Library

Showing posts with label academic resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label academic resources. Show all posts

19 April 2017

Systematic Review Library Guide


A new guide has been devised to help researchers conduct a systematic review, says Subject Librarian Cassandra Freeman.


If you are part of a research team working on a systematic review for publication or undertaking a review for assessment purposes, the Library has developed a useful online resource to help guide you through the process.

What is a Systematic Review?



Systematic reviews are more commonly associated with medicine and evidence based research to inform clinical decisions and treatments. However, critical reviews or the systematic synthesis of research findings were already being published in disciplines such as the social sciences in the early 1970s in order to provide evidence to inform service and policy decisions. [1]

It was in 1972 that Archie Cochrane, a British epidemiologist, wrote about the need for more clinicians and medical practitioners to use randomised controlled trial findings to inform them about the best drug treatments and therapies for patients. [2]

In 1979, he went on to write that there was a significant lack of critical summaries of research evidence in the medical profession. Cochrane argued it was essential for clinicians to start periodically critically reviewing a range of randomised controlled trials to really ensure best practice in health care decisions. [3] This is how critical reviews evolved in medicine into the systematic reviews that are published today.
Systematic Review Guide

A systematic review implements a standardised approach to gathering evidence relating to a specific research question. The evidence is taken from a systematic search of an exhaustive set of studies, and the data analysed in context to assess the strength of the findings. The quality of systematic reviews varies, although published Cochrane Reviews use rigorous scientific methods and are sometimes considered to be the ‘gold standard’. A systematic review does not necessarily have to adhere to all the Cochrane requirements if it is going to be published elsewhere. There are organisations other than Cochrane that have developed standards for systematic reviews. Consult the new systematic review library guide for more detailed information.

Systematic reviews have some unique features that make them differ from standard literature reviews. Below are some requirements of published Cochrane systematic reviews.
  • Should have more than one author. This is effective in reducing potential author bias in selection of studies and data extraction, and to help detect any errors.
  • Can be replicated (and therefore verified) due to the comprehensive documentation of the search and selection methodologies used.
  • Poor quality studies are eliminated (via pre-defined exclusion criteria) even when there are few other studies available. This can provide clarity in areas previously thought to show opposing conclusions.
  • Where possible, an international perspective is taken and results considered in a broad context.
  • Must be updated every two years or include an explanation as to why this hasn’t happened.

Meta-analyses


Some systematic reviews will include a meta-analysis when assessing the effectiveness of a healthcare outcome. A meta-analysis is a statistical technique that combines the findings of relevant studies and analyses the resulting data set.   For more information see the Cochrane Handbook.

Rise of systematic reviews


There has been a proliferation of systematic reviews being published and the number continues to rise. According to a recent study, over a 10 year period from 2004 to 2014 the number of indexed systematic reviews in Medline database went from 2,500 to 8,000. The authors of the study suggest that the reasons for this may vary, including funder requirements for systematic reviews for research proposals and also the increase and availability of journals accepting systematic reviews. [4]

In order to ensure the quality of a systematic review, it is important to seek professional advice, particularly in the selection of appropriate library resources to search and methods of searching. The new library guide has been developed to address the needs of both students and researchers, and can be used at any step in the process of a systematic review for publication or as part of an assessment task. It provides valuable information to guide you whether you are new to conducting this type of review, but also if you want to improve and further develop your knowledge of systematic review requirements.

References

  1. Strech, D., & Sofaer, N. (2012). How to write a systematic review of reasons. Journal of Medical Ethics, 38(2), 121-126. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2011-100096
  2. Cochrane, A. L. (1972). Effectiveness and efficiency : random reflections on health services. London]: London : Nuffield Provincial Hospitals Trust.
  3. Cochrane, A. L. (1979). 1931-1971: A critical review, with particular reference to the medical profession. In G. Teeling- Smith & N. Wells (Eds.).Medicines for the year 2000 (pp. 1-11). London: Office of Health Economics.
  4. Page, M. J., Shamseer, L., Altman, D. G., Tetzlaff, J., Sampson, M., Tricco, A. C., . . . Sarkis-Onofre, R. (2016). Epidemiology and reporting characteristics of systematic reviews of biomedical research: a cross-sectional study. PLoS medicine, 13(5). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002028




Read More

20 March 2017

Using academic resources - what and how

Most units you undertake at Monash will have a research component - usually in assessments, where you will be asked to support your work with academic resources. Knowing how and where to find such resources can be tricky, says Romney Adams, Subject librarian.


The good news is the Library has plenty of expertise in the area of academic resourcesand can work with you to build your research skills. Read on to discover tips that will make your journey into the world of academic research a little easier!

One thing that confuses a lot of students is understanding what an academic resource actually is. Most of us will have had no reason to look further than a textbook prior to studying at university - but you can’t just rely on your textbook for research! Articles in academic journals will often be the type of resource you’ll be looking for.

Some academic sources undergo a process known as peer review - you can find out more about the peer review process in this dino-tastic video, but essentially it means the article has been verified by independent experts in the field. Peer reviewed articles are sometimes known as ‘refereed’ articles.

Books can also be considered as academic sources. Most books you find in the Library will be considered ‘academic’ in the context of your discipline, but if you’re ever unsure, you can always ask a Librarian at the Research & Learning Point.

Okay, so you know what academic resources are...now you just need to find them! While the Library has far less physical items than it used to, we have an abundance of academic materials online - including journal articles and eBooks. We recommend using Search, the Library’s resource discovery tool, as a launching point for your research - this will give you a great overview of the literature that’s available, and you’ll be able to find plenty of materials to get you started. Once you’ve used Search, it’s best to then look at some subject-specific databases. These databases contain even more materials - many of which you won’t be able to find using Search! The Library has a Guide to databases that are particularly useful for your discipline. Of course, there’s nothing quite like getting hands-on and browsing the shelves - if you have the time - you never know what gem you may stumble across!

Getting used to searching for academic resources takes time, patience, and practice. If you feel frustrated, confused, or just want to make sure you’re on the right track, chat to a Librarian at your Library’s Research & Learning Point, or book into a workshop. Together, we’ll ensure you’re finding the right kind of sources for your assessments as quickly and easily as possible.


Read More

5 October 2016

A welcome resource: New LGBTQ database


The Archives of sexuality and gender : LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 gives access to a range of resources surrounding the social, political and health issues relating to the LGBTQ movement since the 1940, by Rod Rizzi


The Library has acquired a subscription to a new database that contains a wealth of information and resources across the social science, humanities and health subject areas.

The Archives of sexuality and gender: Part 1, LGBTQ history and culture since 1940 database provides access to articles on a broad range of political, social and health issues that have previously not been available as part of the mainstream media. It allows us to look back at stories as they broke from a perspective that has not always been available via our traditional and indeed existing databases.

Using the unique ‘Term Clusters’ visual wheel to look at related subject areas can uncover relevant information that a simple search may have overlooked.

The database content is drawn from more than 35 countries sourcing relevant material in the form of reports, policy statements, articles and the like. The coverage of the AIDS crisis is a particular feature, but equally the inclusion of material in relation to feminism and women’s rights are notable features.

Archives of Human Sexuality and Identity can be found by going to Library Search and the Databases A-Z page.


Read More

10 August 2016

Academic resources: Navigating the databases


Your assessments take all kinds of different forms - variety is the spice of life, after all! The requirements can sometimes seem a little confusing - especially if one assessment asks you to use ‘academic’ sources, another ‘scholarly’ sources, and a third ‘refereed’ sources. What do all these terms mean? And where can you find such sources? The Library's Romney Adams is here to untangle the terminology, and hone your detective skills...


