen a lot of students recently, requesting support with their dissertation research.  One thing I’ve noticed is that most students are not using Reference Management software such as Menderley or Zotero.  Even at a more basic level, they are not using the tools available in our subscription databases such as EBSCO EDS or Westlaw which allow them to save articles, output references and set up alerts.  This could be down to a gap in our promotion or a lack of curiosity on their part perhaps.   I thought I’d write a post for our students on how to make use of these tools, demonstrating how easy they are to set up, and how useful they will be as they build up their research.

Keeping track…

A number of databases offer additional features to support you when you are carrying out research.  In my area of Law and Business, personalised logins are available for Business Source, Westlaw, LexisLibrary, and Emerald.  However, the database you are probably most familiar with is Discover, our single search platform from EBSCO.

When you search Discover, you will notice a small blue folder icon appearing next to each result.  Clicking on this icon allows you to save your results into a personalised account which you can access any time you log into any EBSCO database.   Once you set this up you can also save and re-run searches, and set up search and journal alerts so you can keep researching even when you’re not logged in.  See our next post for help with this.

Step 1: Set up your profile

So your first step is to create your profile.  This is different from your library account.

Go to [email protected] which is available from the Library Webpages, the Online Library tab in Moodle, and as a link from the Library catalogue.  Click on the Sign in to Save Results link at the top of the page.

The first time you do this, you will see a message ‘There are no results in your folder’.  There’s a second link you have to click on saying Sign in to My EBSCOhost.   From here you will see a log-in form and the option to ‘Create a new Account’.  Fill in your details and choose a strong password.

Step 2: Save the good stuff

Click on the Back button to start searching.  Remember you can limit your search by Date of Publication, by Source (Academic Journals, Magazines, Trade Publications, Books), and by Subject, Language, and more.  Then, to save records to view at a later date, click on the Add to Folder image next to each record.  This may be a record for a book, journal article or e-book.  Save as many records as you would like by clicking on the folder icon.

Step 3: Organise your results

View your folder by either clicking on Sign in to Save Results at the top of the screen, or on Folder View in the top right of the screen.  You should see a list of all the records that you have saved with links to full-text where available.

You can create as many folders as you need. This is good if you want to group articles by assignment title or module.  You can even create sub-folders if you like a good hierachy.  Click on the New link to create a folder and decide where you want to locate it.  Then move your results to the new folder by clicking in the box beside the title of the result, and clicking on the Move To drop down list.  Once you have organised your folders, click on the back button to continue searching.  You can now save results directly into folders.

Why we love this

We love this feature of Discover because it helps you stay organised.  If you come across something for another topic, you can just save it and put it out of your mind until you need it.  These tools work on the mobile site too, if you like to research on the go… It’s easy to create new folders and delete old results, and it saves you a ton of money in printing. Contact us for more information.