Getting Started

This chapter is for those who have little to no preliminary knowledge of their chosen issue. Before any active research, we must arrive at a strong research question. Here we provide a strategy for formulating a question that is solid enough to sustain your subsequent research.

Finding and Using Primary Documents

When starting a research project, one of the biggest mistakes students often make is haphazardly collecting and reading research materials as they look for information about their topic. Gathering information requires a planned method as you need to make distinctions between various kinds of materials such as primary, secondary and tertiary documents. In this chapter, […]

A Guide to Reviewing Literature

In this chapter, you will be given guidance on how to prepare and perform a literature review on your chosen research topic. This includes learning about scholarly networks and sub-networks, as well as recognizing some of the common pitfalls that happen when you start gathering academic secondary source materials to scan and subsequently read. This […]

Closely Observed – Finding and Using Tertiary Material

This chapter is designed to help you understand what tertiary materials are including scientific publications, field diaries from participant observation, as well as tables and stats that can be obtained when looking at sources like census data. You will learn how to locate, find and credibly read tertiary documents while acknowledging that there are limits […]

What’s that you say? A Guide to Interviewing

This chapter provides you with all the necessary information you require to conduct a “good” research interview. This includes steps on how to determine who to interview, ethics questions, how to prepare for interviews and the common problems that happen during any interview process. You will also be given guidance on how to take notes […]

Who’s in charge here? Examining Governments as Actors

An understanding of the role and actions of government is obviously important when researching public issues. However, the answers to basic questions like “who is responsible for X program?”, “how was Y decision made?”, or even, “is there a policy on Z issue?” are not always obvious. Governmental decision-making processes are often opaque, and organisational […]

Money Talks – Examining the Roles of Corporate Actors

There is virtually no activity, and certainly no public issue, completely free of corporate involvement. This chapter puts corporations and their many associations into the picture. We will not examine all aspects of business as a whole or of a corporation here except insofar as their characteristics affect how corporate actions touch upon or are […]