Develop a search statement to search databases (including news databases), the catalogue, and other academic sources
A search statement includes a list of keywords, combined using Boolean Operators (AND; OR; NOT)
- AND - this will combine concepts, all of which must be found in your list of results
- media AND children
- OR - either this concept or that concept (or both). This is helpful for generating a list of synonyms. Use synonyms to anticipate the different ways different authors may refer to the same idea. A thesaurus can be helpful for this
- internet OR web OR online
- NOT - do not include this concept
- Mexico NOT city
- Quote marks - find a specific phrase
- "human rights"
- Truncation - any other combination of letters to follow
- Canad* - will find Canada, Canadian, Canadian's, etc.
- journalis* - will find journalism, journalist, journalistic, etc.
- Combine one or more of these operators
- Put a list of synonyms in brackets
(smartphone OR "mobile phone" OR "cell phone") AND (societ* OR cultur*)
How to write and conduct a literature review
SAGE Research Methods ( supports beginning and advanced researchers throughout a research project, from writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to writing up and publishing the findings)
- Conducting a Literature Review
- How to write a literature review (Concordia University Libraries)
- The literature review: a few tips on conducting it (U. of Toronto)
- Literature reviews (University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill)
- How to research
- Writing literature reviews : a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences
Finding Literature reviews on your topic
Many dissertations and theses require a literature review. Most of these appear near the very beginning of the dissertation so that the writer can position their work relative to other relevant work in the field.
- CURVE - Carleton's institutional repository. Theses and Dissertations created by Carleton University students.
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Other Dissertations/Theses databases
- Search OMNI or subject specific DATABASES and add the term "literature review" to your search terms.
Pick a research-tracking method
- Keep track of what you learn from the sources that you use for your writing assignments.
- The low-tech way to keep track of your research sources is to use 3x5 or 4x6 index cards. Use one card per source consulted.
- Note the source's bibliographic information on the top of the card so you'll have the information ready when you need to cite the source in your bibliography. Make your notes on the remaining space on the card.
An electronic form is another good way of keeping track provided by the following universities:
- Research Strategy Worksheet (University of Colorado Boulder)
- Scholarly Research Log (Capella University)
- Keeping Track of the Search (UCLA)
- Student guide to research in the digital age : how to locate and evaluate information sources ZA3075 .S74 2006
- Your research project: how to manage it
- The craft of research
- The essential guide : research writing across the disciplines LB2369.L399 2005
- Information skills : finding and using the right resources ZA3075.G75 2010
- Research and writing in international relations JZ1234 .S77 2012
- InterViews : learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing
Research methods in critical security studies : an introduction JZ1251 .R48 2013
Explore the following guides:
- Think tanks
- Harvard Library focused on think tanks
- Google's Custom Search engine
- Grey Literature
Consult the News Guide for details of news sources.
Tips for searching newspaper databases.
Also check other publications by:
- IMF eLibrary
- World Bank -Open Knowledge Repository
- Unatied Nations e-library
- OECD iLibrary
- RAND: Terrorism Threat Assessment (RAND research and analysis has provided policymakers with objective guidance and recommendations to improve preparedness, international collaboration, response, and recovery to this global threat)
Policy Collections and Working Papers
- Policy Commons (Access to reports and documents from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), think tanks, government agencies, and educational institutions)
- Canadian Public Documents Collection (1996-2019) - Canadian public policy, health and medical research.
- Conference Board of Canada eLibrary - Centre for the North, Centre for Food in Canada, How Canada Performs, etc.
- National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers
- Policy File Index - Indexes research in U.S. public policy.
- Brookings Institute
- Social Research and Demonstration Corporation - develops, field tests, and rigorously evaluates new programs
- Think Tank Search from Harvard Kennedy School
- Think Tanks and Policy Centres
- EIU.com - provides tables and charting of economic indicators, including disposal income, for all countries.
- globalEdge - user friendly site from Michigan State University providing statistical data and information on 202 countries worldwide.
Search engine OMNI located on the library home page, allows you to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.
See also our list of recommended databases on the International Affairs subject guide, which includes:
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
- International Political Science Abstracts
- PAIS Index
- Taylor & Francis Journals Online
- Scholars Portal Journals
- Dissertations and Theses Global
Help with eBooks
What is cited reference searching?
A simple and useful way of finding additional resources on your topic is to track citations backwards and forwards.
- Find a useful paper, check the reference list (these papers will have been published BEFORE your paper), AND
- Find the paper in one of the databases below, and check who has cited it (these papers will have been published AFTER your paper.
Cited reference searching, or citation analysis, also called citation tracking, is a way of measuring the relative importance or impact or an author, article, or publication, by counting the number of times that author, article, or publication has been cited by other works.
There are a number of tools available; however, no single database covers all works that cite other works. Searching across several databases is necessary to ensure complete coverage.
Why is this important?
- keeping track of how many times and where a publication is begin cited can help you gage the impact that article has in your discipline
- if the article has been cited, the database will provide a link to the citing article/author
- to locate current research based on earlier research
- to find out how a particular research topic is being used to support other research
- to track the history of a research idea
- to track the research history of a researcher
Use our main search tool, OMNI to do cited reference searching. Click on these icons to either "find sources cited in this" OR "find sources citing this".
Use our Cited Reference Searching page to find out which of the big databases allow you to do this and how to do this.