Category Archives: Library research support

Online Training Session on Sage Research Methods

Calling all researchers! We’re running a webinar to give you the low down on the Sage Research Methods database and how it can enhance your research project no matter what stage you’re at.

What will be covered? A brief introduction to the database including what the database is and how it can be useful whether you are; writing your research question, conducting your literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing your data, writing up your results or thinking about publication. It’s got something for everyone!

When? 20th July 2020 2-2:30pm

How to sign up? Click this link to sign up on my learning centre.

Need to contact us? Email us at

Hope to see you there!

Which Stats Test? SAGE Research Methods

Hello and happy Thursday everyone!

Today is the final instalment of the SAGE Research Methods blog post series and we will be focusing on the Stats Test tool. This tool is designed to help researchers figure out which statistical test is best for their study – as it can be very difficult to get to grips with! All you have to do is answer a series of questions about your project and SRM will do all the work for you (amazing right?)


Also if you’re ever unsure of how to answer a question, there will always be a help section which will take you to a list of resources designed to help you understand the question. For example, this screenshot shows the question ‘what measurement level are your variables?’ and the help function has links to take you to resources aimed at helping you to understand variables and levels of measurement.


We hope you’ve found these SAGE Research Methods posts useful. If you have any further queries about the database please contact the Research Support Team at

Good luck with your research!

Free Kings Open Research Conference

Open Research Conference (2)

On the 11th June 2020 Kings College London are hosting their Inaugural Open Research Conference online, and it is open to all (internal and external)!

The conference will consist of a series of talks and a roundtable discussion, world renowned researchers, stakeholders and initiatives will discuss the necessity for Open Research with the view of engendering a research culture shift toward open, accessible, and reproducible research.

Click here for more information and to find details of how to attend.

Helpful Project Planning – SAGE Research Methods

Hello, I’m back again with the fourth instalment of the SAGE Research Methods series and today we are going to focus on the Project Planner feature. The title is pretty self-explanatory but I’m going to explain how you can best use and why you should be using it as well as some tips and tricks to ensure you get the best out of this tool. So let’s start with an overview of what it is for.

First things first, to find The Project Planner cover over the drop-down menu on the top right-hand side of the SRM home page and you’ll see it is the third option in the menu. You’ll also be able to find Project Planner materials in the site search box.

The Project Planner is designed to be with you from the beginning to the very end of your project, acting as a guide to help you understand what needs to be included at every stage of the research planning process (NOTE – that definitely does not mean if you haven’t been using it then you shouldn’t bother and I’ll explain why next).

As you can see from the image above, the Project Planner asks you to think about what stage you’re at in your research and once you’ve identified this, you have a list of options on the left-hand side to start you off at the stage which best describes where you are. These are options included:

  • Overview
  • Philosophy of Research
  • Defining a Topic
  • Reviewing the Literature
  • Developing a Researchable Question
  • Research Design
  • Planning and Practicalities
  • Research Ethics
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Writing Up
  • Dissemination

Within each option you will be presented with clear definitions along with explanations of key terms and questions, as well as links to take you to other useful resources and a checklist which can be helpful in ensuring your supervision meetings stay focused or they can provide the basis for discussions with research clients or collaborators. These can all be read online or you can download them in a PDF format.

This tool will inevitably help you to improve your thesis, dissertation or research projects if used efficiently.

For any further queries on The Project Planner or SRM please email

Open Book Publishers: Chat Drop-in Sessions on Open Access

Hello everyone, happy Wednesday!

Open Book Publishers have been having a lot of success with their open access drop-in sessions and have released some more dates in the coming weeks.

Session 2: This session will be Open Access book publishing: beyond the BPC and will take place on the 25th May. This session will be hosted by the Editor and Outreach coordinator Lucy Barnes. It will be of interest to researchers and research advisors interested in OA publishing and the OA model.

When: Monday 25th May at 5pm (UK time).
How: click here to connect to their Zoom channel.

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to know more, please feel free to contact Lucy by email at any time.

Session 3: This session is for anyone interested in their book publishing process: log on and chat with the co-director and commissioning editor Dr Alessandra Tosi, editor Adele Kreager and co-director Dr Rupert Gatti about their work at OBP – what they publish, how they publish, distribution and more!

When: Monday 1st June at 5pm (UK time).
How: click here to connect to their Zoom channel.

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to know more, please feel free to contact Alessandra by email at any time.

Session 4: This session is for librarians and researchers interested in their membership scheme. Talk with the co-director Dr Rupert Gatti, Editor and Outreach coordinator Lucy Barnes, and Marketing and Library Relations Officer Laura Rodriguez about their library membership programme: what it offers and what it supports.

