There are a lot of different publication types (also called document types). Some are more appropriate to use for initial reading on a subject and others are better to use as formal sources in your assignments. Click the link to read more on each document type.
A dissertations is written by a research student and is presented/defended at a licentiate or a doctoral disputation. The most common kind of dissertation within technology and science is a so called a compilation thesis. Those consist of a number of journal articles which the author writes a summary of and that is called a “kappa” in Swedish (comprehensive summary). This comprehensive summary together with the article together forms the dissertation. The dissertation is supposed to show that the research student masters the earlier research within their field and has contributed with new knowledge in the area. A dissertation can be useful when you want to get an overview of a research field. They also contain a lot of citation which can be good to investigate for further reading.
Dissertations and other research publications from Chalmers are published in the institutional repository Chalmers Research. They are also available in print at the library. Dissertations from other Swedish universities are searchable through SwePub or the internet in general. In the database ProQuest Dissertations and Theses there are international disserations, mostly from North America.
Diss. is an abbreviation of dissertation, and lic. is an abbreviation for licentiate.
Books and non-fiction that are written for university students are often introductions that give an overview of a certain subject area. Books often has a introductory chapter which that includes a summary of the contents. Usually there are a lot of citations included that can be used as future reading within the subject area. Remember that it takes a long time to write and publish a book, therefore some facts can be outdated. Books are published both in print and digital editions. Most books within technology and sciences are published in English, which means that you need to use English search terms to find them.
Researchers take part in conferences to present their research for colleagues in the same field. The contributions that are presented are often published online by the organizers of the conference in a so called Conference Proceedings.
Conference articles can give good insight into what is new in your field. If you find an older conference article we recommend checking if there is a full published journal article version available.
In dictionaries you will find short definitions and explanations of a term or concept. There are general dictionaries and subject specific dictionaries. A dictionary can be a good starting point when you set out to search.
At the library there are a lot of both print and electronic dictionaries, for example. Oxford English Dictionaries and WordFinder online.
A patent gives the rights holder exclusive rights to use and utilize their invention during a limited time. This means that others are prohibited from making, using, import or sell the invention without the consent of the rights holder. Attaining a patent entail writing a full description of the invention which holds valuable information and has an important role for the development of industries all over the world. You can read more on Swedish Intellectual Property Office .
If you want to search for patent information you can use the databases Espacenet and Google Patent Search.
There are many different types of reports. A research report is a way for researchers to report on their ongoing or newly finished research projects. They are often published by a higher education institution or a research institution and sometimes they are part of a report series. The publication of reports is relatively fast; therefore, you can find some of the newest research results and current citations to previous research. Recently published research reports can be found online. Many reports from organizations, corporations and government agencies are also published on the internet. It is important to think about the writers’ purpose for the report when you are evaluating reports that you have found online.
A standard is a document containing specifications, demands, guidelines and properties for repeated use. The purpose is to ensure that material, products, processes, and services are secure, reliable and of good quality. For manufacturers and cooperations, standardization is a tool to alleviate costs and minimizing faults which increase productivity. In Sweden we have the Swedish Standard Institute that works with producing and disseminate standards. Standards are published both in print and electronic format.
You can search for standards at SIS. The library has access to most ISO standards as well as many IEC standards. You can get in touch with the library to add more standards if and when you need them.
Articles from newspapers can be good way to keep up with new research and ongoing debates. However, newspapers articles are written by journalists and not researchers so you should be careful about how and where to use them in your theses. Daily news from the international and national media are easy to follow on the internet. Through the library you have access to Mediearkivet which is a full text archive with articles from both newspapers and trade press in swedish.
Journal articles can be published in various types of journals such as scientific journals as well as journals for industry and popular science. New research and theories are usually published in English scientific journals aimed at an international research audience. For more information about scientific journals, see the tab Scientific articles.
Popular science journals are aimed at a wider audience and are written by science journalists. The articles are not peer reviewed. The same applies to industry journals, which are usually aimed at a certain professional group.
ISSN and DOI
Each journal has a unique ISSN number. More and more electronic journal articles are also given a DOI number (Digital Object Identifier). The DOI number is permanent and unique, which means, for example, that if the article gets a new web page address, you can still find it via the DOI number. Most scientific publishers nowadays assign their articles a DOI number, which you can find on the abstract page or in the article's header or footer.
To examine previous theses and essays can be a good way to find literature in a particular subject area. It can also be useful to see how other students have structured their thesis in terms of disposition.
Theses at bachelor’s and master’s level written at Chalmers can be found in Chalmers ODR . From 2010, the coverage is good and often a full-text file is available that the work can be read online. You can search for older essays that are only available in printed form at the library through here. In cases where the library does not have a printed copy, you can contact the institution directly.
Theses written by students at other universities and colleges in Sweden can be found in Essays.se or at DiVA.
Encyclopedias contain more detailed and comprehensive descriptions of a concept or topic than a dictionary. There is also often information about central theories and researchers in the field. Encyclopedias can provide a good first introduction to a subject and contain references to other sources for further reading. Wikipedia can be a good start, but it is preferable to use AccessScience which is a good technical encyclopedia or Britannica Online which is a comprehensive general encyclopedia.
A scientific article presents new research results and is written by researchers, whereas popular science articles are written by journalists. Before publication, the scientific article is peer reviewed by experts in the subject area. The articles may look a little different depending on the topic and the publisher. However, all peer reviewed articles give a serious impression and usually include the following elements:
Title and author
Abstract – short summary of the article
Introduction – background information as well as purpose and research problem
Method – should be as detailed as necessary so the reader can understand and be able to repeat the research process
Results – presentation of the research results
Discussion – the researcher's own interpretation of the results as well as conclusions and connections to previous research
Referenslista – must contain all documents mentioned in the article
Articles in scientific journals can be of different types:
Original articles - contain accounts of empirical studies where the results of the research are described for the first time
Review articles - are critical evaluations of previously published studies. Are summaries of previous original articles, there are many different types of review articles but usually they don’t contain any original empirical material but rather presents earlier research results in order to synthesize a particular research area/research question
Theoretical articles - accounts of how the author tries to develop new theories based on already existing theories
Review / Peer-review
A scientific journal has reviewers (referees) consisting of well-qualified researchers within the journal's subject area. These experts assess the quality of the received articles both scientifically and in terms of content. They check, among other things, that the results align with the information presented, that the article is designed in accordance with the specific requirements of the journal in question and that the article has not been published in any other previous context. They then decide whether the article can be published immediately, should be revised, or rejected.
The purpose of reviews or peer-reviews is to ensure the scientific quality. The review often takes a long time, which means that the publication of an article in a scientific journal can take between 6-18 months.
Is the journal reviewed?
By searching for a journal in Ulrichsweb, you can see if the journal is scientifically reviewed. Journals with peer review are marked as Refereed and has an icon with a referee shirt. You can reach the same information by searching the journal in E-journals. Keep in mind that a scientifically reviewed journal may contain material that has not been reviewed, such as editorials and letters.
Read moreUnderstanding Scientific Journals and Articles från Visionlearning