Hone your post-grad research skills

Are you a postgraduate student or Higher Degree Research (HDR) candidate? Wondering how to get the skills to achieve at University? The Postgraduate Research Information Skills Modules are the resources you need!  

The online training modules will help you navigate your way through the research cycle. There are three sections: discover, manage and publish.  Each section will help you build your knowledge base and direct you to additional resources.

The Discover section is a ‘pre-flight check’ to help you focus on conducting independent research using Griffith University library resources. It will also teach you how to keep up-to-date in your field. You can get an overview on:

  • Research questions
  • How to find the literature you need
  • Authors and alerts
  • How to use the literature

Manage looks at best practices and tools for managing your information and research data. It includes tips on how to organise and manage your literature. Find sections on:

  • Organising your research
  • Research integrity
  • Managing research data
  • Being an author

Publish looks at networks and technologies to support collaboration with other researchers, find the best publishing outlets, measure research impact and discover opportunities for research funding. There’s info on:

  • How to get published
  • Collaborating
  • Scholarly impact
  • Obtaining funding

If you need further support, you can book a one-hour one-on-one session with a library specialist.  

Keep your writing on track with a storyboard

Have you ever spent ages researching, only to run out of time or lose sight of the overall picture by the time you are ready to write your assignment?

Could it be that your literature review has taken too long to finalise or your research has moved away from the core of the assignment question?

If you are collaborating with other students, maybe your group members have unknowingly moved their focus. You realise the deadline is looming and you need to present your supervisor or lecturer with a coherent ‘story’.

This is where storyboarding can be of assistance when used from the beginning of your work.

Storyboarding basically comprises laying out the structure of your assignment, before starting to write it. Doing this helps you to capture, organise and compile your thoughts and research, as well as structure your work, right from the beginning.

There are a variety of tools you can use to storyboard your writing.

Scrivener has a free trial and can be purchased for a cheaper subscription if you are a student or academic with an institutional affiliation.

For people who like sticky notes/corkboards,  the free Index Cards tool is available on Windows. A similar app called Index Card 4 is downloadable for a small fee on your iPhone and iPad. If you use both Mac OS and iOS devices, Index Card 4 can also sync projects with the Scrivener app for Mac, making it easy to capture ideas on your iPhone/iPad while on the run and sync them with your Mac computer later.

There are many more apps available. Have a look at this recent  teachthought blog post for a list of 11 storyboarding apps for writers.

Are you a woman (or do you support women) interested in technology?

At Griffith University, we have a lot of wit. And no, it’s not just because we’re an educational institution full of intelligent, wise academics and students. We’re talking about the other wit. WiT.

Women in Technology (WiT) is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to advance, connect and empower women in technology and life science.

If you’re studying technology, or interested in a career in technology or life sciences, you might be interested in becoming a WiT member. It actually comes with a bunch of benefits:

  • It’s free #studentfeels. It’s hard being a poor student. Luckily for you, Griffith Sciences, in partnership with the Office of Digital Solutions, is a proud sponsor of WiT, and this relationship allows for free corporate membership to all our students and staff.
  • WiT run events throughout the year and have development programs such as mentoring–a great way to get your foot in the door.
  • A corporate membership’s gonna look pretty swish on your resume when you start job searching.

WiT’s not just for women, too. But also men who are supportive of creating an equal workforce for women in STEM.  If you’re interested in joining WiT, simply email Lynette Farquhar who will process your membership. 

Your guide to easily writing your assignment

You’ve unpacked the topic, gathered information, and now you’re ready to write your assignment.

Have you been staring at an empty Word document for 30 minutes, trying to come up with a good opening sentence while The Pixies’ Where is my mind? runs through your pained brain? Then it’s definitely time to check out our guide on writing your assignment. We’ll get you started!

Step 1

Work out what type of assignment you are writing. Is it a report, essay, reflective piece or literature review? If you’re not sure, take another look at your assignment information or check with your lecturer/tutor. This information will help inform your layout and influence your content.

Literature reviews, reports and reflective pieces all vary in terms of content and layout, so take a look at our guides to ensure you know what to include and focus on.

Most academic writing follows a similar structure. You’ll need an introduction, body, and conclusion. The writing your assignment guide provides a detailed overview of what to include in and how to structure each individual section.

Step 2

Start by creating a rough outline of your structure, noting down what you intend to include in each section. Try using dot-points under headings to highlight key information. Revisit your notes from researching your topic as this can also help you determine which sections you may need to research more. Look, your empty word document now reflects some hard work.

Step 3

Time to start writing. Just get your initial ideas down and begin filling in the sections you’ve mapped out, using our guides to help with content. Once you have written a paragraph or more, go back and begin polishing your work by adding some academic words you have learnt during your studies.

When you’re done, don’t forget to proofread! It always helps to get somebody else to look over your assignment too, as they may catch things you have missed. Don’t neglect your reference list – it needs to be proofread too!

Did you know Griffith hosted the 1982 CommGames Athlete’s Village too?

Former World Record Holder and Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1500m athletics, Steve Ovett, in front of a map of the 1982 Commonwealth Games village.

Griffith is an official partner of the GC2018 Commonwealth Games. But did you know our history with supporting the Commonwealth Games extends much further back in time? All the way back to the ’70s, in fact.

In July 1976, Brisbane was declared Host City for the XII Commonwealth Games to take place in 1982.

Griffith’s founding Vice Chancellor Professor John Willett lobbied government officials to use Griffith University (Nathan Campus) as the site for the Commonwealth Games Village. His reasons were quite simple: Brisbane needed a place to accommodate thousands of visiting Commonwealth athletes and officials, and Griffith University needed to continue its extraordinary growth by providing more student accommodation and supporting facilities.

After nearly two years of political discussion and investigation, it was decided that the University would indeed become the home of the 1982 Games Village. Things progressed quickly after this decision was made and construction of the village began in earnest in February 1979.

The Games were to be held from 30 September to 9 October 1982. To accommodate the event scheduling, Griffith’s teaching year in 1982 began on 6 January to enable completion of the academic year by the beginning of September. This allowed time for the campus to be handed over to the Commonwealth Games Federation and for athletes and officials to take up residence.

The Games provided short- and long-term benefits for Griffith University including:

  • A marketing coup with a visit to The Village by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Much improved on-campus student accommodation.
  • The University also now had a large dining hall and a small shopping precinct that included a grocery store and post office.
  • The University used one of the new games buildings (on completion of the Games) as its base to open its planned fifth academic school (the School of Social and Industrial Administration). This not only fast-tracked the opening of the School but also saved significant funding that could be utilised in other areas.
  • Some of the spaces in the new buildings provided a revenue stream for the University with the capacity to host a range of functions and events.

Today our students in on-campus accommodation at Nathan still use these buildings constructed for the Games.

For more interesting information about Griffith’s affiliation with the 1982 Commonwealth Games, take a look at the 1982 Commonwealth Games Book, and for more information on Griffith’s history in general, take a look at our Griffith Archive website.

Meet your library staff: Steph Banovic

Our library staff are integral to the functioning of our libraries. We have a large array of staff spread over our six libraries and they’re much more than just smiling faces. They’re also full of interesting information, helpful wisdom, and some quirks here and there.

Want to get to know our staff better? Check out our profile on Library and Learning Services Team Member, Steph Banovic.

Quick overview

  • Find me at:  Nathan Campus Library Monday to Thursday and Logan on Friday.
  • What I do: I work in Library Frontline Services which involves answering a whole range of different questions from students and staff about the library. I spend a lot of time helping students connect to Wi Fi, resetting passwords and helping find books and resources.
  • My Griffith story: I started at Griffith in November 2017 and am currently here on a short term contract until July. I love working at Griffith so I am hoping that I can stay much longer than that.

Steal Steph’s widsom

  • Best study tip for students: Plan Plan Plan! I am a big fan of Excel spreadsheets so each semester as soon as you know what assignments you have and when they are due, put them in a spreadsheet. You can then plan your study around the due dates. Make sure you schedule in some down time as well.
  • Biggest blunder I see – and how to avoid: Don’t leave assignments until the last minute. It breaks my heart to see students coming up to the counter with an assignment due in 20 minutes and something has gone wrong – they have lost their USB, or they can’t connect to Wi Fi. Be kind to yourself and finish your assignments early!!
  • Advice I’d give my 18-year-old self: There will be ups and downs, but you’ll be OK. Also, he’s a jerk, spend your time and money travelling instead.
  • Best thing I’ve learnt working at Griffith Uni: There are actually some really nice people in the world.

Get to know Steph

  • Describe yourself in three words: Kind, quiet, conscientious.
  • Growing up I wanted to be: I had no clue what I wanted to be when I was younger. I have only discovered this in the last few years.
  • Greatest accomplishment: Raising 2 children to become decent human beings as adults.
  • Fun fact: I like my red wine cold.

Master the art of effective note making

It’s easy to take notes.

But figuring out how to make them a useful tool for study or assignment writing can be a whole different thing.

It’s important to ensure your notes are systematic, organised and help you effectively recall, understand and apply information.

Here’s some tips to help you improve your note making skills.

Have a purpose

The first step to making good notes is to know what you need them for and how you plan to use them.

If you are making notes from texts (like course readings, journal articles or books), you will need to understand the purpose of your notes. Is it for an assignment? If so, make sure you have read through the assessment task. That way, you know what kind of information to watch out for. It’s also a perfect time to employ your critical thinking skills!

Taking notes in a lecture? The purpose of your notes is to help you recall key points and relevant details about the lecture (usually for an exam!). If the information in the lecture is not available elsewhere (e.g. it’s not in the PowerPoint slides or course readings) then your notes will need to be as detailed as possible. However, if the information is available then you will need to focus on the points or issues highlighted by the lecturer.

Find a technique that works for you

There are many different note taking techniques. Find one that works for you!

Underlining and highlighting are two well-known techniques. Use them to draw attention to the main points in a text or to stress unfamiliar words or definitions that you want to follow up on later.

But don’t overdo it. If everything is emphasised, nothing will stand out.

Review and improve your notes

Review and improve your notes so they are ready to use when studying or writing your assignment.

Check the information is relevant and useful for its intended purpose. Think about how your notes fit in with other information you have on the topic. Does it build on, support or extend your ideas and knowledge?

Reflect on the reading or lecture. Do you need to consider other perspectives or find more information?

Make your notes visual

Use a visual tool to organise your notes. Visual tools can help you summarise information, find links and gaps, think critically and understand the content.

Here are three visual tools that you may find useful:

  1. 1. Concept maps can help you brainstorm, connect, communicate and expand on ideas.
  2. 2. Tables can help you track ideas and determine how they are related.
  3. 3. Timelines can help you see when key events happened. This allows you to link ideas and connect events.

For more study tips, check out our Study Smart tutorial.