Research Methods Guide: Introduction

About This Guide

If you are planning to do research - whether you are doing a student research project, thesis, or dissertation, you need to use valid approaches and tools to set up your study, gather your data, and make sense of your findings. 

Data collection and data analysis are research methods that can be applied to many disciplines.

This research methods guide will help you choose a methodology and launch into your research project.  The focus of this guide, however, is on two of the most popular methods: survey and interviews.

Where to Begin

1. Defining a Topic & Developing a Research Question

  • Pick a topic that interests you (if you don't have a topic yet).
  • Carefully review your assignment to make sure your topic is appropriate and fits the scope of the assignment (if your topic was assigned to you).
  • Identify what you know about your topic and the questions you still have.
  • Read more tips from one of your librarians for narrowing a topic.

2. Finding Information Sources & Reviewing the Literature

  • Start with general background information: e.g. Google search, newspaper and magazine articles.
  • Look for more specialized information: e.g. Scholarly articles and books via library databases.
  • If needed, look for Library Guides or talk to your librarian (subject specialist). 
  • Here are a few more tips for searching library resources, selecting and evaluating sources from some of our librarian's subject and help guides: