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Starting your research


These guides are designed in particular for Masters, PhD students, postdoctoral and early career researchers and academic staff.

See the university website for an overview of research activities at City.

Please see the Library Services guidance for the latest updates. 

Research is organised by schools, academic departments and in smaller clusters called centres and institutes. See Information about Research centres and groups.

Use this guide to:                                                                                                                             

CityLibrary Search

CityLibrary Search is a great place to start your research. You can quickly discover relevant information on any topic across the Library's collections. 

  • You should use CityLibrary Search to find books and e-books in the library collection, and to access full-text journal articles the library subscribes to. 
  • It is easy to use. CityLibrary Search uses a familiar search interface, it is similar to Google.
  • Search results can be filtered using the facets on the left hand side of the screen. 
  • You can save all the relevant results you have retrieved. You can print, email or export them to RefWorks (or other reference management software).
  • For more information, see our CityLibrary Search guide.
  • See also our Sources of information guide for details of finding different types of resources for your research.

Research Methods

You can search CityLibrary Search for your research topics and add research methods to your search.

There are also a number of research methods books for different disciplines in CityLibrary.

You may like to try SAGE Research Methods Online an online research methods tool designed to help you create research projects and understand the methods behind them. It includes content to support your research, from basic definitions and practical guidance for using methods to detailed case studies and theoretical discussions and advice on writing up your research.

SAGE Research Methods online has a useful Project planner which includes different stages of the research process from defining a topic, to selecting research methods to dissemination of the research outcomes.

There are many different research methods, some of which are described below:

Quantitative research gathers data in numerical form which can be put into categories, or in rank order, or measured in units of measurement.  This type of data can be used to construct graphs and tables of raw data. Quantitative research is about asking people for their opinions in a structured way so that you can produce hard facts and statistics to guide you. To get reliable statistical results, it’s important to survey people in fairly large numbers and to make sure they are a representative sample of your target market.

Qualitative research generally deals with talk or words rather than numbers. It is concerned with the meanings people attach to their experiences of the social world and how they make sense of that world. It therefore tries to interpret social phenomena (interactions, behaviours, etc.) in terms of the meanings people bring to them.

Main methods commonly used in qualitative research: observation,  interviews and group discussion. Questionnaires/Surveys can also be used to "interview" a large number of people. The researcher has to select which method would be more appropriate to answer the research question, or may use more than one method. The researcher in these different designs plays the role of observer, interviewer or group moderator.

Examples of Research Methods

The essential goal of mixed methods research is to tackle a given research question from any relevant angle, making use where appropriate of previous research and/or more than one type of investigative perspective.

Sometimes referred to as mixed methodology, multiple methodology or multi-methodology research, mixed methods research offers you the best of both worlds: the in-depth, contextualised, and natural but more time-consuming insights of qualitative research coupled with the more-efficient but less rich or compelling predictive power of quantitative research.

Read for Research

Library Services has a scheme called Read for Research which allows research students and postdoctoral and academic staff doing research to recommend titles either for their own research area or generally useful research titles for purchase by the Library.  You can request books using the Read for Research webform on our website.

You can see some titles ordered by our research students and staff on our online Read for Research reading list.

Selection of Read for Research Titles in CityLibrary

‚ÄčOther titles can be found on CityLibrary Search