Library

24 April 2017

Researching organisms? Try BIOSIS Previews

Information about any animal, bird, organism or other form of life can be found in this database of journal articles from emerging and traditional areas of  biological science, says subject librarian Madeleine Bruwer.



Are you a life scientist researching organisms? 

BIOSIS Previews allows you to explore the entire field of life sciences by providing access to journal content from Biological Abstracts supplemented by Biological Abstract Reports, Reviews and Meetings. 

Our BIOSIS Previews coverage dates from 1926 to present, and includes the traditional areas of biological sciences, such as zoology, botany, microbiology, as well as emerging areas like drug discovery, gene therapy, biodiversity and biotechnology.

Searching for an organism using the taxonomic data field

Biosis Previews uses a relational indexing system, which provides hierarchical access to kingdom, family and common genus species names. Knowing how to best utilise the taxonomic structure of the database will assist in targeting your search to retrieve records with the required organism as the primary focus of the article.

Start by performing a topic search, listing as many variations as possible of the organism name, either the formal scientific name, Latin name or the common organism name.



Select a relevant result based on title information and scroll down past the abstract to the taxonomic data table.

The taxonomic data table displays the following categories: Super Taxa, Taxa Notes, Organism Classifier, Organism name and Variant. 


The Super Taxa field refers to broad categories of organisms, in this instance Mammalia, Marsupialia. The Taxa Notes supply the common names of broad groups of organisms, for example Marsupials, Mammals and more. The Organism Classifier provides the controlled term for the taxonomic rank of family as well as the five-digit Biosystematic Code for an organism. Organism name refers to the organism name as provided by the author and this will assist users unfamiliar with the taxonomic nomenclature to easily search for an organism. The Variant name is also captured if the article provides this information. Other details on the organism such as gender, its developmental stage and role may also be supplied.

Once you have a clearer picture of the appropriate terms to use, you would narrow your search by entering the organism name in the taxonomic data field.

The Super Taxa terms or Taxa Notes are useful for broadening a search. To broaden your search to include both kangaroos and wallabies, use the Organism Classifier term “Macropodia“.

BIOSIS Previews is listed our A-Z database list and is available through Web of Science. Select BIOSIS Previews from drop down list on Web of Science Core Collection home page.



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Getting group work done

Do you find group assignments difficult? It can be challenging to work with others, but that’s why these assignments exist - you’re being assessed on your teamwork skills, not just your content knowledge. Get the most out of your group with tips from librarian Clinton Bell.


Set team rules, goals and expectations before you start work

Before you actually start working on your assignment, it’s a good idea to set ground rules for the group. These include things like when and where you will meet, how you will communicate, and so on. Make sure everyone gets a say - it’s no good setting a meeting time if half your group can’t make it!

You should also talk about the task and make sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes people interpret instructions differently, overlook an important detail, or have different expectations about how the assignment should be completed. Making sure everyone is clear about what needs to be done before you start helps you avoid a lot of problems later on.

Communicate with your team

It’s important for everyone in the group to communicate regularly. This helps make sure everyone is making progress on their tasks, and allows problems to be addressed before they cause if trouble. It also allows the team to make suggestions and improve on each other’s work.

If you’re having trouble, you’re not sure what you should be doing, or you’re not certain if what you’ve done is okay, let your team know! It’s better to sort it out early than wait until just before the assignment is due. Conversely, if someone else is having difficulty, help them out.

It can also be a good idea to keep a copy of documents in a shared space, such as Google Drive. This is great for providing suggestions and feedback, and helps everyone keep an eye on how the assignment is progressing. It also means that if something happens to one of your group you still have access to the stuff they were working on.

Everyone is responsible for every part of the end product

A group assignment isn’t “several individual assignments, stapled together”. As a group, you need to make sure you produce a coherent product and that all parts of the assignment are of an acceptable standard. It’s fine to put people in charge of a specific task, but they shouldn’t be working in complete isolation.

Throughout the assignment, everyone should share what they’ve done and provide feedback on the others’ work. You should also allow time before you submit to do a final round of editing. Look for differences in formatting, quality, and what you’re actually saying, and make sure everything is consistent.

Be a team player


Treat your teammates with respect. When giving suggestions or feedback, be constructive - focus on how to improve things, instead of complaining or assigning blame. Listen to your team and be prepared to compromise sometimes.

If you really want to do well, help your teammates get along with each other. If someone is having trouble being heard, ask directly for their opinion. If there are heated discussions and things get personal, try to smooth things over and refocus everyone on the task. When someone makes a good contribution, or compromises so the project can move forward, let them know you appreciate it.

If something is seriously wrong

Finally, if there is a major problem with the group, discuss it with your lecturer or tutor before the assignment is due. Dealing with minor problems is part of the task, but if something is seriously wrong it’s okay to raise it with your lecturer.


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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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11 April 2017

200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library


New study spaces have opened at Caulfield Library as the builders progress steadily towards finishing the refurbishment.



Good news! There are 200 additional seats available at Caulfield Library, increasing the total to just under 800 seats.

A new area has opened for student use on level 1, adjacent to the teaching rooms. The bright and modern area has been finished just in time for students to make best use of them.

Access to this area as well as the three teaching rooms is temporarily via the Ian Potter Sculpture Courtyard. These spaces are open 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday.

The three teaching rooms are also available to students outside of Library class times. There are 30 fixed laptops that students can use for their study activities.

