Designing A Research Strategy
Content reviewed: November 2010. Elizabeth Douthitt Byrne, Head, Environmental Design Library; revised by Amy Rogers, Intern, November 2010.
Designing A Research Strategy
Searching for information for design projects and research papers need not be difficult. If you design and follow a plan in your search for information—a search strategy—you will be able to find what you need with greater efficiency. This search strategy is intended as a general guide. You can vary it depending on your specific needs, but consider all of these basic steps.
A good place to begin your research strategy is UC Berkeley Teaching Library's General Guide on Research.
DECONSTRUCT your topic to uncover its complexities. Another term for deconstructing a research question is 'concept mapping;' see the Rhode Island School of Design Library's excellent slide show Concept Mapping for a visual tutorial (a PowerPoint presentation).
Select a style manual for bibliographic citations (see Citation Styles for more information), follow its recommendations for form, and thoroughly cite every source you use. It will save you time when you are trying to locate materials and compile your bibliography or footnotes.
Select a topic. If your topic is too broad, you will find more information than you can retrieve. If it is too narrow, you will find very little information.
- Get an overview of your topic by consulting an encyclopedia:
- Note key words or subject terms which can be used in your search. Also look for bibliographies at the end of encyclopedia articles. They will lead you to additional sources of information. For unknown or obscure words and terms, and for related subject
terms use dictionaries:
To identify lists of books and/or articles already gathered by some previous researcher, check for the availability of bibliographies on your subject. Search OskiCat by doing a keyword search on “bibliograph* AND (your general topic). Example: “bibliograph* architect* (Rome OR Roman)”. If there are no specialized bibliographies on your topic, check the indexes or table of contents of more general subject bibliographies, e.g.
- Refine your topic. Using sources gathered so far, clarify the
scope and depth of the subject or problem you wish to research.
- Search for books and periodical articles on your topic.
Journals provide more up-to-date and specialized information than books. Use relevant terms or keywords found in the steps above, or identified in the thesaurus accompanying some periodical indexes, to look in appropriate periodical and newspaper indexes for citations and/or abstracts. Once you have identified a list of articles, use UC e-Links (tutorial) or check the library catalogs to determine availability and location. For additional resources, see:
Books: Searching Authors or Titles. Using authors or designers
or titles you found through the steps above, search the Library catalogs:
Books: Searching Subject. Begin with keyword searches in OskiCat and the Melvyl catalogs; then search on the appropriate Library of Congress subject headings in the bibliographic record.
For a comprehensive list of Library of Congress Subject Headings (tutorial), see Library of Congress Authorities.
- Footnotes and Bibliographies. For additional sources check the footnotes and bibliographies of the books and articles which you found most useful.
- After locating periodical articles and books, you are ready to evaluate the resources you have found so far. Use Critical Evaluation of Resources to help determine suitable material for your research.
- Consider additional sources to supplement your findings, such as Maps, Images, Archival sources etc.
Biographical sources should be consulted for information on names discovered in your search. Specialized materials concentrate on biographies of famous people according to gender, geographic area, ethnic background, occupation, etc. Many have bibliographies and lists of a person's works. For more information see:
- Book Review Indexes help evaluate material and can be found at Book and Film Review Databases.
- Statistical Sources provide facts and statistics. Check sources for Statistics and Numeric Data on the Library's homepage.
- U.S. Government Documents, as well as local and foreign government publications, cover a broad range of topics. Consult the following websites for assistance.
Dissertations are indexed by keyword and broad subject categories and are usually available through interlibrary loan or purchase if not in the UCB Library. To search for dissertations on your topic search use:
- Exhibition Catalogs are indexed by subject in the library catalogs and widely available. Many art indexes and databases also include citations for exhibition catalogs. For a list of art indexes see:
- Other sources include non-book material, such as Images; Videos; Conference Proceedings; Patents; Oral Histories; Archival Materials; Organizations; and Personal Interviews, to name a few. Consult a reference librarian for more information.
- For information on citations, style manuals, and writing research papers or dissertations, additional information, we recommend the sources below, which are available in most campus libraries or in book stores. For more information consult with a librarian.
Style Guides & Manuals
Style manuals provide guidelines for how to format the elements of your citation. In addition to providing guidelines for how to cite sources, these manuals give background information on other elements of style, such as proper page layout, punctuation, quotations, etc.
