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GPY 4384 Research Methods

Art Therapy - Research Methodology

Research Process

The research process is a systematic way to successfully engage in and complete the research you will be required to do for many of your assignments and projects.  Use the research process to manage the demands of your academic life. 


What is Research Process?

Research process is a step-by-step approach for developing a research paper. It generally involves several activities

  • developing a research question
  • doing background research by identifying, locating, evaluating, and analyzing relevant information
  • synthesizing the information to support your point of view or address your research question
  • presenting the information ethically by giving appropriate credit

Some activities might be simultaneous. You might develop and refine your question after locating and evaluating your sources. Your search for relevant sources may continue after you read and analyze some sources and refer to their references/bibliographies.


Developing your Research Focus/Research Question

  • Make sure you understand the assignment and its requirements 

  • If the topic is not assigned by your professor, start by selecting a topic of interest

  • Do preliminary research to learn more about the general topic

  • Start asking focused, open ended questions (what, where, when, where, why, or how)

  • Develop the research question that will serve to define your investigation, set boundaries, and provide direction.  You can see in the graphic that research questions tend to start with a general idea/concept and are developed into a focused inquiry.


Planning Your Search Strategy

State your topic idea as a statement or question. Example: How does globalization impact local economies of developing countries?

Identify your main concepts and make a list of them as well as synonyms and related terms for each concept. These are the key words you will use to find articles in databases or books using DISCOVERY (see the 'Find Articles' and 'Find Books' tabs on this guide to find out where/how you will put your key words to work). 


Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3


developing countries


global trade

developing economies


international trade

local economies


Think about your search limits. Do you want to limit your search to current materials or do you need a historical view? Are you looking for scholarly or popular resources? What are the requirements of the assignment?

Select an appropriate resource to put your key words to work and begin your research.  DISCOVERY is a great starting point to begin to identify relevant library materials, it returns results that include peer-reviewed journal articles as well as books.  It's a good idea to first review the 'Find Articles' and 'Find Books' tabs on this guide to learn about source options available to you and how each is effectively navigated.


Search Strategies

Always try more than one search using more than one resource!

Use AND, OR, and NOT found within each interface with your search terms to expand and limit your search query

AND retrieves records that contain all of the search terms. For example, globalization OR "global trade" AND "international trade"

OR retrieves records that contain ANY of the search terms, but does not necessarily include all of them. For example, "globalization" OR "global trade" AND "international trade"

NOT Excludes records containing the second search term.  For example, global NOT warming

Use “quotation marks” to search for a complete phrase: “developing countries”

Use an asterisk* for alternate word endings: econom* will pull results containing economics, economy, economies, etc.