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Dissertation Techniques

Dissertation Techniques

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Dissertation Techniques

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  1. Dissertation Techniques 2011 Sue Bird Bodleian Subject Specialist (Geography)

  2. Dissertation Techniques • Plagiarism v. Referencing • SOLO, OLIS & OXLIP+ • Reference works • Databases • Searching techniques

  3. Plagiarism • All academic work will inevitably at some point involve the use and discussion of critical material written by others with due acknowledgement and with references given. This is standard critical practice and can be clearly distinguished from appropriating without acknowledgement and presenting as your own material produced by others, which is what constitutes plagiarism. (Modern History and English  - Preliminary Exams  Handbook 2003/4) • •

  4. Avoiding Plagiarism "...You must always indicate to the examiners when you have drawn on the work of others; other people's original ideas and methods should be clearly distinguished from your own, and other people's words, illustrations, diagrams etc. should be clearly indicated regardless of whether they are copied exactly, paraphrased, or adapted... ...The University reserves the right to use software applications to screen any individual's submitted work for matches either to published sources or to other submitted work. Any such matches respectively might indicate either plagiarism or collusion......Although the use of electronic resources by students in their academic work is encouraged, you should remember that the regulations on plagiarism apply to on-line material and other digital material just as much as to printed material..." Section 9.5 Proctors' and Assessor's Memorandum

  5. Good academic practice So by following the citation principles and practices in place in your subject area, you will develop a rigorous approach to academic referencing, and avoid inadvertent plagiarism.

  6. Referencing and Citation 2 main ways of organizing your references • a) Parenthetical or author/date – often called the Harvard system • b) Footnotes on a page or endnotes for a chapter N.B. This is not to be confused with the computer package of the same name.

  7. References / Bibliography Be uniform in your referencing system:- Probably use the Harvard system as suggested on the School’s web-site – but whatever you do use – just be consistent.

  8. Citation practice Also large number of manuals available to give guidance and sound practice. • 1:Doing a literature review / Chris Hart (London, 1998) [H 62 HAR ] • 2:Manual for writers / Kate Turabian (7th ed. Chicago, 2007) [LB 2369 TUR ] • 3:Communicating in geography & the environmental sciences / Ian Hay (3rd ed. Oxford, 2006) [G 70 HAY ] • 4:Cite them right /Pears & Shields (2010 ed.) [LB 2369 PEA] • 5: Complete guide to referencing & avoiding plagiarism / Neville (1st ed. 2007) – available on-line via NetLibrary

  9. References / Bibliography Organize your research and manage your database of references • Include citations while you write your paper • Build a bibliography in a variety of styles • Import references from many different data sources • Create bibliographies in different document formats (Word, RTF, HTML, etc.)

  10. References / Bibliography EndNote system:- Web version available within the Oxford domain Also a software package that you purchase from O.U.C.S. but you then have it permanently Courses laid on (

  11. References / Bibliography RefWorks • Refworks is a free (even after you leave Oxford) web-based bibliographic software package. • Being web-based means no software to download and update, and you can access your personal account from any computer connected to the web. • Courses laid on by the Computing Services (

  12. Dissertation Techniques SOLO: SearchOxfordLibrariesOnline • Search and discovery tool for the Oxford Libraries' vast collections of resources. • Mainly OLIS (Oxford's union catalogue of printed and electronic books and journals) • Title link over 1,000 databases on OxLIP+

  13. E-Journals I didn't check for the hard copy - so used to getting online access!

  14. Newspapers Electronic newspapers • Some are freely available. Alphabetic list on OxLIP+ • Best source for the “Text Only” of huge range of newspapers and magazines is Nexis UK. Goes back approximately 10 yrs in most cases and is very current i.e. today’s daily news items

  15. Newspapers Legal information, cases etc. • Lexis Library (LNB) • WestLaw – both UK & US editions Both databases require SSO log-in (if necessary ask the Law Library for help)

  16. Dissertation Techniques • Use SOLO or OxLIP+ to access • Reference tools • Abstracting and Indexing services

  17. Reference Sources General reference tools • CREDO Reference : Reference works incl. Dictionaries, encyclopedias etc • International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (This is a database not a book!) • Dictionaries. OED; Oxford Reference On-line


  19. Bibliography : Biondi, F., A. Gershunov , and D. R. Cayan “North Pacific Decadal Climate Variability since 1661.” Journal of Climate 14.1 ( 2001 ), pp.5–10. DOI: 10.1175/1520-0442(2001)014<0005:NPDCVS>2.0.CO;2.

  20. E-books Reference books • Blackwell Reference Online • SAGE Reference Online Text books • NetLibrary • Oxford Scholarship Online • Taylor & Francis Online eBooks Library

  21. The Blackwell Companion to Globalizationedited by: George Ritzer (under Sociology)

  22. Dissertation Techniques • Abstracting and Indexing Services (for finding the actual journal articles) • Vast range. • SCOPUS (includes GEOBASE) • OVID SP • Cambridge Scientific Abstracts • Web of Knowledge

  23. Bibliographic Databases • Excellent for locating journal articles , book chapters and book reviews (NB. References only,) • General or specific subject coverage • Different interfaces but similar functionality • Not tied to library holdings • Frequently will provide a link to full text

  24. Contents are indexed by subject specialists Subject headings Limiting functions e.g. publication types, language Allow you to View Search history Combine searches Mark and sort results Print/save/email/export Save searches Set up alerts Searches done by automated “web crawlers” No thesaurus / subject headings – just free text searching No limiting functions Usually none of these! Databases vs. Search engines

  25. Search Strategies • Boolean logic • Truncation • Wild cards • Synonyms • Which language are you using?

  26. Booleanconnectors • AND – combines terms to restrict results • OR – useful for covering synonyms • NOT – excludes unwanted areas of research

  27. OR, AND, NOT

  28. SCOPUS Includes data from GEOBASE THE bibliographic database for the Earth, Geographical and Ecological Sciences