GSWS 102: Feminist Action

Library research help

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


Start Your Research Here - This page gives you an overview of the research process and steps to take to find resources for your essay.

You may also find this guide to be of interest: Feminism From Around the World.

Selected dictionaries and encyclopedias

Get overviews, summaries, key authors, debates and ideas from encyclopedias, handbooks or textbooks. 

For more, try Background information

Example research topic

 What is the impact of violence against women?

Key concepts: violence, women, impact

Think of synonyms or related words for each concept

Concept 1

violence OR rape OR assault

Concept 2

women OR gender

Concept 3

impact OR effect

Search strategy

Combine the three concepts.

(violence OR rape OR assault) AND (women OR gender) AND (impact OR effect)


Find books using Catalogue Search

Library Catalogue search guide

From SFU Library's Homepage
Choose: Catalogue Search -> Catalogue ->

Basic search: Catalogue Search

Advanced search
Enter -> Any Field: leave blank | Contains:  your research topic word or phrase | Resource type: Books

Find books, book chapters and journal articles by a specific author

To find books by the author Judith Butler, use the following steps.
               Any Field: Author    Contains:  Butler, Judith  Resource type: Books

Browse by author

This search provides a list of books (not book chapters or journal articles) by the author

Choose: Catalogue Search / Choose: Catalogue / Choose: Browse tab (at top)
     Change: "Browse by" from "Title" to "Author"   Enter: Last name, First  name Butler, Judith

Browse search for books "about" a particular author ("author" as "subject")

Choose: Browse tab, change "title" to "subject"

Browse for the person's name as "subject": 

Books on a topic

For the above example of "violence against women", see the results from using Catalogue Search

Use "keyword" searching:

Above search can be modified by using "truncation" and other terms

From the results, select a relevant book and check its "subject headings"

Other examples:

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")

Selected books

Books about a person or a topic (browse subjects)

From SFU Library homepage
Choose: Catalogue Search -> Catalogue -> Choose: Browse tab, change "title" to "subject"

Browse search for books "about" a particular author ("author" as "subject")

Choose: Browse tab, change "title" to "subject"

Browse for the person's name as "subject":  

Feminist methods

Non-western feminism

See the pattern of "Subject Heading" (Women's Rights) with "Sub-headings"  related to geographic areas ("name of country" or the  "region" of world)

Western feminism

Reproductive rights

Violence against women

Find journal articles

Primary source database

Feminist theory website

Writing help

For undergraduate students, the Student Learning Commons provides assistance and numerous, helpful guides.

Library guides