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The 5 Best AI Tools for Postgraduate Research

What’s the most challenging part of working towards your postgraduate degree? For many students, combing through mountains of research presents an insurmountable obstacle. For one thing, the sheer volume of research articles you have to read is overwhelming. On top of that, research material isn’t exactly an easy read, and sifting through each article to glean the relevant information you need takes a great deal of time and effort. Organizing your thoughts and then putting them on paper in a [...]

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Sifting and evaluating academic articles using Scholarcy

Getting a clear insight into what an academic article is about takes time. It’s perhaps not surprising that researchers are good readers, but effective research involves two quite different kinds of reading: reading at scale, and detailed evaluation. Researchers read at scale to carry out the initial scan of an article. Using the standard figure for adult reading speeds of 300 words per minute, and given an average length of article as 4,133 words (based on a count of 61,000 [...]

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Connecting the dots: knowledge graphs for all

There is a famous saying by the pioneering linguist John Rupert Firth, that ‘you shall know a word by the company it keeps’. Nothing exists in isolation – it’s not enough to know that a document mentions words such as love, poetry, or people such as Keats, Wordsworth, and places such as Paris. We want to know the context in which words and concepts are described and how these relate to their mentions in other documents. These relations, or [...]

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Can automation make you a better researcher?

With many skills, such as learning a language, playing an instrument, or learning to ski, we often think that if only we spent more time on the task, we would reach our goals more effectively. But is the same true for all aspects of academic research – for example, screening the literature?  Does spending more time screening research papers always make for better research? Honing strong research skills isn’t just about devoting more time Getting proficient at academic research is in [...]

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Diagram showing how citations work

How to make citations work harder for you

A fundamental component of scholarly research is reading, and citing, other people’s work. One effective way to get more context and a deeper understanding of a subject is to look at the citations to, and from, an article. Science is one long trail of citations. Apart from the very first academic article, published in January 1665, every article has had earlier papers to draw on, to agree with, or to refute. And even the first article must have been based [...]

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studying tips

7 studying tips for non-native English speakers

For international students, the opportunity to study abroad in an English-speaking country is laden with advantages. Not only does it give students a chance to immerse themselves in another culture, but it gives them the opportunity to improve their confidence with the English language. It’s an option that appeals to many: in 2019-20 there were over 500,000 international students studying at UK universities alone – that’s over 20% of the total student population in the UK. (1) While the opportunity can [...]

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Making content accessible

Making published research more accessible

Accessibility has been a consideration of web design for almost as long as the web has existed. Accessibility guidelines are arguably well understood, and relatively straightforward to implement when it comes to websites and apps. Academic books and articles, however, predate the internet by many years, and it may seem that academic articles are the most unlikely starting points for accessible text. At first sight, articles can look very daunting – full of technical abbreviations, and demanding considerable prior [...]

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managing citation

How to effectively manage citations

One of the cornerstones of the academic article is citations. Scholarly knowledge proceeds by recognising the work of others, which means by citing published articles and books, and then using that knowledge to create some new theory or idea that is different in kind to what came before. After the new paper has been published, others will critique it, might agree, or disagree with it, and so scientific knowledge continues to evolve. As Newton wrote, in a 1675 letter [...]

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How eLearning has transformed the academic world

eLearning, short for electronic learning, is ‘the delivery of learning and training through digital resources’. (1) As a form of asynchronous learning, it can refer to anything from pre-recorded video lessons to activity-based animations. The biggest advantage of eLearning is that it’s self-paced. If you have a computer and internet access, you can do it anywhere and at a time that suits you. eLearning has been invaluable since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with millions of locked-down students and employees [...]

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Woman using her smartphone

How smartphones are changing the way we study

Mobile phones have come an incredibly long way in the last 30 years. In the 1990s, mobiles were used for making phone calls, sending texts, and playing the odd game of Snake. Today, smartphone technology allows us to browse the internet, stream films and run programmes, all from a small device in the palm of our hands. Smartphones are now ubiquitous. 99% of young people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 24 own a smartphone(1), which has [...]

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