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BOOKENDS February 2019, Volume 2, Issue 1

FEATURE ARTICLE: Write Better, Research Better

"How do I do research? How can I get better at writing?"

As reference librarians we hear these questions a lot. The first year student trying to improve their writing needs short, direct, and practical advice on how to clarify their writing. Often times a graduate student has so many ideas to share and questions to answer that their writing becomes unclear. For both there is one reference to begin with, at only 43 pages it provides some of the best advice for writing English, whether for academics or business, that has ever been given. The venerable “The Elements of Style”, at a hundred years old now, is one of the best introductions to communicating clearly in written English. 

“The Elements of Style” was revised and expanded by an author and academic who benefited from the original in 1959. Since then, it has been a standard across higher education in North America. In a very short space, the authors (William Strunk and EB White) set out easy to use guidelines in clear language. Following the rules they advise and applying them to your writing is sure to improve the clarity, and the quality, of your writing.

Improving the quality of your research usually takes more work, but there is a book that can help. “The Craft of Research”, now in its fourth edition, is not as old as “The Elements of Style” first came out in 1995 and immediately made an impact on the teaching and practice of research in North American universities. Written by a team of researches across multiple disciplines there is something useful to anyone looking to do better research.

This books helps students and researchers by explaining the conceptual foundations of research and by giving practical advice. Using this approach, they develop “formulas” and other tools that allow a researcher to better understand their research question, and better understand how to support their findings.  This described in the first part of the book and then fully developed in later sections. By working through the sections the student is able to clearly define their research, then communicate that research by connecting with readers and better organizing their arguments.

The Craft of Research covers a lot of ground. It best taken in whole, but it is possible benefit from just studying specific chapters. Undergraduates would likely benefit from Chapter 7 Making Good Arguments, and Chapter 8 Claims and Evidence.  Graduate students may want to apply Chapter 11 Pre-Drafting and Drafting, and Chapter 13 Revising Your Argument and Organization. Really, the whole book is worth taking the time to study and apply to your academic writing.

These books are available through Khalifa University library in print and electronic format. Spending even an afternoon studying one or the other is sure to improve your writing, and your research. Check them out today!

FEBRUARY LIBRARY WORKSHOPS

Mendeley: Manage your citations

Is a free reference management software and researcher network. Mendeley allows users to access their references library from everywhere, generate references, citations and bibliographies, it is considered as a research network, over 6 million researchers to discover, connects users to a world of research funding. To learn more about this software join our workshop and register HERE.

RefWorks: Find out how it works

RefWorks is a reference management service that supports the needs of students, faculty, and librarians. With an improved user experience, full-text management, and collaboration features, RefWorks gives students and faculty a tool that enables a more efficient and reliable process for producing research papers. To learn more about this tool, join the library workshop and register HERE.

EndNote

End Note is a citation management tool (also known as reference manager or bibliographic software) that helps you to keep track of the research literature you are reading and using in your projects, papers, articles, and theses. When conducting large or lengthy research projects, these software tools can assist you in staying organized. Most of these tools also work with your word processor to help automate the in-text citation and bibliography creation process. These tools can help save you some time and effort. To learn more about EndNote, register HERE.

Research Impact and ORCID

The first part of the workshop explains what is research impact, how to measure research impact, how can researchers improve their research impact. The second part of the workshop demonstrates one of many ways to improve research impact and that is creating researcher ID with ORCID. To learn more about how to improve research impact and how to create a researcher ID register HERE and join our workshop.

EVENTS SPOTLIGHT: KU Librarians AT ALA Conference

The American Library Association (ALA) announced a collaboration with the Sharjah International Book Fair, which became part of the Sharjah Book Authority in 2013. The ALA-SIBF conference draws on expertise from librarians in the region as well as from the United States and other countries. This collaboration delivers high quality professional development and continuing education experience each year in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, serving librarians in the Gulf region and beyond. And just like every year KU librarians participate in this conference by submitting posters. During the November 6-8th, 2018 conference, two KU librarians presented posters, the first poster introduced KU library acquisition workflow in four cycles; facilitating recommendations, ordering workflow, receiving shipments, order status, and finally invoices and payment. It also demonstrates the library collections in figures which included 550,000 e-books, 18,000 e-journals, 50+ databases and 152,500 print books. It addresses web-based acquisition systems used at KU libraries, including workflow processes for local vendors, book fairs, book donations, and materials from relevant government entities. KU Library collections are enriched by recommendations from the KU subject/program expert community through various means: slip notifications, e-mail and e-form requests, including the library catalog. If you want to recommend a title or you need more information on how to purchase materials, please send an email to newmaterials@ku.ac.ae.

