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Showing posts with label library guides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label library guides. 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




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20 March 2017

Citing and referencing - a guide for teaching staff

Citing and referencing is an essential academic skill that students enrolled in your teaching unit may struggle with, says Librarian Louise Micallef. She outlines some ways the Library can help your students.

Despite the fact that they have undertaken research for school assignments, work or personal purposes, for most students, the university is often the first encounter they have with academic literature. The need to reference their work accurately according to a prescribed style can cause some anxiety, particularly as it affects overall marks.

At the Library, we are experts at citing and referencing and can help your students to understand and apply this crucial skill, which is required in assignments at university level to:
  • demonstrate the credibility of their ideas 
  • validate their work 
  • give due credit to the research of others, and
  • allow readers to locate the original sources used for ideas and evidence in an assignment.
In my experience as a subject librarian, some of the most common citing and referencing mistakes made by students are:
  • incorrect use of commas, italics and ampersands
  • spelling inconsistencies
  • overuse of direct quotes
  • incorrect use of ‘et al.’
  • wrong order of multiple citations in a single parenthesis
  • failure to include a DOI for journal articles if appropriate for the style
  • failure to list all cited sources in the reference list and to do so in accurate alphabetical order
  • general formatting errors such as spacing and use of hanging indents
  • inability to correctly identify the resource type they are dealing with.
Evidently, the protocols and intricacies of referencing are often overwhelming and quite daunting for some students. So where can  you direct your students so they can learn the principles of citing and referencing  and how to effectively and accurately apply it to their work? The Library has created a number of excellent resources and opportunities for students to develop these crucial academic skills.

Five ways the Library can help your students with citing and referencing

1. Library Guides – Citing and Referencing and EndNote

We create Library guides to pull together useful resources on a variety of research skills topics or subject areas all in the one place. The Citing and Referencing Library Guide  covers the full range of citing and referencing styles used at Monash. Students can learn about why, how and when to cite and reference for their next assignment or research paper there.

Similarly, EndNote is a very useful reference management software that stores and automatically creates citations, references and bibliographies for assignments in the required style. Of course, EndNote is not foolproof, so we recommend that students understand how citations and references are used in academic writing when using the program to ensure accuracy. For a comprehensive guide to using Endnote, including "how to use it"  tutorials, see our EndNote Library Guide

2. Demystifying Citing and Referencing - tutorial

The Library has also created an online, interactive citing and referencing tutorial which includes activities and short self-assessment quizzes. It has been designed to teach the principles of citing and referencing, and understand how to avoid plagiarising when integrating source material. This valuable tutorial takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

3. Research and Learning Point – drop-in sessions

Students can drop in for a 15 minute consultation with a Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser at the Library. At a drop-in session students can get advice on research for their assignments, academic communication and study skills including citing and referencing.

There is no need for them to make an appointment and students are seen on a first come, first served basis. This service is offered between week two to twelve at all Monash libraries. See session times here.

4. Library program, resource or activity embedded in curriculum

We can work with you to design and teach a particular segment, class or resource as part of the academic curriculum for your unit, to ensure that students know the principles of citing and referencing and how to apply them for your assignments and projects.

Contact our specialist staff  to discuss further

5. One on one consultations (postgraduate students)

Librarians and learning skills advisers have specialist knowledge of resources and publishing in various subject disciplines. Postgraduate students are entitled to make individual appointments with their subject librarian and learning skills adviser at any stage of their research. We can provide you with specialist advice about citing and referencing for thesis or journal article submission.

Contact our specialist staff  to make an appointment.

So, if citing and referencing evokes a sense of dread in your students, help is always available from the Library both in person and online!





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20 October 2016

Integrating Library guides into Moodle

Library guides showcase Library resources and collections by subject areas and/or provide a detailed guide to Library applications. 


Some lecturers have provided a link to a particular Library guide in their unit’s student reading list. Now, linking to a Library guide from your Moodle unit page is an equally useful way to encourage students to research a range of subject literature or use particular resources. By Tracey Whyte

Why should I integrate Library guides into my Moodle site?


Monash University Library staff have created over 100 Library guides, displaying a variety of topics as can be seen on Library guides website. Each individual guide is separate, allowing for easy linking or embedding of this content.

Like Moodle, Library guides permit:

  • easy navigation - information and applications or databases can be located and retrieved quickly 
  • easy collation of statistics to report usage or evaluate effectiveness
  • collaboration between Library and academic staff
  • content can be printed by students or staff
  • accessibility documents can be created.

There are three different types of Library guides:

1. Faculty and Subject Library guides.  Librarians and Learning skills advisers have created these over 100 of these popular guides across all faculties and linking to content in almost all subject areas taught at the University . Subjects covered in an individual guide cover such widely diverse topics as Indigenous health, Systematic reviews, Econometrics and Business statistics, Marketing, Industrial Design, Medieval and renaissance history, and Physics and Astronomy. The guides link to Library information research and learning skills content in a variety of multimedia formats. There may also be links to unit specific information or resources for particular cohort.

2. Collection and resources Library guides provide discovery and access to information and collections. Examples include the Library guides for Databases, Government Publications, Ada Booth Slavic collection  and the Map collection.

3. There are also instructional Library guides including for Citing and referencing, Endnote, Moodle and Turnitin.

How can a Library guide be incorporated into my unit?


While Library guides may be created to build students skills or knowledge of a discipline and some are aimed at researchers, academics can take advantage of these specialist resources for improved learning and teaching. Talk to your Subject Librarian or Learning Skills Adviser about incorporating Library guides in your units.

All guides are presented in a consistent, structured manner; content displayed can be presented in a variety of formats including text, links, tables, images, widgets, and from RSS or social media feeds. Other resources such as videos or learning objects, like the Academic Integrity module, can be embedded or linked in the platform.

Stay tuned for the next Teaching blog, ‘Discovering Library guides - supplement the resources in your unit Moodle sites’, which will continue this theme, provide practical tips and add more insights into the use of Library guides.

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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.

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1 August 2016

Avoid assignment delays: get moving with effective preparation

So you’ve settled into the start of semester and have discovered all the assignment tasks you’ll need to complete in the next couple of months. Sometimes it can feel like you just don’t know where to start, or need to keep reading before you can start writing, or maybe you just start writing straight away on whatever you can think of. Don’t fall into these traps - good assignment writing needs good preparation. Here are some tips to get you pumping out your assignments effectively from Learning Skills Adviser, Emma Price.



  1. notes-514998_1920.jpgAnalyse your task

The first step in any assignment is to make sure you clearly understand what it is asking you to do. You may think you’ve got the idea from a quick read over, but you could miss out on some important details or misunderstand the question if you don’t spend a bit of time on task analysis. Comprehensively covering what is asked will usually add more marks onto your grade. Here’s some pointers to get you started: 

  • Think about whether or not you understand all of the terms involved - what might you need to look up?
  • You should highlight or scribble on the task itself for words or phrases that give you direction (what you need to do), content (topic or context) and limits (to set the required scope).

As you complete your assignment, you should always return to the task to make sure you are answering the topic and sticking to what was asked.

  1. Brainstorm and plan

Now that you understand what you need to do, a good next step is to spend a bit of time brainstorming. You might like to try creating a mindmap or just jotting down your thoughts on a page to record your ideas as you go.

  • What do you already know about this topic? What knowledge gaps will you need research?
  • How does this task fit into what you’ve covered in class?
  • What is your initial position towards the task? How will you approach what it is asking you to do?

This brainstorm is a great way to develop a plan. With your task analysis and initial thoughts on the topic, you can plot out how you will complete the assignment. This could be a skeleton structure outline noting down what the main sections or paragraphs should cover, or just some broad headings and subheadings of the areas you want to find out more about. You may want to write your approach or argument at the top of the page to keep you on track in your plan. Remember: this plan is not set in stone and you should adapt it as you do more research and start writing - but always make sure you are answering what the task is asking you to do!

You may also want to plot out a timeline between now and the due date to keep you on track with your research and writing.

  1. Research

Using your thoughts from your brainstorm and initial plan, it should now be pretty clear where you are headed and what you need to research for your assignment. Remember: 

  • Google is not the answer.
  • You should use the enormous amount of materials available to you through the Library. This way you get informed, credible and useful resources to help you in your assignment.
  • Try your faculty Library guide for some starting points on databases or key resources.
  • Your textbook or unit readings might help give you some background knowledge or starting points to expand your research.

From this, you can add in more ideas to your plan and get a better picture of how you will write your assignment. Keep on track by knowing your focus in the assignment and sticking to relevant reading - don’t get too lost in unhelpful tangents that will just use up precious time!

Remember to note down all the details for any sources you use for your referencing. And don’t get caught thinking you have to read more before you can start writing - you can always research as you write if you find there are some gaps to fill or you don’t have a good example for a particular part of your assignment.

By following these steps to get you started, you should have a really strong sense of your assignment. Use your expanded plan to avoid any writing procrastination - you know what you want to say and have the research notes to help you say it! Some students find sitting in front a blank screen and starting with their introduction makes their brain go blank. If this is the case for you, why not try starting at the next paragraph to get you going. You can always return after you have got your main argument paragraphs on the page, and this might help you write a clear and relevant introduction in the end anyway!

Don’t forget the friendly Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers at the Research and Learning Point! Drop-ins are available if you have any questions on how to get started on your assignment writing or research.

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25 June 2015

Library Guides unveil a new look!


Library Guides have been a key resource in the Library for many years, providing subject and topic specific information for the Monash community and beyond. It is very exciting to see these faithful old guides receiving a well deserved upgrade... by Amy Han and Katalin Mindum.

On 26 June, Library Guides will be officially switched over to a new version which will introduce great improvements to performance and an updated design.

What to expect
First of all, don’t panic. All your bookmarks to Library guides content will be intact. And we’ve made sure the change over will take place at a time that will have the least impact on you. You will notice we’ve applied a refreshing new look to the guides and perhaps you’ll find your love for them also renewed.

As with any system upgrade, there will be some downtime however minimal. On 26 June there will be a brief outage to the Library guides in the morning for up to an hour. And like any system upgrade, some broken bits and pieces here and there is expected. The Library guides team will not stop working until everything is perfect. If you find anything strange or not working as usual after 26 June, drop us a line.

Please note: If you are still seeing the old Library guides, try clearing your browser's cache.

What’s new
This upgrade has given us the opportunity introduce a new layout with a focus on teaching and research. The new Library guides home page includes sections designed especially for researchers and teachers. Access to the new guides for Moodle, Turnitin, multimedia resources will be much clearer. Guides covering topics such as research impact and publishing and HDR research will be much easier to locate, and a guide for data management is in the pipeline. Several key collections such as the Ada Booth Slavic collection, maps, and newspapers, are also highlighted and made much more easily accessible.

So are you excited as we are?

Tell us about your experience using the Library guides by posting a comment below.


Image: Found Animals Foundation, under CC 2.0 licence

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11 March 2015

Get started on your writing task


You’ve been working for days, even weeks, and you still don’t have one word of your essay written. You really have worked hard but have nothing to show for it.

Fear not! All the groundwork has prepared you well, and the writing should take nowhere near as long as the preparation. Sometimes just sitting down and starting to type is the toughest hurdle to clear. The steps in this blog entry will help you fly over it, leaving it far behind you! .... by Damian Gleeson, Learning Skills Adviser.


Have you fully analysed the topic?

