The Phrasebank – get suggenstions on how to write

If you want inspiration when you’re writing an academic text, you could use a Phrasebank.

The University of Manchester has an Academic Phrasebank openly available on their webpage. The Phrasebank gives you tips on how to write academic texts, and examples of good phrases to use when you’re for example writing your Conclusion. The following suggestions are given for when you want to summarize your main research findings:

  • This study has identified …
  • This study has shown that …
  • The research has also shown that …
  • The second major finding was that …
  • These experiments confirmed that …
  • X made no significant difference to …
  • This study has found that generally …
  • The investigation of X has shown that …
  • The results of this investigation show that …
  • X, Y and Z emerged as reliable predictors of …
  • Multiple regression analysis revealed that the …
  • The most obvious finding to emerge from this study is that …
  • The relevance of X is clearly supported by the current findings.
  • One of the more significant findings to emerge from this study is that …

It is of course important to keep in mind that you can’t just pick any phrase from the examples and use it, the phrase has to match your text as well. The main objective when your writing your academic text is to get a consistent and well written text, and in order to get there you have to know what you are writing about. But the Phrasebank is a good help, it can give you inspiration when you’re stuck and don’t know how to continue.

You’ll find the Academic Phrasebank here.

Text: Katharina Nordling
Photo: Mostphotos

Think about plagiarism when writing an essay

In these essay times it may be useful to know what obligations you as the author of your essay have regarding plagiarism. On the University web there is a great anti-plagiarism guide where most aspects of this are included. You can access it via Ping Pong, but also open on the web from this page (click on the link in text far down on the page). You can read more about plagiarism and academic integrity here. Think carefully when you deal with sources and references.

Good luck with your writing!

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Text: Lena Holmberg

How to write research questions

It is time to write your student thesis soon. Maybe you have started thinking about which research questions you want to study in your thesis. It is usually difficult to formulate good research questions. The idea is to formulate questions which will give you meaningful and relevant results and also to describe your work in a consist manner. Research questions can be descriptive (what is happening, what exists), relational (relationship between two or more variables) or causal (whether one or more variables causes one or more outcome variables) and methods can be quantitative or qualitative.

Research questions should be neutral and you should try to forget what you know and try to be objective. The questions should be written in a way so that the answers are meaningful. Time is also a factor. There is not enough time to gather a lot of empirical data and therefore it is important that the questions are possible to answer and the study is feasible. Questions should also be short and unambiguous to minimize the risk for misinterpretations.

Björn Lundgren from Malmö University gives some tips in a video but it is in Swedish. Therefore, I have summarized the film here.

First decide what you are interested of, maybe social media and teaching. Then the following question could be written: “How is teaching improved when social media is used?” The problems with the question are than improvement is presumed and that social media is a broad concept.

If the question is written “Is teaching improved when social media is used?” it becomes more neutral but the problem is how to study improvement? What is meant by it?

What about “Does the students think that the usage of social media improves teaching?” This is a more neutral question; you are also studying improvement from the students’ point of view. They are defining improvement. The problem is that improvement implies a change for the better and a positive attitude towards social media although your research questions should be neutral.

If the question is written “Do the students think that the usage of social media has a positive, negative or no effect on teaching?”. Here you give the impression that you are interested of the change in teaching when using social media but the problem is that the answer could be very short “Usage of social media has effect on teaching.” Therefore some follow-up questions are needed, e.g. ”In what way are the students effected?”

To be able to answer this question some background information is needed, the context where the students are need to be described. The follow-up could be written like this: “Which social media is used in teaching, how often and in what way?” The problem here is that the question contains more than one question which will create a problem later on in your thesis when you try to answer the question. Therefore you should write the questions separately: “Which social media is used in teaching?”, “How often social media is used in teaching?” and “In what way is social media used in teaching?”. A student thesis should have one or more main questions which are complemented by some sub-questions.

Find our books on research methods.

Read an article on how to choose a good research questions.

Text: Pieta Eklund

Good resources and where to start

Are you confused where to start with your essay?

If you want to do specific searches it is better to do your search in one of our databases that is specifically targeted on the actual field where search opportunities are more specified and adapted to the topic area´s uniqueness.

You have access to all of the libraries electronic resources from home.
All you have to do is to log in with your username and password

Do you want to look at other student essays for inspiration?
In Borås Academics Digital Data (BADA) you can find student essays and theses. If you want to look at essays from other Swedish universities search in www.uppsatser.se

Google Scholar (scholar.google.se) is a search engine focused one academic material. Here you can find books, student essays, theses, articles etc.

Appearance and design of a academic article can vary between different subject areas, but usually have a structure similar to this:

  • Abstract (there is an abstract on the first page, which usually contain a short summery of the articles purpose, method, result and discussion)
  • Introduction (why the analysation)
  • Method (how the study have been assayed)
  • Result (what the outcome was)
  • Discussion (what the conclusion was)
  • References (usually the reference list is very long and contains references from other academic studies)

For an article to be characterizes as an academic article it has to be published in a academic journal.
Helena France, lecturer at Library & information science at Borås University was recently a guest blogger for library blog and wrote about Academic texts.

One of the challenges of writing an essay is to be able to vary its formulations?? At the library, you can find books related to Academic Writing.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University contains resources and introduction material for academic writing.

On the libraries webpage you can find information about Academic writingReference managementEndnote and Plagiarism.

Common documents
Are you writing your paper with someone else and you are not able to meet With each other for various reasons? Than you can use Google Drive to store your files in a common place, and also to create documents that both of you can edit at the same time while chatting. You are also able to create a versioning where you can go back to previous data if needed, store files, create simpler spreadsheets and presentations and save your document that is compatible with Microsoft Office.

Use Google help pages or go to Tutorials on Youtube.

If you have questions about information search or reference management:

  • Call the Library 033-345 40 50
  • Email biblioteket@hb.se
  • Come to the information point for personal help
  • You are also welcome to our Search lab every Thursday from 15:00-16:30 on 4th floor in the library room J418, where a librarian is available for answering your questions about information search

Text: Sara Hellberg, Tandis Talay

Essay tips – how do I write academic texts

Information searching just isn’t enough – in most cases the information has to be presented to others as well. Here you will find a variety of entrances to web pages, featuring tools to make what you have learned into well written papers and theses or splendid oral presentations.

Writing correct and spell correctly is one of the parts when writing scientific texts. Below are a few tips.

Lund’s University guide on academic writing is an excellent resource and open for all to use.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides resources and instructional materials for academic writing.

The Language Lab offers professional guidance in Swedish, English and Swedish as a Second Language. The Language Lab can provide tools for improving your studies.

Google Translate helps you translate text from one language to another.

Text: Sara Hellberg, translated by Lisa Carlson

Time for student thesis

It is again “that time” of the year for many of our students. Many of you need to choose a subject and formulate research questions for your bachelor’s thesis. You might need help to recognize academic articles and identifying appropriate subject headings.

We have written some blog posts on academic texts, source critism and how to formulate research questions. Maybe those blog posts were not interesting for you back then but now you might find them usefull. We have also written about good information resourcese. When you have come a little further in writing your student thesis you might need help referencing. Check out our posts about referencing to a moving image and what help  there is to get when it comes to referencing. You might also want to work with EndNote – our refrence management tool. On our web site we have some resources to help you get started with Endnote.

Don’t forget that we offer help with information seeking. Every Thursday between 3 om and 1630 pm you can find a librarian in J418 who will help you with your questions regarding information seeking. If you cannot make it to these search labs you are welcome to contact a librarian at the information point. We are there to help you weekdays from 8am  to 6pm.

Pieta Eklund