When the building works are completed, the library will have doubled its pre-refurbishment seating capacity from 750 to 1500 seats, offering a range of spaces for quiet study, collaboration and interactive teaching.

As the demand for study spaces has increased as the exams get closer, other study locations at Caulfield campus are available and are listed below for your convenience.



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Where to find a study space at Clayton

Our three libraries at Clayton campus together offer the largest number and range of study spaces and they're open longer during Swot Vac and exams. But there are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.



We anticipate an increased demand for quiet study spaces on campus during the Swot Vac and exam period.

While the refurbished areas in our Sir Louis Matheson Library have been opened and are popular among students, some areas are still under construction. We hope everything will be finished by the end of May.

Our Law and Hargrave-Andrew libraries have more seating and will be open from 10am to 5pm on weekends from 20 May until 23 June 2017.

In addition, Hargrave-Andrew Library will be open until 2am Monday to Thursday beginning 29 May until 23 June.

There are many more alternative areas available on campus. Check the list below.



In addition the following informal study spaces (non-bookable) are available to all students:
  • There are the lecture theatres foyers that have been set up with chairs and tables for study
  • Airport Lounge and Dining Room are also available
  • Faculty Student Common Rooms
Clayton campus study spaces may be viewed on the Clayton campus map.

You may also want to check out '200 more study seats now available at Caulfield Library'.

Additional study spaces are also available at our other campus libraries. These include:
Berwick Library (120 spaces)
Peninsula Library (250 spaces)
CL Butchers Pharmacy Library at Parkville (120 spaces)

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4 April 2017

Communicating your PhD research


Your PhD research is relevant to a range of audiences, but how will you reach them? Learning Skills Adviser Andrew Junor shares some of the key ways to communicate your research effectively.



As you begin your PhD journey, you first focus closely on the research process and development of your thesis. Before you know it, your research will generate new knowledge that people want to hear about. Below are some of the key ways you can share your ideas with different audiences.

1. Your thesis

Your thesis will express the clearest, most comprehensive statement of your research objectives and findings. Initially you will write your thesis for two small but crucial audiences: your supervisors and thesis examiners. In time, your thesis may be accessed more broadly by scholars in your field.

How can you make sure your thesis is communicating your ideas clearly?
  • Explore the Graduate Research and Writing resources on Research and Learning Online. Perhaps you need techniques for writing about research literature or reporting and discussing data?
  • Have a look at theses published by other researchers. These can provide helpful models for how to structure your ideas and write engagingly in your field of scholarship
  • Seek support for your English language skills, or discuss writing structure and academic communication with a learning skills adviser in your subject area
  • Attend a Graduate Education seminar on thesis writing, editing and proofreading. As a graduate researcher, you can book relevant professional development seminars through your MyDevelopment account


2. Academic publications

Academic publications such as peer-reviewed journal articles allow you to share your ideas with a broader audience of researchers within your field. Such publications indicate your research output and its degree of impact – but how can you reach your readers?


3. Conference presentations

Attending an academic conference is a great way to meet other researchers in your field and expand the reach of your ideas. By presenting a conference paper, you communicate your research to a niche network of scholars exploring research questions closely related to your own.

How can you make sure your conference participation inspires other scholars?
  • Prepare for an effective oral presentation: plan with a clear purpose and audience in mind, prepare a structure to convey your ideas succinctly, and practice the talk so your delivery connects confidently with the audience.
  • Anticipate how you might respond to questions from your audience. The discussion that follows a formal presentation is a crucial opportunity for communication: you might persuade a fellow scholar to change their thinking, or to remember you as an emerging talent in the field.
  • Share ideas with conference participants on social media before, during and after the conference. On Twitter, you can join the conversation by using the designated conference hashtag or interacting with the Twitter accounts of conference organisers and attendees
    .
  • Deposit your conference paper or poster on the monash.figshare digital repository. Your research document will be given a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), making it much easier to share on social media


4. Community and media engagement

Audiences beyond academia will want to hear about your research. As a graduate researcher, try to identify groups of people who will be excited by your findings: are these audiences found in particular industries, fields, professions, localities, or cultural or social groups? Where could your research have greatest public impact or engagement?

Here are some tips for communicating with a wider audience:
  • Organise media coverage of your research. Journalists are always looking for opportunities to connect interesting stories with relevant audiences. If you want help sharing your expertise with an appropriate media outlet, contact the Expertline service operated by the Monash media team
  • Give public talks. A wide range of cultural institutions invite graduate researchers to contribute to their public talks programs: these include local and state libraries, research institutes, museums, galleries and annual festivals. Think about the range of forums and audiences available in a city like Melbourne, and reach out to organisers when you see a good fit with your ideas
  • Discuss your research on social media. Like traditional modes of communication, social media can reframe your ideas in unexpected and rewarding ways. Maybe one of your Twitter followers will share a useful new resource or guide you towards more insightful analysis? As Altmetrics gain prominence, online engagement may become part of how your research impact is measured. The library can assist you to use author identifier tools such as ORCID to ensure you receive appropriate attribution when sharing research online
Research benefits from collaborative, open discussion. The more you share your ideas with others, the more clearly you will be able to communicate them - and the more likely it will be that others will be inspired by your research and offer feedback.

Still have questions about how you can effectively communicate your PhD research to relevant audiences? Talk to your supervisors or peers about their approaches, or have a chat with a learning skills adviser or subject librarian in your faculty team.

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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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