An introduction to software development
An introduction to software development

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

An introduction to software development

8.1.8 Relating

As you will realise from your professional practice, there are many contributors to any area of research or practice. The relationship between contributors is complex (sometimes circular), extends in time and can be affected by politics. At this point, however, we will look only at indicators of dependence as revealed through a bibliography.

The bibliography of a paper indicates the parts of the context of the paper that have been influential in its writing. Keshav’s bibliography consists of four websites. Such a source citation is appropriate for his paper, but actually is not typical of an academic paper. Even so, we can plot the relationship between Keshav’s paper and the material it cites as in Figure 5.

Described image
Figure 5 The relationship between Keshav’s paper and the material it references

Activity 22

Add each element in Keshav’s bibliography to your BDMS.


You may have noticed that the Roscoe website itself lists as a resource the Keshav paper that you have just analysed. That means that if we were to extend Figure 5 there would be a loop in it. You would not often find this phenomenon in typical archival research articles because a paper is normally printed and once printed is unchangeable. Online resources such as Roscoe’s can of course be updated, so can incorporate references to other resources that were created after the original item.

We added five entries to our BDMS, corresponding to the five references. For each we set the ‘Referenced by’ field to ‘Keshav2007How’ as suggested by the diagram we drew.

Now complete Activity 23, which returns you to the discovery stage.

Activity 23

Consider a few topics that interest you in the area of software development. Focus on one of them, and using a search method of your choice, find three research articles that are relevant to your interests. Run through Keshav’s workflow (first pass only) for each item found and if you think the item is sufficiently interesting, create an entry in your BDMS. Record your notes on each.

Do you think that you’d conduct a second (or third) pass on any paper that you found?


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus