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Michigan State University

Education Research: Research Design & Writing

main guide for education research and resources for the COE

Helpful Books

Am I Done?

How do I know when I am done with my literature review?

The saturation point is met when:

  • you're reading the same ideas again & again
  • you're not learning anything new
  • references in your newly discovered research have been explored (full circle)
  • your advisor/mentor/professor is satisfied

You're not done if you're still finding new theories and important sources.  

Research Methods Database

If you want to learn more about:

  • qualitative research methods like participatory action research or discourse analysis, check out the Little Blue Books in the Sage Research Methods database (link below).
  • quantitative research methods like regression analysis or survey design, check out the Little Green Books in the same database.  

Finding Seminal Research

You can find authorities in your field several ways.

  • From assigned texts in your foundational courses
  • Names you see/hear repeatedly in your own research
  • Reference lists and bibliographies - look at the early dates

You can also use Oxford Bibliographies (link below) to find annotated citations of articles, books, and other seminal resources on your topic

Dissertation Databases

Citation Management

Citation managers are programs that help organize the references you find for your research.  They're awesome and I highly recommend using one.  Zotero is the one I know and use (it's very easy which is why I picked it) and I know people in the social sciences like it.  There are also two others that we support at the library - EndNote and Mendeley.    

Below are links to:

  • a comparison chart to help you see the differences between the programs
  • the guides that explain each program
  • the events page where you can search for the classes we give (fyi: you can narrow the calendar search to "citation management" to just see those classes) 
Michigan State University