Research Methodologies

  • Quantitative Research Methodologies
  • Qualitative Research Methodologies
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  • Finding Articles by Methodology
  • Design Your Research Project

Library Help

Searching with keywords.

One option for finding articles that used a specific research methodology is to run a database search using your methodology as a keyword. You can often search just by a type of methodology if you're looking for any examples using the method, or you can combine your topic with a type of methodology.

For best results, make sure that filters for peer-reviewed/scholarly journals are checked.

  • cancer AND treatment AND "systematic review"
  • "consumer behavior" AND "grounded theory"
  • "alternative fuels" AND experiment

Because methodologies are not always readily apparent in the title or abstract, you may need to skim through the methodology section of an article to make sure it's relevant. 

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Searching With Filters

Some databases include filters among their advanced search options that you can use to search for studies that use specific research methodologies. This method isn't foolproof. Not all methodologies will be available in these filters and articles that don't have their methodologies listed in the database record may be overlooked.

Using the Methodology Filter

  • Use the library's list of databases to find a subject-appropriate database. Not all databases have a methodology filter, but there are several databases in health sciences, behavioral sciences, and the physical sciences that do, such as APA PsycInfo.
  • A-Z Database List Full list of databases available through the Fulton Library, with recommendations for researching specific subjects.
  • If necessary, navigate to the database's advanced search page and look for the methodology filter. This example comes from APA PsycINFO:

Screenshot of methodology filter

  • Choose the methodology you need and run your search. You don't always need to have a topic in the main search box to run this type of search, if you are simply looking for examples.

Using the Subject Filter

Another option — which is available in databases that don't have a specific filter for methodologies — is to use the subject filter that appears on the results page of many of the library's databases. These filters take the most frequently occurring assigned keywords and subjects to help you weed out irrelevant results. Because these assigned terms can also include methodology information, you can use these filters to locate articles that use specific methodologies. 

To get started:

  • Begin a search on your topic. 
  • Click  All Filters  below the search box.
  • Open  Subjects . You will need to expand the list of subjects to find all relevant methodologies. 
  • Select the relevant methodologies. 
  • Click  Apply Filters
  • The options on the subject filter will change as your search changes. Check back periodically to see if there are additional useful items that you can filter for.

Screenshot of short subject menu, with additional methods highlighted

Full List, With Methodologies Highlighted

Screenshot showing expanded subject view

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finding research papers in research methodology

The Best Method for Finding Research Papers

Do you struggle to find the relevant literature for your assignments or research projects? The search for academic sources works differently to the approach we might use when we search the Internet. In this article, we’ll learn how to search through academic databases effectively and identify the most relevant papers.

finding research papers in research methodology

‍ The Database Search

First, you’ll need some keywords to limit your search. Which words or phrases relate best to the information you want to find? If you have papers already or other reading material, this can be a good place for keyword inspiration. Keep a note of these words so that you can expand on them later. You might come up with alternative words, such as synonyms and abbreviations, or try some spelling variations. Alternatively, you can make use of genei’s keywords section and use these results to guide your search. Second, take some time to learn about ‘power searching’ by using ‘Boolean operators’. These are simple techniques that involve adding words or symbols to narrow down or widen your search using your key terms. You can find some of these advanced techniques here . Additionally, you can limit the scope of your search by defining essential criteria such as date, language, publication type (ebook or journal article), or the journal you’re interested in. This can refine the results that get returned to you. Similarly, you can begin to make note of key journals or authors that come up, and conduct a separate search by defining that journal or look up the author to see their other work.

Tracking Logs

Now that you’ve made a start, it’s a good idea to keep track of the databases you have searched, and the key words or search techniques used. This will make it easier to keep up with what you have or haven’t done so far. If you’re working on a research project and need to conduct an extensive literature review, this is particularly important. Here’s an example of a literature search tracking log. While this documents the search process, it’s also important to store and organise the papers you want to check out. You could organise the papers using date, author names, or your keywords. Reference managers often have ‘tagging’ tools to organise papers. However, this could simply be picking a naming convention such as ‘Year_FirstAuthor_Keyword1’ in a folder on your computer.

