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CamGuides: Managing your Study Resources

So much to read, so little time

Some colourful journalsMany Master's courses involve a huge amount of reading, and while some courses will prescribe specific books or articles, others will expect you to find this information for yourself (more on finding information is available here). As you search for things to read, you might come across books, articles, or other resources which you think you may want to save for later. In this section we'll cover a handful of processes and strategies that you can adopt to keep track of the things you might eventually want to read.

If you find that you do a lot of reading online then follow this link to a really useful guide with advice about reading on screens 

Pinning (or saving) iDiscover results

If you're searching on iDiscover, you can log in to quickly 'pin' (or save) any specific search results or even search terms. While it isn't possible to export these, you can label them with descriptions (only visible to you) so that you can quickly search for a description and rediscover what you found previously. More information about using iDiscover for pinning results is available here.

Keeping a research (or reading) journal

A research or reading journal can be an effective way for you not only to track what you've read (or want to read) but can also be a way for you to keep track of your ideas and thoughts about what you've read. There's an excellent blog post on why and how a reading journal can be effective here.

Use reference management software

Tagging or annotating the references you save to your reference management software can be a really simple and effective way of keeping track of what you've read and what you intend to read. You'll need to devise a couple of simple conventions that you can use and reuse so that there's a system to what you save e.g. 'to-read', 'read', 'useful-for-dissertation', 'for-methodology', etc. On some software, such as Zotero, you can even colour code your tags so you can see at a glance what in your library you are yet to read.

I started using Microsoft Excel to write down everything that I was reading. It took me a full term to realise that there was so much to read I couldn't keep track of it in a Word document.

- MPhil Education student (2017-18)

Image credits

CC-BY-NC by @libatcam via University of Cambridge