GSWS 822 Graduate Seminar in Feminist Theory

Research help

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

Other guides

Feminist theory websites

Find journal articles

Databases index several hundred core journals of a discipline and selected journals from other disciplines. 

Doing "multiple database" searching can be a good strategy to cover a vast amount of literature. Use "Choose databases" in the Ebsco Platform databases (Women's Studies International) and use "Change databases" in the Proquest platform databases (Sociological Abstracts).

  • Women's Studies International - Start with this database for topics related to gender, sexuality, and women's studies.  After that, if you topic relates to a health issue, for example, then select the databases related to health (see image above).
    • For journal articles on "research methods", try entering the names of methods or terms such as "qualitative research", "research method*"
      You can also limit the search term by "Subject"
  • Sociological Abstracts - theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and policy science.

For a more complete list of databases, try: Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies databases

Primary source databases

A primary source is a document or other sort of evidence written or created during the time under study, or by one of the persons or organizations directly involved in the event. Primary sources offer an inside view of a particular event.  They include original documents (excerpts or translations are acceptable) such as diaries, speeches, letters, minutes, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, and official records.  In addition they include creative works (poetry, drama, novels, music, art, films) and relics or artifacts (jewelry, pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings, tools). 


Search SFU databases for "databases by content type" of "Primary sources"


  • AM explorer [Adam Matthew]
    Search for primary source material covering the social sciences and humanities from multiple Adam Matthew Digital databases. Includes monographs, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, photographs and archival documents covering history, literature, culture and politics. List of Adam Matthew databases available through SFU Library
    • Defining Gender 1450-1910: Five Centuries of Advice Literature Online  [Adam Matthew]

      British source material, including books, letters, diaries, government papers, ledgers, ephemera (pamphlets, manuscripts, ballads, cartoons), medical journals, conduct books, and periodicals on gender, leisure and consumer culture.
    • Empire Online  [Adam Matthew]

      Manuscripts, print, and visual primary sources on colonial history, politics, culture and society around the world from 1492-1969. Collection also includes scholarly essays, which provide background information on materials.
  • Artemis Primary Sources  Search across multiple Gale collections for monographs, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, maps, and other primary sources.
    • Archives Unbound [Gale]  Historical documents from three digital collections: Global Missions and Theology (19th century missionary activities in the US); Tiananmen Square and U.S.-China relations, 1989-1993; and Women, War and Society, 1914-1918.
    • Archives of Sexuality & Gender [Gale]
      A collection of primary sources on social, political, health, and legal issues impacting LGBTQ communities around the world since 1940.  Rare and unique content from newsletters, organisational papers, government documents, manuscripts, pamphlets, and other types of primary sources sheds light on the gay rights movement, activism, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and more.  Under "Essays and resources", check the "finding aids" on different topics.


An archive preserves the historical records (evidence) and they can be found at local (municipal), provincial or national levels. They could be private or public. Not everything in an archive is available in the digital format.  In addition, some material may have restricted access or have an embargo period before the material is allowed to be viewed.  An archivist tries to maintain the "organization" of the collection which was created by a donor of a collection.  Materials are organized by "fonds" (collections) and usually archivist create finding aids for these collections.

Newspapers and magazine sources

Many times newspaper stories could be the only sources of information on a topic. It is good to figure out if there are indexes for newspapers from a geographic region or a time period.  Although past years of some newspapers have been digitized, many may not have been digitized.  A case in point are the "ethnic" newspapers.  While some newspapers may have their own historical archives, some may not.  Some of the older issues of Canadian newspapers may be available in print or microform (microfilm or microfiche) formats. 

Search SFU databases for "databases by content type of "news sources"


  • Canadian periodical index [print] 1920 to 2001. Shelved on the 6th floor in Reference Indexes section Call number: FC 1 C3584

This print index has no online equivalent going back to 1920.

  • Canadian Newsstream  Full text access to major Canadian daily newspapers (such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, The Gazette (Montreal), and Vancouver Sun) as well as small market newspapers and weeklies published in Canada.

  • Globe & Mail Canada's Heritage from 1844
    Searchable full-text of the Globe and Mail from 1844-2001. Includes major events in Canadian history, plus thousands of images, advertisements, and political cartoons dating back to the pre-confederation era.

Back issue of Globe & Mail are also available through Historical Newspapers database

British Columbia

  • British Columbia Historical Newspapers open access  Digitized versions of historical community newspapers from around the province of British Columbia from 1865 to 1994. Titles include: The Abbotsford Post, Agassiz Record, Cassiar News, District Ledger (Fernie), Echo (Duncan), Grand Forks Miner, Nelsen Weekly Miner, Queen Charlotte Islander, Similkameen Star and many others.

UK and USA

  • Gale Primary Sources: Newspapers - (formerly called, Gale NewsVault).  Historical newspapers primarly from the United Kingdom and the United States. Covers 17th to 19th century newspapers as well as the 20th century. Includes some significant titles such as: the Daily Mail, the Economist, Financial Times, Illustrated London News, the Independent, Liberty Magazine, the Listener, Picture Post, Punch, the Sunday Times, The Times (of London), and the Times Literary Supplement.
  • Illustrated London News Historical Archive (1842-2003)  Regarded as the world's first fully illustrated weekly newspaper, the Illustrated London News is a pictorial chronicle of Britain and world events. It covered news of war, disasters, ceremonies, politics, sports, travel, transportation, science and medicine and even fashion. Every page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable.

  • Independent Voices: an Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press    A set of digitized newspapers, journals, and magazines originally published by alternative presses during the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Independent Voices provides access to the powerful voices of feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Latinos, gays, lesbians and more.

From within the database, click on "Series" to find magazines by theme: Black American, Campus Underground, Feminist, GI Press, LGBT, Latino, Little Magazine, Native American, and Right Wing.

  • Historical Newspapers
    Historical full page and article images from the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post from the mid to late 19th century with embargoes for the last 3 to 18 years depending on the newspaper.
  • Times Digital Archive  Also known as the "The London Times" or "The Times of London" this is a digital reproduction of The Times newspaper with a 6-year embargo on current content. It also includes its predecessor The Universal Daily Register (1785-1788). The world's oldest continuously published newspaper, the Times contains extensive national (UK) and international news coverage, UK parliamentary reports, commentary, and editorial opinions. The entire newspaper is captured, with all articles, advertisements, and illustrations/photos.
  • Women's Magazine Archive  

Women’s interest consumer magazines from 1846 to 2005 including Better Homes and Gardens, Chatelaine, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Seventeen and others. Topics include family life, home economics, health, careers, fashion, culture and more.

  • Nexis Uni

    International news coverage, business news, legal cases and law reports from early 1970's to present. Content is strongly American with significant coverage of Canadian and international topics. Formerly LexisNexis Academic.
  • PressReader  Full-text of current issues of newspapers from around the world in full-color, full-page format. Includes thousands of newspapers in over 40 languages from Canada and internationally. A rolling back file of coverage varies with each newspaper ranging from 3 days to 2 months.

Union catalogues

Union catalogues provide shared cataloguing information of holdings among their member organizations. They can be a useful source for searching for information on your topic.

WorldCat Discovery  A union catalogue (listing) of materials owned by more than 6,000 libraries around the world.  SFU Library's collection is also listed within the WorldCat database.  A union database does not include access to electronic content (books, journals, databases) that are subscribed by individual member institutions. You can use the "Get@SFU" link within a record to initiate an inter-library loan request.

Center for Research (CRL) Libraries Catalog  - CRL collects resources in four major domains: News, Law & Government Information, Science Technology & Engineering, and the History and Economics of Agriculture. Print and digital resources from the CRL collection are available to member institutions through electronic delivery (look for links in the CRL catalog) or through Inter- library loan. SFU Library is a CRL member so you can borrow material through SFU Library's  Inter-Library Loans service.

Aurora : LAC's library catalogue open access  Aurora is Library Archives Canada’s online catalogue of published material held in its own collection and beyond. Use Aurora to explore LAC’s collection of newspapers, magazines, Canadian official publications, theses, monographs, maps, music, and more.

Illume Online / BC Union Catalogue (Search for books, media, and serials at BC colleges, institutes, universities, and public libraries at one time)

Government documents, statistics and data sets

Governments collect and produce information on a variety of topics. You many need to find laws, legislation, regulations, data, statistics, policy documents, reports, budgets & expenditures, etc. The documents may be produced by different levels of the government. This section provides some links to Canadian, USA and international levels of governments.  In addition to searching for documents from different governments, also try seaching the Statista database (captures freely available government data), and the two special search engines from Google (NGO Search, IGO Search)


In addition to using some of the databases for government publications, it may be advisable to do internet searches for government information.  The Statista database gathers statistical data and often points to the original source of information. 


While much of the newer Canadian publications may be available in electronic format, some older material may only be available in print or microform formats.  They may be found using SFU Catalogue search or searches of catalogues of larger libraries such as the UBC.


  • Canadian Research Index - Canadian government publications.  For current publications, once you have identified something relevant within the database, search for the publication by doing an internet search for it by department name and title of the publication.  There is a corresponding Microlog Microfiche Collection which is shelved on the 6th floor of W.A.C. Bennett Library.  Find the "Microlog Number" for a particular publication and then search for the publication in the Microlog Collection.  There are printers which can make a print copy from microfiche.
  • Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris  Contains the full text of public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups and some government publications.

United States


  • United Nations
  • OECD iLibrary - provides electronic access to books, periodicals and statistics published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • World Economic Forum. 2018 Gender gap report
  • Statista a simple to use statistics portal that integrates statistics from thousands of sources, on topics related to business, media, public policy, health and others. Statistics can be exported in PPT, XLS, PDF, and PNG formats.

Google custom search for government publications

Type your search terms into these pre-built searches to limit results to specific organisation types. Use Search tips for Google and Google Scholar to create your search strings. 

  • NGO Search  - NGO Search is a Google Custom Search that searches across hundreds non-governmental organization (NGO) websites. NGO Search is a project of the International Documents Taskforce (IDTF) and the Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) of the American Library Association (ALA). This is a spreadsheet of NGOs included in the project.
  • IGO Search
    International governmental organizations (IGOs) are organizations made up of more than one national government—examples include NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the WHO (World Heath Organization). The governments are the members. IGO Search is a Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) that searches across IGO websites. It is a project of the International Documents Taskforce (IDTF) of the American Library Association (ALA), please see the IDTF wiki.
  • Example: "gender gap"
  • Simple Google searches - 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)


Guide: Datasets

Research Data sets are available through the databases, below.

  • Abacus Dataverse Network

    Research data repository run by the British Columbia Research Libraries' Data Services. It contains SFTP access to data files such as Social survey files, DLI data, GIS datasets, and geospatial data.
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

    A central repository and dissemination service for machine-readable social science data. ICPSR supplies social science data files for use with statistical software, such as SAS or SPSS.