For further assistance with your assignment, ask at the Belzberg Library Reference Desk or contact Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian for Gerontology and Public Policy (778.782.5043 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) / nsmart@sfu.caMonday to Thursdayor  Book a research  appointment.


Journal and newspaper articles, and government documents

Useful guides

Power searching and Boolean searching
These search tips are just as useful for databases as for the catalogue, and are a must for anyone doing advanced searching, e.g. rapid reviews

Grey literature: What it is & how to find it
Spoiler: Canada Commons and Policy Commons below are sources of the latter


SFU has access to hundreds of databases, but here are a couple of useful examples:

CBCA Complete For recent coverage of health policy topics, covering  newspaper, scholarly and magazine articles

Canada Commons
Canadian public policy documents from government and nonprofit organizations, as well as think tanks
Sample terms: Continuum of care, Long term care of the sick, Medical policy

Policy Commons
International public policy documents, including Topics such as Health Policy and Food Security, from WHO and a plethora of government and nonprofit organizations

major nursing and allied health database

Global Health 
much more international than: 

Sample headings: Health policy, Legislation, Health Care Reform; subheading: legislation & jurisprudence.
It's American, so use geographic terms to narrow search (e.g. AND Canada)

Web of Science 
Index for the major disciplines and major resource for cited reference searches
Sample article title search: 
Scoping review of the World Health Organization’s underlying equity discourses: apparent ambiguities, inadequacy, and contradictions

similar to WoS, so again, perfect for citation time-travelling aka finding newer articles

Sample SFU ejournals to browse


Finding books

To find books, search the SFU online catalogue Sample Subjects:

Sample Authors :

UBC has an excellent collection of health and health policy materials, so it is worth searching the UBC Library Catalogue. To obtain UBC or other library materials, you can either make an Interlibrary Loan Request or find out about reciprocal borrowing cards.


Writing and citing: rapid reviews

Systematic, scoping, and rapid reviews: An overview
Comparison of three types of reviews.  Even experienced researchers can confuse the terms


  • For the purposes of PLCY 823 assignment, i.e. in a one-semester course, you will be doing a rapid review, as scoping reviews have 12-month timeline
  • Read  the Rapid review Guidebook from McMaster's School of Nursing 
  • In the section Citations retrieved – assessing for relevance it says "save all citations in a reference management system".  You can use citation management system Zotero, or something like Google Docs

Next, you can go through Literature reviews for graduate students 
Covers search techniques, citation management, and more

Writing services offered by the Research Commons
including: Consultations; Writing workshops; writing groups; and ReadAhead
Academic writing resources Student Learning Commons
guides and links to various aspects of academic writing, and a drop-in virtual writing group

Citation management software and tools
Spoiler: Zotero is the SFU preference

Project management software, for scoping and systematic reviews

Citation & style guides
covering the majority of material types

Government and organization sites


British Columbia Ministry of Health Services 
provides information and resources for British Columbians, including Seniors

Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
agency composed of 13 Canadian institutes focused on different areas of health research including Aging

Health Canada - federal department that focuses on Canadian health including Acts and Regulations and Achieving health for all: a framework for health promotion
See their overview  Canada's Health Care System

Public Health Agency of Canada 
Canadian agency dedicated to promoting public health including resources through the Division of Aging and Seniors

Canadian Organizations

Canadian Institute for Health Information 
(CIHI) "provides essential information on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians"

Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research 
(CAHSPR) national association promoting evidence-based health care and health policy

Canadian Council on Social Development 
(CCSD) non-profit organization focused on evidence-based social policy development, provides resources such as the Community Data Program

Canadian Medical Association Reports and policies

Canadian Public Health Association 
independent organization focused on public health, and publishes Canadian Journal of Public Health

the national voice of healthcare organizations across Canada, providing resources and health information

My Health My Community  
"a wealth of population health information at the community level" in the Lower Mainland

Indigenous health

Assembly of First Nations
(AFN) section on Health and wellness

First Nations Health Authority 
British Columbia

National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health Publications 
NCCIH is a national Indigenous organization

Other organizations

Health Systems and Policy and Monitor (HSPM)
European Observatory - health systems and policy changes

Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) 
national research organization dedicated to improving Canadian public policy, provides access to research including Faces of Aging

World Health Organization (WHO) - United Nations agency focused on global health
Under the Research Tools section, the library database, or WHOLIS, can be searched by terms such as:  Policy Making; Health Care Policy; Public Policy; National Health Programs; Health Services for the Aged; Frail Elderly; 

Gerontology-specific resources 


  • Health and care in ageing societies: a new international approach [online]
    International perspectives on aging and health care in the global context
  • Population aging and the evolving needs of older Canadians: an overview of the policy challenges [online]
    Study examining the evolving care needs of the aging population and proposing that there is a need for policies that support the needs of informal caregivers
  • Reform proposals for replenishing retirement savings [online]
    Study examining the crisis in Canadian retirement saving whereby many Canadians will reach 65 without the financial stability to retire

Other, Gerontology-based books can be found under headings such as:

Health promotion
Long Term care facilities
Older People -- Long Term Care
Older People -- Medical Care

Gerontology articles can be found in:

Major database for social gerontology.
Sample subject terms: Public Policy, Pension Plans, Social Security Reform, Health Care Reform.
As this is an American database, add search terms such as Canada, British Columbia, or even Outside United States

Legislation and legal materials

  • Finding Canadian Bills - SFU guide on how bills become legal acts and how you can find information on federal bills
  • LawCentral Canada - resources related to the legal issues, for instance health and seniors.
  • LawSource - comprehensive online database for finding primary Canadian legal documents including law reports and court decisions


Back to Public Policy Information Resources 
Back to Gerontology Information Reources

See also: Canadian Health Care Policy  SFU guide