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Frik Scott Health Sciences Library

Research Support

  1. Starting with research
  • Determine the topic that you want to research
  • Consult the biostatistician to assist you with deciding on a research methodology to get the research results which will answer your research question
    • Library assistance at this stage:
      • Read books on research methodology – available in the Frik Scott Medical Library from  where you can take it out.  You can take out 15 books for 4 weeks, just make sure you are registered as a postgraduate student on the system
      • Access the Sage Research Methods on the Internet  – a collection on books and articles about specific research methodologies -  but only if you are on the campus computer network
      • Look at previous studies done in your Department at this University
  1. Literature review
  • Before embarking on your research you need to read previously published research reports on the topic.  This will 1) give you background information, 2) establish the latest international trends about the topic, and 3) help you to identify exactly how to formulate your research questions, methodology and sampling.
  • Consult this quick guide on how to do an effective literature search but always remember that you can contact the Frik Scott librarians to assist with the literature review.
  • After completing your literature review you need to keep a record of the references (to possibly useful journal articles) you found. This will assist you in locating the resources you need, and will also assist you with your bibliography. You can either 1) print this list, 2) download this list or export this list to a referencing software tool, e.g. Mendeley.
  1. Referencing software

Maintaining a good record of the articles that you use improves efficiency. When reading papers, reference managers allow you to make notes on and annotate PDFs without first printing them out. By using reference managers, it is no longer necessary to maintain a system of printing papers and putting them in binders. Reference managers also make it easy to share articles with collaborators, and to format in-text citations and bibliographic references while composing a manuscript. Using a reference manager, changing citation formats to fit journal submission requirements is as simple as the click of a button.

There are many referencing management tools around, such as Mendeley, Zotero, RefWorks, EndNote and CiteThisForMe.   You can compare these to see which would suit you best, as the UFS does not formally support any of these tools.  You can use the one that suits you best.  Most of these are free, up to a point, after which payment is necessary.  Usually you can get very far on the free system before you have to upgrade to the fee system.  

Mendeley is a referencing software tool and also a social networking tool.  Its one main function is to manage your research references, and its other main function is to bring you into contact with researchers who have similar research interests than you do.  It is therefore very important that you take a few minutes to set up your profile so that it accurately portrays your research endeavors.

To get started on Mendeley you access the website and create an account.  Mendeley has a desktop application (the Mendeley dashboard) which is installed on your computer or device, but it also has an internet-based part. There are many videos on the use of Mendeley

If you save your references here it is very easy to get access to them once you start typing your research report in Word. From Word you can easily insert citations in the correct position, and all the data is included when you create your bibliography (in the referencing style prescribed to you). You can also easily change the referencing style of your research document.  

  1. Accessing journal articles

There are many options for you to access the full text of the articles found in your literature review.   

  • Immediate access to the full text in .pdf as a result of your literature search
  • Full text finder, which will check if the UFS has access to the article from the publisher website
  • Electronic journals A-Z list
  • If none of the above give you the full article, please request it through interlending system by sending a request to Mrs Malefu Mophosho. This service is free of charge, so NEVER purchase an article via the internet.
  1. Referencing

Why should I reference?  Why is correct and meticulous referencing of my academic work important?  This audiovisual clip will explain. Different departments make use of different referencing techniques, but the Vancouver technique is often used in Health Sciences.    

  • Style guides for Vancouver:

If you don’t utilise referencing correctly you might be suspected of plagiarism.  A tool exists that can check your article beforehand to flag any high similarities with previously published research, allowing you to add references where necessary.  Please send your completed article to Mrs Elma van der Merwe to run it through Turnitin to check for possible similarity issues with previously published research.

  1. Where to publish my article?

You now need to find a journal in which to publish your article(s).  There are many factors to take into account when deciding on the journal.

  • DHET accredited journals – in South Africa the NRF financially rewards researchers for publishing in high quality journals.  The UFS, Faculty, Department and researcher each get a portion of this money IF you publish in a journal on this list.
  • Beware of publishing in predatory journals.  These are typically journals which 1) solicit you via email invitation to publish with them, 2) ask inordinately high publication fees, 3) do a sloppy job with peer review and 4) are not included in quality databases like PubMed, so your research is not findable.  
  • Remember to format your article so that it complies with the author guidelines specified on the home page of the journal in which you plan to publish
  • The Library can assist you with any queries you have in this regard, and can also help you to identify a journal in which to publish.

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