For more or newer publications on this subject search the library catalogs under these subject headings: writing Handbooks; authorship Handbooks; authorship style manuals; research Handbooks manuals; or printing united states style manuals. See also the UCB Teaching Library's Citing Your Sources.
- The Chicago manual of style. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. (EnvDesign Reference, Music Z253 .U69 2003, Doe Ref, Moff Ref PE1408 .U69 2003).
Electronic verison UCB Only: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/
- Citing Your Resources (UCB Teaching Library)
- Fowler, H. Ramsey. The Little, Brown Handbook. New York : Longman, c2010. (EnvDesign Reference PE1112 .F64 2010)
- Hacker, Diana. A writer's reference. Boston : Bedford/St. Martins, , c2009. (EnvDesign Reference PE1408 .H2778 2010)
- MLA Handbook for writers of research papers. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 2009. (Doe Ref, Main Stacks LB2369 .G53 2009)
- MLA style manual and guide to scholarly publishing. NY, Modern Language Association of America, 2008. (EnvDesign Reference, Doe Ref, Main Stacks, Bancroft, PN147 .G444 2008)
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
- Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, D.C., American Psychological Association. 2010. (EnvDesign Reference, Doe Ref, Moffitt Ref BF76.7 .P83 2010)
- Turabian, Kate L. A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations: Chicago style for students and researchers. 7th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. (EnvDesign Reference LB2369 .T8 2007)
- Turabian, Kate L. Student's Guide for Writing College Papers. Chicago: Univ.of Chicago Press, 4th ed., 2010. (EnvDesign Reference Desk, Bio Sci Ref LB2369 .T821 2010)
- Walker, Janice R. The Columbia guide to online style. New York: Columbia University Press, c2006. (EnvDesign Reference, BioSci Ref PN171 .F56 .W35 2006 Reference). Electronic version: The Columbia guide to online style.
- Williams, Joseph M. Style: toward clarity and grace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. (EnvDesign PE1421 .W546 1995)
- Winkler, Anthony C. Writing the research paper: a handbook with both the MLA and APA documentation styles. 5th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999. (EnvDesign Reference LB2369 .W56 1999)
Theses, Dissertations, & Term Papers: Writing & Research
See also Environmental Design Library research guide:
For more and newer publications on this subject check in the library catalogs under subjects: dissertations academic handbooks, report writing handbooks, or proposal writing in research handbooks.
Balian, Edward S. Graduate Research Guidebook: A Practical Approach to Doctoral/Masters Research. Lanham, Md., University Press of America, 1994. (EnvDesign, Ed/Psych LB2369 .B24 1994)
- Borden, Iain and Ray, Katerina Reudi, The dissertation: an architecture student's handbook. 2nd ed. Amsterdam, Boston , London: Architectural, 2006. (EnvDesign NA2108 .B67 2006)
- Calabrese, Raymond. The dissertation desk reference : the doctoral student's manual to writing the dissertation. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2009. (EnvDesign LB2369 .C273 2009)
- Clark, Suzanne M. Cartographic Citations: a Style Guide. Chicago, American Library Assoc. Map and Geography Round Table, 1992. (EnvDesign Reference GA108.7 .C55 1992)
- Davis, Gordon Bitter. Writing the doctoral dissertation: a systematic approach. 2nd ed. Hauppauge, N.Y.: Barron's, 1997. (EnvDesign LB2369 .D357 1997)
- Hamper, Robert J. Handbook for Writing Proposals. Lincolnwood, Ill: NTC Pub. Group, 1995. (EnvDesign HF5718.5 .H2844 1995)
- Locke, Lawrence F. Proposals that work: a guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals. 5th ed. Waneen Wyrick. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2007. (EnvDesign Q180.55 .P7 .L63 2007)
- Mauch, James E. Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation: a handbook for students and faculty. 5th ed., rev. and expanded. New York: M. Dekker, 2003. (EnvDesign, Main Stacks LB2369 .M377 2003)
- Roberts, Carol M. The dissertation journey : a practical and comprehensive guide to planning, writing, and defending your dissertation. Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Corwin Press, c2004. (EnvDesign LB1742 .R63 2004)
- Roth, Audrey J. Research paper: process, form, and content. 8th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth, 1999. (Ed/Psych LB2369 .R66 1999 Ref.)
