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

It is best to access all of the library resources from the Library Services website and see our Seven things about CityLibrary interactive presentation. 

It is a good idea to set up Google Scholar to link directly to City's online subscriptions, see our guidance.  You can also add browser extensions  such as LibKey Nomad on your browser toolbar to assist with finding subscription and open access articles etc. for your research.

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 which 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).
  • See also our Sources of information guide for details of finding different types of resources for your research.
  • To find materials on research methods, you can add "research methods" to your search. 

Types of research methods

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.

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.

SAGE Research Methods online and SAGE Campus

SAGE Research Methods online

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 and a Methods map which allows visualisation of research concepts. 

See our Research skills reading list videos for some examples of video content.

SAGE Campus

SAGE Campus  is a collection of over 30 self-paced courses covering critical skills and research methods that can be applied across all stages of academic studyand research. Topic areas include: navigating information, data literacy, research skills, data science skills, and getting published. There are useful courses on choosing a research question, writing a research proposal and Research design in Social Data Science and how to write a journal article. You will need to register with your City email address to use SAGE Campus.

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.