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Rhode Island School of Design

Create a Research Plan: Research Plan

A framework for planning a research project

Research Plan

A research plan is a framework that shows how you intend to approach your topic. The plan can take many forms: a written outline, a narrative, a visual/concept map or timeline. It's a document that will change and develop as you conduct your research.

Components of a research plan

1. Research conceptualization - introduces your research question

2. Research methodology - describes your approach to the research question

3. Literature review, critical evaluation and synthesis - systematic approach to locating,

    reviewing and evaluating the work (text, exhibitions, critiques, etc) relating to your topic

4. Communication - geared toward an intended audience, shows evidence of your inquiry


 

Research conceptualization refers to the ability to identify specific research questions, problems or opportunities that are worthy of inquiry. Research conceptualization also includes the skills and discipline that go beyond the initial moment of conception, and which enable the researcher to formulate and develop an idea into something researchable (Newbury 373).

 

 

Research methodology refers to the knowledge and skills required to select and apply appropriate methods to carry through the research project (Newbury 374).

Method describes a single mode of proceeding; methodology describes the overall process.

Method - a way of doing anything especially according to a defined and regular plan; a mode of procedure in any activity

Methodology - the study of the direction and implications of empirical research, or the sustainability of techniques employed in it; a method or body of methods used in a particular field of study or activity
*Browse a list of research methodology books available in the library


Literature Review, critical evaluation & synthesis

A literature review is a systematic approach to locating, reviewing, and evaluating the published work and work in progress of scholars, researchers, and practitioners on a given topic.

Critical evaluation and synthesis is the ability to handle (or process) existing sources. It includes knowledge of the sources of literature and contextual research field within which the person is working (Newbury 373).

 

Literature reviews are done for many reasons and situations. Here's a short list:

 

 

to learn about a field of study

to understand current knowledge on a subject

to formulate questions and identify a research problem

to focus the purpose of one's research

to contribute new knowledge to a field

personal knowledge

intellectual curiosity

to prepare for architectural program writing

academic degrees

grant applications

proposal writing

academic research

planning

funding

 

Sources to consult while conducting a literature review:

Online catalogs of local, regional, national, and special libraries

meta-catalogs such as worldcat, artlibraries.net, europeana, world digital library or RIBA

subject-specific online article databases (such as the Avery Index, JSTOR, Project Muse)

digital institutional repositories such as Digital Commons @RISD; see Registry of Open Access Repositories

works cited in scholarly books and articles

print bibliographies

the internet-locate major nonprofit, research institutes, museum, university, and government websites

search google scholar to locate gray literature & referenced citations

trade and scholarly publishers

fellow scholars and peers

 

Communication                             

Communication refers to the ability to

  • structure a coherent line of inquiry
  • communicate your findings to your intended audience
  • make skilled use of visual material to express ideas for presentations, writing, and the creation of exhibitions (Newbury 374)

 

Research plan framework: Newbury, Darren. "Research Training in the Creative Arts and Design." The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts. Ed. Michael Biggs and Henrik Karlsson. New York: Routledge, 2010. 368-87. Print.

About the author

Ellen Petraits
Research & Instruction Librarian
Coordinator of Graduate Library Instruction

 Ellen Petraits

Except where otherwise noted, this guide is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution license