Lesson 1: Explorative search

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known…” – Carl Sagan.
Listen to what the librarian says:

When you are looking for or maybe already have an idea for a research topic it might be the right time to make an explorative search. An explorative search is a broad search, which gives you an overview of what literature and data is available within your topic. It helps you to clarify your mind and later it will serve as your foundation to describe a rationale – the scientific background for the study, and to write your problem formulation.

Begin e.g. your explorative search by reading trade journals, encyclopaedias, reference books and do some browsing on the Internet. This can help you to assure you focus on exactly what you want to research and it can be an early review to establish the context and rationale for your study. You will find out if it is possible to get hold of literature and other information about your topic idea and if it is at all interesting?

Whether your research topic or your idea is rooted in a wonder at something you have observed in practice or arises out of the literature, the explorative search should give you sufficient knowledge of your area to determine if the idea is good enough as basis for a problem formulation.

Start by exploring whether your idea meets the following criteria:

  1. Is my topic novel?
  2. Is my topic feasible?
  3. Is my topic relevant?

To save both your own and your supervisor’s time, ask the above mentioned questions before you start to spend time on writing your problem formulation – and before you present your idea to your supervisor.

Find out how to check for the above-mentioned criteria on the following page.

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Did you know...

... that someone else may have already published an article about your research topic? Perform a search before you start writing.