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MA Research Methodology Lisa Hawksworth Faculty Librarian, Social Sciences October 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "MA Research Methodology Lisa Hawksworth Faculty Librarian, Social Sciences October 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 MA Research Methodology Lisa Hawksworth Faculty Librarian, Social Sciences October 2011

2  By the end of this session you should be able to: ◦ Understand the importance of using good quality information sources in academic work ◦ Recognise different sources of information ◦ Understand how you might use those information sources in your work ◦ Develop a comprehensive search strategy ◦ Find electronic resources relevant to your work ◦ Appreciate the importance of critically evaluating sources of information

3  Social science research can be approached in a variety of ways  Provides an academic context and gives your work credibility  Platform on which to base your ideas and discussions, underpins your arguments

4  Academic sources ◦ Will have undergone some form of peer review ◦ Will cite the existing literature ◦ Methodology and results will be fully explained to enable testing ◦ Conclusions are fully supported by evidence  Non-academic sources must be used with care

5  Primary ◦ First publication of a piece of work or results of a study ◦ Original documents, refereed primary journal articles, conference proceedings, government publications, Parliamentary debates, recordings of events on camera, newspapers  Secondary ◦ Interpretation applied to the source; indexing or classification; part of the ‘body of knowledge’ ◦ Textbooks, newspapers, articles about the results of a study ◦ Possibility of bias

6  Not everything is available online  Print sources ◦ Printed word seen as authoritative ◦ Information from references and footnotes ◦ Easily accessible; easy to use; browsing ◦ Does a source exist? How current is the source?  Online sources ◦ Bibliographic or full-text ◦ Search across a number of years and sources ◦ More precise searching possible ◦ Does your institution have access?

7  Why can’t I just use Google? ◦ The ‘hidden web’  You are producing an academic piece of work  Intute  Virtual Training Suite  Internet Detective  Google Scholar Advanced  Don’t believe everything you read! ◦

8  Think about it before you start - what do you need to find out?  Are you limited in any way; by time, date, language?  Make your research question manageable  Decide on the key concepts  Decide on your keywords, think about terminology, synonyms, spelling

9 Mental health services for children who witness domestic violence Mental health Mental wellbeing Mental illness Children Teenager Young people Domestic violence Partner abuse Family violence

10  Think about the relationship between your keywords and how to combine them together

11 children AND domestic violence narrows search children OR teenager expands search health NOT physical refines search

12  Proximity searching ◦ Enables you to search for two or more words that occur within a specified number of words (or fewer) of each other  Near ◦ Finds words regardless of the order in which they appear  Within ◦ Finds words exactly in the order you enter them

13  Proximity searching examples ◦ family N5 violence  family violence AND violence in the family ◦ family W8 violence  family violence NOT violence in the family

14  Wildcard: a symbol that replaces a single letter within a word to enable multiple word searching:  WOM?N woman, women  Truncation: A symbol that enables a search for words with multiple endings:  EMPLOY* employ, employer employment, employed...

15  Use Help pages to find out how resources work and make your searching more effective  Set limits ◦ Limit the amount of material you want to find ◦ Limit the time you are going to spend  Keep your strategy flexible ◦ You may not get it right first time; be prepared to revisit and review your search strategy

16  Ensure that all material addresses the question, don’t get distracted  Look to fill any obvious gaps; remember to have a flexible approach  Choose appropriate resources ◦ What type of information do you need to find?

17  You have to know what you need to know where to look!  Journal articles  Book chapters  Basic information– directories/encyclopaedias  Case law/legislation  Statistics  Newspaper articles  Government reports/Parliamentary papers  TV or radio broadcasts/interview transcripts

18  Hours - - Days: current event Mass media  Newspapers  Websites  Blogs  TV  Radio  Twitter...

19  Days - - Weeks - - Months As more information is gathered:  Documentaries  Articles in the popular press  Many months  Discussed in scholarly research journals

20  Years  Discussion and analysis of events and ideas in books  Many years  Summary of events, background information, pertinent facts published in reference material, such as an encyclopedia

21  Catalogues from other HE libraries Go to the institution home page and look for the library link  SCONUL Access scheme  ArticleReach html html

22  University of Liverpool  Liverpool John Moores University  Liverpool Hope University

23  If you are looking for a specific journal ◦ Search by journal title on the library catalogue  If you want to search across multiple e- journals: ◦ Use DISCOVER, or DISCOVER: Social Sciences ◦ Access the e-journal collections from the e-journals link on the library home page  If you don’t know which resources to try ◦ Use the subject LibGuide

24  If you are looking for a specific book ◦ Search by book title on the library catalogue  If you want to search across multiple e- books: ◦ Use DISCOVER, or DISCOVER: Social Sciences ◦ Access the e-book collections from the e-books link on the library home page  If you don’t know which resources to try ◦ Use the subject LibGuide

25  DISCOVER ◦ Searches multiple resources at the same time ◦ Useful for quick searches  Multidisciplinary indexes ◦ Web of Knowledge ◦ Scopus ASSIA  Subject-specific indexes ◦ Sociological Abstracts ◦ Westlaw ◦ Business Source Premier  Link to the full-text

26  Good for background information on a topic ◦ Oxford Reference Online  ‘Traditional’ reference sources online ◦ Oxford English Dictionary/ Dictionary of National Biography/ Who’s Who Online  Subject-specific reference sources ◦ Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Sociology ◦ Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

27  Via the Library e-Newspapers page newspapers.html newspapers.html  Digitised archives ◦ Daily Express Archive 1900- ◦ Daily Mirror Archive 1903- ◦ The Times Digital Archive  Contemporary collections ◦ Lexis Library ◦ Westlaw UK – News ◦ Library Press Display

28  University of Liverpool theses from the library catalogue ◦ Proquest Dissertations & Theses  ESRC Research Resources page guidance/tools-and-resources/research- resources/index.aspx ◦ Funding opportunities and research policy  Table of contents from journals: save searches in databases or set up alerts for your favourite journals/searches

29  UK National Statistics Publication Hub ◦ Regional statistics ◦ Browse by theme ◦ Census data  Economic and Social Data Service ◦ National data service, includes large-scale Government surveys and international datasets ◦ Register for access  Home Office Research Development Statistics research/research-statistics/publications/

30  Europa ◦ Statistics via EuroStat ◦ Reports and Country Profiles  Economic and Social Data Service  United Nations Statistics Division ◦ Global statistical information ◦ Publications, searchable databases  OECD

31  UK Data Archive  Methodspace qualitative-research qualitative-research  ESRC National Centre for Research Methods  Economics & Social Data Service (ESDS) ◦ Government ◦ International ◦ Longitudinal ◦ Qualidata  Digitised documents ◦ Mass Observation Online (via the library)



34  For relevance; you won’t be able to read it all!  Choose the right search tool ◦ Abstract/introduction ◦ Summary or conclusion ◦ Chapter or section headings ◦ Browse through a relevant section ◦ Geographical focus ◦ Language: aimed at the public? Academic audience? ◦ Check the references, do they complement other sources you have found?

35  For quality/reliability ◦ Currency – depends on the subject ◦ Author  Look for a biography, search for the Author on a database such as Scopus ◦ Is there evidence of any peer review? ◦ Publisher ◦ Bias  Look for the purpose of the information – objective? Emotional language?

36  Who? ◦ Who is the author/publisher/sponsor/site funder?  What? ◦ Are arguments valid/balanced/biased ◦ Can data be verified? ◦ When was the site created/last updated? ◦ Is the site accurate? Spelling/grammar errors?  Where? ◦ Where is the site located? ◦ Go back to the Home page ◦ Examine the URL

37  Dissect the URL to find out more  Delete from right hand side to single slashes to find out more about the location and structure of a site  brary/data_protection/practical_application/s urveillance_society_full_report_2006.pdf&han dle=20061104-111404 brary/data_protection/practical_application/s urveillance_society_full_report_2006.pdf&han dle=20061104-111404 

38  You need enough information to be able to find the information again  Photocopy the title pages of printed sources  For electronic sources, record: ◦ Sources used and the date used ◦ Searches undertaken and results found  Keywords used, date range searched, location of material  Full bibliographic details of material found to help with your bibliography

39 Web based, best for new users Available on the MWS, best for experienced users ◦ Store and manage your references in a structured way ◦ Easy to find when you need them ◦ Can format in-text citations and bibliographies  my-references.html contains more details my-references.html  Look for lunchtime workshops

40  What is good quality information?  Different types of information source  Using the Internet  Search strategies  Recording what you find  Evaluating what you find

41  Academic Liaison Office, 1 st Floor, Abercromby Wing, Sydney Jones Library 

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