Political Science resources: Diversity & migration

This page has some sources and ideas for finding information on political science topics within the Diversity & Migration learning track. It may be helpful for students in courses such as POL 131, POL 221, POL 310, POL 317, POL 351, POL 416, and more.

If you need help, please contact Baharak Yousefi, Liaison Librarian at or byousefi@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

     Places to look for information

    Book covers by ISBNs: 9781442216068

    Background sources

    Background sources can be helpful if you are trying to get quick facts or basic information about important ideas, people, events, and more. Some examples in this area include:

    Encyclopedia of diversity and social justice
    Provides access to entries that describe important diversity and social justice themes, including many of the most popular terms used in current conversations on the topic, from "able-ism" to "xenophobia".

    Encyclopedia of migration
    This resource defines and explicates widely used terms, concepts and key topics in international and internal migration studies. It explores migration through a number of academic disciplines as well as major historical geographic movements.

    Immigration and migration: In context
    This resource provides readers with key data to understand contemporary migration and immigration issues. It explores the social, political, and cultural factors that impact, and are affected by, immigration and human migration, and includes hot-button topics like undocumented immigration/unauthorized residents, asylum seekers, refugees, the refugee crisis in Europe, etc.

    Cambridge survey of world migration
    This resource provides an extensive historical survey of migration, from the sixteenth century with the establishment of overseas European colonies to late twentieth century migration. Leading scholars from twenty-seven different countries consider a wide variety of issues including migration patterns, the flights of refugees and illegal migration.

    Encyclopedia of global studies
    Covers both transnational topics and intellectual approaches to the study of global themes, including the globalization of economies and technologies; the diaspora of cultures and dispersion of peoples; the transnational aspects of social and political change; the global impact of environmental, technological and health changes; and the organizations and issues related to global civil society.

    To look for information from other background sources, search for your terms in the Library Catalogue and select 'Reference Entries' from the Resource Type filter on the left side of the results. You can also explore the general Background reference sources page and the Background information page for Political Science.

      Article databases

      Databases are collections of information that often deal with a specific topic or type of resource and can include academic articles, newspaper articles, reports, images, and more. Searching in databases can give you more focused sets of results, though you may notice some overlap with the Library Catalogue. Here are some suggested databases for this area:

      OECD iLibrary
      Provides access to publications from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), including country studies, forecasting publications, reports, periodicals, and socio-economic databases. Topics covered include agriculture, developing economies, education, employment, energy, environment, migration, social issues, and sustainable development.

      Migration to New Worlds
      Provides access to letters, travel journals, diaries and oral histories, scrapbooks, government papers, hand-drawn maps, watercolours, objects, emigration pamphlets, shipping papers ,and rare printed materials on migration from Great Britain, Ireland, mainland Europe, and Asia to the New World and Australasia between 1880 and 1924.

      Multicultural Canada
      Provides access to newspapers, interviews, photographs, print and material culture documenting first-hand accounts of first generation immigrants and their early experiences in Canada.

      Our Roots/Nos Racines
      Provides access to Canadian local histories about places, ethnic groups, cultural phenomena, and organizations. Topics include Acadian migration to the Maritimes, Mťis heroes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Irish settlement at Grosse Isle, and more.

      To look for information from other databases, you can explore a specific selection of databases focused on immigration, a broader selection of databases in the Books + articles page for Political Science, or look at the full list of Political Science databases. Depending on your topic, you might also want to check databases for other fields, such as History, Economics, and International Studies. To find these, go to the main Article databases pages and pick the field you want from the dropdown menu in the first box.

      Additional sources

      Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies information resources (SFU Research Guide)
      Provides information and links to students of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies who are learning about women, gender, sexuality, and feminism, including feminist, queer, and intersectional understandings of power and how it operates locally and transnationally.


       Ways to look for academic sources

      Book covers by ISBNs: 9780857020789

      This section outlines some tips and strategies you can use when searching for information in academic sources. To learn more or to get more search ideas, see the Library Catalogue search guide or the general Help pages.

      Generating search terms

      To come up with terms that you can use to start searching, think about the topic or title of your project and decide on the most important words. For example:

      • The role of climate change in driving mass migration to Europe.

      Next, brainstorm synonyms, related terms or ideas, and alternate spellings (if relevant) for each of your key concepts (consider broader and more specific terms):

      • climate change = climate, drought, soil exhaustion, flooding, fires, extreme weather, etc.
      • mass migration = migration, emigration, immigration, refugees, diaspora, etc.
      • Europe = European Union, EU, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Germany, Italy, France, England, Great Britain, UK, Hungary, Greece, etc.

      As you search, try different combinations of these words, and look for other words that may also describe your topic. You may find that your results will change significantly based on which words you use.

      Also keep in mind that the words used to describe something may have changed over time. You can also get more ideas for search terms from background sources or articles on your topic.

      When searching the Library Catalogue and most databases, you can use the filters on the left side of your search results to narrow your results. Consider narrowing by resource type (e.g. book), date published, and more. Narrowing by date can be especially helpful for finding primary sources from a certain year or era.

      Using operators like AND, OR, asterisk (*), and quotation marks (" ") with your search terms can also help you focus your search and get different combinations of results:

      • Searching for  migration AND Europe will connect these different ideas and show results that contain both of them anywhere in the text.
      • Searching for  Europe OR Germany will connect these related words and show results that contain either of them.
      • Searching for Europ* will search Europe, European, Europeans, etc.
      • Searching for "climate change" will only show results where these two words appear together in this order.

      You can also use some of these techniques in general web searches. For more examples, see the Library Catalogue search guide to power searching.

      Using subject headings

      Once you have found a book or article that works for you, you can sometimes use the subject headings for that item to find similar materials. Subject headings are specific phrases that are assigned to items (a bit like hashtags in social media). Searching with subject headings can often give more relevant results than searching with keywords.

      You can find and click on subject headings in the records for many items. You can also search for subject headings using the Advanced Search in the Library Catalogue and in many databases. Here are a few examples of subject heading searches for this area: