Pick a research topic:
- Read your syllabus (assignment instructions).
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the assignment instructions.
- Narrow or broaden the scope of your topic so that it is "doable."
What's scope? Scope refers to the "people, places and things" or "who, what, when and where" that you are studying.
Identify key concepts:
Define and get an overview of your topic or find definitions of key terms and concepts:
- Oxford Reference - Use dictionaries to help with terminology. Encyclopedias provide background information, an overview of topics and issues and often lead you to further readings
- Applied Political Theory and Canadian Politics
- Across the Aisle : Opposition in Canadian Politics
- Canadian Politics
- A civil society? : collective actors in Canadian political life
- Civil society engagement achieving better in Canada
- The language of Canadian politics a guide to important terms and concepts
- Encyclopedia of Government and Politics (online)
Government Information - covers a world of subjects including public policy issues, legislative documents and statistics that enrich research.
- Canadian Public Policy Collection
- LegisINFO - information about individual bills, government press releases and backgrounders (for government bills); legislative summaries from the Parliamentary Research Branch; important speeches at second reading; votes; and coming into force data
- Government of Canada publications
- Think Tank Search - search limited to think tanks dealing in public policy, including NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
Newspapers& Magazines (use Boolean Operators)
Explore News Guide for more news-related resources
- PressReader (Full-image international newspapers)
- Nexis Uni - Canadian and international
- Factiva - Canadian and international
- Canadian Newsstream - Canadian
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)
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*)
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement . . .
Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
Is generally located near the end of the introduction; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
- Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
- Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
- The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
- Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
A good thesis will generally have the following characteristics:
- A good thesis sentence will make a claim
- A good thesis sentences will control the entire argument.Your thesis sentence determines what you are required to say in a paper.
- A good thesis will provide a structure for your argument.A good thesis not only signals to the reader what your argument is, but how your argument will be presented.
For more information explore this link.
Why use journal articles?
- They are more up-to-date than most books.
- They are “peer reviewed” by other scholars in the field who check for academic integrity.
- Every article will contain cited references that appear as footnotes and/or bibliographies.
Start with OMNI Search engine 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, maps, and more.
See our list of recommended databases on the Political Science subject guide, which include:
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
- International Political Science Abstracts
- Canadian Public Documents Collection
- Project MUSE
- Taylor & Francis Journals Online
- Critical Reviews (The Writing Centre - University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Writing Critical Reviews (Queen's University)
- Write a Critical Review (University of Guelph)
Research & writing
- Research and Writing in International Relations
- A Student's Guide for Writing in Political Science
- The craft of research
- Conducting your literature review
- Mining social media : finding stories in internet data
- 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)
This guide provides basic information on how to cite sources and examples for formatting citations in common citation styles.
You do not need to cite common knowledge (widely-known, generally-accepted information that is not attributable to one source).
Why is Citing Sources Important?
- To give credit to ideas that are not your own
- To provide support for your argument
- To enable your reader to find and read the sources you used
- To avoid infractions
What Needs to be Cited?
- Exact wording taken from any source, including freely available websites
- Paraphrases of passages
- Summaries of another person's work
- Use of another student's work
- Use of your own previous work