Is it time for your student thesis?

We are halfway through the spring semester and for some of our students the final sprint approaches – the student thesis needs to be written – here are some tips on how the library can help you when you’re writing your thesis.

One thing that is common for all students who write their thesis is that they need information to base the thesis on. It may be scientific articles, books on theoretical background or on the methods used by the students. No matter what kind of information you are looking for, it’s important to realize that the information is the foundation for your thesis. And it’s also important to realize that information seeking is often a very time consuming task, filled of setbacks. But if you make sure to structure your search for information it will all be a lot easier.

uppsatsBut do not despair! The librarians at the Library are experts in structuring information searches, and they are more than happy to help. Please, come to the Library and make sure to get a solid foundation to build your essay on.

There are two options if you want help of a librarian in your information search: You can come to our Search Lab – it is open every Thursday between 12: 00-15:00. The Search Lab is staffed by one or two librarians who can help you to structure your searches. During this time the Language Lab is open as well. This means that you can ask language questions, or get tips on how to write your academic text in the same time.

Another option for help in your search for information is to come and get Search Support. Please come to the Information Point at the entrance to the Library, and the librarians manning the Information Point will help you with your searches.

Remember:  Use the Library, and the librarians, to get yourself a good foundation to build your essay on!

We also want to inform you that there are several posts in this blog full of great tips and advice to students writing their thesis. Here are some of them:

uppsats2Text: Katharina Nordling
Bild: Colourbox

Welcome to the search lab!

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Did you know that the library offers an open search lab for students? It takes place in the library premises on thursdays between 15: 00-16: 30 at the computer lab, room J418 on level 4.

The Search lab focuses on searching information, selecting databases, writing references and more. Are you writing on your thesis or paper and need someone to discuss with? Welcome to the Search lab. There are drop-in at these dates:

October 29
November 5, 12, 19, 26
December 3, 10, 17

Welcome!

Text: Lena Holmberg
Photo: Colourbox

Eduroam – access to wireless network

COLOURBOX4822501When you want access to wireless LAN/WiFi, use the network Eduroam that is available in most parts of the university premises. Eduroam is a collaboration between colleges and universities throughout the world and is available at many institutions. Eduroam allows students and employees to surf at the total of 799 locations in Sweden, and in thousands of locations in 54 countries. Besides that it is easy to use in our own facilities is a gain that you students here can easily connect to wifi with your usual user data when you visit other universities.

Here is a short instruction how it works, you want to know more, check out the IT supports web! 

So that your UB account can work with the service, your password must adhere to the following password policy:

The password must be between 8-12 characters
The password can only contain the following characters: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVXYZ0123456789 !\”@#$%&'()*+,-[\\]^_`{|}~.
Logging in is completed with [username]@hb.se when you use Eduroam – even when visiting another university. Staff can use [signature]@hb.se

Eduroam via your mobile

If you want to use the Eduroam service to connect your mobile to the wireless network, you should log in with [username/si
gnature]@mobile.hb.se

 

Text: Lena Holmberg
Picture: Colourbox

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

Method books

Are you writing your essay? or perhaps a paper or an assignment where you use a method? We have a large number of method books in the library, shelved by subject. Most of them you will find on floor 2.5, shelf 300.

metod_engA few classics have been around a long time and constantly comes in new editions for example Alan Brymans Social research methods.

DSCN0882Many of our method books are additionally course books. That means that you can find them as course reference books on the 1st floor in the library and its available  when the others are on loan.

kurs_eng2Welcome to the library!

Text and picture: Lena Holmberg

Library users get higher grades!

A common thought among students (according to personal experience and some research done among friends) at the start of a new semester or course is: This time I will be diligent and in good time with all my reports and exams! The reason for this promise to yourself might be to get better grades, to learn more from the course or maybe just to be more efficient and be able to use some of your time on more fun things. Sometimes this promise lasts throughout the whole course/semester and sometimes it just falls apart after a day, or a week.

If the purpose of the promise you’ve made is to get better grades, then here’s a tip for you: Use the Library!

During the fall 2014 a research project called Library Impact Data Project (LIDP) was finished at the University of Huddersfield, in which they studied how library use affects the study results. The researchers studied data on student library use (use of e-resources, borrowing statistics and library gate entries) and data on the student attainment. There were a total of eight different universities in the UK that were included in the study. The conclusion was that there is a clear correlation between high library use and level of degree result. However, one can not say for certain that the relationship is causal.

So if you have set you mind to be diligent in order to get better grades, why not use the Library more? Even if the was no certain causal relationship between library use and student attainment, the use of library materials most likely won’t make things worse for you.

Welcome to the Library, and use all of our resources, both physical books and articles, e-material and our staff – the Librarians are more than happy to help you!

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Text: Katharina Nordling