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Examples of MA/PhD education dissertations are kept in the closed-access Library Store. (Undergraduate dissertations are kept by School of Education administrators). You can look at them in the Library but not take them away.
Why do you need to do a literature search? Firstly, it helps you choose the topic you want to write about. Secondly, it helps you to identify the core research and main ideas associated with your topic. Thirdly, it enables you to build on the work that has been done before by other researchers.
Your dissertation or research assignment will be a lot less stressful if you plan your search first; you may find our Finding journal articles worksheet helpful for this.
Example: Literacy difficulties of boys in primary school
This can be broken down into the following concepts or elements:
From these concepts the following list of keywords can be identified:
You can then use these keywords to search catalogues and databases (see below)
Keeping track of everything that you read is really important so that you can acknowledge other people's ideas and avoid accusations of plagiarism.
EndNote is software which will store all your references in a personal library, and can then be used with Word to create correct references in BrookesHarvard style in your assignments. The Web version (EndNote Basic) is free, available from anywhere, and you can continue to use it after you leave Brookes.
Cite Them Right Online is a Web site giving guidance on how to reference (cite) many different types of resources; its Harvard guidance is compatible with the recommended Brookes version of Harvard and the BrookesHarvard style in EndNote. If you'd rather have a print referencing guide, you can borrow Cite Them Right as a book from the Library or, for the most common types of reference, use our print guide to Harvard referencing.
Books and journal articles which are not available through the Brookes Library may be available via the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service. There is a charge for this (currently £2.50 per item). Copies of journal articles may be delivered electronically if you wish; otherwise photocopies are posted to you or sent to the Brookes Library site of your choice.
If you cannot find what you are looking for in the Brookes Library or you want to access a Library close to where you are living (for example when you are away from Brookes during the vacation or on School Based Training) you might want to see what other Libraries are available to you. Find more information about this here.
The following books all available from the Library would make a useful starting point.
If you have worked through this information and are still confused or have got stuck please feel free to make an appointment to see your Academic Liaison Librarian. Our contact details may be found here.