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This guide will provide assistance with finding scholarly material to support the research paper assignment.
Steps in the process
- Think about your topic
- Look for background information (encyclopedias, handbooks, introductory texts).
- Formulate research question(s)
- Brainstorm about keywords for each concept for your topic
- Create a "Concept Map" for your topic
- Create a "search strategy" before entering words into the search engine(s)
- Find books and articles
- Evaluate sources
- Write your paper
- Cite your sources
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?
Create a "Concept Map"
Identify key concepts and create a "Concept Map" (Concept Map Worksheet).
This will assist you with combining keywords in a logical manner.
|Concept 1||Concept 2||Concept 3||Concept 4||Concept 5|
|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|
Find background information
Get an overview of a topic by using encyclopedias, handbooks or textbook. These types of resources identify key authors, theories and important resources on a topic. See side tab to this guide, "Background information."
Find books in the Library
Search the SFU Library Catalogue: Advanced keyword
Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase
Use brackets for synonyms
Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words
Use pull-down menu and select, "Source Types" as "Books"
Note: For Catalogue Search, when combining concepts, use CAPITAL letters ( "OR", "AND")
Research question: "What is the effect of the Anti-terrorism Act and how is it used for national security"
(anti-terror* OR national security OR border security)
(law OR legislat* OR regulat*)
(race OR racial OR islam*)
canad* AND (race OR racial* or racism)
Look at the titles in the "results list" and for those books that look relevant, click on their subject headings.
- Look at the titles in the "results list" and for those books that look relevant, click on their subject headings.
- canad* AND government AND [your topic word]
Browse by subject
Change "Title" to "Subject" and enter:
- Canada -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy
- Canada - Race relations
- Canada - Social Conditions
- Canada -- Social Conditions -- 1991-
- Canada -- Social policy
- Child welfare -- Government policy -- Canada
- Citizenship -- Canada
- Equality -- Canada
- Ethnicity - Canada
- Foreign Workers -- Canada -- Social Conditions
- Foreign Workers -- Government Policy -- British Columbia
- Foreign workers -- Government policy -- Canada
- Globalization -- Canada
- Immigrants -- Canada
- Immigrants -- Canada -- Economic Conditions
- Immigrants Canada Social Conditions
- Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Social conditions
- Indigenous peoples -- Canada -- Government relations
- Minorities - Canada
- Minorities -- Civil Rights -- Canada
- Multiculturalism Canada - Government Policy
- Native peoples -- Canada -- Social conditions
- Neoliberalism -- Canada
- Poor -- Canada
- Poor Women -- Canada
- Poverty -- British Columbia
- Poverty -- Canada
- Race discrimination -- Canada
- Racism - Canada
- Social classes -- Canada
- Social integration -- Canada
- Social problems -- Canada
- Women Immigrants -- Employment -- Canada
Find journal articles in databases
For help, refer to the How to find journal articles
What is a scholarly journal? [guide]
Finding articles: Advanced search techniques [video 3:13 mins]
Searching the "Databases for a discipline" is a great strategy to view articles that have been written within the scholarly journals of that discipline.
If full-text of article is not available from within the database, click on the "Get@SFU" to start a search. If the Library does not provide access, then use the Citation Finder/ILL tab to request a copy from another library (free).
Sociology / Anthropology perspectives
- Sociological Abstracts -- key database for sociology and anthropology journals
- Anthropology Plus -- key anthropology journals
- Social Sciences Full Text
- CBCA Complete Canada's reference and current events - scholarly journal articles, trade publications, dissertations, books, newspapers and and magazines.
- Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris -- contains the full text of public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.
- Canadian Newsstream -- covers the major Canadian daily newspapers.
Canadian Research Index -- Canadian government publications.
- Academic Search Premier -- multidisciplinary index to academic & popular journals
- Bibliography of Native North Americans -- index for all aspects of Native North American culture, history, and life
- Criminal Justice Abstracts with Full Text -- index to all aspects of criminal justice, including psychological.
- Women Studies International -- indexes journals in women's studies covering topics such as gender, sexuality, sex roles, discrimination, family, employment
- Check out their pre-tabulated data tables under "statistics by subject."
- Check out the 2016 Census. Try comparing 2016 Census with figures for Canada and Vancouver CMA. This data can be downloaded (CSV format) into Excel.
- In addition to "data", check out their "Analysis" and other reports (see tabs at the top of the data tables).
- Publications by subject
Directories of websites
Library guides & writing help
Finding and evaluating resources on the web
- Evaluating sources [video from Western University 2:16 mins]
- Avoiding plagiarism
- What is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal?
- How to write an annotated bibliography
- How to place an Inter-Library Loan request
- Search tips for Google and Google Scholar
- Citation or reference management tools (Zotero or Mendeley) - use these tools to manage your citations and to create bibliographies for your papers. For assistance with Zotero or Mendeley, email, email@example.com.
- For help with writing essays, visit the Student Learning Commons resources on Writing for university.
- Library Tutorials