Connected Papers

Another effective way to source out relevant literature is by identifying connecting papers. It can be useful to start with a recent research paper because this will point to older research on that topic. As mentioned earlier, this could also help you to identify key authors for your search. genei makes finding connected papers easy by generating a reference list of the sources used and their links. Likewise, in order to find out if the paper is relevant to your particular research interest, it’s best to read the abstract, then introduction and conclusion. However, genei generates AI-powered summaries that allow you to skim the entire paper, saving you time and allowing you to identify key topics within the paper.

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Research methods

  • Sage Research Methods - overview

Use the Discovery advanced search feature!

  • Websites and videos

One way to search for articles in which the authors have used a specific research methodology is to use the advanced search function to search for the method you want in the abstract.

Here is an example of how to do this using Discovery:

1. Select the advanced search option on the main RRU Library webpage .

finding research papers in research methodology

2. In the first search box enter your main search strategy and in the second search box enter the research method. Change the menu option in the second box to  Abstract.

finding research papers in research methodology

3. Use the filter on the left to narrow down to peer reviewed articles

finding research papers in research methodology

You will see in some of your results that Action Research is discussed in the article.

finding research papers in research methodology

You can try a similar approach in any of these subject or publisher-specific databases:

  • ABI/Inform Global @ Proquest This link opens in a new window Business journals and information on companies.
  • Academic Search Premier @ Ebscohost This link opens in a new window A comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts to thousands of journals.
  • Business Source Complete @ Ebscohost This link opens in a new window Business, management, leadership, economics, finance, accounting, and international business information plus country economic reports from the EIU, Global Insight, ICON Group and CountryWatch and detailed company profiles for the world's 10,000 largest companies. Full text articles from nearly 2,300 journals, including more than 1,100 peer-reviewed business publications.
  • Canadian Business and Current Affairs This link opens in a new window Interdisciplinary. Canadian news coverage, popular magazines, and scholarly journals. Updated daily with full-text content from 1988 to present and bibliographic content from 1972 to present.
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete @ Ebscohost This link opens in a new window All areas of communication and mass media, including internal and external communications and public relations. Covers more than 660 titles with full text for 350 journals.
  • ERIC @ Ebscohost This link opens in a new window Education and related fields. Document citations, journal article citations from over 775 professional journals and ERIC digest full text records as well as full text from nearly 500 journals and full text of most of the ERIC documents from 1996 to the present.
  • Oxford University Press Journals This link opens in a new window 196 academic research journals.
  • Criminal Justice Database @ Proquest This link opens in a new window U.S. and international criminal justice journals on criminal justice, law enforcement, corrections administration, drug enforcement, rehabilitation, family law, and industrial security. Abstracts and indexing for 245 titles, with more than 90 in full text.
  • Sage Journals Online This link opens in a new window 520 journals in Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, Technology and Medicine.
  • ScienceDirect This link opens in a new window Core scientific, technical and medical information.
  • SpringerLink This link opens in a new window Multidisciplinary journals and ebooks. Environmental and plant sciences, physical sciences, behavioral sciences, engineering and computer sciences, biosciences, and humanities and social sciences.
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Articles & Media

Books & eBooks

Tips for Finding Articles with Methodology & Results

What are literature reviews, methodology and results, top databases for articles with methodology, literature review.

When articles are published on this type of research, they frequently include a literature review near the beginning of the article. A literature review discusses the findings of research on the same or related subject. In other words, what is known so far on this subject.


How the author or authors are going to find out what they want to know about the subject are their methods, or methodology.

Results or Conclusions

What they found out based on their research.

Extracted from Situational interest, computer self-efficacy and self-regulation: Their impact on student engagement in distance education (Must be on campus or have a COM account to view the entire article).

Get articles with methods, results, literature review and conclusions from these top databases.

Add the term methodology to your topic and search.

"distance education students" AND methodology


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How to find papers when you do your literature review

finding research papers in research methodology

When you start your  literature review , you may feel intimidated by the quantity of work that you should go through. You may as well be worrying  where to start in the first place.

In today's post, we look at different places where you can find (references to) papers that could be of your interest. Not all papers will eventually be equally important for your thesis. Depending on the article and its contents,  you may simply browse the article for the main findings in less than 20 minutes, or you may sit down with the article for a week, pulling apart all its calculations and equations.  But of course, you can't know how important a reference is until you find it and have a first look at it.

Here are nine different places where you can find (references to) papers that you may want to check:

1. Ask your supervisor where to start

If your supervisor gave you your thesis topic, he/she may already have a folder with information on the topic. Especially when you are hired on a funded project, your supervisor must have already been doing some preliminary work to write the proposal.  Your first destination for your literature review is thus to ask your supervisor for references that can get you started.

2. Read up on the basics in a textbook

If you are new to a topic,  there is no harm in reading a textbook. While a textbook may not have the depth and information of a journal article, it can provide you with the basic concepts that you need to understand to start reading in more detail. In addition to this information to get you started, textbooks also typically have extensive lists of references. You can check out these references and download the relevant articles.

3. References from the research proposal

If you're hired on a funded project, then the references to the research proposal are a good place to start  familiarizing yourself with the work  that supported the proposal in the first place. Download the references cited in the proposal so that you have all relevant background.

4. Find a good review paper on your topic

An excellent starting place for finding good references as well as getting a broad overview of your research topic, is  by reading and analyzing a review paper on the topic . The references cited in the review paper can then be  next up on your reading list.

5. Look for technical reports, theses, code documents etc

Don't limit yourself to research papers to find references to other papers. In technical reports and code documents on your topic, you can find important citations (as well information of practical value). When it comes to depth and extent of analytical work, nothing is as complete as a PhD thesis. Look for theses from students who worked on your topic, and see which references they cited.

6. Google Scholar

Google Scholar can help you find  relevant articles  by using the search function. In addition, you can subscribe to updates of colleagues in your field, so that you have the latest references accessible. Depending on the publisher of a journal paper, Google Scholar may also be faster in reporting a certain article in their database than other database, which can take up to 2 years to include an article.

While Scopus has strong searching functions, and help with identifying the relative importance of a paper in its field with the published metrics, it may be slow in including articles (for my own publications, I have noticed it may take up to 2 years before an article is included).

8. ResearchGate

ResearchGate allows for "traditional" searching for publications, but it also allows you to do the following: 1) follow researchers in your field so you can see their updates, 2) follow research projects of other researchers to receive updates, and 3) interact by commenting on publications, asking questions, and sending direct messages.

9. References of papers

Just as for the list of references of a good review paper,  the list of references of any paper you read can be a good starting point to find more papers to read. Make it a habit to carefully check the list of  references  and see which publications you have "missed" so far.

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Q. How do I search for a research article by methodology type (qualitative study, experimental design, meta analysis, etc.) for my social work class?

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Answered By: Alyssa Brissett Last Updated: Dec 05, 2019     Views: 2555

You can search for research articles by methodology type in a number of ways:

  • Start with the database PsycINFO. Go to the Advanced Search function. Select the methodology type you need (e.g., qualitative study) under the Methodology section.

If the database does not have this option, you can enter the methodology that you are looking for as a keyword in your search. For example, if you are looking for experimental designs on the topic youth depression, you can enter search terms: "youth depression" AND "experimental design". 

  • Find additional strategies on the  Searching Strategies and Tips  page of the  Social Work research guide .
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Scholarly Articles: How can I tell?

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The methodology section or methods section tells you how the author(s) went about doing their research. It should let you know a) what method they used to gather data (survey, interviews, experiments, etc.), why they chose this method, and what the limitations are to this method.

The methodology section should be detailed enough that another researcher could replicate the study described. When you read the methodology or methods section:

  • What kind of research method did the authors use? Is it an appropriate method for the type of study they are conducting?
  • How did the authors get their tests subjects? What criteria did they use?
  • What are the contexts of the study that may have affected the results (e.g. environmental conditions, lab conditions, timing questions, etc.)
  • Is the sample size representative of the larger population (i.e., was it big enough?)
  • Are the data collection instruments and procedures likely to have measured all the important characteristics with reasonable accuracy?
  • Does the data analysis appear to have been done with care, and were appropriate analytical techniques used? 

A good researcher will always let you know about the limitations of his or her research.

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finding research papers in research methodology

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  • Indian J Anaesth
  • v.60(9); 2016 Sep

Literature search for research planning and identification of research problem

Anju grewal.

Department of Anaesthesiology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Hanish Kataria

1 Department of Surgery, Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, India

2 Department of Cardiac Anaesthesia, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Literature search is a key step in performing good authentic research. It helps in formulating a research question and planning the study. The available published data are enormous; therefore, choosing the appropriate articles relevant to your study in question is an art. It can be time-consuming, tiring and can lead to disinterest or even abandonment of search in between if not carried out in a step-wise manner. Various databases are available for performing literature search. This article primarily stresses on how to formulate a research question, the various types and sources for literature search, which will help make your search specific and time-saving.


Literature search is a systematic and well-organised search from the already published data to identify a breadth of good quality references on a specific topic.[ 1 ] The reasons for conducting literature search are numerous that include drawing information for making evidence-based guidelines, a step in the research method and as part of academic assessment.[ 2 ] However, the main purpose of a thorough literature search is to formulate a research question by evaluating the available literature with an eye on gaps still amenable to further research.

Research problem[ 3 ] is typically a topic of interest and of some familiarity to the researcher. It needs to be channelised by focussing on information yet to be explored. Once we have narrowed down the problem, seeking and analysing existing literature may further straighten out the research approach.

A research hypothesis[ 4 ] is a carefully created testimony of how you expect the research to proceed. It is one of the most important tools which aids to answer the research question. It should be apt containing necessary components, and raise a question that can be tested and investigated.

The literature search can be exhaustive and time-consuming, but there are some simple steps which can help you plan and manage the process. The most important are formulating the research questions and planning your search.


Literature search is done to identify appropriate methodology, design of the study; population sampled and sampling methods, methods of measuring concepts and techniques of analysis. It also helps in determining extraneous variables affecting the outcome and identifying faults or lacunae that could be avoided.

Formulating a well-focused question is a critical step for facilitating good clinical research.[ 5 ] There can be general questions or patient-oriented questions that arise from clinical issues. Patient-oriented questions can involve the effect of therapy or disease or examine advantage versus disadvantage for a group of patients.[ 6 ]

For example, we want to evaluate the effect of a particular drug (e.g., dexmedetomidine) for procedural sedation in day care surgery patients. While formulating a research question, one should consider certain criteria, referred as ‘FINER’ (F-Feasible, I-Interesting, N-Novel, E-Ethical, R-Relevant) criteria.[ 5 ] The idea should be interesting and relevant to clinical research. It should either confirm, refute or add information to already done research work. One should also keep in mind the patient population under study and the resources available in a given set up. Also the entire research process should conform to the ethical principles of research.

The patient or study population, intervention, comparison or control arm, primary outcome, timing of measurement of outcome (PICOT) is a well-known approach for framing a leading research question.[ 7 , 8 ] Dividing the questions into key components makes it easy and searchable. In this case scenario:

  • Patients (P) – What is the important group of patients? for example, day care surgery
  • Intervention (I) – What is the important intervention? for example, intravenous dexmedetomidine
  • Comparison (C) – What is the important intervention of comparison? for example, intravenous ketamine
  • Outcome (O) – What is the effect of intervention? for example, analgesic efficacy, procedural awareness, drug side effects
  • Time (T) – Time interval for measuring the outcome: Hourly for first 4 h then 4 hourly till 24 h post-procedure.

Multiple questions can be formulated from patient's problem and concern. A well-focused question should be chosen for research according to significance for patient interest and relevance to our knowledge. Good research questions address the lacunae in available literature with an aim to impact the clinical practice in a constructive manner. There are limited outcome research and relevant resources, for example, electronic database system, database and hospital information system in India. Even when these factors are available, data about existing resources is not widely accessible.[ 9 ]


(Further details in chapter ‘Types of studies and research design’ in this issue).

Primary literature

Primary sources are the authentic publication of an expert's new evidence, conclusions and proposals (case reports, clinical trials, etc) and are usually published in a peer-reviewed journal. Preliminary reports, congress papers and preprints also constitute primary literature.[ 2 ]

Secondary literature

Secondary sources are systematic review articles or meta-analyses where material derived from primary source literature are infererred and evaluated.[ 2 ]

Tertiary literature

Tertiary literature consists of collections that compile information from primary or secondary literature (eg., reference books).[ 2 ]


There are various methods of literature search that are used alone or in combination [ Table 1 ]. For past few decades, searching the local as well as national library for books, journals, etc., was the usual practice and still physical literature exploration is an important component of any systematic review search process.[ 10 , 11 ] With the advancement of technology, the Internet is now the gateway to the maze of vast medical literature.[ 12 ] Conducting a literature review involves web-based search engines, i.e., Google, Google Scholar, etc., [ Table 2 ], or using various electronic research databases to identify materials that describe the research topic or those homologous to it.[ 13 , 14 ]

Methods of literature search

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Web based methods of literature search

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The various databases available for literature search include databases for original published articles in the journals [ Table 2 ] and evidence-based databases for integrated information available as systematic reviews and abstracts [ Table 3 ].[ 12 , 14 ] Most of these are not freely available to the individual user. PubMed ( ) is the largest available resource since 1996; however, a large number of sources now provide free access to literature in the biomedical field.[ 15 ] More than 26 million citations from Medline, life science journals and online books are included in PubMed. Links to the full-text material are included in citations from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.[ 16 ] The choice of databases depends on the subject of interest and potential coverage by the different databases. Education Resources Information Centre is a free online digital library of education research and information sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, available at . No one database can search all the medical literature. There is need to search several different databases. At a minimum, PubMed or Medline, Embase and the Cochrane central trials Registry need to be searched. When searching these databases, emphasis should be given to meta-analysis, systematic reviews randomised controlled trials and landmark studies.

Electronic source of Evidence-Based Database

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Time allocated to the search needs attention as exploring and selecting data are early steps in the research method and research conducted as part of academic assessment have narrow timeframes.[ 17 ] In Indian scenario, limited outcome research and accessibility to data leads to less thorough knowledge of nature of research problem. This results in the formulation of the inappropriate research question and increases the time to literature search.


Type of search can be described in different forms according to the subject of interest. It increases the chances of retrieving relevant information from a search.

Translating research question to keywords

This will provide results based on any of the words specified; hence, they are the cornerstone of an effective search. Synonyms/alternate terms should be considered to elicit further information, i.e., barbiturates in place of thiopentone. Spellings should also be taken into account, i.e., anesthesia in place of anaesthesia (American and British). Most databases use controlled word-stock to establish common search terms (or keywords). Some of these alternative keywords can be looked from database thesaurus.[ 4 ] Another strategy is combining keywords with Boolean operators. It is important to keep a note of keywords and methods used in exploring the literature as these will need to be described later in the design of search process.

‘Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) is the National Library of Medicine's controlled hierarchical vocabulary that is used for indexing articles in PubMed, with more specific terms organised underneath more general terms’.[ 17 ] This provides a reliable way to retrieve citations that use different terminology for identical ideas, as it indexes articles based on content. Two features of PubMed that can increase yield of specific articles are ‘Automatic term mapping’ and ‘automatic term explosion’.[ 4 ]

For example, if the search keyword is heart attack, this term will match with MeSH transcription table heading and then explode into various subheadings. This helps to construct the search by adding and selecting MeSH subheadings and families of MeSH by use of hyperlinks.[ 4 ]

We can set limits to a clinical trial for retrieving higher level of evidence (i.e., randomised controlled clinical trial). Furthermore, one can browse through the link entitled ‘Related Articles’. This PubMed feature searches for similar citations using an intricate algorithm that scans titles, abstracts and MeSH terms.[ 4 ]

Phrase search

This will provide pages with only the words typed in the phrase, in that exact order and with no words in between them.

