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On Track for your Masters

Provides information about 'On Track for Your Masters', an annual workshop programme for postgraduate taught students.

On Track for your Masters

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Writing your Masters dissertation? Want to know how to find literature or data, use Google effectively, manage your references, structure and write your dissertation effectively, and more? Join us for a programme of free workshops that will help boost your research skills!

Sessions will be held virtually between Monday 14 June, and Friday 25 June. You will need access to Zoom to attend these sessions. Explore the programme using the guide below. You can sign up to as many workshops as you like! Once you have registered, you will receive a Zoom link.

Workshops are delivered by staff from a range of areas, including the Library, Skills for Success, IT Services, and Wellbeing.

See below for details about the programme.

Programme

Online resources to help with your data analysis - 10am-11am

This session covers some online resources to help you identify appropriate statistical analysis for your research questions, and to assist you in using the main statistical software packages.

Reference management made easy with Zotero – 11am-12pm

Zotero is a free reference management tool that can save you time! Discover how to collect, store and organise your references and automatically insert citations and a bibliography into your assignment or research paper.

Creating your Data Analysis Plan – 12pm-1pm

In this interactive workshop, you will learn tips on what to look for when creating your data analysis plan for your dissertation.

Make the most of your Library Services – 3pm-4pm

‚ÄčThis session will introduce you to the different services that the Library offers that can help you in writing your dissertation. This includes how you can access resources we only have in print, how to access resources we don't hold in the library, where to get help with search skills and referencing, and more! We'll be looking at where you can find all the services and information across the library website, and there will be time for any questions you have about our services.

Using EndNote for reference management – 9:30am-12pm

EndNote is the University’s free, recommended and supported reference management tool. EndNote will save you valuable time by removing the manual labour associated with creating and formatting references. You can now access the fully-featured desktop software and manage your EndNote library from multiple computers including your personal device.

Using special collections and archives in research – 1pm-2pm

This session will give you an introduction to using special collections and archive materials in your research. You will also be given an introduction to special collections at Essex and we will show you some of the kinds of materials you can find in our collections.

Literature Searching for Health and Social Care – 2pm-3pm

During this session, you will learn how to effectively search and use various databases for conducting literature reviews or for general research in Health and Social Care subjects.

Introduction to using Scopus for your literature search – 3pm-4:30pm

In this session we will cover what Scopus is and how content is indexed. We will cover how to run a literature search and what you can do with the results by analysing the search results. We will look at author and institutional profiles as well as citation data and how to set all alerts for all of these, as well as saving search criteria. The session will be run by Rupal Malde, Customer Consultant at Elsevier.

Using Word to build your assignment, dissertation or thesis – 10am-12pm

Discover how to use Word's really useful built-in features that work to automatically format your document for you. Using these built-in features will ensure consistency throughout your document and save you having to manually update your work. This is especially useful when dealing with long, complex documents, and working to tight deadlines. Topics covered include: styles; automatic table of contents; multi-level lists; page breaks vs section breaks; headers and footers; arranging tabular data; and working with images.

Finding resources for your social sciences dissertation – 12pm-1pm

This session provides a broad overview to help you undertake a successful literature search in the social sciences. We will look at the kinds of sources available to you - such as reference material, handbooks, academic books & journal articles, news & media, primary sources, Web sources - why these could be important to your research, and how to find them. The session will introduce some of the major resources available to you, both across the social sciences in general and at a more detailed subject level. The session is relevant to anyone interested in the social sciences & should be particularly useful for students in EBS, Economics, Government, Language & Linguistics, Psychosocial & Psychoanalytic Studies, and Sociology

Structuring your dissertation (Humanities)  – 1pm-2pm

What different possibilities are you considering for the structure of your dissertation? How can you find out or verify what is ‘best’ for subjects within your faculty? Bring your ideas to contribute, and have your work available to refer to. We will examine different potential structures together, and consider the factors which need to be taken into account when planning a dissertation.

Literature searching – 2pm-3pm

This session will focus on potential resources for a comprehensive literature review across the range of sources, and how to structure searches to achieve best results. It will also look at how to access resources that may seem inaccessible.

Structuring your dissertation (Social Sciences) – 3pm-4pm

What different possibilities are you considering for the structure of your dissertation? How can you find out or verify what is ‘best’ for subjects within your faculty? Bring your ideas to contribute, and have your work available to refer to. We will examine different potential structures together, and consider the factors which need to be taken into account when planning a dissertation.

Excel  - Functions and Shortcuts - 10am-12pm
Improve the efficiency and productivity of your spreadsheets by learning how to construct functions, manipulate data and format outputs using functions. Topics covered include: autofill; paste special and format painter; tables and named ranges; relative vs absolute cell referencing; basic functions like: SUM; MIN; MAX; DATE; and IF; as well as Vlookup, joining text and separating text.

Reference management made easy with Mendeley - 12pm-1pm
Mendeley is a free reference management tool that can save you time! Discover how to organise your papers, and automatically insert citations and bibliographies into your work. Complete our online tutorial before the session at your own pace, and then drop into this session live if you have any questions.

Descriptive Statistics and Graphs - 1pm-2pm
Before focusing on inferential statistics, we use statistics to summarise or describe only the data we have (i.e. our sample). Choosing the right descriptive statistics  and the most appropriate type of graph depends on the type of data (categorical, discrete, continuous). This workshop will look at different examples of how to best illustrate your data. 

Using news & media resources in your research - 3pm-4pm
There is more to research than just using books and journals! News & media sources can be useful, and sometimes essential, for researching many topics in the social sciences, business, and humanities, whether for current or historical information. This session will share with you some of the key resources available, their potential relevance to your research, and how to search them effectively.

Descriptive Statistics and Graphs in Excel - 3pm-4pm
This workshop will take you through the different chart types available in Excel and how to combine them as well as how to calculate basic summary statistics.

Literature review (Social Sciences) - 9am-10am

This workshop is relevant to all those in the process of planning a dissertation, long essay or research proposal. We will look at the purpose of a Literature Review chapter, what it will typically contain, possible approaches to structure and organisation and how points raised in your Literature Review should link to other sections of your paper. Please have your proposal/title available.

Find and use it, or create it - need data for your Master thesis? UK Data Service perspectives - 10am-11am

It is vital to use research data for your Master thesis to stand out of the crowd! Using an interactive game, we will discuss different types of data, how and where to find them and what you need to know and do in practice when using data. The UK Data Service is a single point of access to more than 8000 datasets, as well as support, guidance and training.

Finding academic sources (Social Sciences) - 11am-12pm

In your studies you will be conducting research for a variety of assignments. There are commonly used sources of information such as textbooks, but there are other, more imaginative, ways you could supplement these. This session will explore how to identify a range of sources; review their quality; use them purposefully; and integrate them into your writing. It will be particularly useful for students who will be writing a range of assignments from dissertations to reflective statements

Running and Interpreting T-tests - 12pm-1pm

In this workshop, we will look at annotated SPSS and Excel output on summary descriptive statistics and output for T-Tests. 

Literature review (Humanities) - 1pm-2pm

This workshop is relevant to all those in the process of planning a dissertation, long essay or research proposal. We will look at the purpose of a Literature Review chapter, what it will typically contain, possible approaches to structure and organisation and how points raised in your Literature Review should link to other sections of your paper. Please have your proposal/title available.

Silent Zoom: Writing retreat - 2pm-5pm

If you are finding you would like some company as you work, try this writing retreat. We will meet in a Zoom room, say hello, and then work in silence. Even silent, the company is pleasant, encouraging, and conducive to a level of self-discipline that you may not find easy to achieve alone. Think of it as working on your own, but not alone – just like the library.

Using Word to build your assignment, dissertation or thesis – 10am-12pm

Discover how to use Word's really useful built-in features that work to automatically format your document for you. Using these built-in features will ensure consistency throughout your document and save you having to manually update your work. This is especially useful when dealing with long, complex documents, and working to tight deadlines. Topics covered include: styles; automatic table of contents; multi-level lists; page breaks vs section breaks; headers and footers; arranging tabular data; and working with images.

Creating your Data Analysis Plan – 12pm-1pm
In this interactive workshop, you will learn tips on what to look for when creating your data analysis plan for your dissertation.

Google search skills (drop-in) – 2pm-3pm
Complete our online tutorial at your own pace, and then drop into this session live if you have any questions. This online tutorial will cover how to search Google and Google Scholar effectively. You will discover how to find high quality academic material through the use of advanced search techniques. The online tutorial will be circulated to registered attendees before the session.

Finding data in business & the social sciences – 3pm-4pm
Need to get hold of statistics or data for your topic, but unsure where to look? This session outlines some of the key places to find reliable data, covering high quality open access sources and library subscription databases. Students in Business, Economics, Politics, Sociology, and related fields will find this session of particular use.

Excel - power PivotTables – 10am-12pm

PivotTables allow you to calculate, summarise, sort, and format your data quickly and easily to see comparisons, patterns and trends. In this session you’ll create and manipulate a variety of PivotTables to answer questions of your data, and finally produce some PivotCharts to create dashboards to visualise your data.

Welcome to the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service – 12pm-1pm

An introduction into the SWIS support available to students including how to get support with your wellbeing, mental health and/or disability and an overview of a variety of different services available both within the University and externally.

OSCOLA for International Law – 2pm-3pm

In this session, we will first review the basic principles of OSCOLA and we will look at how to cite some resources specific to international law. There will be some exercises during the session and Q&A at the end.

Using EndNote for managing your references – 9:30am-12pm

EndNote is the University’s free, recommended and supported reference management tool. EndNote will save you valuable time by removing the manual labour associated with creating and formatting references. You can now access the fully-featured desktop software and manage your EndNote library from multiple computers including your personal device. 

Structuring your dissertation (Science + Health) – 12pm-1pm

What different possibilities are you considering for the structure of your dissertation? How can you find out or verify what is ‘best’ for subjects within your faculty? Bring your ideas to contribute, and have your work available to refer to. We will examine different potential structures together, and consider the factors which need to be taken into account when planning a dissertation.

Structuring your dissertation (Clinic) – 2pm-3pm

If you attended one of the previous faculty-specific sessions on structuring your dissertation you can check your progress and develop ideas further. If you were not able to attend the previous sessions we will examine different potential structures together, and consider the factors which need to be taken into account when planning a dissertation. Bring your ideas to contribute, and have your work available to refer to.

Using Eikon & Datastream to get data in business, economics & finance – 3pm-4pm

Eikon/Datastream are key databases for many students in EBS & Economics. This session covers how to access the databases, what kind of data they contain, and examples of how to extract data. There will be time for questions.

Literature searching – 9am-10am

This session will focus on potential resources for a comprehensive literature review across the range of sources, and how to structure searches to achieve best results. It will also look at how to access resources that may seem inaccessible.

Outlook: managing your inbox – 10am-12pm

Find out how to use the automatic features in Outlook to help organise your workload and save precious time like using folders to process email; applying colour categories; creating rules and quick steps; setting up search folders; and creating building blocks and email templates.

Overcoming writer's block – 12pm-1pm

Academic writing can be difficult when faced with a blank page and the feeling of not being able to find the right words. This workshop will give you practical ways to break through the creative block.

Running and Interpreting Regression – 2pm-3pm

In this workshop, we will look at annotated output on using regression when we want to explain or predict the effect of one variable in terms of other variables.

Evaluating sources – 3pm-4pm

The quality of your dissertation is directly related to the quality of the sources you use. Complete an online tutorial before the session for an introduction to evaluating resources at your own pace, and then come along to the live session to practice evaluating sources with your peers. The two activities combined will get you thinking about which kind of resources are appropriate to use in your work, and which are not, and will also include practical guidelines and tips for distinguishing respected academic publications/websites from rogue or predatory resources. The online tutorial will be circulated to registered attendees before the session.

Finding academic sources (Humanities) – 10am-11am

In your studies you will be conducting research for a variety of assignments. There are commonly used sources of information such as textbooks, but there are other, more imaginative ways you could supplement these. This session will explore how to undertake a literature search of primary and secondary sources to avoid receiving remarks on your assessed work such as 'Your list of sources is limited in scope' or 'Try to find more academically robust source material'. It will be particularly useful for students who will be writing a range of essay-type assignments including reflective statements.

Reference management made easy with Zotero – 11am-12pm

Zotero is a free reference management tool that can save you time! Discover how to collect, store and organise your references and automatically insert citations and a bibliography into your assignment or research paper.

Literature Review (Clinic) – 12pm-1pm

This workshop is a follow-up session for the workshop ‘Literature review’. We will work together to address questions from the previous sessions. Please have your proposal/title available.

Silent Zoom: Writing retreat – 2pm-4pm

If you are finding you would like some company as you work, try this writing retreat. We will meet in a Zoom room, say hello, and then work in silence. Even silent, the company is pleasant, encouraging, and conducive to a level of self-discipline that you may not find easy to achieve alone. Think of it as working on your own, but not alone – just like the library.