• 2-minute read
  • 8th March 2016

Essay Inspiration: 5 Places to Look (Other than the Library)

Academic success requires a little bit more than just turning up to lectures, reading the set texts and handing in essays on time; you also have to prove yourself as a creative and critical thinker.

The simplest way to make your work stand out is via independent research, which can give your arguments greater depth and shows you’re engaged with the subject (not simply regurgitating what you’ve learned in class).

To get you started, we’ve come up with a few places to look for inspiration outside of the library…

1. Books and Journals

Ok, we know that books and journals are kept in the library, but the point is to look beyond the reading list; try checking the bibliography of set texts to see if anything looks interesting.

And if your library doesn’t have a book or journal relevant to your work, ask a librarian if they can order it in for you (generally speaking, librarians are very helpful people).

2. Workshops and Conferences

Attending talks, workshops and conferences is a great way of hearing about new ideas and theories in any field of research.

This is especially important if you’re thinking of doing postgraduate studies or moving into academia, as you’ll also get to network with other people in your subject area.

Find this useful?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get writing tips from our editors straight to your inbox.

3. Talking to Lecturers and Other Students

On a less formal note, another great way to get inspired is to simply chat with fellow students, as well as seminar leaders and lecturers. Most lecturers will be happy to recommend further reading or answer your questions, while talking with other students allows you to share ideas.

4. Trade Magazines and Newsletters

If you’re studying a subject with connections to a particular industry, trade publications are an invaluable source of the latest news and developments in your field.

5. The Information Superhighway

Sure it’s full of memes, but the internet has more to offer than just kittens and Richard Dawkins.

By Pia Ojanen [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
They are cute though.
For one thing, there are dozens of journal databases providing access to hundreds of years of research at the click of a button.

On academic forums, moreover, you can discuss your work with people from around the world without even having to get out of bed! And what more could any student want?

Comments (0)

Get help from a language expert.

Try our proofreading services for free.

More Writing Tips?
Trusted by thousands of leading
institutions and businesses

Make sure your writing is the best it can be with our expert English proofreading and editing.