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SA 100: Perspectives on Canadian Society

Contact Info

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology / Anthropology by email () or Ask a librarian.

Library Guides & Help with Essay Writing

Steps in the process

At the start

  1. Think about your topic and
  2. Look for background information (encyclopedias, handbooks, introductory texts).
  3. Formulate a research question
  4. Brainstorm about keywords for each concept for your topic
  5. Create a search strategy before entering words into the search engine(s)
  6. Make a note of any key authors or references (citations)

Research question

Formulate a question, such as: What is the effect of the Anti-terrorism Act and how is it used for national security?

Brainstorm about your question.

  • Why was it introduced?
  • When did it come into effect?
  • How has it been applied by the police or Canada's Border Agency? 
  • What is the effect on people?
  • Has any particular group been the focus or target or has there been racial profiling?
  • Has it affected people's rights?

Identify Key Concepts

Create A Concept Map using the Concept Map Worksheet.

Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3 Concept 4 Concept 5
anit-terror* act canad* islamic human right*
Related Terms Related Terms Related Terms Related Terms Related Terms
border security law or laws or regulations federal* racial profil* civil rights
national security legislat* provinc* "people of color" deten* or detain*
public safety policy or policies      

Search Tips & Techniques

  • Use "or" to combine same concept; Use "and" to combine different concepts.
    • Use an asterisk (*) the truncation symbol for variation on the endings of words (child* will find: child, children, childless, childlike). Although "$, ?, *, !" are common truncation symbols, most use an asterisk.
    • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase
  • When using one line search box, also put braces "()" around your synonyms. E.g. (elderly or seniors or aged)
  • Alternate spellings: use American/Canadian spelling (honour or honor).
  • Use abbreviations and full words (TV or television)
  • Geographic concepts: Specific to broader ( Vancouver or BC or British Columbia or Canada or North America)
  • Alternate terms: Subject headings/Descriptors/Thesauri words (youth or adolescents or teenagers or young adults); Thesauri words increase relevancy.
  • If there is only "one-line search box", try using combining different concepts in the following way:
    • (____________ or __________) AND (__________ or ________)

Selected encyclopedias

Get an overview of a topic. Use encyclopedias, handbooks or textbook for overviews, definitions, and to identify key authors and ideas.

General Reference

Subject-Specific Encyclopedias

Find Books in the Library

For help, refer to the Library Catalogue search guide.

Using Key Words

Search using the Library Catalogue Advanced search. Some searches to consider:

  • canad* AND society AND (race OR racism OR ethnic*)
  • Canad* and immigr* and (visible minorit* or ethnic*)
  • canad* and government* and policy and immigr*
  • canad* and society and social policy
  • foreign work* and canad* and governm*
  • seasonal work* and canad* and governm*
  • social assistance and Canada and policy
  • live-in care and canad*
  • Anti-Terrorism Act
  • (anti-terror* or national security or border security)
    (law or legislat* or regulat*)
    (race or racial or islam*)
    (human rights or detain* or deten*)
  • The Indian Act

Sample results from this search: Canad* AND society AND (race OR racism OR ethnic*)

Using Subject Headings

Search the Library catalogue Browse Search and enter one of the following subjects:

Tip: For a really long list of books under a specific subject heading, refine results under 'Date'.
  • Canada. Anti-terrorism Act
  • Canada -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy
  • Canada -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- History
  • Canada. Indian Act.
  • Canada - Race relations - Textbooks
  • Canada - Social Conditions
  • Canada Social Conditions Statistics
  • Canada - Social Conditions - Textbooks
  • Canada -- Social policy
  • Canada Social Problems
  • Child welfare -- Government policy -- Canada
  • Citizenship -- Canada
  • Communities -- Research -- Methodology
  • Domestics -- Canada
  • Domestics -- British Columbia -- Vancouver
  • Equality -- Canada
  • Ethnicity - Canada
  • Foreign Workers Canada
  • Foreign Workers Canada Evaluation
  • Foreign Workers Canada Social Conditions
  • Foreign Workers Government Policy British Columbia
  • Foreign workers -- Government policy -- Canada
  • Foreign Workers Legal Status Laws Etc Canada
  • Immigrants Canada
  • Immigrants Canada Economic Conditions
  • Immigrants Canada Economic Conditions Statistics
  • Immigrants Canada History
  • Immigrants Canada Social Conditions
  • Immigrants Canada Statistics
  • Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Social conditions -- Statistics
  • Immigrants -- Canada -- Statistics
  • Immigrants -- Social conditions -- Canada
  • Income -- Canada -- Statistics
  • Income Distribution Canada
  • Income Distribution Canada Statistics
  • Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Government relations
  • Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Government relations -- Textbooks.
  • Indigenous Peoples Canada Social Conditions
  • Indigenous Peoples Canada Statistics
  • Indigenous women -- Violence against -- Canada
  • Minorities - Canada
  • Minorities Civil Rights Canada
  • Multiculturalism Canada - Government Policy
  • Native peoples -- Canada -- Social conditions -- Statistics
  • National security -- Law and legislation -- Canada
  • Poor Canada Statistics
  • Poverty Canada
  • Poverty -- Canada -- Government policy
  • Poverty Canada Statistics
  • Poverty -- Government policy -- Yukon.
  • Poverty Ontario
  • Race discrimination -- Canada
  • Racism - Canada
  • Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada. Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in Canada -- Congresses
  • Public Welfare Canada
  • Public welfare -- Canada -- History
  • Social classes -- Canada
  • Social integration -- Canada
  • Social problems -- Canada
  • Social Service Canada
  • Terrorism -- Canada -- Prevention
  • Temporary employees -- Government policy -- Canada
  • Vancouver B C Emigration And Immigration
  • Vancouver B C Social Conditions
  • Welfare Recipients Canada
  • Welfare Recipients Employment Canada
  • Women immigrants -- Canada -- Social conditions.
  • Women Immigrants Employment Canada

Find Journal Articles in Databases

For help, refer to the How to find journal articles Library guide.

Canadian topics

Sociology / Anthropology perspectives

Other databases


Directories of Websites

File attachments / images