Up your research game with these unorthodox resources

Original ideas and new avenues of research can be found in some of the more unorthodox locations, on and offline, so here is a guide to some of the more unusual resources available.

Whilst standard resources available in academic libraries are important and should always be the first port of call for any research project, chosen or assigned, there are several less common resources that are worth exploring. They may require extra time and diligence but can pay dividends and find references that might otherwise elude you.
Wikipedia
Despite its reputation for dubious accuracy, in recent years Wikipedia has worked harder than most websites to give its entries a much stronger factual basis and each entry has references section which lists the basis for every assertion. Entries may also have a bibliography and external links. Wikipedia's Reliable Sources guidelines mean that many of these links are to scholarly sources. So, as well as providing an overview of a subject in the main secti...

 

 

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Are you an accidental academic parent?

Would you say “no” to a student who “wants a chat” about how their course is going? Could you? Should you? What about the colleague who wants a coffee to get your opinion on how they are being managed? If you can’t say no to these, you may have accidentally become a 'department parent'.
What is a department parent?
Academia runs on two types of labour: intellectual and emotional. Intellectual labour includes activities like research and supervising graduate students, and is rewarded with promotion and grants. Teaching is increasingly valued as intellectual labour, though still not rewarded sufficiently. Emotional labour – the managing of our own and other’s emotions in order that others are kept safe and happy – comes largely with teaching positions and administrative roles such as programme leader, course director, and personal tutor.

If everyone were taking on emotional labour service roles equally, they could be viewed as necessary citizenship. Unfortunately, there is plenty of...

 

 

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Box of delights: Make the best of your .ac.uk email address

Your academic email address can get you access to all sorts of useful and entertaining services. Here's how to access some of them.
The value of an ac.uk email address
Few people in academia know quite how handy their online credentials – having ac.uk at the end of their email address – can be. Most university and college libraries and computer services departments have subscribed to numerous useful services that you can benefit from, even if you're not using them for your study or research. Most are easily accessible once you've logged in to your academic account through services like Shibboleth or Athens, where you enter the name of your institution as well as the same username and password you use to log-in to a campus PC, wifi and email, although procedures can vary. Ask at your library’s help desk if you need help with this.
Box of Broadcasts (BOB)
Box of Broadcasts is a massive streaming database containing every television and radio programme broadcast through Freeview since...

 

 

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Has the leaky pipeline really been fixed?

The ‘leaky pipeline’ is a familiar metaphor to those interested in discussions of women in STEM. The pipeline – the process of going from school to undergraduate level and on into academia until reaching professorship – is seen to leak people, particularly women and minorities, at each successive rung of the academic ladder. Despite its ubiquity, there are growing concerns that the leaky pipeline metaphor is harmful and inaccurate.

A recent paper by David Miller and Jonathan Wai suggests that the pipeline is no longer leaking. The paper examined the percentage of students who go from undergraduate level to PhD level using retrospective analyses of data from US citizens. The data itself seems sound, as do the analyses, but I am concerned about the conclusions drawn.  The authors found that while women, in general, used to be awarded PhDs at a lower rate than their male undergraduate counterparts, this is no longer the case: the sexes have converged. This means that male and female un...

 

 

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Navigating Academia

Up your research game with these unorthodox resources
Original ideas and new avenues of research can be found in some of the more unorthodox locations, on and offline, so ...

Are you an accidental academic parent?
Would you say “no” to a student who “wants a chat” about how their course is going? Could you? Should you? ...

Box of delights: Make the best of your .ac.uk email address
Your academic email address can get you access to all sorts of useful and entertaining services. Here's how to access some ...

Has the leaky pipeline really been fixed?
The ‘leaky pipeline’ is a familiar metaphor to those interested in discussions of women in STEM. The pipeline – the process ... #pt-cv-view-29dfe6cypz .pt-cv-ifield { padding-bottom: 20px !important; }
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