Week 1 – Assignment:

Week 1 – Assignment:
The assignment is to conduct your own research first with the resources provided, and then any additional research you add and determine the following:
What is a literature review?
Why is a certain type of literature used?
What must you include in a literature review?
How do you find the information for a literature review?
Use the items above as headings in an APA formatted paper with a title page and reference page, plus a minimum of three pages and maximum five pages of content.
Length: 3-5 pages
References: Include a minimum of 5 scholarly resources
ATTACHED FILE(S)
5/2/22, 11:08 PM BUS-7100 v1: Scholarly Literature Review (6760019724) – BUS-7100 v1: Scholarly Literature Review (6760019724)
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Week 1
BUS-7100 v1: Scholarly Literature Review (6760019724)
Understanding the Literature Review
This week, you will be introduced to the literature review and what it is. Understand why
it is used and how it is relied on for valid information. There are numerous sources and
websites that discuss a literature review. Besides the sources for this week’s work, you
are encouraged to do your own additional web surf of the different information you will
find about a literature review. Later in the class, you will learn to determine reliable
sources and how to filter your sources for academic use.
This week begins the very broad search into the rigorous literature review. As you finish
up the classes and begin your dissertation sections, you will be prepared for the rigorous
learning of writing a dissertation. The assignment for this week is brief to prepare;
however, the extensive research leading up to the assignment is rigorous. As a soon-to-
be-expert in your field of study, you will want to take the time to conduct research to
become an expert in your field.
Many sources you search will have different information. It will be up to you to determine
how to synthesize the information and make sense of it in your own learning style. This
will be a life-long skill that will benefit you in many areas of your life. For example, you do
already have this skill for areas in life now. Take the example of buying a car and especially
a used car. The many sources you can search will give you ample information about the
types of cars available and how you can narrow down your search depending on the
essentials you are looking for in the car. Perhaps, good gas mileage, the purpose of the car
or trucks’ use, and all the other items you seek. This is a form of searching. Now, you will
search in an academic format and for reliable, valid sources.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully.You are expected to apply the
information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Heads-Up to the Signature Assignment
Your culminating Signature Assignment (due in Week 8) will be a reflection of all that you
have learned within the course, and it may require that you complete some work ahead of
time. To ensure you are prepared and have adequate time to complete this assignment,
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Books and Resources for this Week
Mitchell, K. M., & Clark, A. M. (n.d.).
Five Steps to Writing More Engaging
Qualitative Research. International
Journal of Qualitative Methods. 17(1).
Link
NCU Libraries, (2018). Finding a
Research Topic
Link
NCU Libraries, (2018). Literature
Review
Link
NCU Libraries, (2018). Research
Process
Link
please review the instructions by looking ahead to Week 8. You can contact your
professor if you have questions.
The final assignment due in Week 8 will merge all the activities and learning you have
gained into a mini-literature review. It is highly encouraged that you keep all information
from each week in a folder or place that you can access later. In Week 7, you will write a
draft of Week 8 by adding another component of the literature review. All weeks will
build you to this final point. Additionally, you will look at two published dissertations and
make comments about what you noticed in chapter 2. Good luck and enjoy the journey!
85.71 % 6 of 7 topics complete
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Snelson, C. L. (2016). Qualitative and
Mixed Methods Social Media Research:
A Review of the Literature.
International Journal of Qualitative…
Link
Winchester, C. L., & Salji, M. (2016).
Writing a literature review. Journal of
Clinical Urology, 9(5), 308.
Link
Week 1 – Assignment: Define a Literature Review
Assignment
Due May 8 at 11:59 PM
Understanding the literature review is the foundation of academic inquiry (Xiao and
Watson, 2017). The literature review grounds your topic of interest with academic
historical research from previous authors. This is where the saying of ‘Stand on the
shoulders of giants’ comes into your research. Standing on the shoulders of giants could
be as far back as Socrates and his philosophies or Newton and his determination of the
universe. Every area of study has giants or ‘thinkers’ that have come to be accepted as
reliable sources to follow. In this assignment, you will delve into the sea of knowledge to
uncover the complexity and understanding of reviewing the literature and developing
your knowledge in writing.
The assignment is to conduct your own research first with the resources provided, and
then any additional research you add and determine the following:
What is a literature review?
Why is a certain type of literature used?
What must you include in a literature review?
How do you find the information for a literature review?
Use the items above as headings in an APA formatted paper with a title page and
reference page, plus a minimum of three pages and maximum five pages of content.
Length: 3-5 pages
References: Include a minimum of 5 scholarly resources
https://ncuone.ncu.edu/d2l/le/content/159454/viewContent/1532058/View
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Your essay should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that
are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this
topic. Your response should reflect graduate-level writing and APA standards. Be sure to
adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.
Upload your document and click the Submit to Dropbox button.
5/2/22, 11:08 PM Department of Urology Researchers Provide Details of New Studies and Findings in the Area of Urology (Pediatric testicular micro…
https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=pres1571&id=GALE%7CA674373486&v=2.1&it=r&sid=ebsco 1/2
Department of Urology Researchers Provide
Details of New Studies and Findings in the
Area of Urology (Pediatric testicular
microlithiasis through four clinical case
studies: review of the literature and proposal of
clinical guidelines).
Date: Sept. 10, 2021
From: Health & Medicine Week
Publisher: NewsRX LLC
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 366 words
Lexile Measure: 1180L
Full Text:
2021 SEP 10 (NewsRx) — By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Health & Medicine Week —
Investigators discuss new findings in urology. According to news reporting originating from the
Department of Urology by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Testicular microlithiasis in
children was defined for the first time in 1961 based on histological criteria.”
The news journalists obtained a quote from the research from Department of Urology: “There should
be more than 5 calcifications per testicle in order to say that the patient has testicular microlithiasis. It
has three different echographic grades depending on the number of calcifications. However, this
disease is uncommon, with inaccurate prevalence and no certain information about its evolution or
etiology. Main body We studied 4 clinical cases of children diagnosed with testicular microlithiasis, in
light of the conducted review of the literature, and we defined the characteristics of this disease and
proposed a management and monitoring framework based on the clinical observations.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “There is a link between testicular
microlithiasis and testicular cancer. Therefore, it is recommended to make a regular follow-up of
children who present testicular microlithiasis with the presence of risk factors.”
For more information on this research see: Pediatric testicular microlithiasis through four clinical case
studies: review of the literature and proposal of clinical guidelines. African Journal of Urology,
2021,27(1):1-7. The publisher for African Journal of Urology is SpringerOpen.
A free version of this journal article is available at https://doi.org/10.1186/s12301-021-00216-z.
Our news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting Amina Chaka,
Department of Urology, Fattouma Bourguiba Hopital. Additional authors for this research include
Amine Fredj Daassa, Wadye Hamdouni, Kamel Ktari, Rachida Laamiri, Abdellatif Nouri.
Keywords for this news article include: Department of Urology, Urology, Pediatrics, Health and
Medicine, Risk and Prevention.
5/2/22, 11:08 PM Department of Urology Researchers Provide Details of New Studies and Findings in the Area of Urology (Pediatric testicular micro…
https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&u=pres1571&id=GALE%7CA674373486&v=2.1&it=r&sid=ebsco 2/2
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright
2021, NewsRx LLC
The citation for this news report is: NewsRx. Department of Urology Researchers Provide Details of
New Studies and Findings in the Area of Urology (Pediatric testicular microlithiasis through four
clinical case studies: review of the literature and proposal of clinical guidelines). Health & Medicine
Week. September 10, 2021; p 2143.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2021 NewsRX LLC
http://www.Newsrx.com
Source Citation (MLA 9th Edition)
“Department of Urology Researchers Provide Details of New Studies and Findings in the Area of
Urology (Pediatric testicular microlithiasis through four clinical case studies: review of the
literature and proposal of clinical guidelines).” Health & Medicine Week, 10 Sept. 2021, p. 2143.
Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A674373486/AONE?
u=pres1571&sid=ebsco&xid=7b6d1659. Accessed 2 May 2022.
Gale Document Number: GALE|A674373486
http://www.newsrx.com/
Editorial
Five Steps to Writing More Engaging
Qualitative Research
Kim M. Mitchell
1,2
and Alexander M. Clark
3
Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heigh-
tened and its deepest mystery probed?
Annie Dillard
Qualitative data speak to some of the most profound and trans-
cending human experiences. As researchers we write, we teach,
or we engage to give voice to the voiceless, and we often seek
to foster influence and understanding where none has been.
Yet, despite the most human of subject matter, our writing of
qualitative research often fails. It can be conventional, formu-
laic, and, sometimes, even stilted. Where can the potential of
our qualitative work find place in our qualitative writing?
Respectful of disciplinary norms, perhaps we filter our-
selves at source (Dolby, 2002). When our words are barely
formed, the supposed objectivism of science, drilled into us
from our first brushes with academic writing, exerts a stealthy
influence. Invisible gatekeepers, our first university professors,
a former advisor, and a cantankerous reviewer, leave us con-
demned with their scathing feedback, pejorative norms, and
harsh judgments. We assimilate these barbs into our identities,
and our writing suffers via safe, stilted, disengaged prose
(Sword, 2012). Creative word choices, elegant turns of phrase,
or heaven forbid, saying exactly what we really mean, are cast
as risks that descend us into academic purgatory: labeled as
biased, unprofessional, and not taken seriously (Mitchell,
2017). In a world in which academic writing matters to us so
much, counts for so much in our work, but is often so unenga-
ging (Sword, 2012), how can our qualitative research writing
improve? Whatever your qualitative method, we present five
strategies to foster more engaging writing.
Consider What You Are Writing
Writers write poetry, crime stories, mysteries, romances, lit-
erary works, or science fiction. No two categories carry the
same voice. Academics also have many voices: the research
paper, the grant application, the tweet, the journal review, the
textbook, the dissertation, and the editorial. These categories—
or genres—draw readers in via repetitive familiarity (Paré,
2014). Genre shapes writing by demanding specific conven-
tions, language and structural norms, and expectations
(Hyland, 2003). In this way, genres are social: They pay
homage to power structures and are simultaneously visible, yet
tacit, as Paré (2014) states, “Everybody uses them, but almost
no one pays any attention to the nature of their construction” (p.
A-85). Successful writing requires a writer to pay quiet diligent
attention to the construction of the genre they are working in.
Each genre has its own sense of verisimilitude—the bearing of
truth. Each places different constraints on the writer and has
different goals, forms, and structure. As you approach your
writing, consider more deliberatively which genre you are writ-
ing in—and what defines successful writing in that genre not
only in terms of its characteristics and appearance but also in
terms of its effects on the reader.
Identify to Whom You Write?
Ferris turns to the camera and speaks directly to the audience in
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and we are instantly enwrapped.
Effective writers envision their unseen audience who may be
researchers, patients, practitioners, or government policy mak-
ers. Readers also envision the writer. Writers accept, once a
reader is involved, that written words no longer have the mean-
ing they imbued or intended (Palmer, 1969). The words, and
1 Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
2
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Nursing, University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
3 Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Corresponding Author:
Alexander M. Clark, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton,
Alberta, Canada T6G 2R3.
Email: alex.clark@ualberta.ca
International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Volume 17: 1–3
ª The Author(s) 2018
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their interpretation, are “out there.” Building the reader–writer
relationship is where writing magic happens, but care must be
taken in nurturing this complex relationship. A writer cannot
know what the reader already knows or what their predisposi-
tion is, and writers must find a balance somewhere between
defining too many details and not defining enough (Hayes &
Bajzek, 2008). This is challenging because readers of qualita-
tive research are also increasingly from numerous diverse dis-
ciplines. Misjudging, presuming, or most commonly failing, to
take account of your audience, puts connectivity at peril and
risks insulting, confusing, and bemusing readers.
Effective writing always anticipates audience. It fosters a
relationship with the writer for readers. When you sit down to
write, always ask yourself systematically “who is my audi-
ence?” Identify their most likely concerns, backgrounds, and
receptiveness to what you are writing. Only then can you begin
to write with connection in mind.
Persuade
Connection and persuasion are indispensable and interdepen-
dent. Centuries of proponents from the time of Aristotle have
taught us that persuasiveness is the basis for engagement and
influence. Accordingly, writers should use different means to
persuade readers (Leith, 2012): logos, the soundness of logic;
ethos, through an emotional connection with the message; and
pathos, through coming to believe that the persuader has emo-
tional authenticity and moral credibility (Van De Ven & John-
son, 2006).
Compelling writing not only requires the skilful use of these
three dimensions of persuasion but also their integration with
conventions of your chosen genre and of your likely audience.
Integration of genre, audience, and persuasive charisma is
essential when writing compelling qualitative manuscripts to
audiences less familiar with qualitative research, such as those
who read mainstream clinical- or practice-focused journals
(Clark & Thompson, 2016). Given tight word limits, it is chal-
lenging to convey the tenets of qualitative rigor and the nuances
of qualitative data, all with connection and persuasion, and
simultaneously avoid the pitfall of excessive simplification.
Such questions can lead writers of qualitative research to
lament: Why should we even attempt to write under such unde-
niable constraints (Clark & Thompson, 2016)? However,
instead of being seen as onerous, such constraints can inspire
us. For centuries, artists have worked with the curtailing lim-
itations of their chosen medium, of commercialism, and of
critical yet conservative judgments of their work (Bayles &
Orland, 1993). The presence of the challenges of persuasion
in the face of such constraints should motivate and inspire.
Drawing on techniques to persuade others through our writing,
we can better ensure that we bring the contributions of quali-
tative research to wider and new audiences (Clark & Thomp-
son, 2016). This can win others to our cause, and by extension,
our participant’s cause wins too.
Find Your Voice and Cadence
Personal connection drives the world, and writing voice is the
catalyst. This voice is formed from readers’ sense of the person
behind the words: the writer’s voice and identity. Expression of
authorial presence takes many forms: from writing in “the first
person” to take ownership of a statement, to describing yourself
situated in your research context, to personal histories to help
the reader understand why you are drawn to a topic or point of
view, and to full personal confessionals (Ivanič, 1998). Finding
the degree of voice allowable in a particular genre requires
intuition and experimentation. Where can you bring your voice
and stance more into your prose in ways that fit with the genres
you are writing within?
Writing is a method of inquiry says Richardson and St.
Pierre (2005), so developing your own reflexive sense of
style is important. In reading, cadence is the rhythm and
pace of words as they flow through a reader’s mind. Done
well, cadence leads to writing that truly grabs us. Aaron
Sorkin, awarded Oscars and Emmies for his writing of A
Few Good Men and the West Wing, writes his scripts in
meter. Each line has a rhythm to it and takes up a certain
amount of space—doesn’t cut off too soon, nor drag too
long. Cadence, if you are riding a bike, is how fast your
legs turn the pedals. You spin along steadily occasionally
adjusting your pace for obstacles, glide as the road slopes
downward, or hammer to make traffic light. Misjudging
cadence in your writing can cause your reader to crash or
to never reach your intended destination.
Writers with strong cadence know when and how often they
can get away with breaking the “rules” of style. Alternate short
and long sentences. Can your work be read out loud with
inflection or does it demand a dry monotone voice? Incomplete
sentences can change the rhythm of your writing or emphasize
a phrase. Very useful. When cadence is used appropriately,
even selectively ignoring grammatical conventions will slip
by unnoticed. Influence the intonation and pace with which
your reader explores your words by using less well-known
punctuation devices—like the double dash—or by italicizing
words for emphasis. Remember, your participant quotes will
lack grammatical perfection and uniformity. Good qualitative
writing blends the numerous voices of your analysis, so that the
transition from participant voice to researcher voice does not
feel like an attack on the senses.
Take Creative Risks
All writing is creative writing. When the surface is peeled
away, what traditional creative writers do and what academic
writers do are not dissimilar. Both require emotions, insertion
of the self, and connection with an audience. Logos, ethos,
and pathos are all important tools. Creativity is the je ne sais
quoi element of academic writing (Sword, 2012): You know it
when you see it, but can you define it? Creativity in academic
writing gives form to ideas using originality and innovation as
defined by a social context (Kelly, 2012). To make your
2 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
writing more creative, give yourself permission to resist oth-
ers (and your own) reservations: “that’s not how it is normally
done.” This requires reflexivity and reading widely. Instead of
looking at your work head on, take a step to the side and view
it with a new lens. In research that might mean methodologi-
cal creativity, borrowing a writing convention from another
discipline, or combining seemingly diverse ideas to create a
new whole. Writing well is often difficult, even messy.
Tangled. It becomes untangled the same way a box full of
wool gets untangled—one strand at a time. One word at a
time. Let your reflections permeate, experiment, and expect
to fail, then try again.
Life’s too short for bad writing. Readers don’t need it, and
writers of qualitative research should not be part of this crime.
References
Bayles, D., & Orland, T. (1993). Art & fear: Observations on the Preils
(and rewards) of art-making. Santa Cruz, CA: Image Continuum.
Clark, A. M., & Thompson, D. R. (2016). Five tips for writing quali-
tative research in high-impact journals: Moving from #BMJnoQ-
ual. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Retrieved from
http//doi.org/10.1177/1609406916641250
Dolby, R. G. A. (2002). Uncertain knowledge. Cambridge, England:
Cambridge University Press.
Hayes, J. R., & Bajzek, D. (2008). Understanding and reducing the
knowledge effect: Implications for writers. Written Communica-
tion, 25, 104–118.
Hyland, K. (2003). Genre-based pedagogies: A social response to
process. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 17–29.
Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00124-8
Ivanič, R. (1998). Writing and identity: The discoursal construction of
identity in academic writing. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John
Benjamins.
Kelly, R. (2012). Educating for creativity: A global conversation.
Edmonton, Canada: Brush Education.
Leith, S. (2012). Words like loaded pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to
Obama. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Mitchell, K. M. (2017). Academic voice: On feminism, presence, and
objectivity in writing. Nursing Inquiry, 24, e12200. Retrieved from
https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12200
Palmer, R. (1969). Hermeneutics, interpretation theory in Schleier-
macher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Evanston, IL: North-
western University Press.
Paré, A. (2014). Rhetorical genre theory and academic literacy. Jour-
nal of Academic Language and Learning, 8, A83–A94.
Richardson, L., & St. Pierre, E. A. (2005). Writing: A method of
inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage hand-
book of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 959–978). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.
Sword, H. (2012). Stylish academic writing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press.
Van De Ven, A. H., & Johnson, P. E. (2006). Knowledge for
theory and practice. The Academy of Management Review, 31,
802–821.
Editorial 3
http://http//doi.org/10.1177/1609406916641250
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1060-3743(02)00124-8
https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12200
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Special Issue
Qualitative and Mixed Methods Social
Media Research: A Review of the Literature
Chareen L. Snelson
1
Abstract
Social media technologies have attracted substantial attention among many types of users including researchers who have
published studies for several years. This article presents an overview of trends in qualitative and mixed methods social media
research literature published from 2007 through 2013. A collection of 229 qualitative studies were identified through a systematic
literature review process. A subset of 55 of these articles report studies involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative
methods. Articles were reviewed, analyzed, and coded through a qualitative content analysis approach. Overall trends are
presented with respect to the entire collection of articles followed by an analysis of mixed methods research approaches
identified in the subset of 55 studies. The most commonly used research approaches involved collecting data from people through
interview, focus group, and survey methodologies. Content analysis was the second most commonly used approach whereby
researchers use Facebook posts, Tweets (Twitter posts), YouTube videos, or other social media content as a data source. Many
of the studies involving combinations of quantitative and qualitative data followed a design resembling Creswell and Plano Clark’s
basic mixed methods typology (e.g., convergent parallel, explanatory sequential, and exploratory sequential).
Keywords
social media research, Web 2.0, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, mixed methods, qualitative
This article presents a descriptive methodological analysis of
qualitative and mixed methods approaches for social media
research. It is based on a systematic review of 229 qualitative
or mixed methods research articles published from 2007
through 2013 where social media played a central role. Publi-
cation trends are presented for the entire set of articles followed
by analysis of a subset of 55 studies that combined qualitative
and quantitative approaches consistent with an established
mixed methods typology (Creswell, 2014; Creswell & Plano
Clark, 2011). The literature analysis is first contextualized by
presenting a brief overview of related scholarly activity in the
emerging field of social media research. This is followed by a
discussion of publication trends and methodologies applied in
this systematic literature review.
Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) defined social media as ‘‘ . . . a
group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideolo-
gical and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow
the creation and exchange of User Generated Content’’ (p. 61).
The emergence of social media technologies has been
embraced by a growing number of users who post text mes-
sages, pictures, and videos online (Duggan, 2013; Duggan,
Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, & Madden, 2015). Reports of world-
wide social networking activity suggest that there were 1.96
billion users in 2015 with predictions of 2.44 billion users by
2018 (Statista, 2015). Of all the social networking sites, Face-
book, Twitter, and YouTube are among the most popular rank-
ing within the top 10 of a list of most heavily visited sites on the
web (Alexa, 2015). The combination of prolific user activity
and production of user-generated content has captured the
attention of scholars and researchers who seek to understand
social media and its role in contemporary society.
Considerable attention has been given to social media
research as evidenced by the expanding literature base and
growing number of comprehensive literature reviews, which
have been conducted to explore various facets of social media
research and scholarship. A matrix summary of 20 social media
literature reviews published from 2011 through early 2014 is
provided in Table 1. Although not a comprehensive list, each of
1
Department of Educational Technology, Boise State University, Boise, ID,
USA
Corresponding Author:
Chareen L. Snelson, Department of Educational Technology, Boise State
University, Boise, ID 83725, USA.
Email: csnelson@boisestate.edu
International Journal of Qualitative Methods
January-December 2016: 1–15
ª The Author(s) 2016
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the articles in Table 1 represents a systematic literature review
with the methodology for sampling and analysis clearly
described by the author(s). The range of topics covered across
the collection of literature review works reveals some of the
diversity in emphasis and fields of study from which the works
emerge. Some authors have focused on categorization of trends
in academic literature related to specific social media platforms
such as Facebook (Błachnio, Przepiórka, & Rudnicka, 2013;
Caers et al., 2013; Hew, 2011; Manca & Ranieri, 2013; Nad-
karni & Hofmann, 2012; Wilson, Gosling, & Graham, 2012),
Twitter (Dhir, Buragga, & Boreqqah, 2013; Williams, Terras,
& Warwick, 2013), or YouTube (Snelson, 2011). Other studies
are grounded within a particular subject or field of study to
examine social media as it relates to topics such as adolescent
well-being (Best, Manktelow, & Taylor, 2014), health-care
professionals (Hamm et al., 2013), type 1 diabetes (Jones, Sin-
clair, Holt, & Barnard, 2013), tourism and hospitality (Leung,
Law, van Hoof, & Buhalis, 2013), or prediction of real-world
events (Kalampokis, Tambouris, & Tarabanis, 2013).
The prior literature reviews listed in Table 1 indicate that
much has already been covered on the subject of trends in
social media literature. Yet, there is little information about
trends in qualitative and mixed methods approaches to social
media research. Prior literature reviews have included discus-
sions of trends in research approaches but have provided a
more global classification of general trends (e.g., Best et al.,
Table 1. Systematic Literature Reviews on Social Media Topics.
Author(s) Emphasis of Review Field(s) of Studya Articles/Papers Reviewed
Best, Manktelow, and
Taylor (2014)
Research on the effects of social networking on adolescent
well-being
Sociology, social work,
and social studies
43
Błachnio, Przepiórka, and
Rudnicka (2013)
Research focusing on the role of psychological traits in
explaining Facebook use
Psychology 59
Caers et al. (2013) Peer-reviewed articles and papers on Facebook published
between 2006 and 2012 that focus on personality of users
Psychology and
economics
114
Dhir, Buragga, and
Boreqqah (2013)
Empirical, conceptual, and theoretical studies on Twitter and
its use in education
Education 43
Gholami-Kordkheili,
Wild, and Strech (2013)
Research, commentaries, editorials, and opinion papers on
medical professionalism and social media
Health care and medical 108
Hamm et al. (2013) Research on social media use by health-care professionals or
trainees published between 2000 and 2012
Health care and medical 96
Hew (2011) Research focusing on the use of Facebook by students and
teachers
Education 36
Jones, Sinclair, Holt, and
Barnard (2013)
Research on the use of social networking to discuss the risks
of Type 1 diabetes mellitus
Health care and medical 6
Kalampokis, Tambouris,
and Tarabanis (2013)
Research where social media data were used to predict real-
world phenomena
Information systems 52
Khan (2012) Research on social media systems published 2003 to 2011 Information systems 274
Khang, Ki, and Ye (2012) Social media research trends in four disciplines (advertising,
communication, marketing, and public relations) published
1997–2010
Advertising,
communication,
marketing, and public
relations
436
Leung, Law, van Hoof, and
Buhalis (2013)
Social media–related research articles in tourism and
hospitality published between 2007 and 2010
Tourism and hospitality 44
Manca and Ranieri (2013) Research with a focus on Facebook as a learning
environment
Education 23
Nadkarni and Hofmann
(2012)
Research on the psychological factors contributing to
Facebook use
Psychology 42
Park and Calamaro (2013) Studies where social network sites are used for recruitment,
intervention, or measurement in health research of
adolescents and young adults
Health care, medical, and
nursing
17
Snelson (2011) Trends in academic literature about YouTube published
between 2006 and 2009
Interdisciplinary 188
Van Osch and Coursaris
(2014)
Social media research productivity based on journal articles
and conference proceedings from October 2004 to 2011
Interdisciplinary 610
Williams, Terras, and
Warwick (2013)
Twitter and microblogging research published from 2007 to
2011
Interdisciplinary 575
Wilson, Gosling, and
Graham (2012)
Trends in research on Facebook Social science 412
Zhang and Leung (2014) Social networking research published in six high-ranking
communication journals from 2006 to 2011
Communication 84
a
Information in the Field(s) of Study column is based primarily on statement of purpose and content focus of each literature review article.
2 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
2014; Hamm et al., 2013; Jones et al., 2013; Williams et al.,
2013). This literature review serves to expand the knowledge
base regarding how qualitative and mixed methods have been
applied to social media research. There are several reasons why
this might be important. Social media research is a relatively new
field of study that has emerged in conjunction with the develop-
ment of social media technologies and the upsurge in their use
(Duggan et al., 2015). Little is known about how many qualitative
and mixed methods social media studies have been published,
where they originate, or which academic journals publish them.
Furthermore, trends in the selection of research design, data col-
lection techniques, and analytic approaches are not well known.
The potential value of examining trends in the use of qua-
litative research approaches (e.g., interview, focus group, and
qualitative content analysis) lies in uncovering how researchers
design studies to gain insights into how and why people engage
with social media as well as the meaning that is attached to
experiences with social media. For example, Fox, Warber, and
Makstaller (2013) collected data from mixed-sex focus groups
to help them answer questions about the role of Facebook in
romantic relationship development. In another study, Greene,
Choudhry, Kilabuk, and Shrank (2011) conducted a qualitative
evaluation of posts from Facebook communities dedicated to
diabetes to reveal how patients, family members, and friends
share information and receive emotional support.
Mixed methods research approaches ‘‘in which the
researcher gathers both quantitative (closed-ended) and quali-
tative (open-ended) data, integrates the two and then draws
interpretations based on the combined strengths of both sets
of data to understand research problems’’ (Creswell, 2014,
p. 2) also have potential value in social media research. For
example, Morgan, Snelson, and Elison-Bowers (2010) used qua-
litative analysis of social media content together with a survey to
uncover patterns of behavior and attitudes regarding depictions
of alcohol and marijuana use by young adults on social media
websites. As another example, Vyas, Landry, Schnider, Rojas,
and Wood (2012) combined a survey with follow-up interviews
to examine short message services and social media use among
Latino youth and the potential role of these services as methods
of communication in public health programs. These examples
illustrate the potential of qualitative and mixed methods research
approaches to uncover new insights through the complimentary
combination of methods. Yet, the question of how researchers
have been applying these approaches in social media studies has
not been explored in depth.
What this literature review contributes is a summary of
general trends in qualitative research studies together with a
more in-depth analysis of mixed methods approaches for social
media research. The overarching research questions guiding
this systematic literature review study were:
� What are the overall trends in qualitative and mixed
methods social media research?
� To what extent does the design of mixed methods social
media studies align to an established typology for mixed
methods research?
Method
The central aim of this literature review was to identify trends
in qualitative and mixed methods approaches used in the emer-
gent field of social media research. The review is descriptive
and follows an integrative synthesis approach, which ‘‘attempts
to summarize the contents of multiple studies and minimizes
any interpretation on the part of the reviewer’’ (Harden &
Thomas, 2010, p. 752). The unit of analysis was a peer-
reviewed journal article reporting the results of a qualitative
or mixed methods research study where social media played a
central role. The scope of the literature review was limited to
articles published from 2007 through 2013. The reason for the
initial cutoff was that literature in the years before 2007 was
scant, given that social media is a relatively new phenomenon.
According to company websites, Facebook was invented in
2004 (Facebook, 2015), YouTube in 2005 (YouTube, 2015),
and Twitter in 2006 (Twitter, 2015). A previous literature
review on YouTube scholarship indicated that publications
began to appear in 2006, but no research studies were published
prior to 2007 (Snelson, 2011). Williams, Terras, and Warwick
(2013) selected 2007 as a starting point for their literature
review of Twitter and microblogging research because that is
when the first papers began to appear. Facebook research was
published as early as 2005 (Wilson et al., 2012) but seems to
have started building momentum in 2007. Therefore, the deci-
sion was made to set the initial cutoff at 2007 with a final cutoff
of 2013, which was the last full year before the review was
conducted in 2014.
Peer-reviewed journal articles were selected and analyzed
through a systematic process consistent with the prior litera-
ture review studies listed in Table 1. Selection and analysis of
articles proceeded through a series of the four stages illu-
strated in Figure 1.
Stage 1: Presearch
During the presearch phase, key words and databases were
selected based on a combination of (a) strategies used in prior
literature reviews and (b) test searches with candidate key
words, filters, and databases. Some of the prior literature
reviews focused on specific social media platforms (e.g., Face-
book, Twitter, and YouTube), whereas others investigated cer-
tain aspects of social media usage or content regardless of
platform. The present study integrates a combination of both
platform-specific and general search phrases to explore an
array of studies involving single or multiple types of social
media. The key words used were Facebook, Twitter, YouTube,
social media, and social networking. Each of these search
phrases has been used in at least one prior literature review.
Many of the prior social media literature reviews were
grounded in a particular field of study. Searches were con-
ducted in combinations of databases, which sometimes
included databases indexing literature specific to the field
(e.g., PubMed for medical-related literature reviews). The
present literature review is interdisciplinary with a focus on
Snelson 3
trends in research methodology regardless of discipline.
Therefore, searches were conducted exclusively in the fol-
lowing multidisciplinary databases, which have all been used
in prior literature reviews: Academic Search Premier, Web of
Science, and Google Scholar. Together, they offer substantial
and complementary access to the academic literature from
multiple disciplines.
Stage 2: Search
The search was conducted in January 2014 for articles pub-
lished from 2007 through 2013 that had bibliographic entries
available in the selected databases. The specific strategy for
searching each of the databases (Academic Search Premier,
Web of Science, and Google Scholar) is outlined here in detail
to make them replicable for other researchers.
Academic Search Premier and Web of Science involved a
key word search conducted in a similar manner. Each of the
search phrases, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, ‘‘social media,’’
and ‘‘social networking,’’ were entered one at a time in a series
of searches. Filers were applied with each round of searches to
retrieve peer-reviewed articles where the search phrase was
contained in the title. For example, the search for Facebook
articles was set to retrieve peer-reviewed articles with Face-
book in the title. Search results were exported directly from
each database in batches to the online version of EndNote
(Thompson Reuters, 2014a). At the time of searching, Aca-
demic Search Premier permitted export of 100 citations per
batch and Web of Science permitted export of 500 citations
per batch. All citations from each round of searches were
exported in batches until all of the results were copied into
EndNote online.
Google Scholar was included as one of the databases
searched for during this literature review due to its broad reach
across interdisciplinary academic scholarship indexed on the
Internet and its use in prior literature review studies (see
Błachnio et al., 2013; Dhir et al., 2013; Kalampokis et al.,
2013; Williams et al., 2013; Wilson et al., 2012). Unfortu-
nately, Google Scholar has certain limitations. Williams et al.
(2013) searched Google Scholar for their literature review of
academic work related to Twitter but acknowledged the lack of
control over search fields and results containing many works
unrelated to the purpose of their research. An additional issue is
the sheer volume of results that might appear in a Google
Scholar search. Researchers might not have the time or
resources to sort through thousands of results to find articles
matching inclusion criteria for articles. Furthermore, Google
limits access to the first 1,000 search results (see Google,
2015), thereby making it impossible to access all of the results.
This limitation can be verified by clicking through to the last
page of a large set of search results.
The limitations with Google Scholar necessitated a modified
search strategy to obtain a manageable set of results that
yielded relevant articles not found through searches of Aca-
demic Search Premier and Web of Science. The lack of control
over search fields acknowledged by Williams et al. (2013) was
addressed by appending additional key words to restrict results
to relevant articles. As previously explained, the unit of anal-
ysis was a peer-reviewed journal article reporting the results of
a qualitative or mixed methods research study where social
media played a central role. Therefore, the search phrases were
adjusted to target both the type of social media and the type of
design in each round of searches. For example, the search for
Facebook literature was conducted in two rounds, with the
search phrase Facebook qualitative used in the first round fol-
lowed by Facebook mixed method in the second round. A sim-
ilar approach was used to search for literature on Twitter,
YouTube, social media, and social networking articles. This
targeted search produced a manageable results list but pro-
duced only eight relevant articles that were not already found
in the Academic Search Premier and Web of Science databases.
Google Scholar ultimately served as an ancillary search tool
that produced a few additional articles, but, in this particular
case, it created the problematic decision of whether to choose
(a) too many results that were labor-intensive to review and
could not be fully accessed or (b) a restrictive search that might
have limited the results to a narrower scope than desired. The
restrictive search option, although not ideal, was selected due
to its feasibility. Other researchers are encouraged to consider
the limitations of Google Scholar prior to using it to obtain
literature for a systematic review.
The process of removing duplicate citations was conducted
after the searches were complete and citations had been
imported into the online version of EndNote (Thompson Reu-
ters, 2014a). First, the duplicate removal tool was used to iden-
tify as many duplicates as possible that had been imported from
the different databases. This was followed by manual inspec-
tion of the citations to remove additional duplicates that had not
been entered into the databases in the same way. For example,
the author name or title might have been entered differently in
one database as compared to the others. The citations were
Figure 1. Stages in the literature review process.
4 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
combined into a single group (minus duplicates), leaving a total
of 3,322 unique article citations.
Stage 3: Data Cleaning
Abstracts and full-text copies of the articles were reviewed to
determine eligibility for analysis. Articles were selected if they
met the following criteria: (a) the study applied qualitative
research methodology or mixed methods research with a qua-
litative research component, (b) the study emphasized online
social media, (c) the article was published in a peer-reviewed
journal, and (d) a full-text English copy of the article was
available. A total of 229 studies met the criteria with a subset
of 55 of these studies involving both qualitative and quantita-
tive (i.e., mixed) methods.
Stage 4: Analysis
A qualitative content analysis methodology, based on Schre-
ier’s (2012) approach, was used to structure the review and
analysis of the literature. Qualitative content analysis is a
descriptive research method involving development of a cod-
ing frame and qualitative coding of data. The coding frame was
both concept driven (defined in advance) and data driven
(derived from data during coding) as described by Schreier.
Essentially, the concept-driven part of the coding frame was
designed to classify studies according to research design (qua-
litative and mixed methods) and social media emphasized in
the research. The data-driven portion of the coding frame came
primarily from tagging and coding articles based on research
approaches used in the study, as will be discussed momentarily.
A single researcher conducted the present study; therefore, a
multiphase approach was taken to review the content at differ-
ent points in time and to cross-check results for consistency.
The articles had all been reviewed for eligibility for the study
during the data-cleaning stage, but the actual analysis of con-
tent began with a round of review and tagging using the Men-
deley’s (2014) reference management software. Full-text
copies of the articles were obtained and imported into Mende-
ley where they were reviewed, bibliographic information was
verified, and tags were applied to each article to indicate type
of social media emphasized and research approaches used in
the studies. The tagging process served as a first round of
classification and coding.
To conduct the second round of coding, bibliographic infor-
mation first was exported from Mendeley in the Research
Information Systems file format. This text file was imported
into the NVivo (Version 10) qualitative analysis software pro-
gram (QSR International, 2014). This process accomplished
two goals: (a) it imported full-text copies of the articles into
NVivo and (b) it simultaneously created an internal classifica-
tion sheet (similar to a spreadsheet), which contained biblio-
graphic information that was linked to each imported article.
The classification sheet was created for the purpose of running
queries within NVivo and for export to Excel (Microsoft, 2014)
where further analysis of overall trends could be conducted.
Additional attributes (similar to spreadsheet columns) were
added to the classification sheet so that each article could be
categorized based on the social media emphasized in the study.
The labeled categories comprised ‘‘Facebook,’’ ‘‘Twitter,’’ or
‘‘YouTube’’ for studies that focused on those specific social
media platforms alone. A ‘‘Combination’’ category was used to
label studies involving more than one type of social media that
included Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or some combination of
these platforms. A category for ‘‘Other Social Media’’ was
used to label studies involving other named social media plat-
forms such as MySpace. An ‘‘Unspecified’’ category was used
for studies that emphasized more general social media topics
where there was no specific mention of any particular social
media platform.
In addition to the categorization within the classification
sheet, each entire article was coded as a case node in NVivo
based on author names to facilitate the process of running
matrix queries of authors versus content. Next, content within
each article was coded based on the research approach applied
to conduct the social media study. A set of top-level nodes, set
at the highest point of a hierarchical node structure, was created
prior to analysis to serve as the concept-driven coding frame, as
discussed earlier. Nodes were created for qualitative and mixed
methods research studies. In addition, child nodes were created
under the mixed methods node for each of the mixed methods
research design types described by Creswell and Plano Clark
(2011). Nodes for specific approaches such as interviews, focus
groups, surveys, or content analysis were generated later when
they were identified during analysis and coding of the individ-
ual articles. Research approaches had already been tagged on
the articles in Mendeley during the first round of review, so the
NVivo coding was cross-checked with the Mendeley tags to
verify consistency. When discrepancies were observed, articles
were reviewed again to resolve these differences.
Trends across the set of tagged and coded literature were
identified through analysis of coded article text, matrix
queries of articles and codes, and information in the article
classification sheet. The classification sheet was exported
from NVivo as a spreadsheet for analysis in Excel where pivot
tables were created to generate charts and frequencies of pub-
lication trends.
Limitations and Delimitations
Prior literature reviews of social media research have described
limitations that are equally applicable to the current study.
Factors attributed to scope restrictions based on specific social
media platform, databases, types of literature (e.g., articles and
conference papers), languages, publications (e.g., specific jour-
nals), or use of specific search phrases have been discussed
(e.g., Błachnio et al., 2013; Gholami-Kordkheili, Wild, &
Strech, 2013; Khan, 2012; Khang, Ki, & Ye, 2012; Leung
et al., 2013; Williams et al., 2013; Wilson et al., 2012; Zhang
& Leung, 2014). Restricting the scope of a literature review can
be beneficial in making the study feasible and focused. How-
ever, it also means that some literature will most likely be left
Snelson 5
out of the analysis. The same issue holds true for the present
study with its own restrictions on language, publication type,
databases, and search phrases. The restrictions and criteria for
inclusion should be communicated in literature reviews, as they
are here, to ensure that other researchers are made aware of
limitations impacting coverage. Furthermore, these details per-
mit replication or comparison among literature review studies.
The restrictions and selection criteria have been provided in the
method section earlier to ensure that these details are available
for interested researchers. In addition, a complete bibliography
of all of the studies included in this review, including a cate-
gorized list of mixed methods studies identified by the author,
is available online at https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/
bibliography.
Strategies for describing, defining, or classifying mixed
methods research studies have been proposed through the
development of various typologies, models, or frameworks
(Creswell, 2014; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011; Guest, 2012;
Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Nastasi, Hitchcock, & Brown,
2010). The present literature review limits discussion to the
typology developed by Creswell and Plano Clark (2011). This
typology served as a useful tool for organizing and describing
timing and priority of data collection and analysis within social
media research.
Results and Discussion
The results of this systematic literature review study are orga-
nized in a general-to-specific manner. These results begin by
presenting overall trends for the entire combined collection of
229 qualitative and mixed methods research studies. This is
followed by an in-depth analysis of the subset of 55 mixed
methods research studies and the combination of approaches
applied for social media research.
Overall Publication Trends
The first research question was: What are the overall trends in
qualitative and mixed method social media research? This
question was answered by presenting a series of trend summa-
ries including publication count by year and type of social
media, countries that produced the majority of the research,
most common journals where the studies were published, and
a breakdown of research approaches used across the qualitative
and mixed methods research studies included in this review.
Overall trends in publication count and type of social media
emphasized are shown in Figure 2 for qualitative and mixed
method research studies published from 2007 through 2013.
The lines marked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube represent
studies that focused solely on those specific social media plat-
forms. The line marked Combination represents studies involv-
ing more than one type of social media that included Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, or some combination of these platforms in
the study. The line marked Other Social Media represents stud-
ies involving other named social media platforms such as
MySpace. The line marked Unspecified represents studies that
did not specify a platform but emphasized more general social
media topics.
The publication trends illustrated in Figure 2 show an over-
all increase in social media research involving either qualita-
tive or mixed methods. Facebook research is the strongest area
with more publications than any other social media platform.
This trend is consistent with the overall popularly of Facebook,
which has been described as the dominant social media plat-
form among adult users (Duggan et al., 2015).
There were 168 (73.4%) total studies originating from the
five countries shown in Table 2, as determined by the location
of the first (corresponding) author. Essentially, Table 2 pro-
vides a summary of the points of origin and areas of emphasis
for the most prolific contributors of social media research iden-
tified in the literature review. In a similar manner, Hamm et al.
(2013) reported continents of origin for corresponding authors
when discussing the results of a literature review regarding
social media use by health-care professionals and trainees.
Although limited by the fact that the literature review included
only English texts, there is some indication of relative attention
given to social media platforms from the countries that yielded
the majority of the research.
The full set of 229 qualitative or mixed methods research
articles were published in 158 peer-reviewed academic jour-
nals. The 14 journals with a publication count of three or more
articles are listed in Table 3 to provide information about the
primary outlets for the interdisciplinary qualitative and mixed
method social media studies included in this review. Similarly,
other literature reviews have included journal information to
indicate where literature has been published within the emer-
gent field of social media scholarship (Khan, 2012; Khang
et al., 2012; Zhang & Leung, 2014).
Impact factors have played a role in prior literature reviews,
such as when researchers used them as part of the justification
to limit the scope of their review to specific journals with high
rankings (Archibald, Radil, Zhang, & Hanson, 2015; Zhang &
Leung, 2014). The present literature review took a different
approach to sample articles based on the inclusion criteria
described in the methods section and then identified the impact
factors of the journals where these studies were published as an
indicator of ranking and potential quality. The majority of
journals (72%) in Table 3 were listed in the Journal Citation
Reports 2013 Edition (Thompson Reuters, 2014b). All but one
of the articles had an impact factor listed in 2013 and 12 of the
journals had both a 2013 and 5-year impact factor.
A matrix of qualitative and mixed methods social media
research approaches is shown in Table 4. The information was
obtained by identifying how researchers described their stud-
ies. Studies identified by the authors as following a case study,
ethnography, grounded theory, or phenomenology design were
labeled as such while coding and classifying the studies. Qua-
litative studies that were described generically as qualitative
without naming a specific design or were described in terms of
data collection techniques (e.g., interview and focus group) or
analytic techniques (e.g., content analysis and discourse anal-
ysis) were placed in the other qualitative category, which
6 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/bibliography
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/bibliography
ended up being the case for 115 of the studies. Mixed methods
studies were identified based on methodology and the presence
of a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The number of studies falling within each design category is
indicated in Table 4. Data collection techniques or analytic
approaches under each design category are marked qualita-
tively (X) to indicate where they were used by the researches
who conducted the studies included in this literature review.
Frequency counts were not included for data collection tech-
niques or analytic approaches in Table 4 because individual
studies might involve multiple techniques, and the problem
of multiple counting makes it difficult to interpret the results.
Instead, common trends are discussed to highlight approaches
more commonly used by researchers. General trends observed
from across the literature review are presented first followed by
a discussion of mixed methods research approaches in the next
section of this article.
Researchers commonly used interviews, focus groups, and
surveys as data collection techniques. These types of studies
were typically designed to examine facets of social media
users’ behaviors, uses, or experiences with social media.
Table 2. Countries of Origin and Social Media Emphasis for Most Prolific Contributors.
Countries Facebook Twitter YouTube Combo Other Unspecified Total
United States 31 16 8 7 9 35 106
United Kingdom 11 3 7 2 2 3 28
Australia 5 2 1 3 1 6 18
Canada 2 2 0 1 1 4 10
Taiwan 4 1 1 0 0 0 6
Total 53 24 17 13 13 48 168
Figure 2. Publication trends by year and type of social media.
Table 3. Journals With Three or More Social Media Studies.
Journal Titles
Article
Count
Impact Factor
2013 5 Year
New Media & Society 14 2.052 2.441
Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication
8 2.019 4.346
Public Relations Review 6 0.755 0.984
Computers in Human Behavior 4 2.273 3.047
Australasian Journal of Educational
Technology
4 0.875 1.198
British Journal of Educational Technology 4 1.394 1.912
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social
Networking
4 2.410 2.535
Information, Communication & Society 4 1.283 None
Journal of Medical Internet Research 4 4.669 5.724
Behaviour & Information Technology 3 0.839 1.261
International Journal of Emerging
Technologies & Society
3 None None
Learning, Media and Technology 3 0.958 1.529
The Information Society 3 0.972 1.195
Internet and Higher Education 3 2.048 2.635
Snelson 7
Examples of interview or focus group research included inter-
views with social media users regarding their experiences with
public mourning on Facebook (Brubaker, Hayes, & Dourish,
2013), interviews with American Red Cross employees to learn
how they used social media to communicate with key publics
(Briones, Kuch, Liu, & Jin, 2011), interviews with adolescents
to find out how they use social media to become informed of
world events (Marchi, 2012), and a combination of interviews
and focus group interviews with women to explore gender
stereotypes on Facebook (Bailey, Steeves, Burkell, & Regan,
2013). Surveys were predominantly quantitative with results
presented in numerical form, although there was one instance
where the survey was qualitatively oriented with open-ended
questions (Mihelj, van Zoonen, & Vis, 2011).
Content analysis comprised the most commonly used ana-
lytic approach across this group of qualitative and mixed meth-
ods research studies. In content analysis studies, researchers
used social media content such as Facebook posts, tweets
(Twitter posts), and YouTube videos as a data source. For
example, C. P. Chen (2013) coded the content of YouTube
videos of people who had been interviewed as part of a quali-
tative research study of personal (self) branding. Cohen and
Duchan (2012) conducted a qualitative analysis of the content
of Twitter posts submitted by teenage students in their study of
the role of Twitter in the teaching and learning process.
Content analysis can be conducted with qualitative or quan-
titative methods, although combinations of both are possible.
Results often take the form of frequency counts or themes
identified in the content. Content analysis, regardless of
whether it is qualitative or quantitative, has been described as
requiring development of a codebook, which is used to guide
coding of content (Krippendorf, 2013; Schreier, 2012). Use of a
codebook with predefined categories can be found in a content
analysis study of user-created videos about Islam on YouTube
(Mosemghvdlishvili & Jansz, 2012). However, there are times
when social media researchers have conducted content analysis
studies inductively or thematically instead of using a codebook.
For example, a study of influenza coverage on social media
sites reported that the ‘‘ . . . content analysis was based on a
general inductive approach and conducted by a single coder’’
(Lehmann, Ruiter, & Kok, 2013, p. 3). Studies where content
was coded in an open, inductive, or thematic manner represent
an approach to content analysis that resembles the type of open
qualitative coding that one might apply to other types of qua-
litative data such as interview transcripts.
Trends in Mixed Methods Designs for Social Media
Research
The second research question was: To what extent does the
design of mixed methods social media studies align with an
established typology for mixed methods research approaches?
This question was answered by presenting trends in methodo-
logical approaches in the 55 mixed methods research articles.
Studies identified as representing mixed methods research for
the current analysis were social media studies that integrated
qualitative and quantitative research methods in alignment with
most definitions of mixed methods research (Creswell, 2014;
Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011; Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, &
Turner, 2007). Authors of the studies sampled for this literature
review did not always label their studies as mixed methods,
which is consistent with the noted variability in terminologies
used across the landscape of mixed methods research studies
(Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). Therefore, mixed method
research studies were first identified by reviewing the abstracts
and methods sections for terminology identifying the study as
mixed methods, multi method (qualitative and quantitative
combinations), or having used a combination of qualitative and
quantitative methods. Next, the articles were reviewed to verify
the presence of both qualitative and quantitative approaches for
data collection or analysis. The mixed methods research studies
then were classified based on their resemblance to the basic
mixed methods research designs described by Creswell and
Plano Clark (2011) and Creswell (2014) (e.g., convergent par-
allel, explanatory sequential, exploratory sequential). A resi-
dual category for other types of mixed methods research
Table 4. Matrix of Qualitative and Mixed Method Social Media Research Approaches.
Research Designs
Case Study Ethnography Grounded Theory Phenomenology Other Qualitative Mixed Methods
Number of Studies 18 22 17 2 115 55
Data collection techniques
Fieldwork and observation X X X X X
Focus group X X X X
Interview X X X X X X
Survey X
Big dataa X
Analytic approaches
Coding X X X X X
Discourse analysis X X X
Content analysis X X X X X
Statistical analysis X
a
Big Data refers to large data sets of content extracted from social networking sites.
8 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
designs was used to categorize those studies that could not be
classified due to unclear description of methodology or lack of
clear fit to the mixed methods research designs. A brief sum-
mary of mixed methods research designs and examples of
social media studies of each type are provided in Table 5.
The mixed methods research designs described in Table 5
warrant further discussion of how these designs have mani-
fested within social media research. Although space limitations
prohibit discussion of every social media study, each of the
basic mixed methods designs is discussed together with repre-
sentative studies that exemplify how the designs have been
applied in social media research. The residual category for
other mixed methods research studies will not be discussed
further. The emphasis centers on methodological structures
regardless of research topic in keeping with the central goal
of the present literature review. In-depth analysis of research
outcomes, which are highly varied in this multidisciplinary
review, is beyond the scope of this article. Prior literature
reviews already have covered a great deal of ground in the
analysis of research trends and outcomes related to specific
disciplines or research questions in social media studies as
shown in Table 1.
Convergent Parallel Design
The convergent parallel design has been described as one of the
most well-known approaches of mixed methods research
(Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). It has been conceptualized
as a triangulation approach whereby qualitative and quantita-
tive results are brought together to explore a research problem
from multiple angles to confirm results (Creswell & Plano
Clark, 2011). In fact, the word triangulation was used in some
social media studies that utilized a convergent parallel struc-
ture. For example, a study of educational use and privacy issues
on Facebook integrated web surveys and interviews in what
was called a mixed methods research design using a model
of ‘‘methodological triangulation’’ (Bruneel, Wit, Verhoeven,
& Elen, 2013, p. 132). Annabi and McGann (2013) also
described triangulation of multiple data sources, which were
collected in parallel for their study of the use of social media in
communities of practice in business.
A convergent parallel structure was identified in the design
of 23 of the 55 mixed methods research studies, although none
of these studies were explicitly labeled as such by the authors
who simply discussed the combination of qualitative and quan-
titative approaches. Studies were classified as convergent par-
allel based on author descriptions of data collection and mixing
of qualitative and quantitative data, which closely resembled
the description of convergent parallel design. The example
cited in Table 5 involved analysis of the use of a hallucinogenic
plant called Salvia divinorum in YouTube videos (Casselman
& Heinrich, 2011). Qualitative observations were conducted on
100 YouTube videos that showed people smoking the plant.
Quantitative meta-data, collected during the same time frame,
were obtained through the use of a web-crawler tool. The data
streams were collected in parallel and combined in the analysis
and interpretation of results to discuss trends in use of the plant
and patterns of views over time on YouTube.
A notable trend among several studies with a convergent
parallel structure was to mix data obtained from people with
data from social media sites or content (e.g., Facebook pro-
files, YouTube videos). Data obtained from people were col-
lected via interviews, surveys, focus groups, surveys, or
observations, whereas data from social media content were
obtained by harvesting materials such as posts or videos from
social media sites. Quantitative and qualitative data were
obtained from people as well as social media content. The
diagram in Figure 3 illustrates the convergence of streams
of quantitative and qualitative data obtained from people and
social media content sources. The data typically were com-
bined during the analysis and interpretation stages of the
research process.
Examples of the convergent parallel structure, involving
data from people and content, illustrate how this combination
has been applied in social media research. For example, quan-
titative and qualitative data from Facebook posts were com-
bined with interview data from students who interacted with
social media while in study abroad programs (Back, 2013).
Research on the differences in self-presentation on social
media sites among ethnoracial groups involved a combination
of interviews, focus groups, and quantitative content analysis
of Facebook profiles of African American, Latino, Indian, and
Vietnamese ancestry students (Grasmuck, Martin, & Zhao,
2009). A study of transparency in social media practice of
organizations and public relations professionals integrated data
from a survey, interviews, and a content analysis of social
media campaigns (DiStaso & Bortree, 2012). These studies are
representative of the group of social media research articles
classified as convergent parallel.
Explanatory Sequential Design
The explanatory sequential design is structured with a quanti-
tative portion first followed by a qualitative portion that further
explores something uncovered during the quantitative analysis
(Creswell, 2014; Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). The example
social media study in Table 5 is structured in an explanatory
sequential style with a quantitative survey on the topic of Face-
book privacy followed by focus groups to deepen understand-
ing of survey results (Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn, & Hughes,
2009). The explanatory sequential structure was identified in
nine of the social media studies and the majority of them (six
studies) involved a survey with follow-up interviews or focus
groups. For example, a survey of students regarding their use of
Facebook and MySpace was followed up with a focus group of
students who used one or both social media sites (Chu & Meu-
lemans, 2008). Cunliffe, Morris, and Prys (2013) adopted a
similar research design by administering a survey followed
by a series of focus groups in a study of teenage students’ use
of Welsh language on Facebook.
The social media studies following an explanatory sequen-
tial pattern were predominantly oriented toward obtaining data
Snelson 9
from people through surveys and follow-up interviews or focus
groups. However, some studies also involved the integration of
data from social media content within an explanatory sequen-
tial approach. For example, a study of user-created videos
about Islam on YouTube began with an analysis of videos and
YouTube channel pages. The content analysis involved coding
on both quantitative and qualitative variables including video
characteristics, producer demographics, valence framing (i.e.,
very positive to very negative), thematic variables such as topic
or country, and a qualitative category to explore the topic of
Islam on YouTube in greater depth. The content analysis was
followed by interviews with some of the people who created
the videos to learn more about their motivations for creating
and sharing their videos on YouTube (Mosemghvdlishvili &
Jansz, 2012). Another study, based entirely on Twitter content,
began with a large-scale analysis of tweets (Twitter posts)
using specific tags related to Hugo Chávez. Dominant opinion
leaders were identified based on the propagation of their tweets
(i.e., retweet, mention, or copy more than 80% of the content).
The profiles of top opinion leaders then were analyzed as
part of the qualitative research process to examine the
characteristics of these influential tweeters (Deltell, Congosto,
Claes, & Osteso, 2013). This study follows the structure of an
explanatory sequential design, but it emphasizes results
obtained from analysis of social media content.
The diagram in Figure 4 illustrates the structure of explana-
tory sequential studies to show how the qualitative strand
builds from the quantitative strand. Data obtained from people
or content can be generated in either or both strands depending
on the research goals.
Exploratory Sequential
The exploratory sequential design is structured as a mirror
opposite to the explanatory sequential design, with a qualitative
portion first followed by a quantitative portion to test or to
generalize the qualitative findings (Creswell, 2014; Creswell
& Plano Clark, 2011). The example social media study in
Table 5 is structured in an exploratory sequential style with
qualitative interviews followed by a quantitative survey
(Strano & Queen, 2012). The interviews were conducted with
Facebook users as part of a study about the use of photos on
Figure 3. Diagram of convergent parallel strands in social media studies.
Table 5. Mixed Methods Research Designs and Examples of Social Media Studies.
Mixed Methods Research Design Brief Description Social Media Research
Convergent parallel design
(23 studies)
Quantitative and qualitative portions conducted in
parallel strands with results combined or
connected to each other at the end of the study
Analysis of the content of YouTube videos together
with the meta-data obtained from a separate web
crawler program (Casselman & Heinrich, 2011)
Explanatory sequential design
(9 studies)
Quantitative portion first followed by qualitative to
help explain quantitative findings
Quantitative survey followed by focus groups to
deepen understanding of survey results regarding
privacy on Facebook (Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn, &
Hughes, 2009)
Exploratory sequential design
(11 studies)
Qualitative portion first followed by quantitative to
test or to generalize findings
Interviews reveal behaviors related to untagging and
deletion of photos on Facebook. A survey was
administered to follow up on interview findings
(Strano & Queen, 2012)
Other mixed methods
(12 studies)
Residual category for those studies not clearly fitting
other categories
Qualitative and quantitative analysis of memes in
YouTube videos (Shifman, 2011)
Note. A categorized bibliography of all the mixed methods research studies based on type of design is available online at https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/
mixedmethods
10 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/mixedmethods
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/mixedmethods
Facebook. During the qualitative portion of the study, the
researchers noticed that participants described image suppres-
sion practices involving untagging or deletion of images. These
findings were further explored with a quantitative follow-up
survey designed to learn more about the frequency of untagging
or photo deletion to manage identity on Facebook.
The exploratory sequential structure was identified in 11 of
the social media studies. Six of them were structured with the
sequential combination of interviews or focus groups con-
ducted first with quantitative surveys conducted afterward. For
example, K. H. Chen, Shen, and Ma (2012) conducted a study
of the appeal of social networking games (i.e., Facebook
games) that began with interviews of 11 experts, who were
either experienced game players or designers. The experts were
asked about their preferences for usability and functionality of
20 games that they had all played. Findings from the interviews
were used to develop questions for a follow-up survey com-
pleted by 321 gamers to test and to generalize the findings
related to game appeal. Another study of user perspectives on
construction of a social networking site for the work environ-
ment began with focus groups to generate preliminary results
for the construction of a follow-up questionnaire (Valdez,
Schaar, & Ziefle, 2012).
Like other mixed methods social media studies, those struc-
tured in the exploratory sequential pattern obtained data from
people as well as from social media content. Church (2010)
studied leadership discourse in YouTube video clips of candi-
dates during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The study
began with a grounded theory analysis of the video discourse
to develop categories from which candidate leadership traits
could be coded in a subsequent content analysis. Frequencies of
the appearance of leadership traits in the YouTube videos then
were generated during the quantitative content analysis that
followed. Along similar lines, Bronstein (2013) conducted a
content analysis of the Facebook pages of two presidential
candidates in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. A qualitative
content analysis was conducted first to identify themes in the
types of persuasive language used, the subject of the post, and
additional features such as likes or links to websites. A quanti-
tative analysis followed to look for relationships among iden-
tified themes, such as style of persuasive language, and number
of likes and comments received on the posts.
The diagram in Figure 5 illustrates the structure of explora-
tory sequential studies to show how the quantitative strand
builds from the qualitative strand. Data obtained from people
or content can be generated in either or both strands depending
on the research goals.
Summary and Conclusion
This article presented the results of a descriptive qualitative
content analysis of 229 social media studies conducted using
qualitative or mixed methods research approaches that were
published from 2007 through 2013. Overall trends for publica-
tion and methodologies were presented followed by an analysis
of mixed methods research studies and how their structure
aligns to parallel and sequential mixed methods research
designs described by Creswell and Plano Clark (2011). The
upsurge of social media use has been coupled with increased
interest in learning more about human interaction with social
media and the type of content posted on social media sites.
Prior literature reviews (Table 1) have collectively uncovered
much regarding social media research trends and outcomes.
The present literature review contributes to the knowledge base
by examining trends in qualitative and mixed methods research
publications, research designs, data collection techniques, and
analytic approaches.
Summary of Main Findings
The analysis of publication trends revealed that social media
research has been increasing over time and particularly for
studies involving Facebook. The growth in academic interest
in social media is evident in both the collection of studies
reviewed for this article and the 20 prior literature reviews
listed in Table 1. This suggests that social media research is
becoming increasingly commonplace and that studies empha-
sizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, social media, and social
networking have entered the mainstream of academic litera-
ture. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that social
media research is emerging as a field of study in its own right.
The majority of the qualitative and mixed methods social
media studies were conducted with established methods such
as interviews, surveys, focus groups, or content analysis.
Figure 4. Diagram of explanatory sequential strands in social media studies.
Snelson 11
Studies were designed to investigate people and their percep-
tions or use of social media, themes in social media content, or
a combination of both. Interviews and focus groups were com-
mon strategies in these types of studies. Content analysis was a
dominant analytic approach used within studies that involved
social media content such as Facebook posts, tweets (Twitter
posts), or YouTube videos. Emergent social media research
designs such as those that couple network analysis with quali-
tative analysis were present but uncommon in the literature
sampled for this review (see Deltell et al., 2013). However,
mixed methods research approaches involving network analy-
sis are emerging and evolving as researchers grapple with the
challenges and benefits for studies involving social networks
(Dominguez & Hollstein, 2014).
Analysis of the 55 mixed methods social media studies indi-
cated that nearly one half of them (23 studies) were structured
like the convergent parallel design, with the remaining studies
structured like the exploratory sequential or explanatory
sequential designs described by Creswell and Plano Clark
(2011). Regardless of similarities to this established mixed
methods typology, the authors did not use terms such as con-
vergent parallel, explanatory sequential, or exploratory sequen-
tial in the description of methods used. This indicates that
terminologies associated with mixed methods research designs
have not yet been widely adopted by researchers conducting
mixed methods social media studies.
Directions for Further Research
Social media studies have a central emphasis on technologies
such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, only 61
of the 229 articles included discussion of the use of software
or other technologies to collect or to analyze data. For exam-
ple, instant messaging, voice, or video tools were used by
some researchers for distance interviews (Arnold & Paulus,
2010; Brubaker et al., 2013; Gikas & Grant, 2013; Wesely,
2013). Tools for harvesting social media content were dis-
cussed in other studies such as Casselman and Heinrich’s
(2011) YouTube study or the Twitter study conducted by
Deltell et al. (2013). Social media content can be tedious to
capture, but tools for harvesting and analysis of online social
media content are becoming more readily available and user
friendly. For example, the NCapture tool was designed to
work with NVivo to capture social media content from sites
including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for qualitative
analysis. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide an
in-depth analysis of technologies for social media research,
but information is available online (see Nova Southeastern
University, 2015; University of Surrey, 2015). Additional
research on the role of technologies for studies of social
media content is warranted, given the number of studies that
integrate content from social media sites.
It can be valuable to have access to software or other tech-
nologies that support qualitative and mixed methods social
media research. However, it is equally important to use these
tools in well-designed studies conducted with methods appro-
priate for answering the research questions. The literature
review presented in this article provides an overview of recent
trends in qualitative and mixed methods social media research
designs to uncover prior approaches and how they were applied
in this emergent field of study. A complete bibliography is
provided along with a categorized list of studies for review
by researchers who wish to examine further how others have
conducted mixed methods social media studies (see https://
sites.google.com/site/qualmix/). This literature review pro-
vides a summative starting point for researchers who wish to
see what has already been undertaken by others who have
conducted qualitative or mixed methods social media studies.
Yet, there remains a need for a more cohesive framework that
clearly identifies best practices in the selection and coupling of
appropriate methods and technologies for social media
research. Future work in this area could build on alternative
mixed methods typologies that integrate interpretive and eva-
luative approaches that were not included in the descriptive
review presented in this article (see Guest, 2012; Johnson &
Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Nastasi et al., 2010; O’Cathain, 2010).
Additional research promises to advance knowledge of social
media methodologies and promote rich discussions of method
and technology in this growing field of study.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Figure 5. Diagram of exploratory sequential strands in social media studies.
12 International Journal of Qualitative Methods
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/
https://sites.google.com/site/qualmix/
Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, author-
ship, and/or publication of this article.
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Hew, K. F. (2011). Students’ and teachers’ use of Facebook. Computers
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NCU Library / LibGuides / Library How-To Guides / Research Process
/ Resources for Dissertation Research
Research Process
These pages offer an introduction to the research process
at a very general level.
Home
Finding a
Research Topic
Determining
Information
Needs
Scholarly
Research
Preparing to
Search
Reading a
Scientific
Article
Evaluating
Information
Finding Similar
Resources
Resources for a
Literature
Review
Dissertation Research
Dissertation topics are a special subset of research topics. All of the
previously mentioned techniques can, and should, be utilized to locate
potential dissertation topics, but there are also some special
considerations to keep in mind when choosing a dissertation topic.
Dissertation topics should interesting, feasible, relevant, and worthy.
The criterion of feasibility is especially important when choosing a
dissertation topic. You don’t want to settle on a topic and then find out
that the study you were imagining can’t be done, or the survey
or assessment instrument you need can’t be used. You also want to
make sure that you select a topic that will allow you to be an objective
researcher. If you select a topic that you have worked closely on for
many years, make sure you are still open to new information, even if
that information runs counter what you believe to be true about the
topic. To learn more about feasibility, see the Center for Teaching &
Learning’s Feasibility Checklist.
It is very important to think about these considerations beforehand so
that you don’t get stuck during the dissertation process. Here are some
considerations to keep in mind when choosing a dissertation topic:
Access to the primary literature relating to your topic
Access to grey literature relating to your topic
Access to the surveys and assessment instruments that you
will need
Access to the study group to conduct your study
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Resources for
Dissertation
Research
Finding
Dissertations
Researching
Theoretical
Frameworks
Research
Methods &
Design
Tests and
Measurements
Organizing
Research &
Citations 
Scholarly
Publication
Learn the
Library 
Ask Us!
IRB approval for your study
Access to equipment for your study, if needed
Note that published surveys and assessment instruments are generally
NOT free. Due to copyright laws you will more than likely need to
purchase the survey from the publisher in order to gain permissions to
use in your own study. Unpublished surveys and assessments (usually
found in the appendices of articles) may be freely available, but you
will need to contact the author(s) to gain permission to use the survey
in your research.
Looking at previously published dissertations is a great way to gauge
the level of research and involvement that is generally expected at the
dissertation level. Previously published dissertations can also be good
sources of inspiration for your own dissertation study. Similar to
scholarly articles, many dissertations will suggest areas of future
research. Paying attention to those suggestions can provide valuable
ideas and clues for your own dissertation topic. Note that
dissertations are not considered to be peer-reviewed documents,
so carefully review and evaluate the information presented in
them.
The literature review section in a dissertation contains a wealth of
information. Not only can the literature review provide topic ideas by
showing some of the major research that has been done on a topic,
but it can also help you evaluate any topics that you are tentatively
considering. From your examination of literature reviews can you
determine if your research idea has already been completed? Has the
theory that validates your study been disproved by new dissertation
research? Is your research idea still relevant to the current state of the
discipline? Literature reviews can help you answer these questions by
providing a compact and summative description of a particular
research area.
You may find it difficult to find scholarly articles, and books in which
your hypothesis is directly addressed. If so, then expand your search
to theories and variables that are related, but not directly so. No matter
how specific or elusive your topic is there is research out there that is
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NCU
Dissertation
Center
NCU
Dissertation
Center
Find valuable
resources and
support
materials to
help you
through your
doctoral
journey.
If you are
looking for a
document in
the
Dissertation
Center and
can’t find it
please contact
your Chair or
The Center for
Teaching and
Learning at
ctl@ncu.edu
how specific or elusive your topic is, there is research out there that is
relevant, so keep looking. Look for resources that address one or two
of the variables in your study, theories that are either directly or
indirectly related, as well as research that relates specifically to the
population of interest. By focusing on resources that address different
parts of your research topic, you can combine this information in a way
that is directly applicable.
The sub-pages in this section provide resources for your Dissertation
Research.
Dissertation Research FAQs
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NCU Library / LibGuides / Library How-To Guides / Research Process / Preparing to Search
Research Process
These pages offer an introduction to the research process
at a very general level.
Home
Finding a
Research Topic
Determining
Information
Needs
Scholarly
Research
Preparing to
Search
Database
Research
Log
Search
Limits
Keyword
Searching
Boolean
Operators
Phrase
Searching
Preparing to Search
Once you have selected a topic and reviewed general resources, you
must decide what exactly interests you most about your topic.For
example, you may have chosen globalization as a topic, but when you
run a search for globalization in the Library databases, you get over
12,000 results! In a situation like this you will need to narrow your
search. What about globalization interests you? Try adding some
keywords to globalization to come up with a smaller, more
manageable, set of search results. You may also find that your
research topic is much too narrow, or focused. Trying to look for
articles about the effects of globalization on outsourced employees
living in Hyderabad, India, will more than likely return zero results. In
this situation you need to broaden your topic by taking away some
keywords or being less specific about your research topic.
globalization = too broad
globalization on outsourced employees living in Hyderabad, India
= too narrow
globalization on outsourced employees = manageable topic
As mentioned above, it’s important to choose a topic that is not too
narrow or too broad. It is also helpful to select a topic where you can
effectively explore relationships. For example, “Is there a relationship
between globalization and the human rights of workers from local host
countries?” Use your research topic or question to identify the main
ideas, which will become your keywords.
keywords = globalization, human rights, outsourced employees
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Truncation &
Wildcard
Symbols
Nesting
Proximity
Searching
Field Codes
Subject
Terms and
Database
Thesauri
Reading a
Scientific
Article
Evaluating
Information
Finding Similar
Resources
Resources for a
Literature
Review
Resources for
Dissertation
Research
Organizing
Research &
Citations 
Scholarly
Publication
y g , g , p y
As you continue searching, refine your search by adding or combining
different keywords that further explore your topic. You may find you
need to modify your question. Carefully read and evaluate scholarly
research articles to determine their suitability and validity. Use
information from selected articles to form a response to your question
and guide future searches.
Understanding how to narrow or broaden your topic is a an important
part of the research process. Learn to recognize when these steps
need to occur and what to do to carry out these steps. Once you have
developed a research topic, you will want to begin thinking about the
type of information you need and the best approach to finding it.
The sub-pages in this section will describe techniques for searching in
the Library’s databases.
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https://library.ncu.edu/researchprocess/subjectterms
https://library.ncu.edu/researchprocess/readingscientificarticle
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Learn the
Library 
Ask Us!
Top 5
Searching
Strategies
 Top 5
Searching
Strategies
EBSCO
handout
identifies
powerful
search
strategies to be
used at the
onset. Note
that some
search
commands
may vary in
other
databases.
Searching 101 Workshop
This workshop covers the basics of searching: Boolean logic,
keywords vs. subjects, how to use a database thesaurus, and
truncation. Various databases will be used throughout the workshop to
demonstrate different searching techniques.
Searching 101Searching 101
 Searching 101 Workshop Outline
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Searching 102 Workshop
This library workshop builds upon Searching 101 and covers field
searching, nesting, proximity searching, and finding similar resources.
Various databases will be used throughout the workshop to
demonstrate different searching techniques.
Searching 102Searching 102
 Searching 102 Workshop Outline
One-on-One Sessions
Below are our current one-on-one session offerings. Each one-on-one
offers a specific type of assistance. Please review them thoroughly and
if you need assistance deciding which session would be best for you,
speak with a Library team member through our Ask Us! page.
For questions or assistance with assignment interpretation or
specific requirements, please speak with your course instructor.
Research Smart: Getting Started is a one-on-one session that
provides students with the opportunity to learn how to conduct
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research, find relevant resources, and explore ways to effectively build
upon knowledge within their fields of study. Sessions are personalized
toward student needs and provide students with the insight and tools
needed for successfully completing assignments and establishing a
research routine.
Recommended prior to signing up for this session:
Attend the Library Orientation workshop. See the Library
Events page for scheduling.
Watch the ‘Search Like an Expert’ tutorial.
Research Consultations are live, one-on-one sessions that provide
in-depth, high-level, and customized research assistance with a
reference librarian. These sessions are NOT meant to provide basic
Library navigation and searching skills. Research consultations are
most beneficial for students who have a clearly identified research
topic and have already done significant research on their own.
Research Consultation Areas of Assistance:
Developing your search strategy
Identifying relevant databases and journals
Finding and evaluating information resources
Discovering alternative search terms for your topic
Using advanced search techniques for specific databases
Narrowing your search results
If you need help with APA, Mechanics, Style of Writing, or Citation
Formatting, please contact the Academic Success Center for
support.
Please review all requirements for a Research Consultation prior to
signing up on our Research Consultations page.
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Recorded Video Research Consultations provide in-depth, high-
level, and customized research assistance with a reference librarian.
These 30-minute sessions will be recorded and emailed to you within 3
business days (Monday – Friday).
These sessions are NOT meant to provide basic Library navigation
and searching skills. For help with basic library techniques, please
schedule a Research Smart session.
Research consultations are most beneficial for students who have a
clearly identified research topic and have already done significant
research on their own.
Research Consultation Areas of Assistance:
Developing your search strategy
Identifying relevant databases and journals
Finding and evaluating information resources
Discovering alternative search terms for your topic
Using advanced search techniques for specific databases
Narrowing your search results
If you need help with APA, Mechanics, Style of Writing, or Citation
Formatting, please contact the Academic Success Center for
support.
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Tags: annotated bibliography, Boolean operators, cited, cited references, citing articles, dissertation research, field codes, Google
Scholar, literature review, measurements, organizing citations, peer-reviewed journals, popular sources, primary sources, research
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NCU Library / LibGuides / Library How-To Guides / Research Process / Finding a Research Topic
Research Process
These pages offer an introduction to the research process
at a very general level.
Home
Finding a
Research Topic
Brainstorming
Explore
Google 
Explore Web
Resources
Explore
Background
Information
Explore
Books
Explore
Scholarly
Articles
Determining
Information
Needs
Scholarly
Research
Finding a Research Topic
Which step of the research process takes the most time?
A. Finding a topic
B. Researching a topic
C. Both
How did you answer the above question? Do you spend most of your
efforts actually researching a topic, or do you spend a lot of time and
energy finding a topic? Ideally, you’ll want to spend fairly equal
amounts of effort on both. Finding an appropriate and manageable
topic can sometimes be just as hard as researching a topic.
A good research topic will have a body of related research which is
accessible and manageable. Identifying a topic with these
characteristics at the beginning of the research process will ultimately
save you time.
Finding a research topic that is interesting, relevant, feasible, and
worthy of your time may take substantial effort so you should be
prepared to invest your time accordingly. Considering your options,
doing some background work on each option, and ultimately settling
on a topic that is manageable will spare you many of the frustrations
that come from attempting research on a topic that, for whatever
reason, may not be appropriate.
Remember that as you are searching for a research topic you will need
to be able to find enough information about your topic(s) in a book or
scholarly journal. If you can only find information about your topic(s) in

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Preparing to
Search
Reading a
Scientific
Article
Evaluating
Information
Finding Similar
Resources
Resources for a
Literature
Review
Resources for
Dissertation
Research
Organizing
Research &
Citations 
Scholarly
Publication
Learn the
Library 
Ask Us!
current event sources (newspapers, magazines, etc.) then the topic
might be too new to have a large body of published scholarly
information. If this is the case, you may want to reconsider the topic(s).
So how do you find a research topic? Unfortunately there’s no
directory of topics that you pick and choose from, but there are a few
relatively easy techniques that you can use to find a relevant and
manageable topic. A good starting point may be to view the Library’s
Resources for Finding a Research Topic Workshop below.
The sub-pages in this section (on the left-hand menu) offer various tips
for where and how to locate resources to develop your research topic.
And for additional information on selecting a research topic, see the
resources below.
Defining a Topic – SAGE Research Methods
Develop My Research Idea – APA Central
Note: You MUST create an APA Central account AND start a paper
in order to access this tool. Once you have done so, open a paper
and click Research Lab Book in the left navigation menu.
The Process for Developing Questions – ASC Guide
Top 10 Tips for Choosing a Dynamic Dissertation Topic – ASC
Webinar
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https://library.ncu.edu/researchprocess/literaturereview
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Subjects: Arts & Humanities, Business, Computing & Information Technology, Dissertation Resources, Education,
Government & Criminal Justice, Health, Medicine & Nursing, Law, Library Services, Tools & Resources, Marriage & Family
Science, Psychology & Social Work, Sociology & Diversity Studies
Tags: annotated bibliography, Boolean operators, cited, cited references, citing articles, dissertation research, field codes, Google
Scholar, literature review, measurements, organizing citations, peer-reviewed journals, popular sources, primary sources, research
design, research methods, research topic, research_process, scholarly sources, searching, secondary sources, statistics, tests,
theoretical frameworks, theory
Resources for Finding a Research Topic Workshop
This workshop will introduce you to library resources which can be
used to locate potential topics for a research paper or dissertation.
This workshop explores websites, reference books, and scholarly
articles, as well as review criteria to consider when selecting a topic.
Resources for Finding a Research TopicResources for Finding a Research Topic
 Resources for Finding a Research Topic Workshop Outline
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