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Resources and support available at the University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge provides several workshops and training to guide you on Good Research Practice

Good Research Practice:

 


Good Research Practice

Database Management

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DescriptionImporting and exporting data; Sorting; Filtering; Grouping and Outlining; Summarising; Conditional Formatting; Validating Data; Protecting Data; Conditional Formatting; Sparklines. Delivered by the University Information Services.

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Description: The classes provide a basic introduction to databases and to the commercial database management system, Microsoft Access, using a historical dataset. This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

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Description: Creating a database; Creating a table; Creating a basic form; Creating queries; Creating a basic report; Importing and exporting information. Run by the University Information Services


Experimental methods

Description: Day 1: Basic concepts in Experimental Design (establish group needs: decide whether to discuss individuals’ own research or to design a single experiment as a group (decision affects homework); homework: assigned reading; experimental design issues to be assigned); Day 2: Application of design concepts to specific experiments; Day 3: Practical tips on designing and running experiments, including ethics: examples from students’ own research, or the group experiment, as appropriate. This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

Description: The first session provides an overview of interviewing as a social research method, then focuses on the processes of organising and conducting qualitative interviews. The second session explores the ethics and practical constraints of interviews as a research method, particularly relevant when attempting to engage with marginalised or stigmatised communities. The third session focuses on organisation and analysis after interviews, including interpretation through coding and close reading. This session involves practical examples from qualitative analysis software. The final session provides an opportunity for a hands-on session, to which students should bring their interview material (at whatever stage of the process: whether writing interview questions, coding or analysing data) in order to receive advice and support in taking the interview material/data to the next stage of the research process. This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

Description: The first session focuses on methodological frameworks and approaches for change-oriented research in professional settings, including action research and cultural-historical activity theory. Action research involves researching upon one’s own professional practice while activity theoretical studies often focus on external professional settings. The second session focuses on the aims and processes of research in partnerships with participants, including critical, emancipatory and developmental perspectives. These sessions may be particularly useful for those who are aiming to use academic skills in a workplace or other professional context in their dissertations or in the future. However, the discussions in these sessions will also inform other forms of research design in studies interested in understanding collaborative human activity. Organised by the Social Science Research Methods Centre.

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Description: Useful guide to starting out in research for a PhD and developing your own approach to produce a successful outcome. Part of Engineering Research Skills Lecture Series


Searching for information

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Description: The internet is a great resource for humanities and social science data, but most information is apparently chaotic. In this course we will explore how to programmatically access information stored online, typically in html, to create neat, tabulated data ready for analysis. The course is made up of four tutorials, designed to build the tools needed to effectively collect different types of data. The uses of web scraping are diverse: in this course we will use the programming language R to first access data directly from newspapers, and secondly by accessing live data streams using APIs (YouTube, Facebook, Google Maps, Wikipedia). Collectively these sessions will give the skillsets necessary to use web scraping in students’ own research. Slides from last year’s sessions may be consulted here: http://fredheir.github.io/WebScraping. This module is part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre training programme which is a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

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Description: This course will address:how to clarify the question (or perhaps questions) on which you need to find literature; selecting the databases and other resources you will need to search; devising the most comprehensive literature search strategy so you know you’ve not missed any relevant studies; keeping up to date with new information appearing between the initial search and write-up; issues around documentation of process and results; management of references (using software such as EndNote), and getting hold of the full text article

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Description: The aims of the course are: to learn to search PubMed, Embase, Web of Knowledge and Scopus effectively and efficiently using a variety of techniques; to discover how to make use of the unique functionality of the different databases; to learn how to import references into EndNote in order to create and manipulate a bibliography

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Description: Nowomics is a new website to help biologists stay up to date with the latest data and papers relevant to their research. Try it here.
Nowomics tracks new papers and many types of data in online repositories. You ‘follow’ the genes and processes you work on to see a Twitter-like news feed of new papers, annotation, interactions, curated comments and more.

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Description: This two hour session from the Library staff is intended for all those PhD students in their first year who have not had this training as part of their RCC. It will cover search strategies, use of reference managing software, academic reading and note taking as well as critical appraisal techniques. Bring your laptop with you to login, use these tools and get your questions answered. Part of Engineering Research Skills Lecture Series


Reference management tools

  • Endnote - 3h session, self-paced, run termly

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Description: An introduction to using the bibliography program EndNote to store references and notes and use them to achieve correct referencing in your documents without re-typing. This course covers both EndNote Desktop and the free, browser based, "lite" version, EndNote Online. Using EndNote will enable you to keep a note of references as you research online so that you will always be able to document your sources correctly. It can save you time as you should never need to retype references and you can alter their layout with a couple of mouse-clicks. Run by the University Computing Service.

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Description:  This course aims to familiarise students with searching in PubMed effectively and efficiently using a variety of techniques (freetext, MeSH etc). Participants will learn how to manage their references and set up regular alerts on a topic, to import their references into EndNote (and other referencing tools), and to create and manipulate a bibliography.

  • Zotero - 2h session, self-paced, run termly

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Description: This course is an introduction to reference management using the free, open-source program, Zotero. Zotero is a free plug-in for the Firefox web browser which allows you to collect and store references from online sources; add your own annotations and finally use your stored references to insert correct citations into a Word, Open Office, or LaTeX document. Run by the University Computing Service.

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Description: Mendeley is a free, open source reference management program. It was originally primarily intended as a way to manage collections of PDF documents and this is still its main strength in comparison with other tools such as EndNote and Zotero.Mendeley can be used to insert reference citations and a bibliography of cited references into Word and Open Office documents and may be of interest to anyone wanting a free reference management program which will create BibTeX citation keys and paste them into a LaTeX document. Run by the University Computing Service.

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Description: This presentation will give an overview of how to reference, why we have to reference (including how to avoid plagiarism) which styles you might like to choose, and introduce some handy software that can save you time and help you manage your references more easily. Part of Engineering Research Skills Lecture Series