Improve your postgrad research skills

Are you a Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidate? Wondering how to get the skills to achieve at University? The Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules (PRISM) are for you.

PRISM has been created so you can develop research skills during your candidature that will continue to benefit you throughout your career.

The modules will assist you to develop your research topic, search the literature to develop a literature review, organise information and much more.

They can be completed in any order and are organised by Early candidature (first year), Post confirmation (second year) and Late candidature (third year and beyond) for your convenience.

Each section will help you build your knowledge base and direct you to additional resources. The research skills you develop through PRISM will help you now and in your future career in research and beyond.

You can access the Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules through PebblePad from our Research and Publishing webpage.

We hope you find the modules engaging and helpful. Remember, you can contact a library specialist if you need more support – just scroll down to the Consultation with a Specialist slab on the Research and Publishing webpage and select your discipline.


Lightning Talks: Sustainability solutions explored

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At the beginning of this month we held Lightning Talks on Adapt or Die: the truth about Climate Change and Waste Wars as part of Sustainability Week.

So what are Lightning Talks?

Lightning Talks are similar to TED Talks, in that speakers (our academics) are given a limited time (10 minutes) to give voice to a topical issue. The difference? Instead of watching online, you’re invited to join in the conversation and share your opinions too.

If you attended, we’re sure you loved the events! If not, you totally missed out! Never fear though, we’ll catch you up on what went down.

Adapt or Die: the truth about climate change

  • Prof Cordia Chu AM spoke about the need to future-proof ourselves against Climate Change by acting now to find solutions. Society must adapt and work in partnership, and complex scientific research needs to be adapted in order to find useful and useable solutions that are, most importantly, used. 
  • Dr Wade Hadwen spoke about water scarcity, highlighting the need to address this issue now – as the problem is only going to get worse.
  • Prof Catherine Pickering talked about how we can use native plants to offset the impact of climate change. You can download the groNATIVE app to help select the best native plants for your needs, and search plants by biodiversity, your garden style of plant characteristics.
  • Dr Leah Barclay introduced us to EcoAcoustics – the sounds of waterways, which enable us to gauge environmental changes over time by sound. She has been using underwater microphones to map the sounds of fish and aquatic insects. From this, people can put microphones under water and identify the sounds, therefore animals, in the water.

Waste Wars

  • Assoc Prof Frederic Leusch opened the discussion with statistics of how single-use plastics are contributing to waste, and some graphic images of how they harm and kill animals in the ocean. Plastic bags, straws and countless other rubbish items are among what we dump into the ocean and local waterways. He provided us with practical actions to take to help with our problem with plastic waste – say no to straws, avoid buying bottled water, bring your own coffee cup, plus much more!
  • Assoc Prof Matthew Burke spoke about how transport infrastructure affects sustainability. Currently in Brisbane, we’re investing our money on projects to widen roads to add capacity for more cars. Instead, we should be focusing on developing our public transport infrastructure. We also need to push programs to encourage walking, cycling and active transport.
  • Dr Eleni Kalantidou spoke about our love of material things – buying stuff, shopping. Western society spends and purchases too readily. We need to change the way we perceive things by being more responsible about our purchase decisions – we have a responsibility every time we buy something we know we’re going to discard quickly.
  • Dr Kathy Knox and her team worked with the community of Redlands to tackle the food waste issue. After surveying the community about the kind of food they had in their household, they invited professional chefs to create recipes which would incorporate food items that are often left over and discarded, showing the Redlands community practical ways to reduce food waste. They held live cooking demonstrations of these recipes in the Stockland shopping centre and distributed recipe cards to the community.
  • Clare Poppi spoke about how modern jewellery is often inexpensive costume items serving little purpose, and therefore can be a waste. Clare creates one of a kind pieces which incorporate nature into the design, are sustainable and easily degradable. She brought along samples of her work for us.

Want to hear more? You can watch both lightning talks online on our Facebook page:


Adapt or Die: the truth about climate change – find out more at our Lightning Talks

Who loves polar bears? 🙋 Did you know that polar bears are actually starving to death, and that their global population will be reduced by two thirds by 2050, because of climate change (National Geographic, 2018)?

There is no debating the truth about climate change—scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

The question is: where do we focus our efforts and how quickly can we adapt?

Find out from our library’s Lightning Talks. Lightning Talks allow you to gain insightful knowledge in bite-sized presentations which you can be a part of.

They are similar to TED Talks, in that speakers (our academics) are given a limited time (10 minutes) to give voice on a topical issue. The difference? Instead of watching online, you’re invited to join in the conversation and share your opinions too.

Our library is excited to host the next series of Lightning Talks during Sustainability Week, where we’ll have an opportunity to listen our academics’ action for survival in a world of climate change.

What have our researchers discovered? What does that mean for life in the Human era? Expect to be challenged!

When:
12 – 1 pm, Tuesday 4 September 2018

Where:
The Shard (outside the library (G10) entrance), Gold Coast campus

Speakers:

Register your interest on our Griffith University Library Facebook events page.


Streamline your research process with our Library Guides

Our Library Guides will help guide you in the right direction for your research!

Here, in the library, we’re a big fan of anything that makes researching more efficient.

That’s why our Discipline Librarians have created Library Guides for you.

Our Library Guides compile all the databases and key information resources you’ll need for your subject area into one centralised area. Just go to the Borrowing and Resources library page, and select your discipline under Library guides.

