Planning Cycle

Planning cycle

A research project begins with formulating a question, reviewing the existing scholarship on your topic, and potentially seeking funding for your project.

The Dal Libraries can assist with refining your question, literature searching, citation management, and data management planning.

The Office of Research Services (ORS) supports discovery of research funding sources, application writing, grant planning, collaboration, ethics, and compliance. Your faculty may also provide additional discipline specific research supports.

Literature Search Review

Literature Search & Review

A key element in the early stages of any research project is conducting a comprehensive literature search for a critical analysis of the published works related to a research topic. Published literature provides a foundation and rationale on which to build research questions, identify gaps, and support claims. Assistance with conducting a literature search is available from the libraries and assistance with a literature review in your discipline is available through faculty and graduate workshops and writing centre consultations.

Services and tools:


Subject liaison librarians

Grant discovery, planning & research ethics

The Dalhousie Office of Research Services assists with many aspects of the research concept and planning stage including finding sources of funding, making application for funding opportunities, and negotiating agreements and contracts.

Services and tools:



Research ethics

Office of Commercialization and Industry Engagement (OCIE)


Research is often a collaborative activity and identifying potential collaborators is worthwhile in the early stages. ORS and the research office in your faculty or unit can help in this area. 

Services and tools:

Office of Research Services (ORS)

Information Technology Services (ITS)

Data discovery or collection

Determine if your research will require you to reuse data that has already been collected by another researcher/agency, or if you plan to collect your own data.  This is the best stage to seek advice on your research methodology and, if you are using survey tools, to gather advice on making sure your survey questions will provide usable answers.

Services and tools:

  • For help finding data from many sources, including census data, contact Data & GIS Services

  • Surveys are often an option researchers use to collect data.  Dalhousie REB recommends web-based survey tools that store data on Dalhousie servers like Opinio and RedCap.  But other options can be considered. Go to ITS Online Survey Services for information on how to access these tools.

  • Seek out advice on research methods and survey design in advance of any data collection. Your supervisor or the research office in your own faculty may direct you to advice in this area. 

  • If you are a RIM student, check the RIM Brightspace for contact information for research methodology support.

Data & GIS Services

Research Data Management (RDM) planning


Making a plan to manage your data should be an early consideration for any research project. Having a data management plan helps to preserve your data, facilitates sharing and visibility of your research, avoid disaster and plan for change, and allows you to meet applicable grant requirements. 

Services and tools: 

  • Learn more about research data management and your options at Dalhousie.
  • DMP Assistant is a free tool to help you develop your data plan.
  • Plan to start documenting your Metadata. Consult the Research Data Management research guide for information on metadata, metadata standards and how you should document metadata in your own research.