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Computer Science: COSC480/490

Your Librarian

Your Librarian

  I am Justin Farquhar, the Librarian for the Computer Science department. Please feel free to contact me if you need any further assistance.

  • By email:  justin.farquhar@otago.ac.nz
  • By phone: (03) 479 7825
  • In person: Ask for me at the Lending + i desk at the Science Library. I am in the library most weekdays from 8.30-5pm.
   

Topic one: Finding information for your assignments

  • Library Search | Ketu - use this to search across items held in the Library and a range of Article Databases
  • Subject Guides - a guide to information resources relate to a subject area
  • Article Databases - search these to find articles, conference papers and more...
 

Topic two: Types of Research Information

  In this topic, you will find information to help you to identify whether information you have found for your assignments is:

  • Scholarly or Popular;
  • Peer-Reviewed; and
  • Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Literature.
   

Topic three: Finding and evaluating information

This topic deals with the topic of information evaluation. A major part of the content looks at how to use information in an ethical way by addressing plagiarism, copyright and referencing.

The content of this topic will enable you to:

  • Identify whether information you have found for your assignments is scholarly or popular, Peer-Reviewed, and Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary Literature.
  • Select appropriate tools and sources to find information

Topic four: Developing good search techniques and learning about databases

In this topic you’ll learn how to construct a search strategy and you’ll also find out about the difference between keywords and subject headings, and how to search databases effectively.

By the end of this topic you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of Boolean logic
  • Describe the difference between using keywords and subject headings to search
  • Analyse question to identify search concepts and construct effective search strategies to find appropriate information
   

Topic five: The literature review

 A literature review is a critical analysis of what has been published in a research area - allowing you to justify your research and show that you will make an original and important contribution to your field. This topic will show you how to structure a literature review.

Topic six: Writing your assignment

 In this topic you will learn how to manage your assignments using tips sheets and information from the Student Learning Centre, resources for EndNote, a bibliographic software tool, and other resources for citing references correctly

 

Topic seven: Plagiarism

In this topic you will learn:

  • What plagiarism is
  • How to avoid plagiarism

There are also some videos you can complete to test your understanding of plagiarism.

 

Topic one: Finding information for your assignments

Topic one: Finding information for your assignments

 Library Search | Ketu

 
Library Search | Ketu provides fast and simple, one-step searching across a wide range of the University of Otago Library's resources, including items on the shelf in the Library and some databases, e-journals, e-books and newspapers.

The Library Search | Ketu box is on the Library homepage

Watch this video to find out more about Library Search | Ketu.

Watch this video for a demonstration of how to search Library Search | Ketu.

Subject Guide

 

Subject Guides are a great place to start looking for information on your assignment topic.  They provide access to key resources, databases, websites and topic-related information, research...

There is a guide for the main subject areas taught at the University of Otago including: You may need to use a range subject guides for your assignments.

Article Databases

 

On the Article Databases webpage you will find links to 600+ databases. Article databases are a good source of information you can use in your assignments.  You may need to use a range of databases to find all the information you need.

You can browse the databases by subject, for example:

If you know the name on the database you need, select it from the A-Z list


Article databases contain: journal articles, citations and abstracts, chapters, conference proceedings, newpaper articles, images, and much more...

Tip - if you access Google Scholar via the Article Databases webpage you will be able to link to articles in some of the Library's databases by clicking 'Article Linker' when it appears in the Google Scholar results screen.

 

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Topic two: Types of Research Information

Topic two: Types of Research Information

Identifying different types of information sources

To do well in your University study, you need to be able to recognise that you need information; work out what sort of information you need and how much.

To do that you need to be able to tell different types of information apart.

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources

When looking for information for assignments, you need to make sure that it comes from the right kind of source.

You will need to distinguish between popular and scholarly sources.

As an example, New Scientist is one example of a popular journal; while Psychological Bulletin is an example of a top ranking scholarly journal.

Here is a useful website that will help you distinguish between the two:

 What is Peer Review?

According to the OED, peer review is: 

[t]he process by which an academic journal passes a paper submitted for publication to
independent experts for comments on its suitability and worth; refereeing.

    
 

There are different types of peer review, dependent on research discipline, and sometimes the policy of a publication. For a description of types of peer review click on this link.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Literature

Academics, and science academics in particular, often talk about the primary literature.
In the course of your study, you will need to learn to distinguish between levels of research literature.

Primary Literature refers to literature which reports original research.

EXAMPLE: Academic Journal Article

Shi, Q. F., Reid, M., Caetano, T., van den Hengel, A., & Wang, Z. H. (2015). A Hybrid Loss for Multiclass and Structured Prediction. Ieee Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 37(1), 2-12. doi: 10.1109/tpami.2014.2306414

Secondary Literature describes, interprets or evaluates primary literature.

EXAMPLE: Review Article

Martin, A. D., Stirling, W. J., Thorne, R. S., & Watt, G. (2009). Parton distributions for the LHC. European Physical Journal C, 63(2), 189-285. doi: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-009-1072-5

Tertiary Literature is a bit more tricky to define. It usually lists or indexes other literature, or condenses and summarizes a research area. 

