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URB 696 : Seminar in Urban Studies

This web page is intended to help you find information for URB 696.   If you need help please contact Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian, at 778.782.5043 (inaccessible due to library closure) or (Monday to Thursday ), or Ask a librarian.

Literature review

General database search tips:

  • truncation, e.g. transport*
  • syntax: AND to narrow and OR  to broaden search
  • pearl-growing, or starting with a good article and finding more (see YouTube tutorial, which uses an EBSCO database)
  • search the database's Thesaurus to find useful subject headings/descriptors
  • research is generally not a straight line, but iterative searching - you're not doing anything wrong
  • More search tips in How to find journal articles

For journal articles start with SFU databases such as:

  • To go forward in time for newer resources see "Cited by/Times cited in this database" next to a citation, such as "Cited by in Scopus"in GEOBASE).  You can also use  Google Scholar (this SFU link includes journal access) to see the "Cited By" link for a good, if older, article 

While a literature review generally covers academic research in the form of journal articles and monographs, an Urban Studies literature review can also include newspaper articles,  primary resources, grey literature and maps/GIS.  Some links:

Evaluating research:


Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) "designed to answer methods questions that arise during the various steps of the research process, including the literature search, review, research design, data collection, analysis, and write up". Contains  Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Journal articles Video and some datasets. Sample encyclopedia article: "Building a Conceptual Framework". Sample video: "Research Design" by Denise Clarke Hope Sample book chapter: "Asking Questions: Effective Elite Interviews".  Browse: Methods Map for visually represented research concepts 


  • Fundamentals of social research [print]  aka "The Babbie" - older editions of this classic work also available
  • Research design in urban planning : a student's guide [print]

Keeping track of your research and citing

Thesis writing

Beware of patch writing! See this SFU Library example.


Other useful resources: