The focus of this web page is to introduce information literacy skills that will help you conduct university level research.
Pick a research topic
- Read your assignment instructions carefully
- Pick a research topic that interests you and meets the assignment criteria
- Identify the key concepts of your research topic, try Choosing an essay topic or Developing strong research questions
- Do some background reading on your topic using Wikipedia
- Watch Using Wikipedia wisely (watch this video for tips)
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 for helpful tips
Search Omni. Sample search string: Africa AND economics AND (post colonialism OR anticolonialism)
- For help to find books
- Remember to login first if you are searching from 'off campus'
- Use Omni Search Tips for more help
Use the Advanced Search on Omni using Subject Headings (see list below). They are terms used to organize the library's collection by subject. When you find a book, look for these terms and others in the 'Details' section under 'Subjects'
- Decolonization - Africa
- Africa - Civilization
- Africa - colonial influence
- Africa - colonization
- Africa - History - 1884-1960
- Postcolonialism - Africa
Finding Journal Articles
Begin with searching Omni and follow these instructions for finding journal articles
Dissertations and Theses:
Selected journals for this course are listed below:
- African Identities
- African Economic History
- African Studies Review
- Journal of African History
- Journal African Studies
- South African Historical Journal
- South African Review of Sociology
- Third World Quarterly
- Tip: use the Journal Search option in Omni option to search the contents of a specific journal by keyword
Basic Search tips for searching most databases
1. Identify the main concepts of your research topic and brainstorm possible keywords. Write them down.
2. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine keywords and enhance your search. Please note: boolean operators must be in caps when searching Omni but not for other databases.
- Use AND to combine topics - colonialism AND Africa
- Use OR to between related words or synonyms - (race OR gender)
- Use NOT to exclude terms; imperialism NOT intervention
- Use quotation marks to search for phrases - "postcolonial Africa"
- Use the asterisk* for word endings to broaden your search - Afric* for Africa, African, Africanist
- Use the question mark ? for single character wildcard - wom?n - for woman, women
3. When searching for material with Omni, remember to use the filters to narrow and focus your results.
4. Here are the filters for finding peer reviewed journal articles:
- Peer reviewed Journals
5. Here are the filters for finding books (monographs):
- Print/Physical Item
- Books (or Book Chapters)
Historical Newspaper Databases
- C19, The Nineteenth Century Index
- HathiTrust Digital Library
- Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (oral histories, speeches, etc.)
- U.K. Parliamentary Papers