EXAMPLE: Encyclopedia

Nehorai, A., & Tang, G. (2015). Bounds on Estimation. In J. Baillieul & T. Samad (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Systems and Control (pp. 1-8): Springer London.

Virginia Tech has a useful discussion of differences between Primary Secondary and Tertiary Sources. (click on the 'Sciences' tab)

 Why not Wikipedia?

 

Wikipedia can be  a great starting point for your research, but there are a number of good reasons why you shouldn’t cite it in your bibliography.
Instead, you can use Wikipedia to:

  • Get a basic understanding of a topic
  • Identify more keywords and search terms
  • Find additional sources of information on your topic (reliable sources that you can cite in your bibliography or reference list).
  • HELP SHEET

 

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Topic three: Finding and evaluating information

Topic three: Finding and evaluating information

The difference between databases and search engines

Knowing the difference between a database and a search engine is an important search basic.

Watch this short video which explains the differences, and describes when to use each tool, then:

Evaluating information

There is an enormous amount of information out there. You need to know where to find the best sources of information quickly, and you'll need to evaluate it once you’ve found it. Use the CRAP test to help sort out the good information from the bad.

 

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Topic four: Developing good search techniques and learning about databases

Topic four: Developing good search techniques and learning about databases

5A model for searching for information

The 5 A's is an acronym for remembering how to go about the research process using an evidence based approach:

  • Ask
  • Acquire
  • Appraise
  • Apply
  • Assess

Watch this video which explains the relevance of this process both to your immediate information needs, and how it will be useful in the future when you are working.

Search strategy video

A search strategy is a plan that helps you to search efficiently. 

Click on the image below to watch this short (3:20) video to find out how to create a search strategy. This strategy can be used to find articles on your topic in the library databases. 

The difference between keywords and subject headings

  What’s the difference between keyword and subject headings when you are searching a database?

Watch this video that explains the difference.

Keyword database - Web of Science

 Web of Science is a keyword database with over 10,000 high-impact journals, predominantly in the sciences.

Watch this short video that explains how to search effectively using Web of Science.

Access Web of Science from the Library Databases page or from the Computer Science Subject Guide

 

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Topic five - The literature review

Topic five: The Literature Review

 
 

This handbook has been complied by the Student Learning Centre, and offers guidance on all aspects of the LIterature review, no matter which discipline you are studying.

"A literature review is an important part of a thesis. In it you situate your research, summarise the major conclusions about your issue, and indicate the 'gap' in which you research. This means that rather than being a list of who said what, a literature review is a critical analysis of what has been said - allowing you to justify your research and show that you will make an original and important contribution to your field(s). This workshop will explore the purpose of a literature review, how it might be structured, and written." Student Learning Centre.

 

 

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Topic six: Writing your assignment

Topic six: Writing your assignment

 In this topic you will learn how to manage your assignments using tips sheets and information from the Student Learning Centre, resources for EndNote, a bibliographic software tool, and other resources for citing references correctly

Managing your assignments

   

Check out the Student Learning Centre website about Managing assignments
This site contains information on

  • Writing essays
  • Preparing reports
  • Writing a literature review
  • Giving a presentation

Many downloadable tip sheets are available, including:

You can arrange to meet with a Learning Advisor, if you would like individual assistance.

EndNote

  endnote image     

 

EndNote is an example of bibliographic management software. It is designed to help manage research.  It can can format a document in a selected citation style.

Find out more about EndNote

Citation Styles

citation styles  

You must acknowledge the sources of information you use in your assignments using a standardised citation style to cite your sources.

If you are unsure which citation style to use:

  • read your Course Outline
  • ask your lecturer or tutor

More information about citation styles is available on the Citation styles webpage.

 

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Topic seven: Plagiarism

Topic seven: Plagiarim

At the end of this topic you will understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

 

What is dishonest practice?

The University of Otago's website Dishonest Practice Information for Students states that dishonest practice...

"is seeking to gain for yourself, or assisting another person to gain, an academic advantage by deception or other unfair means. The most common form of dishonest practice is plagiarism. Dishonest practice in relation to work submitted for assessment (including all course work, tests and examinations) is taken very seriously at the University of Otago."   Retrieved 8 May 2012, from http://www.otago.ac.nz/study/plagiarism/    

Read the Dishonest Practice Summary Sheet for Students (pdf) written for students at the University of Otago.

 

Definition of plagiarism

The University of Otago's Plagiarism website states...
   

"Plagiarism is defined as:

  • Copying or paraphrasing another person's work and presenting it as your own
  • Being party to someone else's plagiarism by letting them copy your work or helping them to copy the work of someone else without acknowledgement
  • Using your own work in another situation, such as for the assessment of a different paper or program, without indicating the source"

 

Video 1: What is plagiarism and how is it dealt with at the University of Otago?

 

 

Video 2: What needs to be cited?

 

 

Video 3: Is this plagiarism?

Test your knowledge of how to avoid plagiarism by completing this interactive module.
Quiz questions are spread throughout the module.

 

 

 

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