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POL 221: Introduction to Canadian Government


This research guide is intended to help you get started with your POL 221: Introduction to Canadian Government course assignment research. 

If you need help, please contact Mike McIntosh, Liaison Librarian at 778.782.5043 or or Ask a librarian.

Getting started

Background information

Do you need some basic definitions or background information?  Try these subject-related resources:

Books and reports

Search the Library Catalogue to find print and electronic books, journals and reports on your topic.

Try linking to the subject headings below to find useful books and reports on your topic. 

To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu.

  • Cabinet ministers -- Canada
  • Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Civil rights -- Canada
  • Civil service -- Canada
  • Constitutional history -- Canada
  • Elections -- Canada
  • Federal government -- Canada
  • Human rights -- Canada
  • Judicial power -- Canada
  • Lobbying -- Canada
  • Lobbying -- Law and legislation -- Canada
  • Political culture -- Canada
  • Political leadership -- Canada
  • Political planning -- Canada
  • Pressure groups -- Canada
  • Prime ministers -- Canada
  • Social movements -- Canada
  • Voting -- Canada


Browse the current and back issues of these journals to find articles with specifically Canadian content.

Journal article indexes

See Databases in Political Science for a complete list of subject-related journal article databases online.  Some recommended databases for course-related research topics include:

  • Political Science Complete
    Covers political theory, comparative politics, law and legislation and non-governmental organizations.
  • CBCA Complete
    Covers Canadian topics including business, politics, literature, history and news events.
  • Canadian Electronic Library
    Includes publications from a variety of Canadian public policy institutes, research institutes, think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies and university research centers.
  • Canadian Research Index
    Includes publications issued by hundreds of government agencies and departments in the federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as scientific and technical report literature issued by research institutes and government laboratories and policy, social, economic, and political reports.
  • CRKN Canadian Publishers Collection
    Includes over 8,000 current titles from over 50 leading Canadian publishers.

News resources

  • Canadian Newsstream
    Fulltext of major Canadian newspapers and Canwest's small-market BC papers.
  • CBCA Reference and Current Events
    Includes newspapers, newswires, newsmagazines, as well as television and radio transcripts.  Covers politics, business, the arts, sports, and any other kind of news, whether happening in Canada or abroad.
  • PressReader
    Provides online access to current newspapers from around the world in full-color, full-page format.
  • Alternative Press Index
    Includes roughly 380 alternative, radical, and left publications, which report and analyze the practices and theories of cultural, economic, political, and social change.

Writing and citing

Use the SFU Department of Political Science Guidelines for Writing Essays and Research Papers and the SFU Student Learning Commons Writing for University to guide you as you write your research paper.

You may also want to peruse the following books:

  • The Political Science Student Writer's Manual [print]
  • Social Sciences Research: Research, Writing and Presentation Strategies for Students [print]
  • Academic Writing: An Introduction [print]

The Student Learning Commons offers students a wide range of academic writing, learning, and study strategies services including free one-on-one consultations and workshops.

You need to correctly cite all of the books, journal articles and websites that you used in your research.  Start with the SFU Library's Writing & Style Guide.  A couple of other guides that you may want to look at are the Citing Sources (Duke University Libraries) and Diana Hacker's Research and Documentation page.

Citing your sources and creating the reference list is time consuming.  Take notes throughout your research and make sure to mark the page number(s) of passages you plan to paraphrase or directly quote in your research paper.

Consider using a citation management tool called RefWorks to organize your references and automatically generate a bibliography from your references.  See the SFU RefWorks Quick Guide to help you get started.

Learning how to properly credit others when you use their ideas is a difficult, but important, part of research.  Start with the SFU Library's interactive tutorial Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism to test yourself and to learn more about plagiarism.  Also read the SFU Library's Plagiarism Guide for further discussion of this critical topic and for links to other plagiarism guides.