Resources for research
MSO4991 June 2022
In this workshop we will look at...
• Search strategy
• Obtaining information
• …demonstrates a full, deep and critical knowledge of all aspects
of the context of the topic...
• …presents well-chosen and fully justified results and develops
arguments expertly in a way that demonstrates a significant level
• Research is fully and critically evaluated in the context of the
topic, demonstrating a deep and clear understanding of the
development of the research area, including a clear demonstration
of gaps in knowledge…
MSc Dissertation Marking Grid
Getting started: Search Strategy
• Main concepts
• Alternative words
Improving your search:
Too many search results
• Add more keywords
• Be more specific
• Search for an "exact phrase" e.g. “project
• Add limits
Not enough results
• Use alternative keywords
• Be less specific
• Split the question
• Search for variations of the same word e.g.
MyUniHub > MyStudy >MyLibrary
Access library resources and services
Click on ‘Sign-in’,
Signing-in enables you to access
full text material, check your
library record, create lists, save
searches and create alerts and
export references to RefWorks.
Library Search: Finding information
Type your search terms
(keywords) into the
search box e.g. Project
Management and click on
the ‘search icon’.
Library Search automatically searches for ‘All resources’ (print and
electronic) i.e. books, journal titles, journal articles etc. Use the
drop-down menu to focus your search or select ‘Available online’
Library Search: Other features
Databases for Maths Literature
myUniHub > My Study > My Library > Databases
• Science Direct
• Web of Science
myUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Databases > M
field e.g. Title,
Refine by date.
MathScinet: Full text
myUniHub > My Study > My Library > Databases
Web of Science - Citation searching
• Which articles have cited an earlier article
• Find articles on similar/related subject
• How many times an article has been cited
• Best journals in your field
MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Databases > W > Web of Science
Web of Science
Check ‘Links’ to
see if full text
article is available
See how many times
article has been
Click on title
of times cited
to see list of
• Library Search
• Journal Databases
• Science Direct
• Web of Science
Have a go
MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary
Library Search and journal databases provide:
• Access to quality information
• Citation and journal impact information
• Information not available elsewhere
• Full-text access
• Access on/off campus
You may be able to
access the full-text here
e.g. this is available on
Create an alert for your search,
so you can keep up-to-date
with new publications.
Link to MDX resources: > Settings > Library Links > Search for MDX and save.
Google Scholar: Useful features
Full text available
Uni and/or other
Click on author’s name (if underlined)
to view profile and check for more
research by the author on the same
Click on ‘Cited by’
to see other articles
that have cited this
‘All versions’: The same article
on other websites – sometimes
useful for getting full text if not
available from MDX.
Create a Harvard
For access to and support with financial databases email Sarah Hudson:
It’s not in the Library!
MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Inter Library Loans
Cite Them Right Online
myUniHub > My Study > My Library > Databases > C
Moller, V. and Waddington, I. (2015) Routledge
handbook of mathematics. 2nd edn. London:
‘Library Search’ reference
‘Cite Then Right’ reference
Moller, Verner. & Waddington, Ivan., 2015
Routledge handbook of mathematics. 2nd ed.,
Using Cite Them Right Online: Books
Referencing: The Basics guide
Managing references: RefWorks
My Study > MyLibrary > Databases > R > RefWorks
RefWorks Guides https://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/MathsStats/RefWorks
• Imagine you are researching ‘The right to be forgotten’
• Go to https://padlet.com/HendonMDX/Evaluating4991
• Have a look at the 5 items
• Which ones would you use, not use and why?
• Intended audience
• When Published
REVIEW your information
More info and help
MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > MySubject Library Guide > Computing Maths & Engineering
Need further help
Your Librarian is:
More info: https://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/MathsStats
Hi my name is Vanessa Hill and I’m the librarian for Maths and Stats programmes at Middlesex University.
Welcome to this presentation on ‘Resources for research’ aimed at helping you find the information that you need for your final project/dissertation which includes a literature review on your chosen topic.
*****Proposals by 1st April******
1 June 2022 10:00-12:00 How to reference and how to write a literature review. Joanna Peksa
8 June 2022 10:00-12:00 How to research papers to review. Dr Vanessa Hill
15 June 2022 10:00-12:00 Methodology Dr Emma Ball
22 June 2022 10:00-12:00 How to write a dissertation. Joanna Peksa
Developing an effective search strategy by identifying the best keywords and resources to use when searching for information for your literature review.
Use of Boolean Operators and other refining tools to find what you want
Obtaining information using library and other resources including journal databases
How to get hold of the full text of articles which are not available from the library
Evaluating the articles that you find for quality and relevance, so you only use the best sources
The importance of referencing, how you can manage references using RefWorks and how to reference correctly.
In order to stress the importance of carrying out research I’m using this image to make a point.
Your finished piece of work whatever it is: an essay, a report, a painting, a dissertation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Below it is should be loads of research i.e. looking at theory and facts, being inspired, getting ideas, stimulating your imagination etc. The more you read, the more information you have, the better informed you will be and your finished work will reflect this.
A longitudinal study carried out at the Uni of Huddersfield showed a correlation between final grades and library usage in that students who use library resources get better degrees.
Its always useful to look at the assessment criteria for a piece of coursework, so that you can see how you can achieve the best grades.
The highest grades can be achieved for your project in a number of ways as shown on the screen including:
Showing that you understand your topic and have been able to identify gaps in the knowledge
Making good use of library resources to find the best information can help you achieve this.
In addition, our Learning Enhancement Team of academic writing experts – you met Joanna last week – can help you present and use the information you find in the best possible way.
As part of your dissertation you will need to include a literature review which is exactly what it suggests – a review of the literature on a particular topic. Joanna covered literature reviews with you last week.
In order to carry out a literature review, you will need to carry out a literature search.
A literature search is a systematic and comprehensive search for information.
By carrying out a literature search you can find out what has already been written about a subject area, enabling you to identify the main themes or trends.
This information will inform, underpin and /or shape your research.
The information may be found in books, journal articles, reports, case studies, policy documents, conference proceedings etc.
You will need to ensure that the information is appropriate i.e. it is suitable for your need i.e. right level, current if important, sufficient breadth or detail, so you will need to make judgements about the information found.
Before you start your literature search, it is a good idea to develop your search strategy. Think about the following:
What is your topic/question i.e. what do you need to find out about/research?
What are the main concepts? Try and summarise your topic in 4 or less words. This will allow you to identify appropriate keywords which you can use to search with.
Think about alternative keywords that can be used to describe the topic:
Synonyms i.e. different words that mean the same or almost the same e.g. Computer crime/Cyber crime, football/soccer, drugs in sport/doping or elderly, OAP, Old aged pensioned, senior citizen, aged, old etc.
Different spellings: some words can be spelt in several different ways such as the word jewellery or fairy, also Americanisms….organisation (UK) and organization (US).
Common/ Scientific/Professional terminology/International variations e.g. heart attack or myocardial infarction.
Acronyms/abbreviations/Initialisms: Acronym: an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word e.g. MODA – Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture Abbreviation: a shortened form of a word or phrase e.g. Tribeca (Triangle below Canal Street) Initialism: NHS – National Health Service
You might also want to think about related topics that might be relevant to your search, the broader topic – useful if you are not finding enough information, and detail i.e. things that you want to focus on – again useful if you are finding too much information.
Once you start searching refine your search (inclusion/exclusion criteria): Limit your search by things such as publication date/time period, age group, gender, language, as well as type of information source.
A guide to help you improve your search by thinking about keywords is available at the link on the screen.
Alternative words: Synonyms Different spellings Common/Scientific/Professional Acronyms/Abbreviations/Initialisms Broader topic Focus Related subjects
Use breakout rooms.
Divide students in to break out rooms and allocate an image to each group.
Once you have started your search, if you find that you have too many search results:
Add more keywords to narrow down your search results e.g. ‘Online Safety social media' rather than just ‘online safety‘
Be more specific e.g. ‘football' rather than ‘ball games‘
Search for an "exact phrase" e.g. “Analytic number theory"
Add limits e.g. Date, country, gender etc.
Not enough results:
Use alternative keywords e.g. Old person - also use: aged, elderly, OAP, old age pensioner, senior citizen etc
Be less specific e.g. Use 'package holidays' rather than 'coach package holidays‘
Split the question into individual concepts - searching for all concepts together might make your search too complicated
Use an asterisk to search for variations of the same word e.g. Swim* (swim, swimmers, swimming)
It is important to use a wide range of quality resources in your academic work as these will provide you not only with the information that you require, but also give your work balance and diversity.
