The Library exists to support research in all disciplines.  This guide is intended to give useful general information for all researchers. For information in your subject area, see Research Support for your Subject

For the latest news for researchers, see the Library's Research Blog

Research and Innovation at the University of Ulster

Library Travel Fund

Getting Started with Library Resources Library Research Guide
Getting Started - useful books on research Managing Information
Research Support for your Subject Intellectual Property Issues
Research Methods Current Awareness
Document Delivery (formerly Interlibrary Loans) Useful Websites For Research
Access to other libraries General Library Guide
Ulster Institutional Repository  


Research and Innovation at the University of Ulster

University of Ulster Research and Innovation

Research Office

Research Studies Handbook


Getting Started with Library Resources

The Student Portal is the gateway to the range of library resources, including the library catalogue, electronic databases, electronic journals and subject guides. To login you will require your Student ID and Network Password. Library electronic resources can be found on the Library & ICT tab, under Key Services.

Once you are logged on to the Portal, you have authenticated access to most of the electronic resources and there is no need for any other usernames or passwords.

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Getting Started - Useful Books on Research

Blaxter, Loraine, 1945-. - How to research / Loraine Blaxter, Christina Hughes and Malcolm Tight. - 3rd ed. - Buckingham : Open University Press, 2006.

Murray, Rowena. - How to write a thesis / Rowena Murray. - 2nd. ed. - Maidenhead : Open University Press, 2006.

Neville, Colin. - The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism / Colin Neville. - 2nd. Ed.- Maidenhead : Open University Press, 2010.

Rugg, Gordon, 1932-. - The unwritten rules of PhD research / Gordon Rugg and Marian Petre. - Maidenhead : Open University Press, 2004. - 0335213456

Rumsey, Sally. - How to find information : a guide for researchers / Sally Rumsey. - Maidenhead : Open University Press, 2004. - 0335214290

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Research Support for your Subject
Art, Design & the Built Environment Computing & Engineering
Arts Life & Health Sciences
Ulster Business School Social Sciences


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Research Methods

BUBL Link Research methods
Dissertation  doctor
University of York: Research methods and resources

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Document Delivery

Requests should be made online using the Document Delivery Request form where you will be prompted to login with your University ID and and network password (this is the same as your Portal / Blackboard Learn login details).

Please note, books must be collected from the Library and journal article requests are sent to the requestor via Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) to their institutional email address. If you have fines or overdue Library material your request may not be processed.


A 'Completing the Online Document Delivery form' guide is available. For more information on the Document Delivery service, including receiving your journal article requests electronically using Secure Electronic Delivery (SED) and British Library's EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) please see the main Document Delivery page.

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Access to other Libraries


SCONUL Access is a co-operative venture between most of the higher education libraries of the UK and Ireland. It enables staff and eligible students to have access to and borrow material from other libraries. For further information please click on SCONUL Access.

British Library - help for researchers
The British Library allows access to their London Reading Rooms for researchers. The Library's collection of over 160 million items includes books, maps, patents, manuscripts and newspapers. To gain access to the Reading Rooms it is necessary to apply for a Readers Pass.

Letter of Introduction
Many colleges and universities have external membership schemes for students who have no connection with that particular institution. If an institution has collections of particular interest to your research, it is worth contacting them to find out their admissions criteria.  The Arts Subject Librarian can provide you with a letter of introduction to support your request for admittance to other university libraries, though we cannot guarantee that this will be granted. To obtain a letter of introduction you must be in good standing with the University of Ulster Library and have no overdue books or outstanding fines.

Other Library Catalogues
The COPAC library catalogue gives free access to the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist and National libraries in the UK and Ireland. A list of contributing libraries is available here.

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Managing Information

RefWorks Enhanced: a database to enable you to

  • Import and organise your references
  • Link to Word to automatically format your paper and bibliography

Introductory classes on RefWorks will be given on each campus; dates of classes and details of how to book are on on the Library & ICT tab on the Student Portal.
RefWorks Enhanced can be found as one of the Library Databases under Library & ICT in the Student Portal.


A useful guide to referencing is:

Cite them right : the essential referencing guide / Richard Pears and Graham Shields




Library Travel Fund

The Library Travel Fund is open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students to receive financial support to visit other libraries, archives and information centres. The award is intended to cover the cost of the cheapest form of transport between the University of Ulster and the location being visited. Travel is normally restricted to within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland due to financial constraints. Accommodation and subsistence costs are not met from these funds.

For further information and application forms for both funds, please click on Library Travel Fund.

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Intellectual Property Issues

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act does allow copying of copyright materials under certain circumstances.
The amount of a published work which may be photocopied is generally interpreted as:

  • no more than one chapter of a book
  • no more than one article of a journal issue
  • no more than one single case report from a law report
  • no more than 5% of a given work, whichever is greater

Copying must be for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study, which is why, if we make or obtain a photocopy for you, we ask you to sign a copyright declaration that you require the copy for this purpose.

Below are useful Web sites on copyright should you require further information.

University of Ulster Copyright Guidance and Reference (Login using Network ID and Password)

Guidelines for Fair Dealing in an Electronic Environment

CLA: the Copyright Licensing Agency

Plagiarism is an issue taken very seriously by all academic institutions. There is much information on plagiarism and how to avoid it. One of the best sites is JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service which covers all aspects of plagiarism.


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Current Awareness

Below is a list of suggestions on how you can keep up to date in your area of interest.

One of the most effective ways to keep up to date in journal literature is to save and re-run searches on the most relevant databases for your subject. Many databases provide an email alerting service.
To find  the best databases for your subject and how to set up their alerting services go to Research Support for your Subject.

Journal Alerting Services
Zetoc Alert is a table of contents alerting service which will email you the contents pages of your chosen journals every time a new issue is loaded into the database. It is updated daily so you may be emailed within 72 hours of publication. Zetoc Alert can be found as one of the Library Databases under Learning Resources in the Student Portal.

ticTOCS: a journal alerting service from JISC



Cited Reference Searching: identify more recent articles which cite an original piece of published research. Cited Reference searching is available on Web of Knowledge on the Web of Science tab. Web of Knowledge can be found as one of the Library Databases under Library & ICT in the Student Portal.


There is a Conference Alerts service which includes a searchable database of forthcoming academic conferences and a free alerting service. For details go to


Research Discussion Lists

Electronic discussion lists are a valuable way for researchers and academics to share information and ideas by e-mail or via the Web.
Below is a selection of some of the most popular discussion lists.

JISCMAIL is the major electronic mailing list for the UK higher education community. The search headings include people and subjects.

CataList is a catalogue of LISTSERV internet discussion lists with access to over 47,000 lists.


Use the Index to Theses to search for theses in the UK and Ireland. Index to Theses can be found as one of the Library Databases under Library & ICT in the Student Portal.

EThOS is a British Library service whereby theses are made available in digital form. It is necessary to register on EThOS to use the service.

Web sites

Intute lists academic websites for the HE community. Email Alerts can be set up.

ChangeDetection monitors URLs for change and alerts you by email when a change occurs. For details go to



Many publishers will send you regular emails or RSS feeds to alert you to new books
Some online booksellers provide an alerting service which emails you details of new books in a specified field.
Amazon offers a free a "notification preference" though you will need to register.
Book News "for the latest books in science, technology and medicine".


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Useful Websites For Research

Government web sites
A very valuable source of information. All government departments have web sites and many give access to official publications, guidelines and statistics. Many
official publications are only available online.
DirectGov A-Z of Central Government will take to a complete listing of all UK government websites.
Directory of Irish Government Websites is a complete listing of all Irish government websites.
UK National Statistics site for official UK statistics.
Central Statistics Office Ireland links to official Irish government statistics.

Research Organisations

British Academy

Higher Education Academy

Research Councils UK

CORDIS: information on European Research and development

European Research Area (ERA): research involving a transnational perspective

National Science Foundation: funding agency for research in the USA

Search engines
Google Scholar Google Scholar enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research. Use Google Scholar to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web.

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