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This guide is an introduction to finding news stories for a textual and content analysis of coverage of the intersection between climate change and employment in Canadian traditional and alternative media.
If you would like to talk to someone about your specific research question, Ask a Librarian OR contact Sylvia Roberts Liaison Librarian for Communication.
If you need help, please contact Sylvia Roberts, Liaison Librarian for Communication & Contemporary Arts at SFU Vancouver: 778.782.5043 (main) SFU Burnaby: 778.782.3681 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask a librarian.
Books on 3 day reserve, recommended by Dr. Hackett:
Gina Bailey and R. Hackett, Newswatchers guide to content analysis
John E. Richardson, Analysing Newspapers: Approaches from critical discourse analysis
Other sources that may provide you with a perspective on your topic and help you identify useful search terms:
- Climate change and the Canadian energy sector: Implications for labour and trade unions (2011, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)
- Climate change and Canadian unions: The dilemma for labour working paper from Work in a Warming World (W3) research project
- Government of Canada 2016 Budget: Chapter 4 - A Clean Growth Economy
- Government of British Columbia: Climate Change Impacts
- Environment and Climate Change Canada
Full text news databases at SFU Library
SFU Library's list of news databases contain several sources that are useful for this research:
The full text of major Canadian daily newspapers and Western Canadian weeklies. Stories are presented as HTML so images and the layout context are not preserved.
Current events as covered in Canadian newspapers, newswires, newsmagazines, as well as television and radio transcripts. Includes some full text, in html and pdf files.
Current issues (1-3 months) of newspapers from around the world. Provide replica of print source so the context (layout, illustrations) for stories is available.
International news coverage, strongly American with good coverage of Canadian sources & topics
Over 35 000 sources (newspaper, newswire, industry publications, websites, company reports, and more) from 200 countries, in 26 languages
Alternative Press Index
Indexes roughly 380 alternative, radical, and left publications.
Canadian labour and alternative press publications
SFU Library has access to many publications that could be useful for this research. Keep note of relevant titles you hear about in class discussion or through research and search the library catalogue to gain access to those publications. Here are a few examples:
You may want to explore websites for alternative and labour news sources. Consider independent news on the web, environmental NGO journals and look through labour union websites (perhaps national or provincial) for material on your chosen labour field. Here are a few examples:
Canadian Labour Congress news
News blog of the largest labour organization in Canada
2013 merger between Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP)
United Steelworkers (Canada)
Includes workers in refineries
Rank and File "Canadian labour news and analysis from a critical perspective"
Non-profit environmental organization
Online independent environmental news magazine
Blue Green Alliance
Labour and environment alliance organization
Clean Energy Canada
SFU's climate and clean energy think tank
Searching news sources methodically
It's effective to plan your search before you tackle the databases and to track the databases you search, as well as the terms that you use.
1. Write down a sentence describing the topic of your search:
2. Identify the key concepts in your topic.
3. Brainstorm synonyms or related terms for these key concepts.
You may need to do some background reading to identify pertinent terminology.
Group the terms that relate to one of your key concepts. Your key concepts can be as specific as corporate names or as broad as the industry. Keep adding or deleting key concepts as you search.
4. Track research: search terms, search expressions, databases
Track the terms that you use to search, using an Excel spreadsheet or other record, grouping them by concept, noting definitions. As you find literature, you will add to this list of terms.
Use this tool to track which search terms, search expressions and databases you've used, in order to provide a record of your literature review / content analysis methodology.
5. Select an appropriate database for your search.
To choose an appropriate news database, consider the nature of your research:
- Are you researching coverage in mainstream sources? Or are you looking for coverage from an "alternative" perspective?
You should try your search in several news databases to get a sense of the range of results.
- What is the scope of the specific news database? Does it provide geographical and chronological coverage suitable for your search?
Do all the news source have to be Canadian? YES but you might consider whether you should limit at the outset or when evaluating your results.
Many databases enable you to include a publication date range, in order to focus your search on a specific time period.
- Are you looking for coverage of the story by specific publications? Does the news database include all stories in the publication or only selected? Which edition does it cover (i.e. national or regional)? Look for a link to a publications list in the database description page or after you connect. You can often select specific news sources or groups of publications as the target for your search.
- Does it matter whether the source contains images, advertising, editorial content?
You can identify stories through database searches and supplement these by viewing microfilm copies of relevant newspapers. These provide photographic reproductions of the newspapers as published in print.
6. Use the search boxes to enter your search expression.
Use OR to combine terms that are conceptually related.
Use AND to connect the groups in order to find records that have at least one of the terms from each group.
In the Canadian Newsstream database, the search might look like this, with a date range selected:
7. Review your search results.
Analyze your results in order to assess and modify your search terms or search statement.
You can use the database limiters to scope your results according to subject, publication, etc. In the following image, the subject headings in the search result records are ranked by frequency of occurrence in the results. This can give you a sense of how the results group by topic.
Note which terms produced the best records / stories in your results, as well as new search terms related to your concepts, so you can incorporate these into future searches.
If some stories don't seem like a good match, consider ways to refine your search term to exclude these from your results.
8. Consider whether you need to focus your search, by date, by publication, or other parameters.
The database may enable you to limit your search terms to particular segments of the news story, such as the headline / title and the lead paragraph / abstract. Most news stories follow the "inverted triangle" with the most important information in the first paragraph so this can help you focus your search.
Similarly, consider whether your research would be improved by concentrating on particular types of news stories, such as editorials, opinion, columns, sports, etc.
9. Capture your results, either by emailing them to yourself or saving to a file.
You will need to support your nomination with documentation of your research.
Academic journal database lists
These databases enable you to search for scientific and scholarly articles, useful both for background research and for your literature review.
- Labour Studies databases
- Environmental Education databases
- Government Information databases
- Communication databases