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)
- Interview Research in Political Science
- Doing research in political science an introduction to comparative methods and statistics
- Cambridge handbook of experimental political science
Government Information - covers a world of subjects including public policy issues, legislative documents and statistics that enrich research.
- 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)
- 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
- advertising NOT magazine
- 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*)
- Cambridge University Press eBooks
- Canadian University Presses
- Oxford Scholarship Online: Political Science
- Scholars Portal Books Fulltext available for books from the following publishers: Springer, Oxford University Press, American Psychological Association, Cambridge University Press, Canadian presses and government and non-governmental organizations
- Wiley Online Library
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.
* Print journals cannot be signed out of the Library but many of them are now available in e-format.
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 includes:
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
- International Political Science Abstracts
- Communication and Mass Media Complete
- Google Scholar
- Taylor & Francis Journals Online
For more help check Finding Journal Articles guide
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
- Your research project: how to manage it
- The craft of research
- The essential guide : research writing across the disciplines
- Information skills : finding and using the right resources
- Research and writing in international relations
- InterViews : learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing
- Research methods in critical security studies : an introduction
- A political science student's practical guide
- A Student's Guide for Writing in Political Science
- Conducting your literature review
- Mining social media : finding stories in internet data