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
- Encyclopedia of Government and Politics (online)
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations
- Encyclopedia of International Relations and Global Politics (online)
- Essentials Of American Politics
- Dictionary of American government and politics
- American government and politics a concise introduction
- American politics, then & now and other essays
- Dynamics of American political parties
- The Growth of American Government Governance from the Cleveland Era to the Present
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)
Newspapers& Magazines (use Boolean Operators)
- Canadian Newsstream - Canadian
- Factiva - Canadian and international
- Nexis Uni - Canadian and international
- PressReader (Full-image international newspapers)
Explore News Guide for more news-related resources
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*)
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
- 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