The second poster was about the UAE National Law of Reading, a new law that established a legislative and executive framework to consolidate reading in society. The law stipulates obligatory frameworks for all government bodies in the education, media, community and cultural sectors to consolidate reading as a habit for all segments of society and different age groups. The law also sets executive regulations that determine the National Reading Fund's capital and sources of its finance. The UAE Cabinet will dedicate a month to reading every year to encourage reading in communities and consolidating it as a daily habit. The Cabinet will also approve a 10-year national plan, called the National Reading Plan, to be implemented by relevant government bodies. Sheikh Mohammed emphasised that reading is the right of all members of society and guaranteed by law since early childhood. The law, the first legislation of its kind, obliges the government to intervene early to enhance reading through the provision of a knowledge bag for newborns and children. The poster also covered the main aims of the law, full description of chapter 3 article 9 libraries and reading materials - Public libraries activities, and a study about UAE literacy growth between 1975 and 2017, The rise in the number of schools, and higher standards being implemented throughout the education sector by authorities like Abu Dhabi Education Council,  and many programs implemented on the ground to expose everyone, regardless of age or nationality, to the value of the written word all this and more played a significant role in raising literacy rates from 54% in 1975 to 90% in 2017 for both genders.

BOOK REVIEW: How Doctors Think

Everyone needs to be their own advocate for their health care. A good first step is to understand how doctors think, and that's what this book attempts to do. The book generally focuses on the problem of incorrect diagnoses. Following each example of incorrect diagnosis there is an analysis of the reasons why the errors were made. Then the authors suggests ways doctors and patients can avoid similar problems in the future. There are numerous ideas and suggestions for patients to use in improving their chances of being correctly diagnosed.

Generally speaking my reaction to most of the examples in the book was that the docors are human, and they can slip up occasionally. The book suggests that doctors are correct about 85% of the time. (Incidentally, that's about the same rate of accuracy as modern weather forecasting.) What I was most alarmed to learn about was how inaccurate radiologist and pathologists were. After hearing the accuracy rates for those professions, I think it to be unwise to allow a serious operation be performed based upon the test results reported by a single radiologist or pathologists.

The author is a doctor himself. One of the most interesting examples in the book was his own personal story of finding a solution for pain in his right hand. I lost count, but I think he visited about six different specialists trying to find a solution to the problem. I noticed that his wife, who's also a doctor, insisted on coming along to some of the visits with doctors to make sure her husband would ask the correct questions. He used his medical connections to get in to see what are considered to be the top experts in the nation, and even he was unhappy with the way he was treated. If he wasn't happy, imagine what happens to the rest of us. In the end he had a surgery done that gave him 80% full use of his hand, a bit short of perfection. However, if he had gone forward with about 4 of the 6 proposed operations, the result would have either been no improvement or maybe ending up in a worse condition.

A review by: Clif Hostetler

E-BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Handbook for climical research

The Handbook for Clinical Research: Design,Statistics,and Implementation took shape. Part I covers the basics of research design: the variety of ways in which studies can be organized to address questions of association or causation; the appropriate sequencing of studies in a particular area to move most efficiently from demonstration of concept to a definitive and rigorous trial; methods and appropriate rigor of control conditions; retrospective and prospective trials; qualitative and quantitative analysis; and methods for summarizing, evaluating, and reporting clinical research in a particular area. Part II, statistics, begins with a discussion of selecting the correct statistical approach and when to consult a statistician. Part II then reviews the varieties of data types; descriptive and inferential statistics; methods for demonstrating associations, hypothesis testing, and prediction; specialized methods, such as survival modeling; and specialized methods for epidemiological studies and measure construction. Part III, implementation, begins with a number of chapters on developing successful grant applications from planning and seeking consumer input to developing specific sections of research grant proposals, the project budget, and ancillary materials. The final chapters of this section cover the nuts and bolts of the timely and successful completion of the research project; developing procedural manuals and case report forms; collecting, managing, and securing data; operational structure and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the project; and ethical and regulatory concerns in research with human subjects.
MLA (Modern Language Assoc.)
Hammond, Flora, et al. Handbook for Clinical Research : Design, Statistics, and Implementation. Demos Medical, 2015.
APA (American Psychological Assoc.)
Hammond, F., Malec, J. F., Nick, T., & Buschbacher, R. M. (2015). Handbook for Clinical Research : Design, Statistics, and Implementation. New York, NY: Demos Medical.

The full ebook can be accessed HERE.

Preface by book authors

TECHNOLOGY BYTES: Citation Management - You're Doing It Wrong

If you aren’t using a citation manager, like Refworks or Mendeley, you’re doing it wrong. At least, you’re doing a lot of extra work that you don’t have to. What are these things? Why should you be using one? They’re called “citation management software” and you should be using one so you can spend more time writing your ideas, and less time wondering how to create footnotes. 

Both of these programs use a cloud based database and a plugin for your favorite writing software. You do your research. You find your articles. Then you put them in the web-based software. This puts the article on the web and gives the software the information it needs to create references. Then you go to your writing software. You write your great ideas. Then, when you need to put the citation on a quote or other information go to References>Insert Citation. Click on the button, find your article and voila! You have a correctly formatted citation. Get back to writing up your great idea.

Refworks and Mendeley do all the heavy lifting on the little details of formatting a paper, so you can spend time working on the next great idea. The library offers workshops throughout the year or contact ask a librarian to teach you how to use it.