This text takes the reader through the initial stages of an undergraduate dissertation or a postgraduate thesis, offering advice on: searching out existing knowledge on a topic; analyzing arguments and ideas; mapping perspectives; producing a literature review; and constructing a case for investigation. Appendices are provided on how to cite reference, structure for a research proposal and presentation of a Master's thesis. The text is published as a set book for the Open University postgraduate foundation module, "The Challenge of the Social Sciences" (D820). Contents: The research imagination; the purpose of literature reviews; reading research to review; argumentation analysis; analyzing the ways ideas are organized; mapping and analyzing ideas; writing the review. First published 1998.