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GEH1049 / GEC1015 Public Health in Action

Conducting Research

Conducting research typically involves several steps. Since research is an iterative process, you may need to repeat some steps as you conduct your research in order to get the best sources of information on your topic.

conducting research3

Information adapted from  Research Flow ChartMonmouth University LibGuide 2019

Process of Writing Your Assignment

This table is a guide on how to find relevant materials as you conduct background research and write your assignments.

Steps and questions


1. What is the topic of interest?

You are assigned to write on the Socio-Ecological Model.

2. Do preliminary search for information on the topic 

  1. What do I know about the topic?
    Background info in lecture notes, textbook readings, recommended articles
  2. Where are the accessible/ available locations to research? 
    Library - books and databases, use of NUS FindMore search engine, news and health agency sitesGoogle Scholar
  3. Is there enough information on my topic?
    Is there a need to scope/narrow my topic focus?

You do a few brief searches to gauge what the possibilities of the assignment are.

  • You find that the topic has a wide scope and there is substantial information the Socio-Ecological Model. 
  • The model has been applied to a variety of health issues such as fruit consumption, sexually transmitted diseases and playing of sport, among others.
  • You may consider scoping the topic to focus on a selected area.

You now know roughly what you are going to work on.

3. Make your answer as clear and as specific as possible. Specify "who, what, where, when" you are talking about. 

  1. Define or identify the concepts in your question. Clarify any vague words.

From your rough idea, make a concise assignment objective e.g. applying the Socio-Ecological Model to your dietary habits. 

  • Each concept in your assignment has to be clearly defined. That is part of topic scoping. Define Socio-Ecological Model and "dietary habits".
  • What exactly is meant by "dietary habits"? How are they normally defined in literature?

4. Locate more materials on your topic

  1. Have I done searches in the major information sources available to me in the library? 
  2. Have I used search engines like Google Scholar to do a literature search on the topic?
  3. Have I explored all related topics?

Through further research, you find that there are many synonyms for "dietary habits" (e.g. dietary behaviors, eating habits).

  • You execute searches on various search platforms using these synonyms and related terms to increase recall of relevant materials.
    Furthermore, you find that the Socio-Ecological Model has been adapted by many scholars to contain fewer factors / different factors.
  • You may revise your initial research statement to include/exclude certain concepts to increase relevance or focus.

5. Evaluate your sources

Apply the CRAAP Test


6. Write your assignment

Revision of topic scope may still occur at this stage as you realize what is lacking or what limitations you face.

7. Proofread

Take some steps to proofread.

  • Check for grammar 
  • Spelling 
  • Presence of minor mistakes gives the impression that your work is not professional or well thought through!