Lateka Grays, MSLS, CHIA, CCSP
Hospitality & Career Services Librarian, Associate Professor
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The SAGE Research Methods database is a web-based portal of reference books, case studies, journal articles, and videos to support researchers in university, corporate, hospital, research institute, and public library settings. The database aims to help students and practitioners understand each component of the research process through a variety of instructional resources.
SAGE Research Methods contains a collection of over 1,100 peer-reviewed cases from across the social sciences with learning objectives and discussion questions. Users can search across the platform by keyword or identify cases by method, discipline, or academic level (undergraduate to postgraduate). In addition, SAGE provides useful guides and tutorials for faculty incorporating the cases into their instruction.
Included in SAGE Research Methods are over 500 teaching datasets from a variety of disciplines. The ability to filter the sets by method (e.g., SPSS and Python), discipline, and data type (e.g., quantitative and qualitative) makes locating the right set fairly simple for researchers.
There are several streaming media options within the database. With more than 125 hours of video content, the database contains videos that range from tutorials to expert interviews. The videos are helpful for illustrating the concepts in the electronic resources. There are also a limited number of podcasts with social scientists discussing research challenges that complement the database content.
Experiments is a pilot feature that allows users the option to run one of three tests: Lexical Decision Task, Pre/Post Test, and Wildcat Wells. Templates are included in order for researchers to run customized versions of the tests. Since it is a pilot, more experiments and functionality will eventually be added.
The web-based interface allows for keyword searching across all products within the platform. Basic search functions include the ability to search by full text, title, author/editor, research method, abstract, DOI, and ISBN. In addition, there is an advanced search feature that allows users to sort their search results by date, publisher, and content type. Each facet allows users to further filter resources within the category (e.g., handbooks under Content Type: Books). Discipline and Product complete the facets of the advanced search, allowing users to search by various subjects across SAGE Research Methods Cases, Datasets, Foundations, and Video. Search terms are highlighted in burgundy, although clicking on the highlighted term does not take you directly to the section of the resource where the term appears.
The landing or home page of SAGE Research Methods makes navigating by content type easy, with colorful boxes below the main search box indicating the content type. The call-out boxes provide a brief description of the content to help researchers quickly locate their needed resources. The ability to begin a search by discipline is arranged just below the content boxes. Clicking on a specific discipline will take users to a list of resources that can be refined by using the menus in the right column of the webpage. Even further down the landing page is a methods map tool that uses mind mapping to provide definitions and clickable links to additional content related to the selected term. It is an interesting feature for those who like to learn using this type of tool. Another highlight on the page is the project planner. Researchers in need of help with organizing and understanding parts of the research process are provided with a step-by-step plan including instructional tools about that phase of the process. A future improvement of the tool would be a template that allows users to save information in their profiles to track their progress.
Researchers can create a personal profile that allows for the creation of reading lists and saved searches. From the results list, the “Add to My Reading Lists” link helps to quickly begin the process of creating a list. Alternatively, while locating the “My Profile” link can be a little difficult, once discovered, it is fairly simple to create lists or saved searches. The reading list feature allows for the creation of public or private lists under the “My Reading Lists” feature. The sharing features are extremely useful for instructors because of the ability to embed them in a learning management system or website.
The database is mostly licensed to institutions (e.g., colleges, universities, government agencies, non-profits, and corporations). University and college subscriptions are based on full-time enrollment. Users can authenticate using IP authentication or OpenAthens/Shibboleth. SAGE Research Methods is compliant with SUSHI harvesting and offers COUNTER reports.
SAGE Research Methods is a great investment for institutions with students who are new to research and need supplemental materials to improve their understanding of concepts learned in research methods courses. It is also a great tool for experienced researchers who are interested in exploring a new method or need a refresher. The variety of learning objects within the resource provides researchers with different learning styles or preferences to help them feel confident moving forward with their selected research method.