We’re sorry to bring up the D-word so soon after the Christmas break, but if you’re writing one (or supposed to be writing one…) this year, your dissertation is something you definitely can’t avoid! But luckily, you’re not alone.

Help is at hand from the University of Southampton and Hartley Library. You should have attended a Library Skills session at the start of the year to get you clued up about how the library and specifically, the resources available online that the Library subscribes to, can help you write your thesis. If you haven’t managed to attend one of these sessions or want a quick refresher, it may be worth asking a librarian to talk you through the resources available to you like WebCat, Delphis and TDNet and tell you all you need to know.

The Library is also holding Improve Your Results training sessions every Thursday during term-time at 12pm. These sessions are designed to teach you how to quickly find books and journal articles whenever you need them. Book a 30 minute session in advance here or simply drop in to a session if you’ve got time to spare.

Need to use WebCat or another library resource while you’re working away from campus? iSolutions can help provide you with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service for you to connect and log in to the University network from off-campus locations or from personal laptops. Simply follow this link and click on the relevant applications you want to install (for example, VPN) and follow the easy step-by-step guide to configure your device for the VPN service.

If you’re ahead of the game and have already started writing your dissertation and now need help with referencing books and articles, follow this link which will take you to the University’s official guide to referencing. The important thing is to be consistent but if you’re still unsure, ask your tutor or any lecturer in your faculty and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. Remember, each faculty has its own guidelines for referencing so make sure you’re using the appropriate referencing style: you can check this with your tutor or lecturers.

Finally, (it’s ages away, but) it’s important to know your dissertation deadline. Again this will vary depending on your subject discipline, so make sure you know when yours is by asking your tutor.

We hope this mini guide to using the University and Library’s resources will help you with your dissertations: remember that the library staff as well as your tutors can help you find the information you need, and hopefully the task of writing your thesis will seem less daunting!

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