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PSY309 Research Skills Guide: Use SAGE Database

Learning more about literature reviews and other research methods

While your subject modules provide you with plenty of information regarding writing literature reviews and, recognising and choosing research methods, you may wish to find additional information in these areas.

You will find a number of useful books and ebooks via Primo Search, and it is recommended that you search for information there. 

Another excellent resource is the database, SAGE Research Methods. This database contains a plethora of information about research methods, including literature reviews, and it is highly recommended. 

SAGE Research Methods

SAGE Research Methods (SRM) is designed to assist beginner and experienced researchers through the research process, from defining a research question through to reviewing the literature and writing up findings.

There are five main ways of searching for information. You can interrogate SRM by:

  • Keyword;
  • >Topic;
  • Discipline;
  • Content type; and
  • Method.

Don't forget that you can further refine your search results using limiters.

Keyword Searching

Use either the basic search box on the homepage or the advanced search to interrogate the database using keywords.

For example, if you wanted to learn more about literature reviews, you could search for "literature review" in the basic search box. If you wanted to be more specific, you could use the advanced search function to exert more control over your search. The advanced search also supports Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT).

Topic Searching

SRM has grouped its content into research stages. For example, if you want to find resources about how to plan for your research, you could select the topic 'Planning research' and then refine the results from there.

Discipline Searching

SRM has also grouped its resources into discipline areas. Education is included as a discipline and it would be worth your while to explore the education resources.

Content Type

SRM contains a variety of source types, and you can search within these sources. For example, you may wish to see some case studies  or watch a video about how to employ certain research methods. In addition, SRM has two useful series of ebooks: little blue books, which are about qualitative research; and little green books, which are about quantitative research.


SRM has developed a Methods Map that you can use to visualise the research lifecycle and hierarchy. When you first enter the Methods Map it lists the broadest term, Research Methods, in the centre of the map. To the right it lists narrower terms, or sub-terms. These narrower terms are based upon the same research process topics as discussed above. When you click on a narrower term, it reveals even narrower terms. 

For example if you are planning your research you could click on planning research. Beneath planning research there is information about literature searching and review, as well as developing research proposals and questions. Each of these will have narrower terms beneath them, and so on. You can stop at any point and view the content on the active node.

Try it now

Go to the SAGE Research Methods database and practice searching for information using the five different methods above. 

Tip: SRM has an exceptional help section, which includes videos about how to use the database.