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

Author: Kirchner van Deventer (Page 1 of 3)

Tools for thought: Rayyan

Rayyan is a powerful, intelligent systematic review platform that allows you to do large scale analyses of thousands of records. It allows researchers to organise, manage and accelerate their collaborative systematic literature reviews. Rayyan understands language, learns from decisions, and helps research teams work quickly through even their largest sets of references reducing around 80% of your screening efforts. Rayyan is user-friendly and 93% of our members report learning to use Rayyan took them less than an hour or a day to master (Tryphosa, 2023). In the video below, we go over the Rayyan’s key features and introduce you to its potential benefits when using it for systematic (or other) reviews.


Update on EndNote implementation


With January nearing faster than some of us might hope, we are working hard to have everything in place so our users can download, install, and access EndNote in the first week of January 2024. The SU Harvard Style is ready for use and once we have the full license, our clients are welcome to make recommendations or request changes to the style. We have also identified six “super users” who will be responsible for providing EndNote support and training in their respective areas. They are:

Kirchner van Deventer, Manager: Carnegie Research Commons

Letlao Seloma, Librarian: Carnegie Research Commons

Sanda Nyoka, Law Librarian

Lucinda Raath, Arts and Social Sciences Librarian

Yusuf Ras, Head: Medicine and Health Sciences Library

Heila Mare, Theology Librarian

These six librarians have received advanced training in EndNote. The next phase in EndNote training will be in-house training for other library staff. This training will be more basic in nature, but will allow most of our staff members to assist in basic queries and troubleshooting. If advanced support is needed, you will be referred to one of the librarians listed above.

In addition to our in-house training, we will also provide monthly training to all SU staff and students who need it. This training will form part of our popular #SmartResearcher training sessions, so keep an eye out for the 2024 schedule! There will be two types of training. The first will be a session on how to migrate your existing Mendeley or Zotero Library to EndNote. During this training we will also take you through the process of downloading and installing EndNote on your device(s). The second type will be a practical training session where we will take you through all of EndNote’s features and capabilities. We will show you how to import references from databases, how to search some databases from within EndNote, how to navigate your library and how the MS Word plugin, Cite-while-you-write, works. Our EndNote Library Guide will also be up and running by January 2024 and it should prove a useful resource for FAQs, troubleshooting and other guides on how to use the tool.

We hope that you are as excited as us about this new reference management tool and may it contribute to the success of your research journey!


Stellenbosch University to get EndNote license

EndNote - Ritme

Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service is very pleased to announce that, starting January 2024, staff and students will have access to EndNote 21. The decision to acquire EndNote follows a survey we conducted earlier this year on our clients’ satisfaction with Mendeley as the supported reference management tool at Stellenbosch University. The survey indicated a large level of dissatisfaction with the reliability of Mendeley. At the same time, we conducted a benchmarking exercise to see what reference management software other institutions were using. It was notable that most of the research-intensive institutions were subscribed to EndNote. Given the overall dissatisfaction with Mendeley and what appears to be the software of choice at other institutions, the decision was made to subscribe to EndNote.

EndNote is one of the best reference management software packages available. With EndNote you can manage and format your citations with ease and its integration with cloud services and word processors are some of the best. Here is a short list of some of EndNote’s features:

EndNote’s style customisation feature is especially promising as we will be able to create custom styles according to our clients’ specific needs. In addition, EndNote offers a level of software stability that open-source reference managers unfortunately do not provide as yet. Naturally, we will offer support and training in how to migrate from Mendeley or Zotero to EndNote, if you wish to do so.

We will share further announcements regarding training and other resources as we get closer to January, so keep your eye on Library Research News for further updates. In the meantime, have a look at this video to see what some of the new features of EndNote 21 are.

Enquiries: Kirchner van Deventer

Tools for Thought: A brief overview of Keenious

Keenious | LinkedIn

In what will hopefully be the first of many, we have made a video that gives a short overview of a tool that can be very valuable for academic research. In this video, we discuss Keenious and, specifically, how it works as a MS Word plugin. Keenious analyses pieces of text and then automatically recommends academic articles that may be relevant. The tool is free to use for individuals and it really works like a dream! Have a look at the video below:



If you have any questions or you want assistance in setting Keenious up on your computer, feel free email us!

