The focus of this course guide is to introduce you to online resources that will be useful for researching and writing a university-level academic paper.
Identify overviews and key concepts by consulting online reference sources
Do some background reading on your topic by using Wikipedia
- it will help you to become more familiar with a topic
- it may broaden your search terms
- watch this video: Using Wikepedia Wisely
To find journal articles using Databases, you have 3 options:
1. Use Omni, the library's main search box
- type in the keywords of your topic or use the Advanced Search option
- this tool searches most of the library's databases, simultaneously, for all types of material, ie: peer reviewed journals, articles, book reviews, books/e-books, newspapers, magazines, videos, reports, maps, etc.
- each search can return many results (much like Google), so you must use the filters to refine your search results
- Need help? Try Omni Search Tips
2. Search a specialized database
- you will find more precise scholarly articles with fewer results to browse
- recommended databases for this course's term paper assignment includes:
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.
Step by step instructions for searching Omni or the library Databases
Database searching is NOT like Google! Most databases do not support natural language searches, so you have to be precise with the keywords you select to search. Follow these steps:
1. Identify the main keywords of your research topic
- By using AND, you are narrowing your search, and by using OR to connect synonyms, you are expanding your search. Using NOT, excludes terms.
- (China OR Hong Kong) AND pro democracy AND protest*
- (ethnic OR racial)
- media NOT radio
3. When searching for phrases use quotation marks. Examples: "One Belt"
4. Use the truncation technique to broaden your search. By adding an asterisk * at the end of a root word, the search will find various word endings.
- Example: econ* will find economy, economic, economics, economist
5. Begin searching for material with Omni to find books and other sources on your topic.
- Remember to filter your search by Content type such as 'peer reviewed journals' for each new search.
6. Here are the filters to use for peer reviewed journals when using the library's main search box:
- Scholarly & Peer review
- Journal article
7. Need help? Try Omni Search Tips
- BBC World News
"Please note: Visitors to Bloomberg.com have access to 10 free articles per month, after that there is a subscription fee. The library also subscribes to Bloomberg Professional. To use it, you must set up a free account (instructions are here)."
Other news databases
- EIU.com: Includes country reports, economic policy, weekly briefing on business related news, etc.
- Business Source Complete: Includes indexing for scholarly journals and magazines, trade publications, country reports, and market research.
- All News Databases @ Carleton
Grey Literature includes government information, international and non-governmental organization publications, conference proceedings, think tank information and magazines. Consult the Grey Literature Help guide for more help.
Use Omni to find books (in addition to almost everything else)
Here are a few search tips to find books/eBooks:
- do a keyword search in the box provided
- filter the results by 'Books' under Resource Type; to find eBooks, select 'Available Online' under Availability
- view instructions for finding eBooks on Omni
- when using the Advanced Search option, filter by Subject (a controlled vocabulary of words and phrases), then select Books, as Material Type. Here are some subjects to try searching that are relevant to this course:
- Asia - politics and government
- China - Foreign relations - 21st century
- Globalization - China
- After finding book(s) on your topic, use the Virtual Browse feature to discover other titles
- Need help? Try Omni Search Tips
Search eBook Collection Databases:
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 when 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
- Writing is a powerful tool of communication that promotes original thought, but it takes time.
- Devote sufficient time to research and writing.
- Plan your writing and essay structure.
- Learn to write a focused research question and thesis statement (when applicable).
- Edit and revise your work - days (not minutes) - before it is due!
- Ask for comments and feedback from your instructor, TA, or friends.
- Read your 'final' essay out loud for clarity of language and expression of your ideas.
- Communicating in geography and environmental sciences (the above noted Tips are from this book)
If you need help with your writing, contact Writing Services. They can help you with developing developing your ideas, creating an outline and thesis statement and writing well.