- Rudestam, Kjell Erik. Surviving your dissertation : a comprehensive guide to content and process. Los Angeles : SAGE Publications, c2007. (EnvDesign Reference LB2369 .R83 2007)
- Swetnam, Derek. Writing your dissertation: how to plan, prepare and present your work successfully. 2nd ed. Oxford : How to Books, 1997. (EnvDesign LB2369 .S87 1997)
- UCB Graduate Division. Guidelines for Submitting a Doctoral Dissertation or a Master's Thesis. Related files are under Degree Information: "Dissertation Filing Guide" and "Thesis Filing Guide".
Guides To Research—General
For more or newer publications on this subject, check the library catalogs under these subject headings: research methodology handbooks; grey literature; or library resources united states handbooks.
- Blaxter, Loraine. How to research. Buckingham [UK]; Philadelphia: Open University Press, 1996. (EnvDesign Q180.55 .M4 .B59 1996, Main Stacks Q180.55 .M4 .B59 2006). Electronic version: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/berkeley/docDetail.action?docID=10196987
- Booth, Wayne C. The craft of research. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c2008. (EnvDesign, Bus&Econ Q180.55 .M4 B66 2008). Electronic version: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/berkeley/docDetail.action?docID=10288700
- Fielding, Nigel et al. The SAGE Handbook of online research methods. Los Angeles ; London : SAGE, 2008. (EnvDesign ZA4228 .S24 2008)
- Flick, Uwe., An introduction to qualitative research. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage, 2009. (Main Stacks BF76.5 .F5713 2009, EnvDesign BF76.5 .F5713 1998)
- Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA style manual and guide to scholarly publishing. 3rd ed. New York : Modern Language Association of America, 2008. (EnvDesign Reference PN147 .G444 2008)
- Handbook of Research Synthesis, ed. by Harris Cooper and Larry V. Hedges. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2009. (Ed/Psych Q180.55 .M4 H35 2009, BioSci Q180.55 .M4 H35 1994)
- Houston , Brant. The investigative reporter's Handbook : a guide to documents, databases and techniques. Boston, Bedford/St. Martin's, c2002. (EnvDesign Reference PN4781 .I578 2002)
- How to Research in an Archive, University of Texas, Austin, Alexander Architectural Archive, An excellent introduction to effective and efficient use of an archive.
- Lane, Nancy. Techniques for student research : a comprehensive guide to using the library. Imprint New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, c2000. (Moffitt Z710 .L36 2000)
- Leedy, Paul D. Practical research : planning and design. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Merrill, c2010. (EnvDesign Q180.55 .M4 .L43 2010)
- Levine, Stephen. Paper trails: a guide to public records in California, 2nd ed. San Francisco : Center for Investigative Reporting ; Sacramento California Newspaper Publishers Association,1996 (EnvDesign Reference Desk CD3111 .N48 1996)
- Mann, Thomas. The Oxford guide to library research. New York : Oxford University Press, c2005. (EnvDesign Z710 .M231 2005)
- Stebbins, Leslie F. Student guide to research in the digital age : how to locate and evaluate information source. Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2006. (EnvDesign ZA3075 .S74 2006)
- Using Archives, a practical guide for researchers, Library and Archives Canada. Another good guide to using archives for research. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/04/0416_e.html
Guides To Research—Architecture, Design, & Humanities
For more or newer publications on this subject search the library catalogs under these subject headings: art# authorship, or art research handbooks, or architecture research
- Barnet, Sylvan. A short guide to writing about art. 10th ed. New Jersey: Pearson, 2011 (EnvDesign Reference & Circulating, Main Stacks N7476 .B37 2011)
- Borden, Iain and Katerina Reudi. The dissertation: an architecture student's handbook. Oxford, Boston: Architectural Press, 2006. (EnvDesign NA2108 .B67 2006)
- Fellows, Richard. Research methods for construction. Oxford; Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Science, 2003. (EnvDesign TH213.5 .F45 2003)
- Groat, Linda N. Architectural research methods New York: J. Wiley, 2002. (EnvDesign NA2000 .G76 2002)
- Hult, Christine A. Researching and writing in the humanities and arts. Boston : Allyn and Bacon, c1996. (EnvDesign AZ186 .H85 1996)
- Jones, Lois Swan. Art information and the Internet: how to find it, how to use it. Phoenix, Oryz Press, 1999. (EnvDesign Reference, Art/Classics N59 .J66 1999 Ref.) Electronic version of the 1999 edition: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/berkeley/docDetail.action?docID=10015396
- Marius, Richard. A short guide to writing about history. 4th ed. New York: Longman, 2002. (Main Stacks D13 .M294 2002, EnvDesign D13 .M294 1999)
- Munsterberg, Marjorie. Writing about art. [New York] : c2009. Online edition available at http://www.writingaboutart.org/. Includes a step-by-step guide to researching art historical topics. (Art History/Classics N7467 M867 2009 Library Use Only)
- Sanoff, Henry. Visual Research Methods in Design. NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1991. (EnvDesign NA2750 .S25 1991)
- Sayre, Henry M. Writing about art. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2006. (EnvDesign Reference N7476 .S29 2006)
- Wehrli, Robert. Environmental Design Research: How To Do It and How To Apply It. NY:, Wiley, 1986. (EnvDesign Reference TA170 .W441 1986)
Guides To Research—Planning & Social Sciences
For more or newer publications in this subject, search the library catalogs using these subject headings: social sciences research methodology
or environmental psychology research methodology
- A handbook for social science field research : essays & bibliographic sources on research design and methods. Edited by Ellen Perecman, Sara R. Curran. Imprint Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2006. (EnvDesign H62 .H24528 2006)
- Andranovich, Gregory D. Doing Urban Research. Newbury Park: Sage, 1993. (EnvDesign HT110 .A56 1993)
- Becker, Howard Saul. Tricks of the trade: how to
think about your research while you're doing it. Chicago, Ill.:
University of Chicago Press, 1998 (EnvDesign, Main Stacks H91 .B38 1998)
- Becker, Howard Saul. Writing for social scientists : how to start and finish your thesis, book, or article. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press, 2007. (EnvDesign H61.8 .B43 2007) Electronic version: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/berkeley/docDetail.action?docID=10276714
- Berg, Bruce. Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. 6th ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, 2007. (EnvDesign, Main H61 .B4715 2007)
- Cuba, Lee J. A short guide to writing about social science. New York : Longman, c2002. (EnvDesign H91 .C78 2002)
- Dunlap, Louise. Undoing the silence : six tools for social change writing. Oakland, CA : New Village Press, c2007. (EnvDesign PN145 .D86 2007)
- Hult, Christine A. Researching and writing in the
social sciences. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996. (EnvDesign, Main Stacks H62 .H725
- Miller, Delbert C. Handbook of Research Design and Social Measurement. 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage, 2002. (EnvDesign H62 .M44 2002)
- Neuman, William Lawrence. Basics of social research: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Boston, Allyn and Bacon, 2004. (SocWelf HM571. N48 2004)
- Punch, Keith. Developing effective research proposals. London ; Thousand Oaks : SAGE, c2006. (EnvDesign H62 .P92 2006)
- Pyrczak, Fred. Writing empirical research reports : a basic guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences. 6th ed. Glendale, CA : Pyrczak Pub., c2007. (EnvDesign LB2369 .P97 2007)
- The SAGE Handbook of qualitative research. Edited by Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln. Thousand Oaks : Sage Publications, c2005. (EnvDesign H62 .H2455 2005)
- The SAGE handbook of online research methods, Nigel G. Fielding, Raymond M. Lee, and Grant Blank, eds. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2008. (EnvDesign ZA4228 .S24 2008)
- Silverman, David. Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook. 2nd ed. London: SAGE, 2005. (EnvDesign, Bus&Econ H62 .S55 2005)
- Smoekh, Bridget. Research methods in the social sciences. London : SAGE, 2005 (Bus&Econ, H62 .R47 2004)
- Sommer, Robert. A Practical guide to behavioral research: tools and techniques. 5th ed. NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002. (EnvDesign, Main, Ed/Psych H62 .S724734 2002)
- Vogt, W. Paul. Dictionary of statistics & methodology: a nontechnical guide for the social sciences. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2005. (EnvDesign Reference HA17 .V64 2005)
- Zeisel, John. Inquiry by design: tools for environment-behavior research. Monterey, Calif.: Bros/Cole Pub. Co., c1980. Series title: The Bros/Cole basic concepts in environment and behavior series. (EnvDesign BF353 .Z44)