Bibliographic research

Dr Nishkala P S

Abstract :
Bibliographic research study conduct to gather and compile all the available information/data on the specific topic. It is considered as an essential step before initiating any research study as it is an important procedure to obtain the necessary foundation for the planning and development of any research protocol.

Key words: bibliographic research, bibliographic material, research study

Bibliographic research consists in the revision of existing bibliographical material with respect to the subject to be studied.1 It is a technique that consists of the selection and collection of information through reading, critique of documents and bibliographic materials, libraries, newspapers and archives. It is considered as an essential step because it includes a set of phases that encompass observation, inquiry, interpretation, reflection and analysis to obtain the necessary bases for the development of any study.


  • There is a review of documents to know the state of the subject or object that is being investigated.
  • Presents a process that consists in the collection, selection, analysis and presentation of the results.
  • Involves complex cognitive processes, such as analysis , synthesis and deduction.
  • It is done in an orderly manner and with precise objectives.
  • Its purpose is the construction of knowledge.
  • It supports the research that is being carried out, at the same time allows to avoid carrying out studies already explored.1


  1. Argumentative or exploratory type:

The main objective of the researcher is to take a position on a certain topic to test whether that element of study is correct or incorrect. Considers cause, consequences and possible solutions that will lead to a conclusion. This is more of critical type.1

  1. Informative or expository type:

Unlike the previous one, it does not seek to object to a topic but to recreate the theoretical context of the investigation, for this it uses reliable sources, and the selection and analysis of the material in question.1

Criteria for the selection of material:

  • Relevance – the sources must be consonant with the object of study, as well as their objectives, in order to base the investigation.
  • Exhaustive – all sources must be necessary, sufficient and possible, without excluding any that may also represent an important contribution. They must correspond to the objectives set.
  • Recent – recent research or studies to support the research will be taken into account.1


Before carrying out the review, it is important to be clear about the following-

Determine the subject to be studied, which must be combined with the possibilities of the researcher, framed in a prudential  time with future projection and with a connection to his / her area of study.1

Steps :

  • Accumulate references:

The references include any type of written or audiovisual document that will be essential to support the investigation. It can be textbooks, handbooks, monographs, journals, dissertations and theses, conference papers, research reports etc. databases that index the content of journals, books and other publication formats are the most efficient way to conduct a comprehensive literature search. Eg: PsycINFO, ERIC, Sociological abstracts, Medline etc2

Search process
The bibliographic study focuses on assessing the structure of a particular research field.3

Define the topic, narrow it, identify possible search terms and structure our search.

Eg: how to students develop values and ethics? What personality attributes might dispose students to unethical behaviour? What might be done to develop stronger ethical practices among students? Narrow the topic- “ how are ethics developed in students?”

Search terms identification
Next step is to identify search terms that can be used to find out prior publications on our topic. For each key term in our topic question, we will identify synonyms and related terms.

Eg: ethics- values, morals

Developed- development, change

Search structure
We will define our search using Boolean operators(AND, OR, NOT) to establish relationships between search concepts.

OR –to retrieve anyone of the terms in a set of synonyms. Eg: ethics or morals or values

AND- requiring a  member of each set to be present in our search eg: Ethics AND develop AND students

  • Select references

The material that respects the quality and current standards will be chosen.

  • Incorporate elements in the work plan

It deals with the organization of the chosen documents in alphabetical or chronological order.

  • File

It refers to the emptying of the basic information of the collected material , where the appointment to be used, the summary and the comment made by the researcher will be collected.

  • Write

Placement of specific data

  • Confront and verify

The aim is to determine if, indeed the hypothesis raised by the author is valid, based on the information collected.

  • Correct and make the final revisions

It refers to the latest arrangements made to the form and background of the investigation1

Importance :

  • Any field of study needs constant study and research
  • The progress of scientific studies needs documentation
  • To start any study, it is necessary to review previous material to carry out investigation. 1

Bibliographic research may be defined as any research requiring information to be gathered from published materials. These materials may include more traditional sources such as books, magazines, journals, reports, but may also consist of electronic media such as audio and video recordings, online resources like websites, blogs etc4. It is considered as an important step in research as a review of previous material is necessary to carry out any investigation.


  1. Culture G, phrases O. Bibliographic Research: Definition, Types, Techniques [Internet]. Life Persona. 2021 [cited 30 November 2021]. Available from:
  2. Leong F, Austin J. The psychology research handbook. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications; 2006.definition-types-techniques
  3. Block J, Fisch C. Eight tips and questions for your bibliographic study in business and management research. Management Review Quarterly.2020;70(3):307-312
  4. Bibliographic Research. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. 2017;.

Dr Nishkala P S
MD Part 2
Department of Case taking and Repertory
Under the guidance of Dr Munir Ahmed R
Government Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital,Bengaluru

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