This part we will bring alive a body of analytical methods which can be utilised to train your thought processes and help in the development of your ideas. These methods can be added at different steps in the research process and may aid in:

  • Highlighting the subject of your research (the research question)
  • Planning a broad search through the available literature
  • Putting into perspective the way in which you collect information.

Your Research Question

It may be necessary to do some research in the framework of a literature review or you might wish to highlight a key subject area for a thesis. Where do you actually begin? There are two ways to approach the challenge: ‘general to specific’ and ‘specific to general’:

General to specific

This avenue would be of particular use if you have been giving the option of deciding your specific research question and you are first commencing with a general area of study.

  • Bring together all the required information.
  • Use an analytical method to break up your subject to be studied into small but related ideas.
  • Form a viewable image of this procedure.
  • Highlight any spaces or gaps in the research.
  • Itemize some likely research questions.

Specific to general

This avenue would be of particular use if you have a very specific research question at the ready, for example a question provided by a sponsorship in a particular industry.

  • Bring together all your specific information.
  • Use an analytical method to spread out the argument around the question.
  • Form a viewable image of this procedure.
  • Highlight any areas that have not been substantiated.
  • Make a list of questions relevant to the research, keeping the central focus on your first idea.

For both these avenues we suggest you utilise analytical methods and viewable recording techniques. These techniques have been planned to ensure a user is able to see an area of study from a world, integral and non-linear view. Approaching an area of study in this way enables the provision of specific insights – necessary for forming a unique research question.


You can use a search topic that is related to your very own research or the search topic outlined next.

The aim is to search for the results that additives in food can have on the health of humans. Create a Mind Map to devise a plan of action. Commence by printing the question in the centre of a piece of paper. The lines that extend from the centre of the map need to be drawn and each one is used to write down a different keyword.