Many students rely too heavily on the Internet as their main source of information, but for university assignments you will need to be confident that the information that you are using is accurate and reliable.
This is where the library can help you as we provide access to a huge range of resources – books, journals, magazines, conference papers and specialist databases, many of which are available online.
You can access library resources by logging in to myUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary where you can find links to library resources and other library services.
I’ll be referring to some of these resources and services during the session which can all be accessed from MyLibrary.
Library Search: This is the main way for you to search for information for your academic work. More about this later.
Databases: Access to Subject specific collections of journals etc, specialist collections of information, individual resources and training/skills resources
MySubject Library Guides: Use these to find what resources and support are available for your subject area
Inter Library Loans: Not a resource, but a way of getting hold of material that the library doesn’t hold or provide access to electronically.
Ok, so lets have a look at some of the resources that are available to you through the library starting with Library Search.
Library Search is our resource discovery tool which allows you to search all of the resources physically in the library, but also all of our electronic books and the electronic journals that we subscribe to.
Its very easy to use, but remember to sign in first as this allows you to do lots of things including accessing the full text of our eresources.
When you need to find information type your search terms (keywords) into the search box e.g. Project Management and click on the ‘search icon’.
Library Search automatically searches for ‘All resources’ i.e. books, journal titles, journal articles etc. Use the drop-down menu to focus your search or select ‘Available online’ only.
Simply enter your keywords (search terms) into the search box and click on the search icon.
It is possible to refine your search by using some of the options on the left hand side of the screen. For example you can refine your search by type of resource, so if you just want journal articles, select ‘articles’ under ‘resource type’. You can also limit by publication date which is useful if you want up-to-date information, and by ‘Full text only’. However it is possible for us to obtain electronic copies of journal articles from the British Library, so finding references to print journals is not necessarily a waste of time.
As you search, you can also save items to your ‘Favourites folder’ which is located at the top right of the screen. You can only do this if you have signed in.
The other really useful feature is the ability to create a reference using a variety of referencing styles including IEEE and Harvard.
You can access guides to using Library search’ at the link on the screen. These guides can talk you through the process of using library search to find information for your assignments, as well as searching specifically for books and journal articles, and creating references.
As already mentioned Library Search searches all of the resources that we have physically in the library and have access to online. This includes the journal databases that we subscribe to which are basically collections of journals covering different subject areas. Quite often these databases also include other types of information such as books, book chapters, reports and so on.
You might find it useful to search these collections directly, because you will be searching resources that specifically cover your subject area. Like Library search, these can be accessed from MyLibrary as indicated on the screen. Either select your subject area from the drop-down menu for a more focussed list of databases or click on the alphabetical list if you know which journal database you require.
More information on accessing journal databases can be found at the link on the screen, plus a listing of all the databases that you might find useful.
The most useful journal databases for maths and stats are MathsSciNet, Science Direct and Web of Science. More about these and other resources that you can use in a minute.
'MathScinet' is a journal database which allows you to search quality mathematical sciences literature for references to relevant journal articles. It is published by the American Mathematical Society and is the main journal database for maths and stats students.
You can access it by logging on to MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Databases
Enter your search terms/keywords as discussed earlier in to the search boxes/keywords and click on ‘Search’.
Most journal databases have advanced search features which allow you to manage your search more effectively.
For example you can search within specific fields such as article title, journal name, author etc. You can also refine by date, either a date range, specific year or across all years.
You can also utilize Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT to narrow and broader your search.
Use OR to combine similar terms (synonyms). The example in the screenshot (MathSciNet) uses 'Algebraic number' OR 'Complex number'. Combining these words together using OR (use drop-down menu to select OR) increases the number of results because a broader range of keywords are being used.
Use AND (from drop-down menu) to combine keywords. This will make your search more specific by narrowing down your search. The example on the screen introduces the keyword 'Polynomial equation' into the search, thus making the search more focussed.
Use NOT to exclude keywords from your search
MathScinet does not provide access to the full text of the article. However if you click on the link under each item which says ‘Link to full text’ you can check to see if the article is available from any other resource that we have. If we have it, you will be taken to the appropriate resource where you can access the full text. If we don’t have it, then you will be offered the opportunity to make an inter library loan request for it.
A quick start guide to using MathScinet is available at the link on the screen.
'Science Direct' is a full text database which you can use to search for peer reviewed journals, journal articles, book chapters and more within the physical, life, health and social sciences subject areas. 'Science Direct' includes nearly 1,400 mathematics publications, so is another useful resource for maths and stats students.
A range of online video tutorials are available at the link on the screen.
'Science Direct' is a full-text journal database, so you can access the article, book chapter etc by clicking on the 'Download PDF' link.
Like other journal databases it is possible to refine your search in various ways and there is also an ‘Advanced search’ feature.
Web of Science is another journal database, but more commonly known as a citation database as not only can you use it to find relevant literature, you can also ascertain how influential that information has been:
Discover which articles have cited an earlier article i.e. It is a way of looking forward in the literature - if you have found an excellent article, you can use 'Web of Science' to see which articles have subsequently cited it
Find articles on similar/related subjects - if an article cites an earlier article then this implies a subject relationship, so you can find papers on a similar topic without using any keywords or subject terms
Find out how many times a paper has been cited i.e. gauge the usefulness/quality/influence of a paper
Determine which are the best journals in your field - citation data is used to rank journals within particular subject areas and this is a useful way of seeing how journals perform in relation to others in the same subject area.
You can access it by logging on to MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Databases
'Web of Science' is not a full text database, so in order to see if we have access to an article from another resource that we subscribe to, click on ‘Links’ as indicated in the image below. If an article is not available full text, then you will be prompted to request a copy of the article using our Inter Library Loan
Another feature of 'Web of Science' is that you can create Journal Citation Reports which enable you to discover which are the most influential journals in a particular field i.e. the journals that contain the articles that get cited most by subsequent journal articles. Looking to the future, this is useful to discover which are the most influential journals to publish in.
You can find detailed guides showing you how to use all aspects of Web of Science at the link on the screen.
Access to quality academic information eg. Peer reviewed journal articles, conference proceedings , research etc Information not available elsewhere Can provide citation and journal impact info Up-to-date Focussed/specific....not designed to sell you things, search results not sponsored Full-text access Access on/off campus Personalise e.g. With some databases, once signed up you can: Save preferences Organise research within folders Share folders Save search history Create email alerts/RSS feeds for searches and subjects
'Google Scholar' is another resource that you can use to find information. It is open access, so available to everyone, not just Middlesex University students. It enables you to find journal articles, theses, books, and more, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites across all disciplines.
Not everything on 'Google Scholar' is full text, but you can link it to our library resources by changing the settings as shown in the image below. You only need to do this once on your own laptop/device, but you will need to be logged on to MyUniHub.
More useful is finding material which is not accessible through Middlesex University Library i.e. articles, books and papers etc which are on open-access on the Internet.
'Google Scholar' is good, but there is limited ability to combine different keywords or to refine your search as you can with 'Library Search'. However it is possible to set up alerts using a Google account to keep up-to-date with recent developments in any area of research, and save material found to a personal library.
Google Scholar is good, but there is limited ability to combine different keywords or to refine your search as you can with Library search and our journal databases.
Also older articles can appear first in results, so use the date limits on the left hand side of the screen.
There are a few useful features on 'Google Scholar' including:
If an author’s name is underlined, you can click on it to discover other things that they have written. These may be useful sources of information for your research
Click on the "speech mark" icon to create a reference in various referencing styles including Harvard
See how many times an article has been cited by other authors by clicking on 'Cited by...'. This gives an indication of how influential the article has been.
We have a range of financial databases that some of you might find useful. These provide financial data and also textural information for students studying finance, economics, accounting and financial mathematics.
Contact our Economics, finance and accounting librarian Sarah for access to and support with financial databases. Contact details on the screen. She is happy to do a online one to one.
If a journal article that you require is not available online from the library, then it is usually possible to obtain a copy from the British Library. The British Library will send an electronic copy of the article directly to your student email address.
There is usually a charge of £3 per request, but it is currently free due to the COVID-19 situation
Even though Library Search, many of the journal databases and things like Google Scholar have the functionality to create a reference that you can use in your academic work, they still need to be checked for their accuracy using Cite Them right Online.
