Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service - News from research support services

Month: May 2022

Library Research Week: Bridging uncharted waters

Day 5: Bridging uncharted waters

The last day of Library Research Week 2022 started out with a workshop on how to improve your impact as a researcher. Marié Roux, Manager of the Library’s division for Research Impact Services, took the participants through the steps on how to improve the online visibility of their research and why this is important. She explained why it is important to create unique author IDs (ORCID, Google Scholar, etc.), populate their profiles on academic network sites (ResearchGate) and showcase their research on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter). The last part of the workshop was about how to monitor your impact as an author with databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, scite, Dimensions and Altmetric.

Samuel Simango, the Manager for Research Data Services then presented a  session on how to handle sensitive research data. This was an excellent workshop where he explained the SU research data governance framework and shared information on secure storage of sensitive research data and the de-identification thereof. The session ended with some data sharing principles which should be adhered to when you work with sensitive data.

The week ended on a high note with a session by Wiley on the topic of the recent Read and Publish Open Access Agreement that has been implemented. The two presenters, Janice Rimbault and Fabio DiBello, took the participants through the author workflow of how to submit a manuscript to a Wiley hybrid journal and get the APC covered through this agreement. This was a valuable practical look at how this works and we will definitely be able to re-use the recording when authors need to know more about the workflow.

Siviwe Bangani, the Director for Research Services, then concluded the week by giving thanks to all presenters and participants.

Author: Marié Roux

Library Research Week: Navigating the new and traversing the tides

Day 3: Navigating the new

The day started with a session on Mixed Methods by Dr Ilse Eigelaar-Meets. Her lively presentation was well received. She started off by discussing two key philosophical concerns, ontology and epistemology, touching on the three ontological arguments and the three epistemological approaches. A definition of mixed methods and a discussion on the types of mixed methods research designs followed.

The next session was presented by Prof Martin Kidd, the Director of the Centre for Statistical Consultation, on Statistics in your research. He discussed the phases of a project: planning, execution, data capturing, data analysis and reporting. The participants asked very relevant questions and a few enquiries about how and where the Centre can be contacted for help. This was a very important and relevant session.

The afternoon sessions were presented by Ms Claire Deakin from SAGE and Dr Bronwyne Coetzee from the Department of Psychology.  Ms Deakin gave an eye-opening presentation on two interactive research tools of Sage Research Methods Online with features for Project planning and Methods maps.  This allows researchers to narrow their searches depending on the research process.

Project Planner in Sage Research Methods Online

Dr Coetzee gave a riveting presentation on the qualitative data analysis software, ATLAS.ti.  The featured functions allow for data management, coding of data, groupings, sub-groups and hierarchies.  The programme allows for the interaction of various file types, and collaboration with other researchers. It is also integrated with statistical analysis programmes and reference manager tools.

The phases of qualitative analysis

Day 4: Traversing the tides

The takeaway from the first session on Research ethics and responsible research conduct within Social Science research, presented by Clarissa Robertson, Division for Research Development:

It is important to note that applying for research ethics is not all about ticking the boxes, but having the understanding that ethics comes first in all research. Research ethics is about credibility, responsibility, and transparency and can also be regarded as a roadmap. Researchers can regard the Research Ethics Committees as their partners in the research process.

The session  Checking your similarity index with Turnitin, presented by  Morris Samuel, Centre for Teaching and Learning:

Morris gave an overview of Turnitin. It is important to note that Turnitin does not check for plagiarism, it only checks for similarities against other publications within Turnitin. Students should always consult with their lecturers or supervisors regarding their similarity index scores for clarification. Students are encouraged to make use of the Turnitin sandbox link provided by the Library.

