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Statistics and Actuarial Science: Library training 2021

Welcome

Welcome to the Statistics and Actuarial post- gradaute 2021 Library Guide. In this guide, we aim to bring together all information related to conducting your research in a single place

Effective Searching

Databases contains articles with information that will guide you to the answers you seek. Instead of searching with questions on databases, you have to search for information using KEYWORDS.

When extracting KEYWORDS from your assignment or essay, you need to look at the key concepts that encapsulate your assignment.

Example:

Is it true that economic growth makes the rich richer and the poor poorer?

KEYWORDS:

  • Economic growth
  • Inequality OR income inequality

Note: The concepts that you are looking for are not always expressed in the
language of the assignment or question, but often through other related terms.

See the Guide for step-by-step instructions.

AND – returns results with both keywords. AND usually limits the search results
OR – returns results with one or the other keyword.It broadens your results by connecting two or more synonyms.
NOT – returns results excluding specific keywords

Use the Boolean Machine for visualizing the effects of Boolean operators .

More tips:

Quotation Marks “ ” – keep keywords together, for exact phrase searching
Brackets ( ) – keep concepts together, used for synonyms

Example:

("green energy" OR "sustainable energy" OR "renewable energy") AND (logistics OR "supply chain")

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Use the "Search strategy builder" to help you create a search string, using Boolean logic. You can cut and paste the results into most databases’ search boxes.

 

Building blocks Search strategy
Identify keywords, write next to each other
Think of synonyms or alternatives for these words
Write these words under the corresponding keywords in blocks

Example
Find articles on modern town planning in the Netherlands
Town planning          modern                        Netherlands
urban planning         current                          Holland
city planning              contemporary             Amsterdam
urban design            twentieth century         Dutch

Combine rows with OR and columns with AND operators.
Search string: ("town planning" OR "urban planning" OR "city planning" OR "urban design") AND (modern OR current OR contemporary OR twentieth century) AND (Netherlands OR Holland OR Amsterdam OR Dutch)

 

Quick-and-easy” search method

Steps:

1. What would be the title of your search?
2. Identify the main keywords
3. Which keyword is most vital (and which next)?
4. think about some proper search terms (other than those words jotted down already, synonyms, related terms, scientific names etc.)

5. Compose a simple query using a few important terms linked by ‘AND’ or ‘OR’ operators

Use quotation marks “…” for adjacent words or two or more words that make up a single concept (e.g. “attention deficit disorder”). Group synonyms and related terms together in brackets

5. The search engine or database will give lists of records. Reduce the number of records displayed and increase relevancy by restricting them according to publication date, etc.

My example:

The impact of genetically modified foods on our lives

Search terms: genetically modified food, GM food, transgenic food, food safety, food risks, allergic reactions, health

 Search string: (“genetically modified food” OR “GM food” OR “transgenic food) AND (food safety OR food risks OR allergic reactions OR health)

Google & Google Scholar

What is a Library Links preference on Google Scholar and how can I do it from home?

A Library Links preference allows you set your preferred Library Choice in Google Scholar. It will then automatically detect when an article is freely available via any of the electronic platforms that Stellenbosch University Library subscribes to. Use the guide below to change your Google Scholar settings on your own computer.

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*Google puts an AND between spaces

*Case does not matter - except for operators (AND/OR/NOT)Can use + (AND) or - (NOT)

*Word order matters, Google ranks results according to the order you search in

*Google ignores punctuation

 
Search specific domains:
intitle:
inurl:
Search specific files or results:

     filetype:

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address for a page or document on the World Wide Web. We can make some educated guesses about the reliability of a web site if we know a little about URLs. 

Each URL (for example http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/internships), consists of an access protocol (http), a domain name (www.whitehouse.gov), and an optional path to a file or resource residing on that server (about/internships).

The domain name indicates the organization responsible for the site (www.whitehouse.gov in the example above). The top-level domain indicates the type of site (gov in the example above).

The most common top-level domains and the type of site they indicate are:

  • com     commercial business or for-profit organizations
  • co.za   commercial South Africa
  • gov      United States government agencies
  • gov.za   government South Africa
  • edu      educational institutions
  • ac        academic institutions
  • mil       United States military organizations
  • org       non-profit organizations

In general, .gov and .edu web sites are more reliable than .com web sites.

Key Databases

IRESS (IRESS provides financial data and company information across various sectors and has valuable historical content. For example:
• Published Financial Statements going back to 1988
• Corporate Actions going back to 2003
• Dividend History going back to 1970
* Annual Reports in PDF going back to 1995
• JSE Equity prices going back to 1990
• SENS News going back to 1996
Expert only has data for local back to 1994 and International back to 2006

Scopus.  ( Scopus reference guide )

Plagiarism & Referencing

"Plagiarism is the theft and use of the ideas, material and other intellectual property of others that are passed off as one’s own." SU Senate. 1 Dec 2016. Stellenbosch University policy on academic integrity: the prevention and handling of plagiarism [Internet]. Stellenbosch University. Available: Policy document. [2017, 1 February].

Literature Review videos Series by Elizabeth Moll-Willard

Faculty Librarian

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Hanlie Strydom
Contact:
Room 2045, Lower Level
Stellenbosch University Library
Private Bag X5036
7599
South Africa
+27 21 808 4424