Cite Them Right Online includes a number of referencing styles including Harvard, which you will be using for your Project, which is the default.
Cite Them Right does not create the references for you, but shows you how to create a reference for pretty much any type of information that you might use from a book or academic journal article through to a company report or British Standard.
There is a lot of useful information on Cite Them Right to help you avoid plagiarism, but also there is a referencing and plagiarism library guide – link on the screen.
Bits that needed changing are highlighted in colour.
A Referencing: The Basics guide is available to download from the link on the screen.
You may wish to use 'RefWorks' which is Bibliographic Management software. This enables you to:
Collect references Format them in your chosen referencing style i.e. Harvard Manage and organise your references in to folders Store and annotate PDFs of the references Share folders/references with others. You can also add citations to your assignments as you write them using the 'RefWorks Citation Manager' Add-in and then generate a perfectly formatted reference list from the citations you have used.
Access 'RefWorks' from by Logging on to MyUniHub > MyStudy > MyLibrary > Databases >RefWorks (do not select RefWorks Old/Legacy). You will need to set up an account the first time, so use your Middlesex email address.
Detailed guides to using ‘RefWorks’ available from: https://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/MathsStats/RefWorks
Also see our Referencing and Plagiarism Library Guide which has lots of information about using RefWorks: https://libguides.mdx.ac.uk/plagiarismreferencing/NewRW
Use ‘thumbs up’ if you would use this item in your academic work, ‘thumbs down’ if you wouldn’t and type a comment to say why.
Wikipedia ‘Right to be forgotten’ Lots of refs. If click on ‘View history’ can see who the authors are – BunnyShampoo, Mr Ollie, Colin M……not very helpful. Last updated (when I last looked) 10th October 2021.
BBC News Technology ‘What is the 'right to be forgotten'?’ Dave Lee author is BBC Technology reporter. Link to his Twitter account, but when click says ‘This account doesn’t exist’. No references. Date 13th May 2014.
Journal Article: Reconsidering the ‘Right to be forgotten’ ….. (from Media, Culture & Society) Date 2017 Know author and where they work (University of Negev in Israel) Have author’s correspondence postal address and email (bottom of 1st page) Good layout – abstract, keywords, Introduction, Conclusion, Funding info etc. Lots of in-text citations and long reference list.
Varonis Blog: Right to be forgotten explained Date 17th June 2020 Author is Jeff Peters – if you click on his name: Jeff has been working on computers since his Dad brought home an IBM PC 8086 with dual disk drives. Researching and writing about data security is his dream job. No references. Hypertext links in blog post, but take you to other posts in the blog. Also links to news articles about the RTBF. Nothing academic. Can sign up for a free guide, which involves signing up to comms from varonis.
Varonis: We arm our customers with an industry-leading platform that is built to protect the world’s most valuable and most vulnerable data. Varonis starts at the heart – with data – so our customers are prepared to defend their data against attacks from inside and out. Our platform eliminates repetitive, manual clean-up projects and automates manual data protection routines, so we bring security and cost-savings together – maybe for the first time in cybersecurity history
The Guardian ‘EU to Google: expand 'right to be forgotten' to Google.com’ We know who the author is – Samuel Gibbs – if click on his name, we can see he is the Guardian’s consumer technology editor. Not a particularly long article. Quite a few stats included, but no citations to tell us where the info came from. No reference list.
Take feedback (Useful to have these 5 items open on the screen so can point things out)
•Relevance - Is this what I need? Will it answer my question? Is it at the right level?
•Expertise - Who is the author? What is their knowledge base/qualifications? How have they carried out their research? Where are they working, can they be contacted?
•Viewpoint - Is it a balanced view? Are opposing views represented? Are there links to supporting information?
•Intended audience - What is the purpose of information e.g. financial gain, propaganda, entertainment, academic?
•Evidence - Is it peer reviewed? Are there references which can be checked to support the information or theories discussed?
•When published - How old is this information? Does it need to be up-to-date? When was it last updated and by whom? Do you know what was updated. There is often an explanation of what has been updated in new edition of a book.
More information about the range of resources available on the Library Subject Guide plus lots of useful online guides e.g. how to search for information for your project.
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