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Dissertation Techniques for your FHS project

Dissertation Techniques for your FHS project

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Dissertation Techniques for your FHS project

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  1. Dissertation Techniquesfor your FHS project Judith Pinfold Bodleian Subject Specialist (Biology) May 2011

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

  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. Plagiarism : it’s taken extremely seriously • ‘Turnitin’ software may be used by the University for screening your work • If plagiarism suspected, the Proctors will fully investigate and interview you • Where plagiarism is proven, this can result in expulsion from the University …

  6. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of help and advice available • Pdf guide ‘ Academic good practice : a practical guide’ at

  7. Plenty of guidance on Weblearn too • From homepage scroll down to subsite ‘Weblearn guidance’ • select subsite • ‘Plagiarism support • (Turnitin)’

  8. 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

  9. Referencing and Citation 2 main ways of organizing your references • a) Parenthetical or author/date – often called the Harvard system (Smith and Jones, 2010) • 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.1 1. Smith, J. and Jones, B. Title. London : 2010.

  10. References / Bibliography Be uniform in your referencing system:- Probably use the Harvard system (author / date) suggested in the FHS project guidelines on Weblearn– but whatever you do use – just be consistent!

  11. Citation practice Also large number of manuals available to give guidance and sound practice 1. Doing a literature review / Chris Hart (London, 1998) [H62 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) [G70 HAY ] 4. Cite them right / Pears & Shields (2010 ed.) [LB 2369 PEA] 5. Complete guide to referencing & avoiding plagiarism / Neville (2nd ed. 2010) [LB2369 NEV] 1st ed. (2007) also available on-line via NetLibrary

  12. Recommended purchase • Citing references : a guide for students / David Fisher and Terry Hanstock (Nottingham, 1998) • Available in Blackwell’s at the tills in the Norrington Room and the first floor Price £1.00

  13. 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.)

  14. WISER course Reference Management SoftwareThursday 16 June 2011, 2-5 pm • Introductory session to pros and cons of RefWorks, Endnote, Zotero and Mendeley • Keeping track of your references • Formatting your references

  15. References / Bibliography EndNote system:- Web version available within the Oxford domain Also a software package that you purchase from OUCS for £81.60, but you then have it permanently Courses laid on (

  16. References / Bibliography RefWorks • RefWorksis 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 ServicesIT Learning Programme(

  17. OUCS course • RefWorks for Sciences and Social Sciences • Wednesday 22 June 2011, 2-5 pm • Cost: £8 for course book

  18. Now for some actual searching. You are obviously familiar with SOLO – gives access to a vast range of resources – both print and electronics, books, serials and databases. 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+

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

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

  21. Reference Sources General reference tools • CREDO Reference : reference works including dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. • Standalone major reference works e.g. OED, Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Encyclopedia of Life Sciences • Oxford Reference Online

  22. E-books (texts) • NetLibrary • Taylor and Francis • Oxford Scholarship Online

  23. Taylor and Francis

  24. E-resources • Also look at the RSL Science Portal for further ideas on e-resources •

  25. Dissertation Techniques • Abstracting and Indexing Services (for finding the actual journal articles) • Vast range • SciVerse / Scopus • OVID SP • CSA (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts) • Web of Knowledge

  26. 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 link to full text

  27. 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

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

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