Keeping up to date

When in the middle of the ‘research’ part of your PhD it difficult to keep up to date with what is going on outside your own research bubble. I know I struggle. My literature review was completed over a year ago and since then many new papers have been published. So how do you keep yourself up to date whilst doing your own research? There are few tips and tricks you can use to help you out and save you time.

I do at least one literature search a week (usually a Friday and/or Monday)  – I put a note in my calendar to remind myself to do this.

I file the references I have already read, properly. Once I have read a research paper I usually make a few notes on it, then file the reference so I can find it again. I use Ref works to file my references, but there are plenty of other reference tools you can use. Universities usually have their own preference. Find out which tool is best, learn how to use it and then continue to use it. Universities run short courses on how to use reference storing software, contact your IT department or library for more information.

Sign up for alerts, I sign up for alerts via <a href=””>pubmed </a>so whenever anyone publishes a paper in my research area I automatically recieve an email alerting me to the paper.  There are many different tools and programmes you can use to search for literature. Universities often run courses which teach you how to run searches and how to make your searches more efficient. It can make you more efficient and save you time.

If you have any more tips or ideas, please share them in the comments.


About Heather Doran

I am a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. My PhD is Molecular Biology and Pharmacology based. I studied Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a year in Industry at Durham University. I then went on to work in research and development in the consumer goods industry for 12 months. I decided for my long term career and for my own personal interests I wanted to pursue a PhD – so I went for it and I am enjoying (nearly) every minute! I am really passionate about science communication and I get involved in lots of different activities that are available through the University and through being a PhD student. I hope my blog will be useful for people who are thinking of doing a PhD in any subject and also for those that are studying for their PhDs at the moment.

One Response to Keeping up to date

  1. Tesha Beavis says:

    How exactly do you sign up for alerts on PubMed for recent publications in a given field of study?

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