#SmartResearcher webinars for September

September’s #SmartResearcher webinars will focus on improving your research impact and the visibility of your research, data sharing and dissemination, data visualisation with tools such as MS PowerBI, Tableau Public and RawGraphs and, finally, an introduction to ORCID and why it is such a valuable resource for researchers. Below is the list of the upcoming webinars:


These workshops are aimed at postgraduate students, emerging researchers and academic staff and the focus will be on the research process. The sessions vary in length depending on the subject matter, but cover a wide range of subjects related to the postgraduate research journey.

Maximise your research impact

This workshop will show how to improve your impact as a researcher. The following two sessions will be presented:

Session 1: Increase the visibility of your research (1 hour)

Participants will learn to:

  • Find and navigate social research networks (ResearchGate,, Mendeley, etc.)
  • Develop research profiles
  • Understand how to increase your visibility as researcher
  • Understand the role of science communication and social media

Session 2: Measure your impact (1 hour)

Participants will learn about:

  • The different citation metrics and altmetrics and where to find it
  • Awareness of methods to increase citations
  • Responsible use of metrics

Date: 21 September 2023 @ 14:00-16:00

Register Here

Enhancing the visibility of your research output through self-archiving

Stellenbosch University’s institutional policy on the self-archiving of research output is curated by the Library and Information Service. Complying with this policy, which asks researchers to deposit copies of their research output in SUNScholar, our institutional repository, can greatly increase the visibility and impact of research output. This workshop will teach participants more about the policy and how to comply with the policy in order to improve access to and visibility of their research outputs.

Date: 6 September 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h30

Register Here

Data sharing and dissemination: ethical and legal considerations

The workshop is designed to illuminate the methods and platforms of data sharing and highlights various ways in which data can be shared and disseminated within acceptable ethical and legal considerations.

Date: 7 September 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Register Here

Data Visualisation with Power BI

The workshop will be a hands-on introduction to Power BI, available for free through SU’s subscription to Microsoft 365.

Participants will learn the following:

  • How to install the desktop application and connect to Microsoft Excel
  • Start visualising data easily with an extensive library of data visualisations.
  • How to build reports and dashboards

Date: 19 September 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Register Here

Mendeley for reference management

Managing your references can be a daunting task. This workshop will introduce you to Mendeley, a free tool focusing mainly on reference management. Mendeley offers various services, including reference management, organising and annotation of PDF documents and collaboration.

Date: 20 September 2023 @ 11h00 – 13h00

Register Here

Introduction to Tableau Public and RawGraphs for data visualisation

This workshop will be an introductory course to visualise your data with Tableau Public and RAWGraphs. Both are free tools and fairly user friendly.

Date: 26 September 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Register Here

Managing your unique author identity with ORCID

ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-driven effort to create and maintain a registry of unique researcher identifiers and a transparent method of linking research activities and outputs to these identifiers. This workshop will explain what ORCID is, how to register and populate your profiles.

Date: 28 September 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Register Here

Elsevier Author Workshop 4 & 5 September


You are invited to attend the upcoming Elsevier Author Workshop to be held on the 4th of September and repeated on the 5th. The workshops will be held in the Library’s auditorium. The first session on each day will be from 11h00AM to 13h00PM, followed by a practical session at 14h00 to 16h00. The workshops will be in person only, however, we will record them and make it available upon request. Below is more information on what will be covered:

Efficiencies in the Research Process

  • Step 1: Learn how to create an effective Boolean search string that will give you more relevant search results related to your topic of interest
  • Step 2: Evaluating topics and documents. Learn how well cited a topic is, identifying trending keywords for searching optimization and increased visibility of your article, evaluating the performance of a document
  • Step 3: Creating reading lists of relevant literature, finding authors and identifying potential collaborators or mentors
  • Step 4: Creating alerts to stay updated on your topic
  • Step 5: Qualifying characteristics of trustworthy literature

Journal Selection and Author Profiles

  • Step 1: Creating a candidate Journal list
  • Step 2: Understanding Journal Metrics, Editorial Board, Publishing options (Open Access/Subscription)
  • Step 3: Evaluating aims and scope
  • Step 4: Predatory Journals
  • Step 5: Finding Authors and updating your own Author Profile

Tips for Journal Article Publication

  • Step 1: General dos and don’ts
  • Step 2: APCs, Publishing options (Open Access/Subscription)
  • Step 3: Visibility, search engine discoverable and viewership
  • Step 4: Structuring an article
  • Step 5: Peer review and becoming a peer reviewer

To register, click on the appropriate link:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Save the date: Elsevier Author Workshop

You are invited to attend the upcoming Elsevier Author Workshop to be held on the 4th of September and repeated on the 5th. The workshops will be held in the Library’s auditorium and eClassroom and they will be in-person only. However, we will record the workshop for those who are unable to attend. Keep an eye out for the announcement with a link to register for the workshops.

Click on the image to view the full-size version.



New books in the Research Commons

Are you struggling to find recent sources for your research methodology? Our new books can be the answer to your challenges. Whether you plan on doing a qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods approach, the library has you covered. We recently acquired a couple of new books that can aid you in your research approach and most of them are focused on qualitative research, but also quantitative research. We also acquired some books on how research should be evaluated and also on best practices to ensure research integrity.

The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Design (2022) by Uwe Flick contains contributions from over 90 top scholars from a range of social science disciplines. This book encompasses a complete exploration of how and why qualitative research designs are shaped and how, why, and into what they are evolving. This is a valuable resource for Master’s and PhD level students, faculty members, and researchers across a wide range of disciplines such as health, nursing, psychology, social work, sociology, and education.

Beginning Quantitative Research (2021) by Malcolm Williams, Richard Wiggins and Paul R. Vogt provides a clear and digestible introduction to completing quantitative research that takes you through the process of completing your quantitative research project, it offers guidance on formulating your research question, completing literature reviews and meta-analysis, formulating a research design and specifying your target population and data source and choosing an appropriate method and analysing your findings.

Research Integrity: Best Practices for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2022) by Lee J. Jussim offers a behavioural science perspective on how scientific practice becomes compromised. It further provides recommendations to improve research integrity in practice and it presents an organising framework to investigate how scientists’ behaviours can impact the reliability and validity of scientific research.

Evaluating Research: Methodology for People who Need to Read Research (2023) by Francis C. Dane and Elliot Carhart provides students with the skills to read and evaluate research studies. It is aimed at courses where it is more important for students to develop an understanding of methods, rather than conduct their own research, this book covers all aspects of reading social, behavioral, and health science research from the basics, such as the structure of reports and accessing research, as well as overviews of the main types of research methods.

The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (2020) by Patricia Leavy presents a comprehensive retrospective and prospective review of the field of qualitative research. Original, accessible chapters written by interdisciplinary leaders in the field make this a critical reference work. Filled with robust examples from real-world research; ample discussion of the historical, theoretical, and methodological foundations of the field; and coverage of key issues including data collection, interpretation, representation, assessment, and teaching, this book aims to be a valuable text for students, professors, and researchers.

Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches (2023) by John W. Creswell and J. David Creswell is the 6th edition of this bestselling book. It provides clear and concise instructions for designing research projects or developing research proposals. This user-friendly text walks readers through research methods, from reviewing the literature to writing a research question and stating a hypothesis to designing the study. At each step in the process, authors John W. Creswell and J. David Creswell address qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to encourage readers to choose the approach that best fits the research question. This edition has been fully revised to reflect the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association with more inclusive language, updated citation styles, and updated writing suggestions. Updates reflect the latest developments in mixed methods and new research examples throughout help capture and demonstrate new trends in research.

Statistics with R: A Beginner’s Guide (2023) by Robert N. Stinerock offers a clear step-by-step approach explained using real-world examples, learn the practical skills you need to use statistical methods in your research from an expert with over 30 years of teaching experience. With a wealth of hands-on exercises and online resources created by the author, practice your skills using the data sets and R scripts from the book with detailed screencasts that accompany each script.

This book is ideal for anyone looking to:

• Complete an introductory course in statistics
• Prepare for more advanced statistical courses
• Gain the transferable analytical skills needed to interpret research from across the social sciences
• Learn the technical skills needed to present data visually
• Acquire a basic competence in the use of R and RStudio

All of these books are available in the library’s Research Commons. Come speak with one of its friendly staff members about finding the books you are interested in and they may even assist you with finding additional handbooks that can aid you in your research journey!

#SmartResearcher webinars in August

The second semester is starting off with a fully loaded #SmartResearcher programme this August! The webinars will cover various topics related to the initial stages of the research process and more. We record all of our webinars and will make them available afterwards.

Kindly note that all the sessions will only be presented in online webinar format. We look forward to seeing you there!

These workshops are aimed at postgraduate students, emerging researchers and academic staff and the focus will be on the research process. The sessions vary in length depending on the subject matter, but cover a wide range of subjects related to the postgraduate research journey.

How to conduct a literature review

In this webinar, participants will learn what a literature review is and the different types of literature reviews. They will learn best practices for conducting a literature review by working with their topic, structuring the literature review and how to critically analyse literature.

Date: 1 August 2023 @ 11h00 – 13h00

Please book here

Systematic Reviews

Thinking about doing a systematic review? Having its origins in health sciences, a systematic review can be a daunting challenge. Let us help you demystify it and get started with a high-level introduction to the systematic review process.

Date: 2 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Tools and applications for research

This workshop will offer a look at some of the top tools and applications for students, academic staff, and researchers. It will cover a variety of mobile apps for research, productivity, reading, writing, presenting, note-taking, file sharing and other essential tools for studying and publishing on the go.

Date: 3 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Tips on how to format your thesis (MS Word)

This workshop will help you work around some of the common formatting glitches most postgraduate students experience, whilst getting their document ready for submission.

Date: 8 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Mendeley for reference management

Managing your references can be a daunting task. This workshop will introduce you to Mendeley, a free tool focusing mainly on reference management. Mendeley offers various services, including reference management, organising and annotation of PDF documents and collaboration.

Date: 10 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Data Management Planning

This session introduces researchers to Data Management Planning. It is comprised of a presentation and practical demonstration. The presentation covers the following areas: the fundamental aspects of Data Management Planning, the structure of Data Management Plans, the regulation of Data Management Plans at Stellenbosch University as well as the resources that researchers can use in relation Data Management Planning. The presentation is followed by a practical demonstration on how researchers use Data Management Planning software to create Data Management Plans.

Date: 15 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

Copyright issues in theses and dissertation writing

This presentation provides an overview of the copyright issues which students typically encounter while working on their theses or dissertations.

Date: 16 August 2023 @ 12h30 – 13h30

Please book here

Introduction to Special Collections: Dealing with primary collections

This workshop focuses on Special Collection material in the library. The session will guide the participant to understand and explore the secondary and primary resources accessible to researchers. The aim is to encourage staff, students, and researchers to optimise the use of primary collections and data for research projects.

Date: 17 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

RDM tools, resources and training

The workshop will introduce participants to various available RDM tools, resources, and training. This will include introducing them to Information resources and technological solutions relating to data collection, sensitive data management, data storage, data sharing, data publication, game-based learning as well as researcher support.

Date: 22 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

Finding Government Statistics

This workshop focuses on the database Statistics SA which is available by means of the Library website. The session includes a demonstration on how to access publications on the database, do cross-tabulation and access time series data with variables over time.

Date: 23 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Overview of software for effective data analysis and data visualisation

An overview of tools and free software for data analysis and data visualisation will be presented. These tools are useful for statistical analysis, visualisation, mapping, data cleaning and the digital humanities.

Date: 24 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Principles of Data Visualisation

This workshop will cover the key principles to keep in mind when you are planning your visualisations, from choosing the best visualisation type for your data to the effective use of colour, narrative, etc.

Date: 29 August 2023 @ 14h00 -15h30

Please book here

An Overview of Research Data Repositories

Many funders mandate that data collected in the process of conducting research funded by them is deposited in reputable repositories, this workshop will provide an overview of research data repositories and demonstrate the manner in which the SU’s Institutional Research Data Repository functions.

Date: 30 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

References all over the place? Try ReciteWorks!

ReciteWorks is a program that checks a document’s in-text citations and references. It looks for referencing discrepancies in a document and then highlights them, also offering potential solutions. It makes sure you haven’t left out any references or citations and that you’ve been consistent with authors and dates. It will also point out certain stylistic issues with APA or Harvard referencing style, like missing commas, placement of parentheses, etc.

Once you have uploaded your document, Recite will give you a summary broken down in three sections, 1. in-text citations, 2. the reference list and the annotated paper.

Recite highlights in red any faulty in-text citations and references and provides you with a summary list of both:

In-text citations:

Reference list:

It then also highlights all the detected in-text citations and references in the annotated article. Green means that the in-text citation is fine, orange means there is a possible match with a reference, but there is an error and red means there is a detectable issue and/or that the reference does not have a matching citation and vice versa.


Free access allows for 2 uploads per day and the first 2500 words and 50 references get checked.

If you need more than the free offer, please note that Stellenbosch University does not subscribe to ReciteWorks, so you will have to purchase one of the pricing plans that can be viewed here.

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