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Psychology: Research Process

Last Updated: May 4, 2022 1:34 PM

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  1. Research Workflows
  2. Research Tips 

Research Workflows

It may be helpful to think of your research process as a workflow or cycle composed of smaller iterative cycles nested within your broader approach. Figure 1 is an example of a basic, simplified model - note the circular movement from the initial discovery process (including idea generation and searching for information), to data collectionanalysiswriting up resultspublication, and lastly a consideration of outreach and impact of the work.


Fig. 1 Basic Research Workflow

However, real workflows are never this simple. Figure 2 shows an example of more complex, iterative model [1]. You can see how multiple cycles nest within the larger cycle as each aspect of the workflow requires revisions, edits, clarifying experiments, etc.


Fig. 2 Multicycle Workflow

Here is an even more realistic view of what your day to day workflow might look like, which was created by Thomas Van Hoey, a graduate student in linguistics. Van Hoey took an honest look at his own workflow, which is probably a better representation of how most of us get through the day [2].


Fig. 3 Honest Workflow

A workflow does not exist on its own, but is made of choices - which software, applications and products to use; how do they work together effectively; how open and reproducible are they; and what makes sense for a given task, subject domain or project. The following image comes from Bosman and Kramer’s 2016 survey [1] of 20,000 researchers worldwide to give you a sense of how products sync to comprise a hypothetical workflow.



Fig. 4 Hypothetical Workflows

As you begin to research, your personal choices will dictate your workflow. These illustrations are meant to demonstrate the variety of ways that research can, and does, occur.  Please feel free to contact your librarian (Amanda McCormick) with questions at any time. 


Bibliography: [1](1,2) Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer. Of shapes and style: visualising innovations in scholarly communication. June 2016. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.3468641.v1. |  [2] Thomas Van Hoey. Handling Research (Academic Workflow 2). June 2020. URL:

Source: Many thanks to the librarians at UC Berkley for this excellent tutorial (modified, used with permission per CC BY-NC 4.0 license). 

Research Tips


Google Scholar 

  • Set up a profile! In your account options, select "library links" to double-check that you are connected to UB (choose: University at Buffalo Libraries - View it @ UB) You may also create an alert in Scholar.  Click the envelope icon near "create alert." 

  • If you run across a journal title that isn't familiar...make sure to check the title to confirm that it is a trusted peer-reviewed journal (and not a predatory journal).  Use Ulrichsweb: Global Serials Directory 

Plagiarism and Academic Scholarship

  • Consult this resource guide for an overview of plagiarism and good citation practices.

SPI-Hub Scholarly Publishing Information Hub

  • Developed by information specialists at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, this excellent database is a compilation of journal information and reputability factors (e.g., indexing status in databases, stated adherence to publishing policies/best practices, reporting of open access policies such as fees and licensing options).