Boolean operators

AND, OR and NOT are the three Boolean operators named after the mathematician George Boole.[ 18 ] Combining two words using ‘AND’ will fetch articles that mention both the words. Using ‘OR’ will widen the search and fetch more articles that mention either subject. While using the term ‘NOT’ to combine words will fetch articles containing the first word but not the second, thus narrowing the search.

Filters can also be used to refine the search, for example, article types, text availability, language, age, sex and journal categories.

Overall, the recommendations for methodology of literature search can be as below (Creswell)[ 19 ]

  • Identify keywords and use them to search articles from library and internet resources as described above
  • Search several databases to search articles related to your topic
  • Use thesaurus to identify terms to locate your articles
  • Find an article that is similar to your topic; then look at the terms used to describe it, and use them for your search
  • Use databases that provide full-text articles (free through academic libraries, Internet or for a fee) as much as possible so that you can save time searching for your articles
  • If you are examining a topic for the first time and unaware of the research on it, start with broad syntheses of the literature, such as overviews, summaries of the literature on your topic or review articles
  • Start with the most recent issues of the journals, and look for studies about your topic and then work backward in time. Follow-up on references at the end of the articles for more sources to examine
  • Refer books on a single topic by a single author or group of authors or books that contain chapters written by different authors
  • Next look for recent conference papers. Often, conference papers report the latest research developments. Contact authors of pertinent studies. Write or phone them, asking if they know of studies related to your area of interest
  • The easy access and ability to capture entire articles from the web make it attractive. However, check these articles carefully for authenticity and quality and be cautious about whether they represent systematic research.

The whole process of literature search[ 20 ] is summarised in Figure 1 .

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Process of literature search

Literature search provides not only an opportunity to learn more about a given topic but provides insight on how the topic was studied by previous analysts. It helps to interpret ideas, detect shortcomings and recognise opportunities. In short, systematic and well-organised research may help in designing a novel research.

Financial support and sponsorship

Conflicts of interest.

There are no conflicts of interest.


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  1. Choosing A Research Topic

  2. PhD Pro-Tips: Mastering The Art Of Planning Ahead!

  3. Research Methods: Writing a Literature Review

  4. Research Process

  5. Getting Insights From Other Disciplines

  6. Real-Life Experience: Inspiring PhD Topics


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    The sample methodology in a research paper provides the information to show that the research is valid. It must tell what was done to answer the research question and how the research was done.

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    One way to search for articles in which the authors have used a specific research methodology is to use the advanced search function to

  7. Tips for Finding Articles with Methodology & Results

    Articles that include methods, results, literature review are a specific type of academic or scholarly research that tends to be more common

  8. Blog PhDTalk

    1. Ask your supervisor where to start · 2. Read up on the basics in a textbook · 3. References from the research proposal · 4. Find a good review

  9. Q. How do I search for a research article by methodology type

    Start with the database PsycINFO. Go to the Advanced Search function. Select the methodology type you need (e.g., qualitative study) under the

  10. How do I find an article that reports on research that uses a specific

    You can find articles that report on research that uses a specific methodology by using methodology terms as search keywords in the Library

  11. Methodology in a Research Paper: Definition and Example

    When researchers document their studies, they typically include a methodology to describe the processes and outcomes of their research.

  12. Methodology

    The methodology section or methods section tells you how the author(s) went about doing their research. It should let you know a) what

  13. Literature search for research planning and identification of ...

    Often, conference papers report the latest research developments. Contact

  14. How to identify the research methodology used in a research paper

    Your methodology should be comprised of: 1) What was your hypothesis, if any. 2) Your means of collecting data, or from where you acquired your data. 3) Your