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GSWS 100 - Sex Talk: Introduction to Contemporary Issues in Sexuality Studies

Research help

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies by email () or Ask a librarian.

Research process

  1. Define your topic.
  2. Look for background information
  3. Based on your preliminary research, formulate a research question that you intend to address through more comprehensive research. You will ultimately address this research question in your thesis.
  4. Brainstorm keywords for each concept in your topic to use for searching for information.
  5. Use Library Catalogue to find books  and use databases to find articles.
  6. Evaluate your resources.
  7. Note key authors and works that may lead you to further sources.


Start Your Research Here - This page gives you an overview of the research process, or in other words how to find materials for your essay.

Selected handbooks and encyclopedias

Use encyclopedias, handbooks or textbook for overviews, definitions, and to identify key authors or concepts. 

For more, try Background information

Find books

Catalogue search will find books, journal articles, videos, government reports and more.  After doing a search, you can limit your search results by "Resource type" of "Books."   Library Catalogue search guide

Search the SFU Library Catalogue

Research question

What is the impact of pornographic content in the movies?

Identify the main concepts:  "pornographic content", "movies", "impact"

For each term, find synonyms or related terms

(sexual content OR pornography OR pornographic content)


(movies OR moving pictures OR motion pictures OR cinema OR films)


(impact OR effect OR influence)

Find books

The Library Catalogue provides access to books, journal articles, videos, government documents and much more.  To limit the search results to "books", use the filter (left-hand column in search results) to "resource type" of "books."

Library Catalogue search guide

Search the SFU Library Catalogue, either the Basic or the Advanced search

Note: In the searches below, search results have been limited to "Online Resources only" and "Resource type" of "Books". You can further limit by using "Subject" (left-hand column)


Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
quotation marks to search for a phrase
Use brackets for synonyms
Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words

Note:  For Catalogue Search, when combining concepts, use CAPITAL letters ( "OR", "AND")

Look at the titles in the "results list" and for those books that look relevant, click on their subject headings.

Selected books

Browse by subject

Browse by subject (change the default "Browse by title" to ""Browse by subject" using the pull-down menu)

Sex, pornography and regulation

Discourse on sex and sexuality


Media, censorship, regulation



Find journal articles

Find a Peer-Reviewed Article in Social Science Journals
What is a scholarly journal?
How to find journal articles


Databases index key journals for a discipline. 

Google searching

Search tips for Google, Google Scholar, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines

Search results limited to words in the title of document, using "intitle:".  Use capital "OR" for synonyms. Put braces "()" around words that mean the same thing. 

intitle:(sex* OR porn*) intitle:(laws OR regulations)


Search for documents from a particular country's domain.  The example below is for India, with country code of ".in"
  Web country codes  intitle:(sex* OR porn*) intitle:(laws OR regulations)


Search for government publications from Canada using " intitle:(sex* OR porn*) intitle:(laws OR regulations)


Selected websites

Library guides and tutorials

Writing help