LBST 101: Work and Worker's Rights: Introducing Labour Studies

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Labour Studies by email or Ask a librarian.


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 encyclopedias and books

    It is useful to start by obtaining an overview of a topic by consulting scholarly encyclopedias, handbooks or even textbooks.  These assist with identifying key authors, debates and resources.

    Tip:  Check out the Further Reading lists at the end of each encyclopedia entry for citations to key works on that topic!

    For more, check out Labour Studies Guide's, Background Information tab.

    Find books

    How to use the Library Catalogue  [guide]

    Do a Library Catalogue search to see if the Library owns or provides access to the sources that you've identified. 

    Search for books by a specific author or organization

    Select "Author" from the pulldown menu in the Browse Search.

    For known items it is best to check using "Browse by title" icon.  E.g. Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and dimed  [print], [electronic]


    Search by topic, using Basic or Advanced Search

    Proper syntax for Boolean logic (words that allow you to combine concepts)

    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 to find more books on that topic.

    Find books by subject

    Browse by Subject    (change the default "title" to "subject").  Browse by Subject will only result in books, not book chapters or journal articles.

    Journal articles

    Use these indexes/databases to locate journal articles on your topic.  Use the "Get@SFU" icon to find a copy of the article.


    Sociological Abstracts - for articles related labor and employment issues

    Business Source Complete
    A good place to start your search for academic or practitioner articles on labor and employment issues. It also contains industry and market reports, company profiles, country economic reports, and more.

    CBCA Full Text Business
    Canadian focus: Trade journals, general business publications, academic journals, topical journals, and professional publications.

    Fulltext of major Canadian newspapers and Canwest's small-market BC papers.

    Canada Commons (formerly, Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris) - for public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.

    Canadian government publications.  Try searching the internet for name of the department and the title of the report. Library also has these documents in microfilm format on 6th floor.  You can find them using the "microlog number" for the report.

    For more useful databases consult the databases guide for Labour Studies.

    If you have a reference (citation) for a book or journal article from another source, you can also use From Citation to Article to locate a copy.

    Tip: Check for email, export and search history options in each database!

    For more databases, try Labour Studies Databases

    Labour statistics

    Often you can find summarized data (with analysis) as part of published reports, so consider publications by governmental and international organizations, independent researchers, special interest groups/associations, etc.  Remember to think about potential bias or influence when examining these materials.

    British Columbia

    Current BC socio-economic statistics, including quick facts and historical tables. 


    Subject: Labour
      Includes information such as how many people are employed or unemployed, unemployment rate, industries or occupations that people work in, hours of work, commuting patterns, wage and non-wage benefits, job training, labour mobility, work absences, unionization, unpaid work, etc. Also includes geographic and demographic characteristics.

    • Labour Force Survey - (monthly) - measures the current state of the Canadian labour market and is used to calculate the national, provincial, territorial and regional employment.

    For more, consult: BC Statistics, Canadian Census, Statistics Canada

    Government regulations

    British Columbia


    Labour organizations and research institutes

    Search tips and techniques

    • Use "or" to combine same concept
    • Use "and" to combine different concepts
    • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase
    • Use asterisk (*) the truncation symbol, for variation on endings of words (work* will find: work, works, worker, working, workforce, etc.)
    • For Abbreviations, also use full names: ILO or "international labour organization"
    • Search Tips for Google and Google Scholar
      • Use intitle: to force Google to find those words in the titles of results.  Use quotation marks ("") to search for phrases
        • intitle:"airport security"
      • Use filetype: to tell Google to find certain filetypes
        • filetype:pdf
      • Use site: to specify results from a government web site
        • "Airport security”  site:gov

    Library guides

    Writing help