If you don’t analyse it fully, you may not avail yourself of all marks on offer. Essay topics always have the same key ingredients: direction words that tell you what to do, topic words and limiting words that set the required scope. Be very clear that you understand what your tutor requires from you. There are several possible genres that might form part of your writing assessment. Be sure that you know what each genre entails. The Library’s Language and Learning Online is a useful resource to guide you. Several faculties at Monash have their own style guides, like BusEco’s Q Manual and IT’s Style Guide. Check your unit guide and Moodle sites for further information.

Have you done your research?


This does not mean using Google. Anyone can do that. Monash University spends millions on subscriptions to databases and journals, and it is your privilege as a Monash student to use them. So use them! Library Guides are a good starting point for finding discipline-specific databases and journals. Also, don’t forget your lecture and tutorial notes and required/recommended weekly reading. When you start writing you’ll probably find you’ll need to go back and research some aspects of your topic more. This is normal and to be expected. It means you are becoming suitably focused on key aspects that require rigour. Good for you!

Make a plan, Stan. Then use it to structure your work, Bjork.

An unplanned essay is potentially a recipe for disaster. As a bare minimum, note your academic position/thesis and the subject of each body paragraph. This should assist you in maintaining a clear, structured response to the assignment question. Remember that each paragraph should consist of one idea that is explained in detail, supported by evidence and examples and linked back to the topic in order to prove its relevance. To do this in 1 - 3 sentences is impossible. If your paragraph is longer than a page, there is probably more than one main idea or there is too much detail. Don't forget a clear introduction that
  • provides a general intro to the topic
  • tells your reader about your particular focus
  • offers a thesis statement indicating your academic position
  • previews your work’s structure, showing how you intend to achieve your stated goal.
A conclusion is also necessary, summarising what you achieved and how you achieved it in your assignment, as well as providing a big picture statement of what it all means in the wider context.

Ready? Set? Write!

There are countless excuses to stop you from sitting down and typing your assignment. None of them is likely to justify your inertia. Once you actually start writing, you should find all that research, reading, planning and thinking has put you in a position where the flow quickly becomes a torrent. Get it all out of you as fast as you can! You can edit and proofread it all later. Go!

You may have doubts about whether your work is at the level your tutor expects or not. This may be because you are new to university, the first in your family or among your friends to undertake tertiary study, or you are returning to study after a long break. Fear not! Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers work at your library’s Research and Learning Point for a few hours a day at most branches. At drop ins they can provide tips, advice and feedback on all the research and academic work you need to do. There is no need for an appointment and you’ll be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.


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29 January 2015

How to check your work before it is finalised

When you have finished writing your assignment and you think you're ready to submit it, you may want to do one final check. 

If your lecturer wishes you to submit assignments through Turnitin, they will have created a ‘Turnitin assignment drop-box’ in Moodle.

Turnitin is software which checks whether text in your assignment is too similar to that in your textbook or other references.

The software identifies passages of text in your assignment that are too similar to original texts that you have used. It is designed to allow you the opportunity to amend your work prior to submission.

The Turnitin Library Guide is provided to help you. It demonstrates how to access and use Turnitin and provides FAQs on the process: 

The guide is divided into six sections:
  • What is Turnitin?
  • How do I use Turnitin?
  • The Originality Report
  • How do I increase originality?
  • Faculty policies, and
  • Frequently Asked Questions.
The Library provides this and other Library guides and online tutorials for you to use when preparing and presenting your academic work.

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15 January 2015

A Library guide to Moodle

Moodle, the learning management system used at Monash University, was upgraded to the newest version (2.7) in November, 2014...... By Heidi Binghay


While there are few changes to the 2.7 ‘look and feel’ of Moodle, students may notice some differences to features and functions. Highlights of these changes include:
  • A new assignment module offering group assignments and built-in originality declaration statements
  • The option to use the new ATTO text editor with improved equation editing functionality
  • The addition of anonymous forums.
A new Moodle Library guide has been developed to provide students with more information about the changes and their impact on the use of Moodle.
 
A quick start guide to Moodle version 2.7 is also available to download from within the Library guide.

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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.

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