Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Save Time Researching in 2013

An excellent New Year's resolution for a busy graduate student or researcher is to spend a little time learning how to save a LOT of time when conducting academic research.

TC Librarians compiled a list of our top ten tips to help you cut down on the amount of time you spend, basically, doing your homework. Each of the below links takes you to a succinct library video tutorial, webpage, or blog post that suggests ways to more efficiently and effectively conduct part of the research process.
  1. Understanding Instructor Expectations
  2. TC Library Toolbar
  3. Create a Research Plan
  4. Develop a Good Research Question
  5. Don't Search Blindly - Use a Subject Page
  6. How to Find and Get Articles in Academic Databases
  7. Plan Ahead - Allow Time for Interlibrary Loans
  8. How to Read a Peer-Reviewed Article
  9. Writing Center's APA Templates (for MS Word)
  10. APA Citation Generators
Want to learn more? Contact a librarian for more individualized help.

(That's the #11 time-saving tip - don't wait to ask a librarian your question! We can help you quickly get from Point A to Point B - the right way, the first time.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Books: January 2013

January is half over and my New Year's Resolution to read every book that comes through our library doors is going remarkably well.

By read, I mean acknowledge the title of.
  1. OCD treatment through storytelling: A strategy for successful therapy / 2011
  2. Programs and interventions for maltreated children and families at risk / 2012
  3. Wisdom and compassion in psychotherapy: Deepening mindfulness in clinical practice / 2012
  4. Leonardo to the Internet : Technology and culture from the Renaissance to the present / 2011
  5. Play therapy with children in crisis: Individual, group, and family treatment / 2007
  6. Child-centered play therapy research: The evidence base for effective practice / 2010
  7. Psychology and adult learning / 2006
  8. The theory and practice of learning / 2003
  9. Self-esteem, recovery and the performing arts : A textbook and guide for mental health practitioners / 2011
  10. Working with families: Guidelines and techniques / 2011
  11. Normal family processes: Growing diversity and complexity / 2012
  12. Read to succeed : A thematic approach to academic reading / 2013
  13. Sex offenders and public policy / 2008
  14. A Leadership Guide for Today's Disabilities Organizations: Overcoming Challenges and Making Change Happen / 2012
  15. Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas Within Your Organization / 2011
  16. Developing women leaders : A guide for men and women in organizations / 2009
  17. Statistical analysis : Microsoft Excel 2010 / 2011
  18. Disorganized attachment and caregiving / 2011
  19. Relational trauma in infancy: Psychoanalytic, attachment and neuropsychological contributions to parent–infant psychotherapy / 2010
  20. Transformational leadership in special education: Leading the IEP team / 2012
By acknowledge the title of, I mean eat a bag of Snyder's Pretzels. So yes, the New Year's resolution of gaining weight is happening, thanks for asking.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Anesthesia Journal Collection

Good news!!

TC Library recently subscribed to the LWW Anesthesiology & Pain Management Journals collection, which contains the full text of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia & Analgesia and ten other titles (see below) in an electronic format. No longer must you trek to TC Library to use our print copies of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia & Analgesia; you can do so from the comfort of your fainting couch.
  • Anesthesia & Analgesia
  • Anesthesiology
  • ASA Refresher Courses in Anesthesiology*
  • Clinical Journal of Pain
  • Current Opinion in Anesthesiology
  • European Journal of Anesthesiology
  • International Anesthesiology Clinics
  • Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
  • Obstetric Anesthesia Digest*
  • Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine
  • Survey of Anesthesiology*
  • Topics in Pain Management*
This set of journals is not set up as a stand-alone database; rather, eight of the twelve journals are listed within PubMed. When you search PubMed you will now have immediate access to the full text of the articles within these journals. Your interlibrary loan requests should decrease dramatically, we hope! 
The journals not indexed in PubMed are marked with an asterisk (*). You can individually search those journals by using Journals A-Z, which will route you to the journal's webpage.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Peer review: It isn't always perfect!

Wanjek, C. (2012, December 21). Science retractions: Top 5 withdrawn studies of 2012. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/22/science-retractions-withdrawn-papers_n_2353421.html

This article (linked above) from The Huffington Post brings up an interesting conundrum for Saint Mary's students and faculty, especially those in the School of Health and Human Services: You can't always trust what you read (duh), not even when it appears in a peer-reviewed journal (wait, what?).

In the academic community it is generally accepted that peer-reviewed articles are the gold standard in publishing and that the process of peer review ensures quality, reliability, and truthfulness. However, even peer review cannot ensure 100% accuracy. This article brings this last point into the spotlight.

The primary source for retraction information is the blog Retraction Watch. The librarians at Saint Mary's follow it and always have a good smirk when an item is retracted from a journal to which we have access.

One of our librarian's favorite sentences of the article was "The king of retractions, according to Retraction Watch, is Japanese anesthesiologist Yoshitaka Fujii, who falsified data in 172 of 212 of his papers published between 1993 and 2011. All of this came to light in 2012." Our Nurse Anesthesia students might find that interesting!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Understanding Instructor Expectations

Before diving into an assignment, save yourself time and frustration by making sure you clearly understand  your instructor's expectations of quality work.

Below are some useful questions to ask your instructor.
  1. Can drafts of the assignment be turned in early for feedback and revisions? (Turn work in early for feedback, even if it isn't complete yet. You will save time and score higher by finishing your assignment right the first time.) 
  2. What types of information sources are acceptable for use on this assignment? (Information sources could include primary sources, secondary sources, peer-reviewed articles, trade journal articles, magazine articles, websites, books, or newspaper articles. Make sure you can identify and understand the differences in these information types.)
  3. What writing style is expected on this assignment? (A paper could be very formal, like a literature review; more casual and written in first-person, like a reflective paper; or organized in a list format, like an annotated bibliography or research log.)
  4. Is there a grading rubric available for this assignment? (Rubrics are good for helping you understand how you will be assessed on your assignment, and what the instructor expects for an A grade.)
  5. Do you have any samples of this assignment from previous students?
  6. If I have additional questions, what is your preferred method for communication outside of class?
Useful questions to ask yourself:
  1. Did the instructor provide a list of items to cover in the paper that I can use to develop an outline?
  2. Did the instructor provide a description of the assignment in a syllabus or handout?
There are a couple more useful questions included on this research plan handout. Use it to keep you on track throughout the WHOLE research process.

Citation Generators: Academic Databases, Google Scholar, and More

Writing APA citations from scratch can be time consuming and it is totally unnecessary!!! The following Twin Cities Library databases offer premade APA citations that can be saved or copied and pasted into your reference list.

Please note: These computer-generated citations are not perfect! You still need to know how to properly format an APA citation - the databases sometimes get the formatting wrong.
  • SuperSearch
  • eBooks
    • Tutorial Formats: PDF
  • Google Scholar
    • On the Google Scholar results page, citations can be found under the title of each article by selecting the link Cite.
  • EBSCO databases (MegaFILE, PsycINFO, ERIC, Academic Search Premier)
    • Tutorial Formats: Web
  • ProQuest databases (Psychology, Education, Newspapers)
    • Tutorial Formats: Web
  • ScienceDirect
    • Tutorial Formats: Web
  • Emerald
  • Assessment Test Reviews (PY and MFT students)
    • Tutorial Formats: PDF
Popular SMU databases that do not offer premade citations include PubMed and Sage Collections.

There are several free citation generators and bibliography-building tools available to academics. TC Library does not offer tutorials or support for these tools, but feel free to learn them on your own.
  • Zotero
    • Zotero is an open source tool that works in the Firefox browser (or as a plug-in in MS Word) to help you collect, manage and cite sources.
  • Mendeley
    • Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research.
  • Citavi
    • Let's you create a reference list of up to 100 sources.
  • MS Word 
    • Create a reference page within a Microsoft Word document using the References tab.