By mastering the existing literature, the researcher is able to better define the research objectives and problem. After all, he perceives the gaps, that is, the phenomena that the field has not yet explained.
What is bibliographic research?
Bibliographical research is the part of the work that includes consulting secondary sources. The researcher deepens the knowledge about the subject of study in books, scientific articles, theses, among other materials. Articles from newspapers, magazines, radio and television are also included in this type of research.
Gil (2008, p. 49) defines bibliographical research as a research design. According to the author, the main advantage of this type of study is that the investigator is able to know the phenomena in a broader way, without the need to research directly .
Researching secondary sources to support scientific work is a fundamental step in exploratory research . There are even studies that are prepared only with the consultation of other sources and the application of the content analysis technique.
What is the purpose of the bibliographic research?
This strategy works well for students who are unable to undertake more in-depth fieldwork. Furthermore, it is a way of organizing data and cross-referencing a particular topic. Thus, future readers will not need to resort to numerous books and articles, as they will have all the information available in a single report.
In other cases, the bibliographic stage is the starting point. It serves to define the state of the art – the consolidated knowledge of that area of knowledge.
This content underlies the following phases of the research. They may involve questionnaires, interviews or on-site observations, always with the aim of delving deeper into a phenomenon that has yet to be explored.
(…) It would be impossible for a researcher to travel throughout Brazil in search of data on population and per capita income; however, if you have an adequate bibliography at your disposal, you will not have major obstacles to having the required information.
(GIL, 2008, p. 50)
How to do a bibliographic search
Whatever the weight of the bibliographic research, it is necessary to guarantee the quality of the process. This means seeking out reliable sources and making an effort to interpret and relate the texts.
Bibliographical research is divided into distinct phases (MARCONI; LAKATOS, 2003, p. 44). Check out a step by step to do a bibliographic search:
1 – Choose the theme
The theme is the guiding thread of the bibliographical research. Usually it is related to a difficulty that the investigator wants to solve. Select the subject according to your inclinations, conditions and qualifications.
Just be careful not to focus on discoveries that are already outdated or repeat studies that already exist. It is for this reason that there is a need to delimit the theme .
2 – Make a work plan
The work plan organizes the collection of bibliographic data. Therefore, take advantage of this phase to formulate the problem , raise hypotheses and determine the variables.
3 – Identify the works
A theoretical review must start from the canonical works. They are the best-known books, or the works most cited by professors and intellectuals. This measure “prepares the ground” so that the student is able to develop more complex and specific reasoning.
Afterwards, we start looking for articles on the subject of the TCC. Preference is given to renowned publishers and journals that stand out on the international scene. The more obscure the source, the more questionable the data. Theses, dissertations and annals of events also complement the investigation.
Don’t be afraid to use a lot of references, as long as they are relevant. Bibliography that is too brief tends to denote superficiality.
4 – Locate the chosen fonts
The location of the selected works comes soon after the bibliographic survey. Search for titles in public libraries, university libraries, bookstores and reliable databases .
The main addresses used to locate scientific articles are:
- Scielo – https://scielo.org/ ;
- PubMed – https://pubmed.gov/ ;
5 – Make the compilation
Compiling means gathering all the materials needed for the investigation and making the necessary copies. Organizing the readings on the computer is also part of this step.
6 – Do the filing
The cards help organize the summaries and serve to gather citations that will be used when writing the report.
5 – Analyze and interpret the information
Bibliographical research can support an academic work, as long as the student knows how to analyze and interpret the data. Thus, a critical and analytical look must be given to each document.
A well-done interpretation requires a work of proving and refuting the hypotheses raised initially.
6 – Find connection points
Authors often say the same thing, albeit in different words. At other times, they have completely discordant views on the same topic. Analyze the reading cards carefully to identify connection points.
Compare one listing to the other. This technique helps to structure the skeleton of the final report. You can organize text into topics. Within each subitem, mention the authors who debate that issue.
7 – Write clearly
An important challenge for those who write a monograph is to translate academic concepts for the public. Think of a layman, someone who has never come into contact with the discipline. Try to explain to this subject what such a philosopher meant, or in what context the thinker’s speech should be understood.
Remember to relate sources in such a way that they make sense to each other. There is no point in restricting yourself to “So and so says this, Beltrano says that”. It is necessary to make it clear why the information was included in the work and how it contributes to understanding the object of study.