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Ekstrom Library

GEOG 660: Qualitative Methods for Applied Geography


Today we will

  • Identify resources for learning about qualitative methods in SAGE Research Methods
  • Use both keyword searching and citation tracking to find articles for a comprehensive literature review
  • Track the contributions of sources in a literature review matrix
  • Use EndNote or Zotero to organize and cite articles

Research Methods


Practice: Use the methods map to find a qualitative method that interests you and find a resource about the method.

Finding Articles

Start your search in one of these databases to find journal articles.

In these library databases use connectors like AND, OR, NOT nested with parentheses ( ), and " quotation marks " around common phrases. 

Citation Tracking

A paper icon article, B paper icon references, C paper icon cited by.


  1. Start with a relevant/important article on the topic that has been published at least a few years ago.
  2. Look at the references and citations for more relevant articles that are important to the topic. Find those articles in the library's catalog. 
  3. Go to Google Scholar and find how many times article A has been cited. You can click on this number, see a list of all the citing articles, and "search within" the list to find more recent, relevant studies. 


Google Scholar result for article The emerging geographies of climate justice with cited by 136 highlighted.


Literature Review Matrix

Literature Review Structures

A thematic literature review structure organizes sections based on the themes in the literature. Use this approach when you are studying a new research problem but would like to contextualize your research with similar literature.

Chronological order creates sections that review the material in sequential order. This structure is useful when tracing the history of a research area.

Literature reviews that are organized methodologically consist of sections that are based on the methods used in the literature found. This approach is most appropriate when you are using new methods on a research question that has already been explored.

Source: Tulane University Libraries. Comprehensive Literature Review: A Guide

Practice Tasks

  • In addition to finding articles related to your topic, try to find a relevant article that uses a particular method.
  • Sign up for a free Research Rabbit account. Start with a relevant article from a few years ago and look at the network graph of connected studies. 
  • Download the Zotero app and browser extension, add sources to a collection, and try out the Cite While You Write features.

End of Session