Thursday, 5 June 2014

Guest post: Review of the Sage Research Methods online collection

As a second year PhD researcher at the York Management School, I have found the Sage Research Methods online collection a useful tool for my research. The collection covers everything from explaining to a new researcher how to write about a piece of research, to various methodologies in social science research for intermediate and advanced researchers. In terms of research preparation, it’s a great place to start and a highly-recommended reference point for students. If you need help using it, you can just click on the Video button to see step-by-step instructions.

The collection contains encyclopaedias, handbooks and other important resources in research methodology that include qualitative and quantitative methods. It also has content from hundreds of dictionaries, and guides on particular subjects along with Sage Journals content and videos. This is broad and varied access to quality resources for social science researchers. 

Searching is easy and the interface is user-friendly: options include browsing and searching related topics and methodologies. You can move straight from the results list to contents and methods, and explore the relationship between the two. Advanced search features allow you to search the full text, method, title, author, journals, and more. The only drawback I experienced when using the search box was not being able to find a journal that contained more than one keyword. For instance, I tried to search for a journal which contains the words 'Immigrant Entrepreneurs' and the results contained either 'Immigrant' or 'Entrepreneurs'. However, it is still a very useful tool to learn about writing research - especially for a beginner. 

Methodology is crucial to a piece of research and Sage Research Methods online collection makes things easier. Methodologies available in the database include basic statistics, advanced statistics, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods making this tool suitable for all levels of researcher – from beginner to expert. 

Method maps and method browsers allow the user to view all the possible and relevant methodologies available. This is very exciting and easy to use because users can just click on the bullet points in the page to can see lists of concepts and philosophies, literature reviews, mixed methods, qualitative research, quantitative research and research design. Selecting a topic directs the users to explore more, suggesting relevant books and journals for their research. Unfortunately, there is no back or next button on this page - the user has to click on the back button in the browser instead. However, it is still helpful that a good reference is provided for the research method. 

Selecting the Show Content box shows two book series included in the collection - Little Green Books and Little Blue Books. The Little Green Books discuss the most topical questions about quantitative research within the social sciences while the Little Blue Books focus on qualitative research is well suited to nascent research, and to those who wish to widen their methodology list.

Nur Suhaili Ramli,
Doctoral researcher
The York Management School

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