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Preparing for your Dissertation Online: Home

Dissertation help available from the Library

Student sitting at laptop wearing headphonesEdinburgh Napier University Library is here to help you with finding the high-quality information you need online. We can offer advice and support with:

  • Finding books and journals in a particular subject area.
  • Starting your literature review.
  • Keeping track of references.
  • Statistical software.

We have a range of drop-in sessions and training available online using Webex.

Other sources of help
Academic Skills can offer guidance and workshops on subjects like planning and structuring essays, academic writing, using your sources effectively and academic integrity. See Academic Skills. They also have dissertation videos, a Resource Bank and a blog.

Finding books and journals for your topic

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Each Subject Librarian has prepared a guide to the best way to find information online for your subject. 

Starting at the right database or knowing what sources are available can save you time and effort - whether you are searching for evidence-based healthcare information, market research reports, multi-media material and more.

Check the LibGuide for your subject below or see the Training & Events Calendar for when online drop-in sessions and workshops are available.

Find basic information about using LibrarySearch and libraries on the myNapier Library webpages.

If you've looked through the information and need more help, please contact your Subject Librarian

View through bookshelf of a student holding a bookStarting a literature review

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For your dissertation or research project you will need to do a literature search to identify appropriate material that is relevant to your topic.

It is worth taking time to plan your search strategy and how you will record what you find. This will help you search more effectively and save time (it is tough coming to the end of a project and finding you can't find/cite an important reference or remember where/how you were searching!)

Find help and advice:

  • Literature Reviewing LibGuide
  • Search across millions of ejournals using LibrarySearch.
  • If you are looking for more in-depth information about research, you'll find an overview in the Research Cycle.
    This looks at the Research Cycle from discovering new information to writing and publishing, focussing on the resources that Information Services can provide to help you.

Keeping track of your references

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Image of Reference Management GuidesYou can use reference management software to create your own personal database of useful references. These usually allow you to:

  • Import references directly from databases or PDFs you have stored on your computer (no laborious typing of the author, title, publication date etc).
  • Search, organise, and manage your references.
  • Quickly export a formatted bibliography in the style required (e.g. APA 7th) to add to your Word document.

Each School has guidelines for referencing practice and the use of Turnitin®UK and all students must use these. Find and use the guidance for your School - See Referencing Guidelines‚Äč.

Find help and advice:

Apparently Wikipedia doesn't count as a literature review - image of stressed female.Statistical software

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Edinburgh Napier University has a number of different statistical analysis packages available for you to use, which you may be able to download at home or access online using Apps Anywhere.

Your supervisor is the best person to advise you on how to analyse your data, but you can find information about the different packages available below or overview information about research methods at Sage Research Methods.

Find help and advice:

Frequently asked questions

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Sorry, you won’t find copies of past dissertations in libraries. Please contact your dissertation supervisor or School.
In the A-Z list of databases , you can filter the list by different subjects.
Have a look at your Subject Librarian’s Libguide and the Training & Events Calendar to see if sessions are available. If you still need help, email them. See MyLibrarian.

Prioritise which are the most important for you and check LibrarySearch.

If Edinburgh Napier does not have full text:

1. Try Google Scholar – search for a free copy of the article on Scholar. Search for your article by its title.

2. Request an Inter Library Loan from EdinburghNapier - sign in to LibrarySearch and access the InterLibrary Loans tab using the three dots above the main search box.

See more information at Inter-Library Loans.


  • Any recent review papers?
  • Recent papers from good quality journals?
  • Apply your inclusion/exclusion search criteria to choosing papers. 
  • Check paper importance. Run the title through Google Scholar – how many citations does it have ?
  • Sort them into date order – Start with the most recent.
  • Allocate time and start early – it's an iterative process.
  • Record your bibliographical references as you go. See Reference Management. 
  • Read effectively. 
  • Interpret and synthesise the literature.

Training and Events Calendar
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Subject Librarians regularly organise drop-ins, special events, webinars and in-class sessions.

Check the Training and Events Calendar for upcoming sessions.