When: Monday 8th June at 5pm (UK time).
How: click here to connect to their Zoom channel.

If you are unable to attend this meeting but would like to know more, please feel free to contact Laura by email at any time.


Come and check out our new and improved website – Now Live!

Hello everyone,

We are very pleased to announce that our updated website is officially live and we would love for you to head on over and take a look at some of the exciting features we’ve added.

What’s New?

  1. Our brand new Training page which allows you to browse and sign up for any of our online or face-to-face training sessions held throughout the year.
  2. You can head to the following link to meet our dedicated Research Support Team
  3. Why not check out our Checklists for Researchers page which has been updated to include Library advice, information and resources for PGR Supervisors and for our students from any of our Affiliated Research Centres (ARC).

For any further queries feel free to contact us at

Create your own reading list with SAGE Research Methods!

Hello, this is the third post in the SAGE Research Methods series and today I’m going to give you a run down on the reading list feature. Let’s start from the top with what a Reading List actually is. Reading Lists are collections of resources and they can be created by any user. They are not just a list of books, they can include any type of resource available within the SRM database: videos, articles, cases, datasets, chapters of books or entire books if you wish.

Reading Lists on SRM can either be set to private or public, if users choose public then their lists can be found by any user by choosing the Reading Lists option from the Research Tools drop down menu.Once you’ve clicked the link, you will be directed to the following search page where you can either search by method or disciple as well as having the option to search for specific public lists using the search box.

Why should you create your own list?

I thought I would show you my lists and how I find the best way to use them. If you want to use and/or find my list, you can type “Loveys” into the search box as detailed in the instructions above, or by clicking this link. Some of my lists only include a few resources and that is because as I discover materials I want to save or revisit, I update my lists accordingly so some will be more robust than others.

Additionally, I have included some lists created by others in mine. If you see a list that you want to save, simply click to add it and then you will be able to see it in your own list.

There are some useful extra options such as the cite all function. This gives you the option to download all the citations for the resources in the list.






The embed function allows you to embed the list in your online classroom or on a blog or website.







As you can see you also have the option to share your list.                                                      This is not only with colleagues, students or any collaborative partners but you also have the option to share your list on different social networking sites.






So we’ve talked a bit about what you can actually do with your own lists and now I’m going to show you how you can create your own.

How to create your Reading list?

Step one is to search the database on a topic of your choosing to bring up a list of resources that will be relevant to you.

Once you’ve found a resource you want to add to a list, step two is to click the button labelled “add to My Reading Lists”, which will bring up the options to create a new list.

Step three is to give your list a name, a short description and then click “add”. Once you’ve done this and are searching back through your list of resources around your topic, you can simply add any further resources to your now existing list by selecting this option from the dropdown as highlighted below.The final feature of reading lists I want to draw your attention to is the ability to decide whether you want your list to be public or private. This is pretty self-explanatory but if you want other database users to benefit from your list and if you want the ability to share it with colleagues or others, then make it public. However, if you prefer not to share it because you are creating it for your own reference, then choose to keep it private.

Time to try! 

So now is the time to give it a go. If you decide to make your list public then please share it with us on Twitter @OU_Library so we can see your creation. Feel free to leave any questions or ideas for using social Reading Lists in the comments box below or email if you require any further help.

How to map out your Research Methods… SAGE Research Methods

The first of four key elements of the SAGE Research Methods database is the ‘Methods Map’ which enables you to explore the research methods terrain, see how research fits together, find definitions of key terminology, and discover content that is relevant to your personal research methods design. What I love about this feature is that it is a visual tool and this helps me to develop a deeper understanding of the research methods process.

‘Research methods are the systematic tools used to find, collect, analyse and interpret information.’

This tool is useful for all researchers, whether you are someone who has chosen their research approach and is looking to find more information about it, or if you are unsure and are hoping to easily compare and contrast different research directions. By using the Methods Map you have the ability to organise your searches.

The Methods Map is broken down into three key elements including:

  1. Broader Terms
  2. Narrower Terms
  3. Related Terms

When you initially open the Methods Map you will always start with the broadest term ‘Research Methods’. From here, you can decide which aspects you want to explore in more detail to narrow your search (you can either click a specific term as pictured or simply click ‘Narrower Terms’. The following image shows each of the narrower aspects of research methods that are covered in the methods map.

If you were to then click ‘Data quality and data management’ for example, you will be presented with more options as shown below. You have the option to go back to the ‘Broader Term’ which would be back to the ‘Research Methods’ tab, or you can choose ‘Related Terms’.

You may now also want to see the available resources and if so you can click the “View content on data quality and data management” link shown in blue in the screenshot above. This will take you to a list of materials as shown below.

Creating a Custom Map

For those of you who have maybe decided on certain aspects of your research methods but not others, you have the option to map a specific area, instead of the general Research Methods starting point. As you can see I’ve searched for ‘Action Research’ and the database has immediately generated a specific map for me.

Once you have generated a list of source materials, you can narrow further by using the menu on the right. It allows you to choose content type, date range, and/or discipline.

So, what are you waiting for? Log in here and give it a go! If you need any further help please email us and please leave a comment on this blog if you found it useful.

“What every researcher needs” – SAGE Research Methods!

Did you know that at the OU, we have access to the Sage Research Methods database?!

If you’re a researcher, now is definitely the time to be utilising the fantastic resources offered within this database. With no access to our on-campus research methods books during the current pandemic, the SAGE Research Methods site provides a wealth of material that can guide you through every step of your research process – from helping you decide a method to planning out your entire project.

The database offers guidance and support for each stage of the research process starting with: writing a research question, conducting your literature review, choosing the best methods to suit your project, analysis of data, writing up findings and the process to publication. Additionally the database offers:


  • Full versions of printed text
  • Handbooks with comprehensive coverage in a variety of subjects
  • Little Green Books – offering a detailed guide on specific quantitative research methods
  • Little Blue Books – offering a detailed guide on specific qualitative research methods
  • Major Work – volumes of curated journal and book content addressing particular methods of research

Research Tools

  • Methods Map – this tool will allow you visualise the relationship between difference research methods concepts
  • Reading Lists – users have created a list of recommended key research methods and statistics resources
  • Project Planner – a logical walk-through tool for the entire research process
  • Statistical Test (Which Stats Test) – enables you to evaluate and decide on an appropriate statistical method


Reference works provides dictionary definitions and encyclopaedia entries on research topics, including umbrella terms such as qualitative research methods, and specific lines of inquiry such as action research.

  • Encyclopaedia – detailed definitions of research methods concepts
  • Dictionary – quick definitions with less context

SAGE Research Methods Cases

This aspect of the database offers examples of how real research projects were conducted and is invaluable to those of you in the early stages of your research career as fellow researchers have taken the time to write case studies about their experiences. These case studies cover both the successes and challenges they encountered, how they overcame any issues that came up within their research and anything they might have altered with hindsight. Essentially offering you an insight into the realities of research that most journal articles and books leave out. Click this link to watch a YouTube video explaining how to use this resource.

SAGE Research Methods Datasets

This section of the website holds a collection of teaching datasets and instructional guides which enable you to learn the practice of data analysis remotely. By practicing analysis skills using real data from SAGE Research Methods Datasets, you have the chance to see how analytic decisions are made, which will contribute to your confidence when conducting your own analysis. Click the link to watch a short YouTube video explaining how you can best use this resource.


For more video tutorials click here and you’ll be redirected to the SAGE Research Methods Video Collections where you’ll find hours of tutorials, interviews, case studies, and mini documentaries covering the full research process.

Keep an eye out for future blog posts which will delve a little deeper into the four key elements of this database.

If you have any queries or need further advice, please contact




Research 4.0: Research in the age of automation

On Monday, I was at the LIS-Bibliometrics 10th anniversary conference, “The Future of Research Evaluation”.

Dr Steven Hill* and Prof James Wilsdon**, highlighted the rise of AI in research evaluation as a major trend in their keynotes. This is particularly significant as they are two of the most prominent figures in research evaluation in the UK. They both cited the recent Research 4.0: Research in the age of automation interim report by Demos.

They pointed out how AI can already do/help out with research (e.g. discovering new antibiotics) and how AI can potentially revolutionise research evaluation. Regarding the latter, systems are being developed to:

  • generate research grant applications and evaluate them
  • spot relevant papers missed from citation lists
  • identify reviewers
  • identify journals to publish in
  • undertake actual reviews of research papers, perhaps as a complement to human peer review

It was noted that AI could potentially reduce existing biases in some of these procesesses but that they equally could introduce new biases or cement existing biases. There are also numerous issues with the transparency of AI.

The responsible use of metrics may well need to cover the responsible use of AI in future and the UK Forum for Responsible Research Metrics are already looking into this.

Please see Stephen Hill’s post about his talk (link to slides included) for more information. I will Share James Wilsdon’s slides when they become available.

*Director of Research at Research England, chair of the steering group for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF)

** Digital Science Professor of Research Policy in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Politics, Director of the Research on Research Institute, chaired the independent review of the role of metrics in the management of the research system resulting in The Metric Tide report