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Getting Started in Graduate Research

Why Perform Research?

  • build your resume
  • gain real-world experience
  • publish your scholarship
  • pursue original research ideas
  • win awards
  • collaborate closely with faculty
  • present your research at conferences
  • meet experts in your field
  • acquire valuable job skills

The Literature Review

The Literature Review is a necessary component for any significant work in your graduate studies.

Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, via University of Toronto Writing Advice. Follow this link for tips on conducting one: The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It


Identifying and Developing a Theoretical Framework

As a graduate student, you may be asked to explore your topic, and later, your thesis, within the context of a theoretical framework. 

A theoretical framework as defined by Simon and Goes “provides a well-supported rationale to conduct your study, and helps the reader to understand your perspective.”

It can be challenging to identify the theoretical framework of the research you read, and to develop a framework to support your own thesis or dissertation.

The link below includes a worksheet to help you pull out keywords to combine with the word “theory” to find theories and theorists who match up with your intended research.

http://dissertationrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/theoreticalframeworkRecipesX.pdf


Suggested Resources

While researching the literature to grasp an appropriate theory, it helps to read research that states the theoretical framework very clearly. This is a required section in most dissertations and theses.

Search the database listed below, Dissertations & Theses, to read some samples. 

Sources:

Simon, M. and Goes, J. (n.d.). Developing a theoretical framework. http://dissertationrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/theoreticalframeworkRecipesX.pdf


What is a structured abstract?

The structured abstract is a valuable tool in understanding the scholarly article you are reading. You may also find it helpful to use for clarity in writing your own papers.

1)     Complete citation for your article (any citation style):

2)     Background or Statement of the Problem:

3)     Research Purpose (what the research focused on and why):

4)     Theoretical Framework (often stated in the Literature Review section):

5)     Research Methods/Approach:

a)      Setting (place and time?)

b)     Participants (control group? random population?)

c)      Research design (statistical? case study? quantitative? qualitative? interview?)

d)     Data Collection and Analysis (how were outcomes measured? statistical methods used?)

6)     Findings (study results):

7)     Implications or Conclusions (what did the authors find? more study needed? ):

J. Finch, 2011. Modified with elements found at ERIC. Description of Structured Abstract Elements, http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/resources/html/pdf/SAElementsFlyer.pdf

Last updated: 6/21/2021