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Education - FACULTY LIBGUIDE: Research support

Research assistance, subject guides, and useful library resources compiled by Faculty of Education Librarians


A hearty welcome to you! This guide is your starting place for research. The UJ Library has a range of services and facilities dedicated for helping researchers to work efficiently. Whether you are a postgraduate student starting to work on your thesis , an early career researcher or an established academic, the guide will be your friendly companion to finding and effectively using the library and other resources for your research project.

The Research Cycle

The research cycle is rarely linear and often some (or all) stages will need to be revisited. Remember that different disciplines and  research topics may employ different approaches to research, which will impact on the process. Please note some  key considerations for each stage on the table below the research cycle. 


                                                                                                Image courtesy of the Curtin Library 

Develop a research question
A research question provides a focus and specifies the purpose of the research:
  • What is the problem, or topic, you wish to investigate?
  • Why is this important?
  • What background reading have you done? 
  • How will you focus your topic?
Select Methodology
The methodology establishes how you will conduct the research:
  • How will you approach the question?
  • What information do you need to address the question?
  • Which methodology or methodologies will you use?
  • What theoretical framing will be used (if appropriate)?
Design data collection and/or instruments
This design determines how you will collect the required information:
  • Do you have access to the necessary equipment?
  • What techniques will you use to collect the data?
  • What is your plan to manage the data?
  • How will you identify all the relevant collection?
Collect, test and analyze data
This process is often iterative and repeated many times:
  • What stages will be automated and what will be manual?
  • How will you break down, analyze and interpret the data?
Use findings 
The results from the analysis need to be interpreted and discussed:
  • How do the findings relate to existing literature?
  • Why are the findings significant or important?
  • What areas can you identify for further investigation?
  • How will you disseminate your research findings
Submit document for publication or examination
Once your manuscript has been prepared:
  • Who is your audience?
  • Where will you publish your findings?
  • How will you maximize the dissemination and impact of your research findings?


A dedicated library space just for you

Each campus Library has a dedicated Research Commons space for registered Postgraduate students at Master's and Doctoral level as well as Academics. This facility contributes directly to the university’s goal to promote research and support postgraduate and postdoctoral studies. This facility encourages research, social and intellectual dialogue

Sayings about Research

Useful information for submitting your Thesis or Dissertaion at UJ

Submission Guidelines

Submission form

Need help with your submission? Please see contact details below: 

 Mutali Lithole     011 559 3374

Tyson Mabunda 011 559 2688 

Finding Accredited Journals

Accredited journals are recognized research output which meet specified criteria and therefore qualify for subsidization by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). To receive subsidy or recognition for an article you have written, you should select a journal which is accredited as on the list at the UJ Research Office's website. Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to find the list:

  • Go to
  • Click on Research (at the top menu bar, against the orange background) 
  • The Research Office menu appears to the left, click on Research Publications and then on accredited DHET publication list to download the full list.

Journal Impact Factor

Different metrics have been developed to quantify the quality and impact of a journal.  Each metric has its strengths and weaknesses and should be used in combination with other factors when evaluating a journal. Impact Factor, developed in the 1960s, remains a commonly used measure of journal quality.  

  • Impact Factoris a measure of the frequency with which the average article in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is used to measure the importance or rank of a journal by calculating the times it's articles are cited.One limitation of the Impact Factor is that the values are not comparable across different fields of research.
  • Article Influence Scoredetermines the average influence of a journal's articles over the first five years after publication. One of the reputed advantages of the Article Influence Score is that it takes into account differences in the citation patterns between fields, allowing for better comparisons across different fields.
  • CiteScoreCiteScore is a set of journal metrics produced by Elsevier and calculated using citation data from Scopus.A journal's CiteScore represents the average number of citations received in the CiteScore year (e.g. 2015), by papers published in the three preceding years (e.g. 2012, 2013 and 2014). In contrast, the Journal Impact Factor uses a two year rather than three year window.
  • SCImago Journal Rank (SJR): measures the scientific prestige of a scholarly source by assigning a relative score based on a citation network.
  • Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)measures contextual citation impact by weighting citations based on the total number of citations in a subject field.

Author Impact Analysis

An author impact can help scholars not only identify significant voices in their field but also provide one indicator of an author's perceived value - by demonstrating where and how one's work has been cited. There are a few ways to measure impact.

  • Document Counts - the number of publications an author has authored.
  • Citation Counts - the number of times an author’s publications are being cited by other researchers.
  • h-index - an index to measure both the productivity and impact of the published work of an author/a researcher. The h-index is based on the highest number of papers included that have had at least the same number of citations. The value of h is equal to the number of papers (N) in the list that have N or more citations. Thus, if the h-index for an author is 10, it means that of all his published articles, at least 10 have been cited 10 or more times.

Author impact indicators can be found in the databases such as Scopus, ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar

Tracking citations

Citation tracking is used to discover how many times a particular article has been cited by other articles. As a general rule, high quality articles attract a greater number of citations.

ISI Web of Science is one of the standard tools for tracking citations. It includes a number of citation indexes for the purpose. They are the:

Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED) --1981-present

Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) --1981-present

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) --1981-2016

Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) --2015-present

Scopus is the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: scientific journals, books and conference proceedings. When using Scopus, you can discover : how many citations a particular article or author has received, citation information for particular journals and the main journals and authors that publish in your area of interest.

SciVal is an online tool that offers quick, easy access to the research performance of 7,000 research institutions and 220 nations worldwide using bibliometrics. It enables you to visualize research performance, benchmark relative to peers, develop collaborative partnerships and analyze research trends

Google Scholar offers citation totals for journal articles and other items in its database. If an article in Google Scholar has been cited by another source, a cited by link will appear below the article entry in Scholar's search results. Clicking the cited by link will display a list of articles that have cited the original article as many of these articles are also likely to display a cited by link. This process can be repeated many times.

Publish or Perish is a software program that retrieves and analyzes academic citations. It uses a variety of data sources (including Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search to obtain the raw citations.

Need Help Regarding Publishing or Impact?

The Faculty Librarians will help you with all your queries. See the contact details from the Faculty Subject Guides.

Know Your Library Essentials

For those new to the research process or new to the University of Johannesburg, the video clip below provides a few library essentials to get you stared. Please contact your Faculty Librarian if you have further questions. See the contact details to the right of this page.  Additionally, the Subject LibGuides also provide useful links to subject-specific resources and research tools, as well as contact details for the Faculty Librarians.

Tools to Organise and Manage your Research

Bibliographic management tools (also known as citation or reference management tools) help you organize your research sources and generate bibliographies in multiple citation formats. The University of Johannesburg Libraries subscribe to a tool known as RefWorks which can be accessed on and off-campus. We also offer support for a free bibliographic management tool knows as Mendeley.

Tutorials on how to use RefWorks are available at this YouTube channel. More information is also available at the ProQuest LibGuide.  Please note that  we offer individual training (contact the Faculty Librarian Research for a booking) and group training sessions for both RefWorks and Mendeley. When considering a tool to use, it is important to note that all of the tools will help you organize your research references and all include a plug-in for word processing programs to format citations and create bibliographies. However, the difference between the tools is that the one offers other features, such as support for collaboration, a web-based interface, and mobile applications.

What is a Researcher Profile and How Does It Help You?

Your researcher profile is an individual Internet profile that provides a user friendly and efficient way of showcasing your work. 

Having a unique profile:

  • Showcases your work to the world
  • Manages your publications list
  • Helps to be identified by potential collaborators
  • Helps to avoid misidentification
  • Tracks citation counts

How does a Researcher Profile help you?

In an increasingly competitive research and scholarship environment, how do you distinguish yourself from someone? If your institutional affiliation and/or contact information changes, how is the link between you and your scholarly work maintained? The solution is creating a researcher profile.A profile pulls all your research in one place,  mitigating common problems that often arise in searching.  Such problems can include variations in authors' names or difficulty in narrowing a search down easily when an author has a common name.If a researcher has worked with multiple granting agencies, research groups, or institutions, a research profile will also make their research easier to find.

Why Create a Researcher Profile?

Unique author identifiers are useful for the following reasons:

  • Researchers want to find potential collaborators, and want an easier way to get credit for their scholarly activities
  • Institutions want to collect, showcase and evaluate the scholarly activities of their faculty
  • Publishers want to simplify the publishing workflow, including peer review
  • Funding organizations want to simplify the grant submission workflow and want to track what happened to the research they funded
  • Scholarly societies want an easier way to track the achievements of their members