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Research Methods

This paper describes the methods and considerations for each phase of the Regional Solutions for Rural and Urban Challenges project.


Literature Review

The literature review was structured in three parts, the first two of which were based on a systematic search of primarily peer-reviewed academic research from the year 2000 to the present date using Articles+ and Google Scholar search engines. In a few cases materials published before 2000 were included to provide essential context for current research.

Search terms for the first part included ‘rural urban connections’ and rural urban linkages’ and generated 99 articles, book chapters, and reports.  A second stage review of abstracts resulted in the selection of 50 articles for full reading, of which 48 were referenced in the review. The review drew from several disciplines, primarily regional science, political and social science, international development, and sustainability/land use, and from several regions, mainly the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, and Latin and South America.

For the second part, search terms included ‘regional collaboration’ and ‘regional governance’ and generated 37 articles, book chapters, and reports. A second stage review of abstracts resulted in 25 articles for full reading, of which 21 were referenced. The review drew from disciplines of urban affairs and studies, public administration, politics, and public policy, primarily from the United States and Europe.

The first two parts were conducted in the period October-December 2018. The third part was completed in October 2019 which included additional materials recommended from stakeholder and expert interviews and newly published articles and books. This resulted in 26 additional more references for the review.


To read the full Research Methods, click here to download a PDF.