First of all: ‘Academic’, ‘Scholarly’, and ‘Refereed’ sources all mean the same thing. Remember how I mentioned that variety is the spice of life? These three terms just mean that your lecturer or tutor are after sources that have undergone something called Peer Review. This is a strict editorial process which ensures material published in academic journals is of a high standard, and suitable for others (such as yourself!) to cite and use in your own research and writing. If you'd like to know more about what Peer Review actually involves, check out this short video from North Carolina State University (it features dinosaurs!). When people speak about academic sources, people often think primarily of journal articles. But books can also be academic sources. Many students enjoy the convenience of being able to access and read journal articles online, but academic books can also be a great resource - particularly if you're new to a discipline, or unfamiliar with a certain area of research. However, textbooks are not typically used as evidence (in-text citations) to support arguments in your assessments. Of course, each of Monash’s libraries house thousands of physical books on our shelves, but many are also available as eBooks, which you can read online. Ask at your Library’s Information Point if you're unsure how to use Search to find eBooks, and check out this video to build your skills in being able to determine whether the source you’re using is an academic resource. If you like, you can test your knowledge with this interactive tutorial.
Nothing in life is free, and the same is true for journal articles (well, unless it’s published in an Open Access journal). Have you ever found the perfect article for your assessment in Google Scholar, only to be asked to pay to read it? It's very annoying, but the good news is that as students of Monash, the Library pays the access fees for you!
We subscribe to literally thousands of databases which give you access to academic collections, including journal articles and eBooks. With so many databases to choose from, it can be tricky to know where to start - but don't be overwhelmed! To ease into things, use Library Search, our resource discovery tool which searches our physical and online collections. You should be able to find some great academic resources to get you started, and when you're ready to build on this, you can start searching individual databases. Databases hold discipline-specific resources, and are reviewed and updated by your Subject Librarians and Electronic Access Librarians throughout the year, so you can be sure you'll be searching (and retrieving!) the content that is most useful for you. We love databases so much, that we even blog about them sometimes!
We suggest starting with Search, but it doesn’t retrieve results from every single resource we subscribe to, so make sure you’re researching thoroughly by searching directly in databases too. To determine which databases will be useful for you to use, head to the Library Guide for your discipline (e.g. Biology, History, Commercial Law).



Search and our subscribed databases hold a variety of resources - not all of them are academic, so it is important you build your skills in information evaluation to make sure you’re using the right materials to support your own arguments and claims in your assessments. Review the clip embedded above to get started, or chat to a librarian at your Library’s Research & Learning Point - they’ll be able to put you on the right track! Or, if you want to go more in-depth, check the Library Class Booking System for workshops on effective searching.
Photo 1 from: https://www.pexels.com/photo/startup-planning-notes-mac-book-7357/Photo 2: Screenshot from following video: http://www.monash.edu/library/transforming-libraries/matheson-video



Read More

2 August 2016

Finding non-English resources: A guide for users

Where do you start when you’re looking for non-English resources in the Library?

There are many different writing systems in Library Search and a new guide makes searching in these non-English languages easier.
The Finding non-English Resources guide focuses currently on Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Cyrillic languages, as the Library has many resources in these languages in the Asian Collections and the Ada Booth Slavic Collection.
A tab for each of the four languages is provided, containing language-specific information about how to search. The Japanese and Korean tabs include a quiz to allow users to test their understanding, and one will be added for the Chinese tab soon.
Developed in consultation with academic staff from the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, the guide will include other languages in the future.


The guide also includes instructions for the use of IME (Input Method Editors) software. This allows people to type in many different languages and characters using standard computer keyboards.

Read More

5 May 2016

What a busy clinician needs to know for patient care

eTG complete is an industry standard resource used by clinical practitioners at the point of care. Our Pharmacy librarians Madeleine Bruwer and Mario Sos give the low-down on this resource.


Therapeutic Guidelines (eTG complete) provides unbiased, high quality, reputable guidelines for the treatment of common conditions observed in clinical practice.

Each guideline provides a broad overview of the disorder followed by recommendations for therapy, including drug recommendations and dose regimens. The structure of the guidelines makes it easy to assess, interpret and distil the relevant evidence for making decisions regarding patient care.

The guidelines are developed by a group of experts comprising medical specialists as well as general practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and librarians. The guidelines are frequently updated to provide the most recent information and are designed for use in Australia.

The new upgraded version of eTG complete features a dynamic and user friendly searchable interface. Search by keyword or browse by the index or contents list.

New and unique features
  • Browsable drug index - find drugs and their indications and quickly verify the drug dose for an indication
  • Drug recommendations - View additional information about the corresponding drug including its suitability during pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as its availability through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) 
  • References- Each article contains a reference list with links to PubMed and other sources to follow up on the research. Also provided are the members of the expert group responsible for the topic and endorsements.
  • Tutorial Video - A quick start guide to searching and browsing eTG complete
  • Unlimited user access for Monash students and staff.
eTG complete is available though Search and through Databases A-Z. If you have trouble accessing it please contact Mario Sos or Madeleine Bruwer.


Read More

14 March 2016

Academic resources - where do I find them?

What exactly are academic resources and where can you find them? Our librarian blogger Romney Adams lets you in on the best secrets on becoming more effective in your assignment research.


We all search for information every day - for gig tickets or the weather, for example. During your time here at Monash, you’ll need to search for information for your assignments. When those times come, you’ll need to make sure you’re researching effectively to find academic resources.

Essentially, academic resources are those which meet certain quality-control standards by going through various types of review - the one you’ll become most familiar with during your studies is peer review. This is a lengthy process which ensures that material published in academic journals is of high quality, and suitable for others (like you!) to reference and build upon.

Watch the clip below, which points out some things you can look out for to determine whether the book you’re holding in your hand, or the journal article you’re reading online, is a suitable academic resource:

 



You can test your understanding of academic sources further through an interactive tutorial.

Where are academic resources found?

The next thing is knowing where to look. While the Open Access movement is growing, currently most academic journal subscriptions cost money - if you've ever used Google Scholar and been asked to pay to access an article, that’s why. But the good news is that now you're a Monash student, you won't need to pay again!

The Library subscribes to a huge amount of databases which give you access to academic resources. Monash Library Search is our resource discovery tool, and it's where we recommend you start. It will search not only our physical collections but also a number of the online databases we subscribe to. It'll retrieve a lot of results that you can quickly and easily narrow down to those that suit what you're after. We have plenty of videos that show you how to do this.

To make sure you’re researching thoroughly, look directly in databases too. Databases are often the place you'll need to go to find discipline-specific information, so don't forget about them!

To find the databases that are the best for your research, head to your Faculty- and/or Discipline-specific Library Guide, where you’ll find targeted information. For example, if you look at the Library Guide for Civil Engineering, you’ll see that Compendex, Inspec, and Scopus are the best databases for you to start with. Some other disciplines will have databases that are very topic-specific, as well as more general - check out the Library Guide for Middle East History to see what I mean. Alternatively you can can view the  A-Z List of all our databases,

It's important that you build your skills in evaluating information to make sure you’re using the right materials to support your own arguments in your assignment.

If you skipped the video clip above, go back to get started, or chat to a librarian at your library’s Research and Learning Point - they’ll be able to put you on the right track! Or, if you want to go more in-depth, check the Library Class Booking System for workshops on effective searching.

Read More



About the Blog

Welcome to the Monash University Library blog. Whether you are engaged in learning, teaching or research activities, the Library and its range of programs, activities and resources will contribute to your success. Here you will find useful information, ideas, tips and inspiration. Your comments on any of the articles are welcome.

If you believe that copyright material is available on this blog in such a way that infringes copyright, please contact our designated representative

.