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What is Research?


Research is the process of searching for and collecting information on a narrow or broad research topic. These types of information may include journal articles, web pages, books, magazine and newspaper articles,  film and audio, and archival material. 

How to Research


There are several places for you to research. As a researcher, you will need to keep track of the data you collect. You will use this data as evidence to answer your research question. This data will help prove your phenomenon. This allows for trends to be identified and future predictions to be inferred. 

Click on the links below to search through these. 

These include:

Databases hold journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, and more. Search these to find peer-reviewed articles. 

Peer-reviewed articles are articles that have been reviewed by experts in the field of the topic, that verify that the research is credible. 

eBooks are online books that you can read, search for keywords, copy and paste information and highlight the book online. You can read these by logging in using your Moodle sign-on if you are an AFTRS student or staff member.

Google Scholar is a part of Google, that allows you to search for peer-reviewed journal articles, case studies, and thesis papers. If you find an article that you cannot access, please contact the library.

Formulating a Research Question



Developing a Research Question


What interests you about the topic?

Reflect on your personal interests and motivations. This can help you develop a research question that you are genuinely passionate about.

What do you already know about the topic?

Consider your existing knowledge or any prior research you may have done, to build help narrow down potential research directions.

What questions do you have about the topic?

Brainstorm any questions or uncertainties you have about the topic. This can help identify areas that you would like to explore further through research.

How does this topic relate to broader issues or themes?

Think about the broader context of the topic and consider how it connects to larger societal, cultural, or academic issues.

What gaps or controversies exist in the literature?

Explore existing research on the topic and identify any gaps, inconsistencies, or areas of debate. That way, your research question can help contribute to the existing body of knowledge.

Can you rephrase your topic as a question?

Try to formulate your topic as a question. This can help clarify your focus and develop a research question that is specific and actionable.

What potential outcomes or implications are you interested in exploring?

Think about the potential impact of your research and consider what outcomes or implications you hope to uncover.

How do you plan to approach this topic?

Think about your research methodology and consider how you will gather and analyze data. This will ensure your research question is feasible and aligned with your research approach.

What audience do you envision for your research? 

Consider the needs of your intended audience and what you hope to communicate or achieve through your research.

What resources or support do you need to pursue this research question?

Think about the resources, expertise, or support you may require to effectively pursue your research question. This can help you identify any potential challenges or barriers and plan accordingly.

Writing Assignments


There are several types of assignments, each will require a different structure, Click on the links below to discover the different assignment types. 


Research Methodology


Once you have decided on your research question and scope, you will need to decide on which methodology you will use. 

Research Methodologies 

There are different types of research methodology to consider. 

Qualitative research 

Qualitative research is the process of collecting data that needs to be analysed in order to understand and interpret, lived experiences, emotions, and behaviors. This research aims to interpret events, explain why or how things occur, describe actions, and understand how individuals perceive and define meaning. This is associated with interpretive philosophy. 

Data collection methods

This is how you will conduct your Qualitative research. 

  • Interviews: These are planned interviews between the researcher and the participant /participants. 
  • Focus Groups: Involves multiple participants discussing a specific topic. Researchers can facilitate these groups or observe. 
  • Observation: The researcher may observe a phenomenon/ group. This aims to identify what and how people attach meaning to the action they take. Observation research requires the researcher to view, record, describe, analyse and interpret people's behavior or phenomena. 
  • Oral history/ living memory: This involves the researcher gathering information from individuals. 
  • Document analysis: This involves analysing letters, emails, correspondence, reports, etc. to draw conclusions. 

Quantitative research 

Quantitative research is the process of gathering numerical data, that can be measured through analysis. It aims to identify relationships, discover facts about social phenomena or identify statistical inferences. 

Data collection methods:

  • Experiments: This involves testing theories, cause and effect relationships in a controlled environment. 
  • Surveys/ questionnaires: The researcher provides surveys/ questionnaires to a large sample of individuals. May involve using Likert scales to measure the data.
  • Structured Observation: The researcher will count the number of occurrences of phenomena in context. 

Mixed method

The mixed-method is where the researcher will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. This method may assist the researcher in better answering the research question. 

Searching the Databases



Evaluating Sources


It is important to use credible sources to ensure that the research you have collected is accurate and reputable.

Follow this link to learn more. 

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Academic Sources


Need to check if your source is peer-reviewed or academic? 

Click this link to go to our LibGuide on Peer-Reviewed Articles and Academic Sources.



It is important to keep track of your research. Where you got it, who created it, and when it was created. When you use a source (an article, book or webpage, etc.) in your work it must be referenced.

In-text reference

An in-text reference is where you copy and paste the words from a source and use them in your assignment. 

Example: In Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, he describes how  "I was lying when I said just now that I was a spiteful official" (Dostoevsky, 1864, p.4).

Reference List

This is a list that appears on the last page of your assignment on a separate page. It will be in alphabetical order and in certain formats. 

Example: Dostoyevsky F. Pevear R. & Volokhonsky L. (1993). Notes from underground (1st ed.). Alfred A. Knopf.

Visit our AFTRS Referencing Guide to learn more.