Research about…research?

At the graduate school level, your life is pretty much all about research.  Which begs the question….how do you do research about research?

Most people don’t enter school simply knowing how to do ethnographic studies, conduct action research, or compute chi-squared analyses.

Math Class

Image by Lauren. CC license here.


Lucky for us, the library has access to SAGE Research Methods Online.  This one-of-a-kind, completely full-text database is dedicated solely to information about conducting research.  Content is available in a number of formats: full e-books, journal articles, encyclopedia entries, even videos.

Whether you are doing a literature review, planning a qualitative study, analyzing data, or writing it all up as a dissertation, you’ll find something of interest.

SAGE Research Methods offers a number of great ways to discover content.  Of particular note is the ‘Methods Map’.  Best thought of as a visual, hierarchical search tool, the Methods Map allows you to perceive relationships between various research methods.

When you first use the Methods Map, you will see the broadest possible term (“research methods”) in the center:


From here, you can use the options on the right side of the screen to delve deeper into the content.  For example, you could then select ‘qualitative research’ from the list.  Each time you make a selection, the map will shift to reflect which method you are currently viewing and to revel new sub-terms:



When you land on a topic you would like to learn more about, simply click on the ‘Show content’ button below the method’s name to view the relevant books, journals, and more:



The methods map will be retained at the top of the screen (in case you want to use it more!), while the related content will be displayed below:



In addition to using the map, you can browse methods and conduct keyword searches for content.  To learn all about how to get started with this great resource, you may want to view Fielding Library’s tutorial video (best viewed full screen):


If you want more in-depth help, check out SAGE’s LibGuide in the ‘database searching’ section of the More Resource page.

Happy Searching!


Image by meghan d. CC license here.



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