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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 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Monday to Thursday ), Book a research appointment, or Ask a librarian.
or: How will I do my research?
SRMO is "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"
Examples: Encyclopedia article: Conceptual Framework (DOI); Video: Tips for Conducting a Qualitative Interview (DOI); Book chapter: "Asking Questions: Effective Elite Interviews..." (DOI)
For visual learners see: Methods Map to see how research concepts are related
Note: This excellent resource can now be accessed by SFU alumni!
- SFU Urban Studies research projects to see how other students approached their research
2019 example: Tools of the trade: How tool selection increases challenges in the work of binners in North-Central Surrey
- Proquest Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index Another excellent resource for seeing how other grad students did their research. Sample Subject searches: "Urban planning" or "Urban Studies". Items available via either open access or SFU interlibrary loans
- Finally, you can search journal databases under fairly broad topics and limit to "Qualitative Study" etc. Note: not all databases have extensive indexing for methodology. (e.g. not GEOBASE, despite having controlled terms)
- 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 [online]
or: How will I find materials for my Thesis literature review and References sections?
Remember that graduate research is generally not a straight line, but involves iterative searching - you are not doing anything wrong if you are taking an indirect path, searching many resources, and using different kinds of materials
- Literature reviews for graduate students SFU Research Commons guide
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips On Conducting It University of Toronto
General database search tips:
- use truncation, e.g. transport* to find transportation, transported, etc. all at once
- syntax: use 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
- More search tips in How to find journal articles
Examples of academic article databases (for more databases see listing Urban Studies Databases):
Human geography, urban planning
Urban planning, public policy
Urban sociology, social policy
or: travelling forward in time
To find newer articles when you have a good but older article:
Major source for research for cited references - not even UBC has it, but we do, until at least the end of 2022!
Web of Science
another classic citation database
You can also use Google Scholar (this link includes SFU journal access) to see the "Cited By" results
Some databases, such as GEOBASE, also have the "Cited by/Times cited in this database" function
See also Backwards and forwards citation chaining post from Radical Access
Newspaper article and other databases
While a literature review very often 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:
News resources: Finding newspaper articles and newspapers
Examples: CBCA Complete fulltext index on Canadian topics, including newspaper articles; Canadian Newsstream national and local papers
Primary sources for the Humanities SFU guide
Examples: City of Vancouver Archives and Vancouver Public Library's Vancouver History
Grey literature: What it is & how to find it finding materials such as government reports and urban plans
Example: Canada Commons. Canadian public policy documents from government and nonprofit organizations as well as think tanks
Resources on information literacy and evaluating sources
What is information literacy?
An information literate individual is able to:
Determine the extent of information needed
Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
Evaluate information and its sources critically
Incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally."
From: Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), American Library Association
video from the University of Guelph
video from the NVL library
In brief, consider: Authority; Content; Scope; Currency; Objectivity
Finding and evaluating resources
SFU guide: who, what, where, when and why
What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?
SFU guide "will help you identify and evaluate scholarly (also known as peer-reviewed) journals, magazines, and trade publications — both print and online"
How do I assess a publisher, journal, or conference?
Section "Publishing choices" of the Scholarly publishing page, but also useful for researchers to evaluate publishers and journals
All about journals
SFU's complete journal listing; search by title keyword or ISSN, including
Is a journal peer-reviewed and where is it indexed? To find out, go to:
Ulrich's Periodicals Directory to search by the title, e.g. "International journal of urban and regional research" as a phrase search or ISSN, e.g. 1469-8706); look under the Abstracting & Indexing section of the full journal description; look at the Refereed line, where Yes means peer-reviewed.
Key journals for Urban studies
Quick links for titles held at SFU
Beall's List of Potential Predatory Journals and Publishers continuing the work of Mr. Beall
Keeping track of your research and citing
- For creating the bibliography/references section see Urban Studies information resources: Citing
- Citation management software SFU mainly uses Zotero. For general citation help contact email@example.com
- NVivo software can also be used to keep track of references; for help you can book an NVivo consultation
- Thesis assistance: Templates and resources for preparing and submitting your thesis including the direct Templates link
- You can book a consultation with our Assistant for Theses (you may also email firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Writing services offered by the Research Commons including the excellent Read Ahead service, writing consultations and Fall 2022's Thesis Writing Group online (replacing, for now, the renowned Thesis Boot Camp)
- Fall 2022: RC writing workshops and more general Write What You Are (Vowel) - online writing group
Other useful resources: