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Education: research guide: Top tips & advice

Top tips & advice

On this page we'll collect some answers to interesting questions we've been asked recently.

If there is anything you would like us to include, get in touch!

Troubleshooting access problems

Some remote access issues can be resolved by clearing cache in your browser via settings (

Try using a private/incognito tab (which ignores cache and cookies); or try a different browser.

Occasionally VPN may interfere with authentication, so try switching it off.

Access to a resource might be broken or a subscription may have lapsed. We can check, email

Read-aloud options for ebooks and articles

If you would like to use audio narration or read-aloud functionality for your studies or research, there are a few available options.


Adobe Reader

The free software Adobe Reader has a read out loud function, so if you can save your article or ebook as a PDF this is a very easy way to get audio narration.

Adobe Reader showing read out loud option


Browser extensions/add-ons

Microsoft Edge has a built-in read aloud feature.

Microsoft Edge browser showing read aloud feature

Edge browser showing Read aloud in practice on BBC News website

Browser extensions and add-ons are available for other browsers: Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc.


Mac computers

Macs have the ability to read any text aloud in the accessibility settings. Instructions on how to enable this are at


EBSCO ejournals

The EBSCO platform offers audio narration for HTML articles only (not EPUB or PDF).

EBSCO website showing read aloud feature


The VLebooks platform has an in-built "ReadAloud" function when you choose Read Online for an ebook.

VLeBooks website showing read aloud feature


Taylor & Francis ejournals

Taylor & Francis Online ejournals ( have an in-built read aloud function for their online articles.

Taylor & Francis website showing read aloud feature

Keep seeing a blank page?

Are you trying to access journal articles via SOLO and keep seeing a blank page?

This is often caused by problems with authentication in your browser. You can try to fix it by:

  1. Trying a different browser
  2. Clearing the cache and cookies in your browser - choose instructions from this
  3. Email the library at

Still figuring out the online library?

The Economist

Box of Broadcasts

Buying books for yourself

Some books you just want to have for your very own! Borrowing them from a library isn't enough. Maybe you want to re-read and re-read, maybe you want to scribble and highlight all over!

Amazon is usually a good option, but you could also compare prices with our local bookshop Blackwell’s.

A good source of second-hand books is AbeBooks

Have you found a good place to buy books offering a student discount? Let us know!


Study skills reading list

This list gives a sample of available books, documents and videos on study skills that you may find helpful - you can use the Table of Contents above to skip to different topics.

Many titles are available as ebooks or can be borrowed from Oxford libraries.

Times Higher Education

The Times Higher Education THE (formerly the Times Higher Education Supplement THES) is a weekly specialist journal with news, comment, features and some lighter coverage about HE in the UK and globally, useful for keeping up with current debates and issues. 

You'll find this week's THE on the coffee table in the Education Library.

If you want to browse through older print issues, the Continuing Education Library keeps the last 2 years.

Most of the back issues (unfortunately some are missing) are available to request from the Closed Stack.

We subscribe to the TimesHigherEducation website. This gives you access to THE online, THE app, weekly digital editions of the THE magazine and the Rankings insight. To access the THE for the first time click on User account to Register and use your university email address. Digital editions are available under the Professional menu and the THE app can be downloaded from your app store.

Searching Chinese journals

National Social Sciences Database

The Bodleian Libraries has institutional access to the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) National Social Sciences Database . The University of Oxford readers can access the database without having to register for individual accounts. The CASS database includes over 2000 titles of core academic journals in social science (and humanities) published in China, including the entire volumes of journals such as文物 Wen wu), 考古 (Kao gu), and 历史研究 (Historical Research).


Chinese Journals with articles in English

The main sources of Chinese journals with relevant articles in English are:

China Academic Journals Full-text Database

Use the Advanced search to add all your concepts, searching in Title, Keyword and Abstract. "Exact phrases" can be searched for using double quotation marks. To add alternative terms put the + between them, rather than OR. Make use of the search filters at the side of your results, e.g. Humanity & Social  and/or Disciplines.

All results should be available to download as PDFs directly from this database.

Airiti Library

This is a collection of over 700 Taiwan journals. The advanced search does not behave well when searching in English, so it is better to use the 'more options' drop down in the simple search bar, and when you have the results, you can filter them by language using the left-hand options.

Note: Although this database also includes ebooks and theses, our subscription is just for journal articles - you may be able to find other kinds of results using SOLO or other databases, for example the Chinese Doctoral Dissertations Full-text Database, or the National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan.

Hong Kong Journals Online

This is a small collection of Hong Kong journals in Chinese and English, including Education Journal and Journal of Basic EducationThere is only a very basic search, but all results should be available to download as PDFs directly from this database.

If you are looking for sources of information other than journal articles, or statistical data, it is worth looking at the Chinese Studies LibGuide, making an appointment with a specialist from the China Centra Library, or trying other databases from Databases A-Z.

Finding reading lists online

You can explore reading lists from other courses by searching the online reading lists (ORLO)   
Bear in mind that by viewing a reading list out of the context of the course you will be missing the context. Sometimes readings are included in a reading list in order to prompt critical discussion or to problematize dominant discourse, so you can not assume that everything on a reading list is ‘recommended’.
More information and a video on how to make the most of ORLO.

Electronic Legal Deposit material

eLD items can easily be identified by the flag 'Online access is restricted to library computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries'.

Screenshot of electronic legal deposit item on SOLO

Electronic Legal Deposit items are materials which Oxford has received under Legal Deposit legislation which entitles the Bodleian Libraries to a copy of every item published in the UK. These materials are subject to a number of restrictions under UK Law including:

  • You can only access electronic Legal Deposit on public computers in any of the Bodleian Libraries (unless the item contains the statement that it is public sector information and is therefore freely available under the Open Government Licence)
  • Only one person at a time can view each item, and there is no time limit set (within a day) for how long an item can be consulted. However, you will be timed out after 5 minutes of inactivity. Once an item has been closed down (or has timed out) it will become available to another reader. 
  • There is no restrictions to the number of electronic Legal Deposit items you can view in a day.
  • Digital copying is not permitted under current legislation. You cannot copy and paste, take a screenshot, download or scan material. 

​More information



Video transcript


Tips on exporting to reference management software