Authors: Paulette Talliard, Marleen van Wyk and Yusuf Ras

Library Reseach Week 2022: First impressions

The Launch and panel discussion

The launch of Library Research Week 2022 was held in a hybrid format on 16 May 2022. Ms Ellen Tise, Senior Director of the Library and Information Service, opened the event and explained Library Research Week as one of the flagship programmes of the Library through which we seek to contribute to the University’s strategic theme Research for Impact.  “Our vision is to see this regarded as a prime forum through which partners from other academic support units and faculties are invited to share knowledge in order to impart and further develop the skills of researchers”, added Ms Tise. Thereafter Professor Eugene Cloete, Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, officially opened the event and explained that the research journey has challenges. Those who succeed are often those who anticipate the challenges, gather all the necessary tools and are set for the final destination.

The highlight of the launch event was a panel discussion about research ethics, expertly facilitated by Professor Carolissen from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The panellists were Dr Marilize Burger, from the Medicine and Health Sciences Faculty, Ms Katlego Mthelebofu, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law , Mr Jerall Toi from the University’s Information Governance Office and  Ms Clarissa Robertson from SU’s Division for Research Development (DRD). The panellists were able to respond to all relevant questions from the facilitator and the audience.  Audience members showed a lot of appreciation for the panel discussion as reflected by the engagement levels of both the virtual and in-person delegates.

Panellists (From left to right): Jerall Toi, Prof Ronelle Carolissen, Clarissa Robertson and Katlego Mthelebofu. Dr Marelize Burger attended online.

Day 1: Rigging the ropes

The theme for Tuesday 17 May, ‘Rigging the ropes’ included lively and interactive sessions on search strategies (Enhance your search strategies: Google and Google Scholar), proposal writing (Do’s and Don’ts of proposal writing) and literature reviews. Pepler Head gave guidance to efficiently search Google and Google Scholar and how effective searching can narrow results considerably. Firstly, he explained how text is indexed in Google before he proceeded to provide search tips. Selene Delport focused on nutshell writing or micro writing, where the focus is on writing smaller sections of text which are later expanded. By means of an initial practical exercise consisting of three questions related to the topic content, the relevance of the topic and the aim of the research, attendees were asked to relate these questions to their own research and to write them in one sentence. Examples from the audience were used to illustrate the structuring of a research question. This presentation concluded with helpful steps for writing a hypothesis. Practical steps for writing a literature review were offered by Elizabeth Moll-Willard. She first explained the role and function of a literature review before she offered steps for writing a literature review. These steps include selecting a topic, searching the literature (creating a search strategy and managing literature), evaluating the literature and writing the review.

All in all a day of very practical information for postgraduate students and researchers!

Recordings of these webinars will be made available via the Library’s YouTube channel later on. Those who have registered for the webinars will all receive the recordings by email.

Authors: Siviwe Bangani and Santie de Jongh

SUNScholar: SU’s institutional repository

SUNScholar is the University’s institutional repository.  It hosts theses, dissertations and published articles.  Situated in the Digital Scholarship department, helpful staff assists with nominations for graduation, the submission of theses and dissertations, and the self-archiving of published articles.

SUNScholar is divided per faculty and then per department, so for easy viewing you can go directly to the department and find completed theses and dissertations.

According to the Ranking Web of Repositories, SUNScholar is ranked 221st out of 3751 institutional repositories around the world, hosting over 20 700 items or records, all freely accessible.

Herewith is a graph to show the visits and downloads from SUNScholar over time.

For more information go to the SUNScholar library webpage.



Open Access publishing support

Guided by the University’s pursuit of research excellence and relevance, the Library and Information Service provides a variety of services to support postgraduate students, academic staff, researchers, and postdoctoral fellows at each stage of the research lifecycle.

The Library and Information Service has signed agreements with several publishers that make it easier for SU researchers to publish open access (OA) with these publishers, and in some cases to even publish OA without paying any article processing charge (APC). Many of these agreements have been negotiated by the South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC), of which Stellenbosch University (SU) is a member.

Open access (OA) is the practice of providing unrestricted access normally associated with publisher copyright agreements via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles, theses and dissertations, and scholarly monographs and chapters in books. Access is immediate, online and freely available to the end user.

For more information about the open access agreements that have been signed please visit the link to access the open access publishing libguide.

What your Faculty Librarian can do for you

Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service contains a wealth of information that is continually developed to cater to the needs of researchers and postgraduate students during their academic careers. As part of the curriculum, postgraduate students are often required to submit a research project and for this purpose, each faculty is well represented by a Faculty Librarian, who amongst other things can provide research support and training and e-learning to students and staff.

Faculty librarians offer collaborative support to researchers by helping them with measuring research impact, advice on publishing and open access sources.

They also provide the following training to postgraduate students and researchers which specifically target the use of the library website to find, locate and apply applicable information and data sources, e.g.:

  • introduction to the relevant library guides
  • literature searches
  • literature reviews
  • systematic reviews
  • searching for information across multiple databases
  • referencing

See your faculty’s/department’s library guides here and contact your faculty librarian directly for assistance.

Library Research Week launches with panel discussion

The official launch of Library Research Week 2022 will be held on Monday, 16 May. It will consist of a panel discussion on Research ethics: friend or foe? Ethics play an important part in the research process from the initial stages of design to the final stages of reporting. Ethics committees in charge of research ethics processes are especially significant as they ensure that standards are met and that individuals and institutions are protected. This is especially significant since the promulgation of the POPI Act requires all researchers to ensure proper safeguards for personal information and the data collected for research purposes. Miscommunication can arise where ethical implications in applications may not always be made explicit. Ethics committees can approve, reject, modify or even prevent studies to continue, and this may cause researchers to regard ethics committees as unsympathetic towards their cause. This panel, consisting of researchers, experts and members of ethics committees will discuss challenges faced by researchers and ethics committees, and how they navigate through these challenges.​

The panellist will be Dr Marilize Burger (Division of Orthopaedic Surgery), Ms Katlego Mthelebofu (Faculty of Law) and Mr Jerall Toi (Information Governance). The discussion will be facilitated by Professor Ronelle Carolissen from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Please book here

You are welcome to see the full programme for Library Research Week here.

Contact: Marié Roux

Bookings for Library Research Week 2022 are open!

The official launch of Library Research Week 2022 will be held on Monday, 16 May. It will consist of a panel discussion on “Research ethics: Friend or foe?” with panellists Dr Marilize Burger, Ms Katlego Mthelebofu and Mr Jerall Toi from Information Governance, whose role includes ensuring compliance with the POPI Act at the University. The discussion will be facilitated by Professor Ronelle Carolissen from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

The rest of the week’s agenda will be based on the theme “Mapping your Research Journey” and each day will focus on a specific sub-theme. See more information below and a link to make your bookings.

Rigging the ropes: 

  • Search strategies with Google and Google Scholar, presented by Pepler Head
  • Do’s and don’ts of proposal writing, presented by Selene Delport
  • Literature reviews, presented by Elizabeth Moll-Willard

Navigating the new: 

  • Mixed-methods research, presented by Dr Ilse Eigelaar
  • Statistics in research, presented by Prof Martin Kidd
  • Sage Research Methods, presented by Claire Deakin
  • ATLAS.ti: Qualitative Data Analysis & Research Software, presented by Dr Bronwyne Coetzee

Traversing the tides: 

  • Research ethics and responsible research conduct within Social Sciences, presented by Clarissa Robertson
  • Introduction to Mendeley Ref​erence Manager and Mendeley Cite​, presented by Letlao Seloma
  • Checking your similarity index with Turnitin, presented by Samuel Morris
  • Copyright issues in research, presented by Carol Kat

Bridging uncharted waters:

  • Maximise your research impact, presented by Marié Roux
  • Management of sensitive research data, presented by Samuel Simango
  • Wiley Read and Publish Open Access agreement, presented by Janice Rimbault

Please visit this link to register for the different sessions:

Library Resesearch Week 2022: Programme and registration