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The research process

The different stages of the research process when gathering literature for your studies

Start with your topic

  • What are you researching?
  • Understand or interpret the question or task
  • What information do you need?


  • What are your criteria?
  • Plan your keywords
  • Develop meaningful search strategies.


  • Identify appropriate search tools
  • Explore the information
  • Use search filters
  • Build a picture of your topic.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Try revisiting your plan and keywords.


  • Who, what, where, when and why?
  • Is it relevant to your question or task?
  • Do you have permission to use the information?
  • Read abstracts to help make decisions.

If your results aren’t quite right for your needs, try searching again or revisit your plan.


  • Save and organise your results
  • Read the information and make notes
  • Decide how it fits into the research question or task
  • Keep a record of your sources for referencing purposes.

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