Pick a Research topic
- Read your 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
- Developing strong research questions
Do an initial search on Wikipedia
- Wikipedia will help you broaden your knowledge of a topic
- Watch the video, Using Wikepedia Wisely
Reference sources for urban studies:
- Encyclopedia of the city
- International encyclopedia of human geography
- Key concepts in urban studies
- Megacities and our global urban future
- Metropolis: A history of the city, humankind's greatest invention
- Sage encyclopedia of action research
- The City: a world history
- Urban Development for the 21st century
- Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of urban and regional studies
To find journal articles (or books):
- Omni searches most of the library's databases, simultaneously, for all types of material, ie: journal articles, books newspapers, magazines, videos, reports, grey literature, maps, etc.
- type the keywords of your topic in the search box
- each search can return many results (much like Google), so you must use the filters to refine your search results
- remember to login first if you are searching from 'off campus'
- use the Omni Search Tips guide if you need help
Search subject-specific databases for journal articles:
- GEOBASE - comprehensive coverage of all topics in geography
- SAGE Journals Online - full text access to 26 journals in urban studies and planning
- Canadian Business & Current Affairs - major resource with significant Canadian content covering all topics
- Scopus - multidisciplinary coverage of all topics, half originating from Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific
Searching Techniques with Boolean operators
First, identify the main ideas of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords. Write them down.
- Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine concepts and focus your search.
- By using AND, you are narrowing your search, and by using OR to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search.
- Use NOT to exclude words
Here are a few search string examples for Omni searches:
- (food security OR food supply) AND Africa
- gentrification AND displacement
- "community garden*" AND "case studies"
- "electric vehicles" AND (Battery OR batteries)
- Mexico NOT New AND "tent cities"
Use brackets to group synonyms
Use quotation marks to enclose phrases and keep words together, example: "community gardens"
Use the asterisk to broaden your search. The asterisk at the end of a root word will search various word endings. Example: cartog* will find cartographic, cartography
Begin searching for material with Omni to find books, articles and many 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.
Use the filters to find: peer-reviewed journal articles, books, newspaper articles, or grey literature such as reports.
If you need more help use the Omni Search Tips guide
- Find Maps
- Map resources @ CU Library (this link provides you with mapping tools and explanations re: types of maps)
Find print maps using OMNI:
1. Connect to OMNI
2. Type in keywords (example: Canada AND rail)
3. Filter search results to: Maps
Scanning Maps from the Library's print collection
Carleton Library provides a map scanning service; this means that students can request a print map, from the library's collection to be scanned by staff (in pdf and .jpg).
Other maps sites to explore:
- David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
- Europe: Google Earth and Google Maps
- Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
GIS: Geographic Information Systems
Geographers most often use APA citation style:
Referencing your sources is an important part of academic writing. Why?
- it lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work
- it helps you to avoid plagiarism
- it demonstrates that you are using the scholarly record and that you can provide authority for statements you make in your term paper
- it enables readers to find the source information
- They say/I say: the moves that matter in academic writing (RSV, print only)
- Student writing; give it a generous reading
- Need Help? Contact: Writing Services