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Library guides & help with essay writing
- Findind and evaluating resources on the web
- Avoiding plagiarism
- What is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal?
- How to write an annotated bibliography
- More Tutorials (interactive)
- Citation or reference management tools collect your journal article, book, or other document citations together in one place, and help you create properly formatted bibliographies in almost any style — in seconds. Citation management tools help you keep track of your sources while you work and store your references for future use and reuse.
- For help with writing essays, visit the Student Learning Commons resources on Writing for university.
Steps in the process
At the start
- Think about your topic and
- Look for background information (encyclopedias, handbooks, introductory texts).
- Formulate a research question
- Brainstorm about keywords for each concept for your topic
- Create a search strategy before entering words into the search engine(s)
- Make a note of any key authors or references (citations)
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|
|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 ________)
- NOTE: SFU Library "Catalogue Search", to combine terms, use capital "OR, and capital "AND"
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.
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 pulldown 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*)
You can limit "Resource Type" to "Books"
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 Library guide
If fulltext of article is not within the database, click on the "Get@SFU" to start a search for it. If the Library doesnot 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 Complete -- 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