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How do I Research?: An Example

A guide to conducting research for OCAD U coursework and beyond

Finding General Theories: An Example

Research Topic: Kensington Market (Toronto)

There is nothing more frustrating than building a THEORY and CONTEXT on your own, then being unable to find any supporting sources!  Instead, gradually build your argument based on what you find. When building up a set of questions be sure to:

  • use information sources to guide you in the process  and let the information retrieved help you CREATE a hypothesis (general theory) then PROVE a hypothesis

NOTE: both the encyclopedia and book used below:

  • do not SPECIFICALLY mention Kensington Market, instead, they offer
  • THEORETICAL and CONTEXTUAL frames for your interpretations and on-site analysis of the SPECIFIC case-study neighbourhood.




When searching for a “general theory” to understanding urban planning, the entry on “Urban Environments and Human Behavior” from The Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology  offers a seminal glossary of terms that you can then use to:
  • translate your thoughts on the topic into terminologies used in urban planning
  • create new keywords to use when searching for books or journal articles

Encyclopedia of Applied Psychology. Ed. Charles Donald Spielberger. Oxford: Elsevier, 2004. Credo Reference. Web

You'll note that this encyclopedia does not mention Kensington Market, nor even the city of Toronto. But this is a good thing. The information on human behaviours in the urban environment will offer critical deductive research that you can then apply to your own CONTEXT (Toronto) and CASE-STUDY (Kensington Market).