Researching Covid-19, Pandemics and Society

Contact info

For Library research help, please contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Sociology/Anthropology, Labour Studies, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, or Ask a librarian.

You may also wish to check out the library guide: Global Health Information Resources for additional ideas.

Selected encyclopedias and handbooks

Use encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks to obtain definitions and overviews of a topic and also to identify key authors.

Databases for journal articles

How to find journal articles tutorial. 

What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?

The databases below will provide articles on information technology and society.  If the full-text of the article is not available, use the "Get@SFU" link to find it or to initiate an inter-library loan request.

  • ProQuest Sociology Collection - for issues related to class, gender, racism, sexuality and sexism and theoretical and applied sociology, social science, and policy science. Key database for sociology and anthropology journals and for issues such as structural inequalities
  • Global Health -- information on international health, biomedical life sciences, non-communicable diseases, public health nutrition, food safety and hygiene, and much more from around the world.
  • Academic Search Premier  Multidisciplinary index to academic & popular journals. Also indexes women's studies journals.
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies 
  • Social Sciences Full Text  Multi-disciplinary database
  • Women's Studies International - for any issues related to gender, sexuality and women's studies
  • Web of Science - Search citations and abstracts for journal articles, conference proceedings, and other resources in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Can also be used for cited reference searches, and citation analysis of research.
  • GEOBASE: Covers human geography, including topics such as economic growth, sustainable development and economic impact
  • Historical Abstracts - Abstracts of journal articles, book reviews, dissertations on the history of the world outside, excluding Canada and the United States, since 1450. Access is limited to 6 users at a time. Users will be automatically logged out of the database after 12 minutes of inactivity.
  • Business Source Complete - For business, labour and economic aspects 
  • CBCA Full Text Business - Canadian focus: Trade journals, general business publications, academic journals, topical journals, and professional publications
  • Canada Commons (formerly, Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris) - for public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.
  • Canadian Newsstream - covers Canadian newspapers, including Vancouver Sun, Globe & Mail
  • Google Scholar: Indexes articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies and preprint repositories
  • Annual reviews - Literature reviews and topic overviews in the sciences and social sciences. An excellent starting point for learning about a topic and for finding key articles on trending research.
  • E.g.
    • Ginestra, Mitchell, O. J. ., Anesi, G. L., & Christie, J. D. (2022). COVID-19 Critical Illness: A Data-Driven ReviewAnnual Review of Medicine73(1).
    • Singer, Bulled, N., Ostrach, B., & Lerman Ginzburg, S. (2021). Syndemics: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Complex Epidemic Events Like COVID-19Annual Review of Anthropology50(1), 41–58.
    • Taylor. (2022). The Psychology of Pandemics. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology18(1).
    • Zhang, Yang, S., & Jia, P. (2022). Cultivating Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Socioecological Perspective. Annual Review of Psychology73(1).

Databases for news

  • Canadian Newsstream
    Full text of the Province (1989-current, delayed 1 day), Vancouver Sun (1987-current, delayed 1 day), and the Times Colonist (Victoria) (1993-current, delayed 1 day) and many BC weeklies (most from 2000-current), as well as many major papers across Canada such as the Globe & Mail (1977-current, no delay)
  • CBCA Complete
    Indexes the Globe and Mail (1993- ); National Post (Oct 27, 1998-); Toronto Star (1982-2001) and news magazines such as Maclean's (1982-current); other major Canadian newspapers from 1982-2001 only). Also includes transcripts of selected CTV and CBC news and documentary programs (usually only until 2002)
  • Nexis Uni
    Indexes newspapers from around the world, in English and other languages. Includes transcripts from the major television and radio networks.

For more, try: News resources: Finding newspaper articles and newspapers

Databases for statistics

  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
    A central repository and dissemination service for machine-readable social science data. The Archive receives, processes, and distributes data on social phenomena occurring in over 130 countries
  • Statista - gathers data from around the world and also provides the original source from which the statistics were obtained.

Primary documents databases for historical research

Search these databases for the fulltext of newspapers, magazines, journals, manuscripts, and more

  • AM explorer - 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.
  • Gale Primary Sources - Search across multiple Gale collections for monographs, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, maps, and other primary sources.
  • Periodicals Archive Online - Full-text of hundreds of historically significant academic journals mainly in the humanities and social sciences from the early 1800s onwards. Note that current articles or journals are not included in this collection.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers - Historical full page and article images from the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Times Colonist, the Province, the Vancouver Sun, and the Washington Post from the mid to late 19th century with embargoes for the last 3 to 18 years depending on the newspaper.

Find books in the Library

How to use the Library Catalogue  [guide]

Search by topic, using Basic or Advanced Search.  For known items it is best to use "Browse by title" search.

Try searching by keywords and then limit by "Subject" (left-hand column) and "Resource type" of "books":


Try searches such as:

Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
Use 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:

Browse subject headings for books

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

Government documents and data


Government of Canada Web Archive - Archive of web pages captured on selected dates

  • Covid-19 Collection  - access to websites related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, captured between February 2020 and the present. These resources document the response to the crisis from public health agencies, governments, charities and other groups, and the impact of the pandemic on life in Canada. [description from website]
  • E.g. 

Public Health Agency of Canada

Statistics Canada - is the major statistical gathering agency of the Canadian government. It publishes the "whole range of statistics on the economic and social activities of the Canadian people".  StatsCan also publishes the Census of Canada at five year intervals.

British Columbia data for Covid-19

COVID-19 statistics for British Columbia and selected regions, January 2020 - December 2022

This data set contains COVID-19 data compiled from British Columbia Ministry of Health and other press briefings as well as other sources, notably Johns Hopkins' COVID-19 data releases in the case of international data. Date coverage is from 2020-01-28 to 2022-12-19, with the majority of data collection ending 2022-12-17. The focus is primarily on British Columbia and includes case counts, rolling averages, hospitalizations, wastewater statistics, hospitalization statistics, positivity rates, and death comparisons. World death comparisons for selected regions are also included.

The data set was compiled and used for reporting by Justin McElroy of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation during the COVID-19 pandemic; case counts and other data are as reported at the timeand do not reflect revisions or corrections announced in subsequent briefings. [description from Abacus database]



United States


Searching using Google

Search Tips for Google and Google Scholar

Search results limited to words in the title of document, using "intitle:".  Use capital "OR" for synonyms. Put braces "(__ OR__ )" around words with the same meaning (synonyms). "AND" is assumed by Google so you don't need to include it in your search strategy.


(covid-19 OR coronavirus OR pandemic) (race OR racial OR ethnic* OR class OR gender OR "visible minorit*")

Refine your searches

Search for documents from a particular country's domain.  Web country codes

Library guides