Research Methods: Developing your research design

Eira Patterson | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Reading to develop research questions

Carrying out reading of related research and theory on your question can result in:

  • questions becoming more specific

  • change of focus for your research

After preliminary ideas have been identified, it is necessary to search published literature to identify key themes and research findings that relate to these ideas. This will help support the development of the initial ideas. Reading other published research is also useful in providing ideas of possible strategies for carrying out the research. The role of reading within your research will become a cyclical process in which the reading will initially inform the development of the questions, which will then impact on the direction your reading takes. Continuing to search and read the literature will help at each stage of the process of developing the question. For further guidance, look at the MESH Guide: Doing a Literature Review.

It is important to realise that the research process is not necessarily linear, and you need to be ready to adapt your question in response to findings.