You can select a broad discipline, such as business and government, or further narrow your selection to a specific subject, such as marketing.

All the key databases you’ll need for your research will be, literally, just a click away!

We have library guides for the below disciplines; click within the discipline for further subject-specific guides.


Attend our free workshop on Digital Tools for Research

Are you a budding researcher?

If you’re looking for tools that’ll make researching tons easier, or just want to know about the latest digital tools being used in research, then you’ll want to come along to our Digital Tools for Research workshop.

From research, to data collation and visualisation, to writing and collaboration–this hands-on workshop will introduce you to new ways of tackling old problems. It will cover everything from high-end data storage and compute through to basic note-taking.

What will it teach me?

The workshop will allow you to:

  • identify the different stages in your research workflow and identify modern digital tools that you can use at each stage
  • identify new tools to apply to one or more of your workflow stages and determine its suitability for your research
  • learn the fundamentals of your selected tool.

Session dates and booking:

Gold Coast:
  • Date: Wednesday 3 September
  • Time: 1 – 3 pm
  • Location: G10 (Library), 2.04
  • Register here
Nathan:
  • Date: Tuesday 18 September
  • Time: 10 am – 12 pm
  • Location: N53 (Library), 1.50
  • Register here

Places are limited so book early!


How to get started writing your assignment

Image of a woman sitting on her laptop

You’ve unpacked the topic, gathered information, and now you’re ready to write your assignment. Most academic writing has a similar structure. Whether it’s an essay, a case study or a literature review, you will have to write an introduction, body and conclusion.

Introduction

An introduction acts as a ‘roadmap’ to your reader. It helps them to understand where you are going in your assignment, how you will get there, and what they will see along the way.  There are several distinct parts to an introduction:

  • Introducing the topic or subject area – The main aim of the first part of any introduction is to introduce the topic or subject area, and the most important concept(s) relevant to answering the question.
  • Aim or purpose – Indicate the aim or purpose of the assignment.
  • Structure or overall plan – Signal how you will present information in the assignment. In what order will the key points appear?
  • Limits or scope of the assignment – Mention any limits of your assignment. What will you emphasise? Will you be intentionally leaving anything out?
  • Argument or thesis statement – The final part of the introduction needs to clearly identify your argument or thesis statement. Some useful ways to signal your argument include: ‘This paper argues that…’; This essay contends that…’; ‘It will be argued that…’.

Body

The body is where you make points to support your argument. It consists of paragraphs structured to reflect your critical thinking about the question and the chosen order for presenting your argument.

Each paragraph should have a topic sentence, a body, and a concluding sentence. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. This is just a sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph.

The body of the paragraph contains explanations, evidence and examples to support the key point of the paragraph. Supporting evidence is used to justify, explain or develop your argument.

A concluding sentence links the main idea of the paragraph back to your argument and to the assignment topic.

Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of all the main points discussed in the assignment. It is also where recommendations may be made, your argument is evaluated, or future patterns of change are forecast.

Importantly, your conclusion should:

  • contain no new ideas or information
  • briefly list your key points
  • relate key points directly back to the question/argument.

For more information, check out our Writing your assignment study smart tutorial which includes:


4 steps to ace your assignment prep

Image of woman giving the thumbs up

The first step to getting your assignment done is to understand what you need to do. You need to pull your assignment question apart to figure out how to put an answer together that will score you top marks. So how do you analyse an assignment question? Follow these 4 steps.

1. Get the bigger picture

Do you know what the learning outcomes of the course are? You need to know how your assignment fits in with the course learning outcomes and aims.

Head to the course profile in myGriffith to find out what they are. How do they relate to your assignment?

Understanding the connection will help you find the focus of the assignment.

2. Gather all the assignment information

You should be able to find all the assignment details in the course profile in myGriffith. Identify when the assignment is due, how much it’s worth (e.g. 50% of your overall course grade), how long it has to be (i.e. the word limit) and what format it should take.

You will be asked to submit assignments in different formats, such as essays, literature reviews, reports or oral presentations. The Writing your Assignment module introduces you to the different formats and provides an outline of what they could include.

Be sure to check the marking criteria. It will tell you how many marks each section is worth and how your work will be assessed. If you understand the marking criteria, you can write an assignment that ticks all the boxes for your course.

3. Decipher the assignment task

You need to identify directive, topic and limiting words in the assignment question. These important words help you figure out how to research and write the assignment.

  • Directive words – The assignment task will contain directive words like ‘examine’, ‘analyse’ or ‘compare’. Directive words tell you how to approach the assignment. Not sure what the directive word is asking you to do? Look it up in a dictionary or consult this handy Definition of Directive Words from California Polytechnic State University.
  • Topic words – Topic words identify the major concepts in your task. These will come in handy when you are looking for resources and help you stay focused on your topic.
  • Limiting words – Limiting words help narrow the scope of your assignment. They set boundaries for you and are often dates, locations or populations.

4. Ask a lot of questions

Now that you understand what you are being asked to do, it’s time to break down the task into mini questions.  Having a series of question to answer will help you focus your research and writing. It also helps you develop a logical response to the topic.

The assignment task itself may contain mini questions. It may have a primary question and a number of secondary questions. The answer to the primary question is your overall argument.

The secondary questions could be descriptive or analytical. A descriptive question asks for background information or context to the primary question. Whereas, an analytical question prompts you to dig deeper into the assignment topic.

Extract from Study Smart – Preparing for your assignment