Library

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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30 March 2017

VFG collection of musical scores at Monash

Have you been looking for repertoire for your ensemble or chamber group? You may find inspiration in a collection of over 1500 scores in the Sir Louis Matheson Library, says Jackie Waylen, the Subject Librarian for Music.


If you play a musical instrument, and have been seeking repertoire that is both excellent and perhaps a little less familiar, be it solo instrumental music, or music for your ensemble or chamber group, then you may wish to delve into the collection of over 1500 scores that were gifted to the Library by the Victorian Flute Guild in 2010. Over 300 of these scores have so far been catalogued, including solos, duets, trios, quartets and quintets. Flute music includes studies and exercises for improving technique, music for chamber groups with flute, and music for flute choir. Some of the scores have been digitised and will soon be available in a new online special collections repository.

Most of the works in the collection were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, quite soon, a flautist and pianist will be able to access the fifth of Andersen's “Five easy pieces,” as it was published in 1894.

Some of the concert repertoire and pedagogical works were composed in the 18th century, but they appear in the collection as later editions. Many of the works are related to teaching. A survey of prominent flute teachers in North America and Europe, undertaken by Molly Barth, and published in The Flutist Quarterly in 2016, revealed that études were an "integral component of their teaching regimen". Of the 26 composers of études cited by these teachers, the Victorian Flute Guild's scores, which have so far been sorted, contain études by 17 of these composers.

The Victorian Flute Guild Collection includes many virtuosic concert pieces for flute and piano, and miniatures that would be suitable for encores. The range of European composers and publishers from the late 19th century is extraordinary, and so a finding aid for all the works is underway. Once the whole collection has been catalogued, performance students and others will certainly have an interesting collection to browse. 


The earliest works in the collection belonged originally to Leslie Barklamb (1905-1993) who, in 1969, founded the Victorian Flute Guild in order "to promote and encourage the learning of the flute, flute playing in all idioms, and to support all forms of music education". To attain this goal, a main aim was "to establish, build up and maintain a library of music of all types". Barklamb's personal library constituted a who's who of composers who both wrote for and played the flute, such as Andersen (1847-1909), Büchner (1825-1912), Doppler (1821-1883), Gariboldi (1833-1905) and Kuhlau (1786-1832). His library also included composers whose works or melodies have since been arranged for flute and piano.

In her centenary tribute to Leslie Barklamb, the current President of the Guild Mary Sheargold, refers to him as the "father of the flute in Australia." Over a teaching career of more than 65 years he taught many flautists who went on to become professional players (including some who had success overseas). Barklamb studied for two years (1917-1919) with John Amadio, an internationally renowned flautist, before learning from Alfred Weston-Pett. After obtaining a Diploma of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium in 1925, Leslie Barklamb taught flute there (from 1929 to 1974), and he also played in Bernhard Heinze's University Orchestra and Alberto Zelman's Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. From 1958 onward he devoted his career to teaching, following hand problems and his retirement from the MSO. His pupils remember him as being a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher always happy to lend out his flutes and music. 


Amongst the countries represented in the Victorian Flute Guild Collection are Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Ada Booth benefaction has enabled the cataloguing of over 150 of the scores relating to Slavic countries. Australian composers represented range from John Lemmoné (1861-1949, born in Vic.) to, Geoffrey Allen (b. 1927, living in WA., and soon to add a woodwind CD to his existing Iridescent Flute.)

Scores added to the collection since the 1970s tend to include works that have a particular focus on ensemble music, from flute duets to flute choir works; for instance, Kummer's flute trios have been added from Annette Sloan's personal library.

Not all of the music is for flute. Students seeking repertoire for other instruments may be interested to browse the whole range. On the one hand you might retrieve a ricercare from a canon originally composed by Palestrina (1525-1565), but arranged in the 1950s for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn; or you might instead find violin music such as the Schubert lied, "Ständchen," arranged for violin and piano by Mischa Elman in 1910.

One can retrieve all the works that have been catalogued to date by entering "Victorian Flute Guild Collection" into Library Search. If "Leslie Barklamb" is added, then all the works that were part of Leslie Barklamb's personal library can be identified. To find trios, for example, enter "Victorian Flute Guild trios" and limit the result to scores. Or you might wish to look for Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from Prince Igor, as arranged for piano.

Much of the earliest repertoire is in a fragile condition and needs to be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. In the spirit of continuing Leslie Barklamb's and the Victorian Flute Guild's legacy, our Library has first set about digitising the repertoire that is not readily accessible elsewhere, so that performers, teachers and students can enjoy a wider range of solo and chamber music.

Researchers will also be able to look at those rarer works from the 19th century that reveal fascinating insights into the publishing and dissemination of printed music, especially of sheet music for flute.

The Library is also digitising the back covers of these scores. The covers often contain useful information, such as advertisements for other music that would have been available at the time of the publication (see example at left).



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29 March 2017

New architectural database: Explore by building type


Birkhäuser Building Types Online is a whole new way of searching for information on building types and specific projects, writes Romany Manuell, Subject Librarian for Art, Design and Architecture.


If you're an architecture student or researcher, you're probably familiar with many of the Library's database subscriptions. You've probably used Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, and you certainly will have found articles using JSTOR. But have you tried Birkhäuser Building Types Online? This new database by the publisher De Gruyter has articles (just like those other databases) but also includes vector-based drawings, architectural plans, photographs and much more.

The main feature of Birkhäuser Building Types Online is that it allows you to explore by building type or morphological type, rather than just by keywords. If you're looking to browse office buildings, you'll find 67 of them currently listed - with more coming every day! If you choose to view a particular office building in the list, such as VPRO Villa by MVRDV, you’ll see site plans, professional photos of the exterior, and a brief description of the project.

However, if you were to search for the architectural practice MVRDV, you’ll see all the entries for individual projects (including VPRO Villa, Villa KBWW and Mirador Residential Complex). You’ll also find excerpts from books in the De Gruyter collection that mention the architectural practice. This will give you an excellent starting point for your research into building types and specific projects. Explore and enjoy!


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20 March 2017

Access to General Collection at Matheson Library

Beginning Wednesday 22 March, the South stairwell and lifts in the Sir Louis Matheson Library will be closed to users to allow the builders to speed up the internal works in this area.

Users can access the General Collection via the rear stairs (East). These stairs are located behind the computer area to the left of the Library's temporary entrance on the lower ground floor. You can access the ground floor up to level 5 via these rear stairs.

Users with a disability may request Library staff assistance at the Information point to retrieve items from the General Collection.

The quiet study spaces in the General Collection will be affected by noisy works. Please find alternative quiet spaces in the Matheson Library, or at either Law or Hargrave-Andrew Libraries on the Clayton campus.

The South stairwell and lift works are expected to be completed between 29 March and 4 April. We will provide updates as works progress.

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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.


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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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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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