Researching

  • The research process involves identifying what you want to find out, then determining how you are going to find this out, or measure it, and where you can find out this information. All aspects of university learning from exploring a new topic, to doing a final year dissertation involve some aspect of researching.

    Our top tips

    What am I trying to find out?

    It is important to have a clear question or problem to research as everything else you do relates back to what you are trying to find out. A way of testing whether what you are reading or investigating is relevant is always to ask, ‘How does this relate to my question?’ See this guide to developing research questions:

    If you are in a Healthcare subject you may also find the PICO model helpful for creating questions:

    How can I find this out?

    There needs to be a structured process or method for investigating a research question. This can be as simple as having a logical and well-documented search strategy to more complex qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. See our pages on Finding Sources and Research Methods for more guidance:

    Where can I find this out?

    The Library is the best place to start as there are quality sources and expert help available. Begin with the Library guides to teach yourself good search strategies, and also look at your subject help pages for more specialist sources and advice from your Academic Liaison Librarian. There is also guidance on how to find more specialist information and sources outside our Library:

    Research plan

    Researching is a messy process that can involve a lot of going back and forth, becoming stuck or side-tracked, and finding new inspiration. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan of what you are trying to find out and the different steps involved in doing it. You can revise and update your plan to keep moving forwards. See our page on planning for more useful strategies: