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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 us

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 website for your browser
  3. Email the library!

Still figuring out the online library?

The Economist

Search National UK Newspapers.

Search all of the major newspapers in England in one simple search engine.

These include The Times, Guardian, Daily Express, Mail, Independent, Observer, Sun, Morning Star, FT etc.

To access full text try Nexis. For archives, ask a librarian

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!


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

Using the tickboxes and pluses on the left-hand side, you can select just Education & Social Sciences journals to search, or select just a particular level of education, e.g. secondary.

There is no explicit way to restrict searches to English-language articles, but using the Basic Search and unticking the 'Cross-Language Search' box does quite well. Use the plus to add more search criteria. To construct a search with alternative terms (OR) and more than one concept (AND) use 2.Input the Content Features of Target Documents to first enter your alternative terms for your first concept, chaning the dropdpwn between each term to OR, click Search, then clear your initial terms and enter your next concept, clicking Search in result to combine the concepts with AND. Search for exact phrases by entering all the words within one search box, without double quotation marks.

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.

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
  • 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