Pick a Research topic
- Read your syllabus and course assignment instructions carefully
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the assignment
- Need extra help? Click on Choosing an essay topic
- Read Developing strong research questions
Do an initial search on Wikipedia for background knowledge
- Wikipedia will also help you to broaden your search terms
- Watch the video, Using Wikepedia Wisely
Identify key concepts by consulting online reference sources is often a good place to start
To find journal articles on your topic, you have three options:
1. Search Omni, the library's main search box - it searches many resources simultaneously, ie: books, book chapters, journal articles, magazine articles, newspapers, government documents, vidoes, etc.) Use the filters to refine your search.
2. Search subject specific databases:
- Business Source Complete - includes full text of scholarly journals and business periodicals on all topics in public administration
- Canadian Newsstand Complete - searches full text of Canadian newspapers (for background information only)
- Canadian Business and Curent Affairs - includes significant Canadian content to both scholarly and general periodical articles
- CPI.Q (Canadian Periodical Index) - contains citations to Canadian journal articles on all topics in both English and French
- Scopus - multidisciplinary
- Web of Science - multidisciplinary
- Buidling and Environment
- Canadian Journal or Urban Research
- Journal of Urbanism
- Local Environment
- Progress in Human Geography
- Progress in Planning
- Journal of Green Building
- Urban Studies
3. Use a search engine
- Google Scholar (accessed via the library's web site) is a large search engine that searches information on the web and provides links to full-text articles to which the CU Library subscribes, or to articles made freely available by the publisher. It also provides articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and scholarly articles posted on the web.
- Although it is easy to use and includes 'cited by' and ranking features, it does not provide full text without a library subscription and the coverage for the humanities and social sciences is uneven. There is no filter for just scholarly publications and very few options to limit or narrow your search results.
- Try Finding Books using Omni by topic
- Use the Advanced Search by subject in Omni. Here are some subjects words to try:
- City Planning - Environmental Aspects
- Community development
- Global warming - social aspects
- Human ecology
- Social planning
- Sustainable Design
- Sustainable Urban Development
Step by step Instructions for searching on Omni
1. Identify the main concepts of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords.
2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine concepts and enhance your search. By using AND, you are narrowing your search and by using OR to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search. Boolean operators (command words) must be in CAPS when searching Omni.
3. Make sure to enclose phrase searches with quotation marks. Example: "interdisciplinary perspective"
4. Use the truncation (or stemming) to broaden your search. The asterisk * at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: Canad* = Canada's, Canadian, Canada
5. Begin searching for material with the Omni, the library's main search box to find books and other sources on your topic. Remember to filter your search by content type for each new search in order to find a variety of material.
6. Here are the filters to use for finding peer-reviewed journals:
- Peer-reviewed journals
- Subject (optional)
7. Here are the filters to use for finding books:
- Print physical item
8. Use Virtual Browse at bottom of search results screen to browse books.
9. If you need more help use the Omni Search Tips guide
- Communicating in geography and environmental sciences e-book
- Doing your undergraduate project e-book
- How to Avoid Plagiarism
- Citing your sources
- Communicating in geography and the environmental sciences - practical guide for undergraduates on how to communicate clearly and effectively
- OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab - APA