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Effective note making is an essential bridge between reading and writing. When making notes for a long piece of writing, if you paraphrase and interpret as you go along, you will be able to retrieve what you have learned from reading quickly and efficiently and often produce sections that you can drop straight into your work. This session will introduce you to the theory of good note making, discuss different note making techniques and offer advice for deciding which approach best suits your practices.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Explain the importance of strategic reading
  • Identify strategic reading approaches that fit your needs
  • Explain the difference between note taking and note making
  • Explain the link between reading, note making and academic writing

Please note: This session will be offered again in Easter term, date to be confirmed.

The Critical Reading course aims to improve students' ability to read critically and evaluate sources, as well as giving helpful tips about productive reading, note taking and providing a checklist of questions to help them with their reading going forward. It is suitable for all students but aimed mostly at undergraduates.

This session will help researchers go further with their literature review through exploring key skills such as critical evaluation, structural reading, effective note-taking, and getting started with writing your literature review.

This session equips participants with all the fundamental skills that they need to build and execute effective search strategies to locate relevant materials for literature reviews, projects and other related research activities. The session will explore key searching techniques, where to search, how to troubleshoot common searching problems, as well as keeping up to date with the latest research.

This session will include live demonstrations of scientific databases to demonstrate the key principles covered in action.

This session introduces participants to the concept of research data, all the forms that it can take as well as negotiating the management of different data depending on their type.

Topics such as effective storage, handling sensitive data, and developing best practice approaches to avoid data loss during a project will be covered. The session will also explore how to create a data management plan (DMP) and the support available, as well as providing an overview of useful tools and services both within the University of Cambridge and beyond.

This online interactive course will give you advice on how to survive your first year at Cambridge. Topics include introductions to note making, referencing, writing essays, and managing your time.

The course is aimed at Part IA students, with a Science focus. However, the course is open to anyone who wishes to use it, and will be useful for any discipline, or as a refresher for those wishing to learn some new tips and tricks.

Biological Sciences: How to give great presentations Mon 27 May 2024   13:00 [Places]

This session will introduce participants to different methods of communicating research before moving on to a discussion around best practice and techniques when preparing a presentation. Participants will be introduced to concepts around good design, accessibility, data presentation, and accessing Creative Commons licensed materials for their work.

The session will conclude with an exploration of good delivery techniques with additional advice on what to do if it all goes wrong.

Need to create a conference poster but are not sure where to start? This session will introduce participants to the fundamentals of designing an effective and engaging poster that is perfect for communicating research ideas. The session will look at good design practice, where to source free high quality graphics, as well as deciding what you should (and maybe shouldn't) include in your final poster.

This session discusses the benefits and challenges of maintaining an online presence as a researcher. Part of two sessions on this topic, this second session looks at using social media as a researcher. We will look at the practicalities and pros and cons of online engagement through tools such as Twitter/X, Mastodon, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Participants should expect to have the opportunity to critically evaluate the various options presented in this session with the overall aim of being better informed when deciding where to invest their time and efforts when building an academic presence online.

Using a reference manager is one of the best ways to look after crucial research literature, whether planning for a literature review or simply keeping track of developments in a particular discipline. This session will introduce Zotero, an open source reference manager tool.

Using live demonstrations, discussions, and troubleshooting common referencing issues, the session will give an in-depth look at how Zotero (and tools like it) can help maximise a research project workflow while also ensuring that critical resources and information are not lost at any point in the research process.

You own your own research right? Well it depends...

This session will explore the sometimes complicated world of copyright and what can happen when publishing work through formal routes such as journals or through more informal routes such as pre-print servers. The session will also introduce concepts such as third party copyright and rights retention, as well as how licensing tools such as Creative Commons can be used to not only help maximise the reach of research but also navigating reusing other people's work.

Most people have online profiles and, as a researchers, your online presence offers many rich opportunities. It is helpful to be aware of tools and tips that can help you boost your visibility online, as well as common mistakes to avoid.

In this course, you will:

  • begin to develop your online research profile by making yourself visible to others in a way(s) that suits you.
  • learn what an ORCID is and how to obtain one.
  • learn what your Symplectic Elements account is for and begin to make it work for you
  • review your current visibility and consider the next steps

You will receive the URL for the course in the confirmation email after booking.

Copyright and Creative Commons for Researchers Tue 28 May 2024   14:00 [Places]

From fair dealing to sharing your research online it seems that nothing with copyright is ever simple. There are few black and white rules about copyright but there can be serious consequences for getting things wrong! This session will cover the basics of UK copyright law and how these impact researchers such as dealing with third party materials, seeking permissions and how to manage risk.

Please note: This session will be offered, either online or in person, in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter terms.

Copyright law is a complex field with direct relevance for researchers who need to protect their own intellectual work and use work written by others, and most importantly must avoid accidentally infringing copyright. This course provides you with basic knowledge you can apply to your research practice.

The course covers:

  • fundamentals of copyright and why it’s important
  • what to do if you want to use someone else’s work
  • how to protect and share your own work
  • how licenses can be used to make it easier to reuse works

You will receive the URL for the course in the confirmation email after booking.

This session will help researchers explore academic literature through discussing key skills such as critical evaluation, structural reading, effective note-taking, and getting started with writing.

Depositing your Electronic Thesis - a How To Guide Tue 14 May 2024   11:00 [Places]

Finished your PhD thesis? It’s time to submit.

Unsure of your access level options? Confused about any third-party copyright in your thesis? Then this session is for you.

The final step after completing your thesis is to deposit an electronic copy into the University’s Repository, Apollo. This training session will cover how to ensure you meet all the requirements for submission, how to decide on the access level for your thesis and finally a demonstration of successfully depositing your work using Symplectic Elements.

The module covers the key things you need to know when depositing your electronic thesis to Apollo

  • How to ensure you meet all the requirements for submission
  • How to decide on the access level for your thesis
  • A demonstration of successfully depositing your work using Symplectic Elements.

You will receive the URL for the course in the confirmation email after booking.

How to Write When You Don't Want to Write Thu 2 May 2024   11:00 [Places]

Do you feel you often experience 'writer's block' where you can't seem to start or make good progress with your writing? In this session, we will discuss ways of mitigating and getting past writer's block, particularly through seeing blocks as opportunities for writing.

Through discussing certain myths about academic writing and healthy ways of conceptualising the writing process, you will become familiar with techniques for freeing up your writing and making steady progress on your dissertation and other writing projects.

This course is based on a typical literature review lifecycle. You start by planning your search. You then carry out your search. Once you've found some results, you evaluate what you have found to see if it is relevant to your needs. You manage your results by saving them to a suitable place so you can come back to them. If you are interested in tracking changes in your field, you enact approaches to keep up to date with new research. And as your research evolves, you refine your search to reflect new concepts and new terms. And so the cycle continues.

While you may not be as focused on the longer term tracking of new research in your field, being able to plan, search, evaluate and manage effectively are additional skills which we will cover in this course. The course will be structured around the first four stages described above, with optional additional information about the last two stages for those who are interested.

This course is supplemented by live workshop opportunities throughout the academic year.

Literature Searching: A Guide for Undergraduates Self-taught Booking not required

This course is based on a typical literature review lifecycle. You start by planning your search. You then carrying out your search. Once you've found some results, you evaluate what you have found to see if it is relevant to your needs. You manage your results by saving them to a suitable place so you can come back to them. If you are interested in tracking changes in your field, you enact approaches to keep up to date with new research. And as your research evolves, you refine your search to reflect new concepts and new terms. And so the cycle continues.

While you may not be as focused on the longer term tracking of new research in your field, being able to plan, search, evaluate and manage effectively are key skills which we will cover in this course. The course will be structured around these first four stages, with optional additional information about the last two stages for those who are interested.

This session focuses on finding literature in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The session will help you build a list of literature for your research topic (sometimes referred to as secondary literature) by introducing key resources for finding materials, illustrating a range of techniques for searching, and discussing how to stay up to date with research in your field.

By the end of this session, you should be able to: • Plan a strategy for finding literature on your research topic. • Discover a range of resources available for your literature search. • Make the most of the resources available using a range of techniques and tools. • Stay up to date with research in your field. • Build a list of relevant literature related to your research topic.

If you are a STEMM researcher, you may find our Literature Searching for Researchers (STEMM) course useful https://www.training.cam.ac.uk/cul/course/cul-rs-search-stemm

Other related courses in our Research Skills programme include Managing your References with Zotero and Managing your Research with Endnote. The Engaging with your literature: critical reading and managing literature-based research (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) course from the Researcher Development team may also be useful.

This session equips participants with foundational skills that they need to build and execute effective search strategies to locate relevant materials for literature reviews, projects, and other related research activities. The session will explore key searching techniques, where to search, and how to troubleshoot common searching problems, as well as keeping up to date with the latest research.

Managing your References with Zotero Thu 9 May 2024   11:00 [Places]

Using a reference manager is one of the best ways to look after crucial research literature, whether planning for a literature review or simply keeping track of developments in a particular discipline. This session will introduce Zotero.

Using live demonstrations, discussions, and troubleshooting common referencing issues, the session will give an in-depth look at how Zotero (and tools like it) can help maximise a research project workflow while also ensuring that critical resources and information are not lost at any point in the research process.

Please note: This session will be offered, either online or in person, in Michaelmas, Lent and Easter terms.

Managing your data well is a key responsibility as a researcher and it prevents disasters. You will encounter research data in many forms, ranging from measurements, numbers and images to documents and publications.

Whether you create, receive or collect this information, you will need to look after it properly.

Managing digital information properly is a complex issue. Doing it correctly from the start could save you a lot of time and hassle when preparing a publication or writing up your thesis.

Managing your data well is a key responsibility as a researcher and it prevents disasters. You will encounter research data in many forms, ranging from measurements, numbers and images to documents and publications.

Whether you create, receive or collect this information, you will need to look after it properly.

Managing digital information properly is a complex issue. Doing it correctly from the start could save you a lot of time and hassle when preparing a publication or writing up your thesis.

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