Refresh your search skills - developing a good search strategy is important
Sample search terms:
- public policy
- political institutions
- public opinion
Once you've decided which terms are the most useful for your search, combine them in a boolean search. For example:
- "public policy" AND ethics AND canad*
- putting quotes aroung a multi-word phrase will search specifically for those words in that sequence
- AND/OR will modify a component to narrow or expand your results (the capitalization of AND/OR varies from database to database, it is better to get in the habit of capitalizing them)
- the * will look for alternate endings
- Some filters to consider applying are: books, or Journals, or Scholarly and/or Peer Review
- If you need immediate results, select 'Available online' so that you only see e-results.
- If you are working on a literature review, then do not restrict your results this way, and include 'Add resources beyond Carleton's collection'.
- You can then narrow your search further by: Publication Date or Discipline, or Subject, etc.
- watch for other phrasing in your results that you can use for further searches
Encyclopedias, Dictionaries & Handbooks
- International dictionary of public management and governance
- International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
Borrowing from Other Libraries
- RACER is our online Interlibrary Loan system. Use it to search for and order books, journal articles, and other items that you can't find in our collection. Journal articles will be sent to you electronically. For more information please see Interlibrary Loans. You can also Borrow directly from other libraries.
- CRL catalog (Center for Research Libraries): Collects research materials not targeted by other North American research institutions. We are a member which allows you long-term loans of much of their material.
- WorldCat: Search the library catalogues of 1000's of libraries around the world.
Citing and Citation Management tools
We offer a variety of support options for citing your sources and citation management. If you are not already using a citation management tool, I strongly suggest you look into one now. Most of these tools will also allow you to turn your references into properly formatted bibliographies, and with additional plug-ins they can allow you to easily insert your citations into your papers as you write.
- Thesis requirements: from the Faculty of Graduate and Post-Doctoral Affairs, checklists, templates...
- Check the list of Graduate Professional Development workshops to see if there are any offer specifically for help with thesis writing
- How to write your first thesis (Online)
- Writing a graduate thesis or dissertation (Online)
- CURVE is Carleton's institutional repository which collects, preserves and provides open access to the academic research output and creative works of Carleton faculty and scholars.
- SHERPA/RoMEO - standard tool for researchers to easily navigate academic publishers' copyright and self-archiving policies when depositing scholarly articles in an institutional repository.
What is an ORCID and do I need one?
Journal-level metrics (bibliometrics) are used to measure the impact of a journal as a whole. Read more: Measuring Your Research Impact (Carnegie Mellon University Libraries)
Refresh your Database searching skills: Database searching video
A sample of relevant databases:
- Conference Board of Canada e-Library
- Policy File Index
- Canadian Public Documents Collection
- PAIS Index
- EconLit with Full Text
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
Good to know:
- Within a database, limit your search to scholarly articles when it is appropriate to disregard other resources.
- Never limit to full-text only as we may subscribe to the journal you find from another vendor. Use the Get it! icon to search for the full text when it is not immediately available.
- Use available options to search more than one database at a time.
- Look for the option to set up an RSS feed or to Create an Alert. You are then notified when a new entry is added to the database that meets your search criteria.
- Use the Interlibrary Loans RACER form to request items not held at Carleton’s library.
- For additional relevant databases, look at the Subject Guides that best relate to your topic, such as Global & International Studies, Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership, Government Information, Canadian Studies, Business, Sociology etc.
What is a Literature Review?
- Conducting a Literature Review
- Am I the Only One Struggling to Write a Literature Review? (Sage Research Methods)
What are the Purposes of a Literature Review?
- situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield
- develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
- develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
- compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
- compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
- identify methodologies that you might use in your work
Keep Track of your searches
Citation searching: find missing citations, track references and find related articles
- Excellent step-by-step guide for using Web of Science for tracking citations
Tips for effective searching
If you find one relevant article for your research it can lead to other relevant papers by the following:
- using the databases, including Omni, look to find all papers & books published by the author or co-authors
- explore the bibliography in the paper for sources
- using Web of Science or Scopus, look for articles that cite the article you found. Remember, some databases will also list citing articles but those lists are limited to the current database. The Web of Science and Scopus are more comprehensive, with coverage from multiple databases.
- Remember to see if an citing article has itself been cited.
Web of Science
Select Cited Reference Search from top tool bar.
You have the article
Burstein, P. 2003 "The impact of public opinion on public policy: A review and an agenda." Political Research Quarterly Volume: 56 Issue: 1 Pages: 29-40
Enter the author in cited author box
Burstein P* (use surname, first initial and truncation symbol)
Retrieve abbreviation of journal name from list provided, and enter year of publication. POLIT RES QUART
Enter cited year: 2003
From the list, select the ariticle and click on Finish Search at the top of the list.
Results show the article has been cited 410 times - the most recent in 2019.
Note the option Create Alert to be notified of any future citing of this article.
Choose Author Search from top tool bar.
Enter author's name and affiliation if known
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony John
Select displayed result. All published articles by the author will be listed. Click on article for citing references.
Onwuegbuzie, Anthony John and Nancy L. Leech, "Validity and qualitative research: An oxymoron?" Quality and Quantity Volume 41, Issue 2, April 2007, Pages 233-249. This article, published in 2007, has been cited 228 times, the most recent in 2019.
Journal Citation Reports - Provides citation-based metrics to rank journal within a given discipline. Choose Select Categories and limit by subject areas such as:
- Public Administration
- Political Science
Grey literature is an important source of information for research in public policy that:
- adds a valuable global perspective
- provides detailed overviews on specific populations
- may be only source of local information
Grey literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing" ie. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." —ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997. Expanded in New York, 2004
- Grey Literature Guide
- Omni (the Library's main search box) (change Content Type to types of grey literature such as government documents, conference proceedings etc.)
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Google Scholar (change country, for example, to find international material)
- Databases such as Canadian Business & Current Affairs and Web of Science
- Business Source Complete (select publication type "Grey literature")
- Think Tanks guide
For current Canadian newspapers/news
For historical Canadian & other newspapers
- Globe and Mail: Canada's Heritage from 1844
- New York Times Archives
- Toronto Star: Pages of the Past
- Times Digital Archive
Policy Policy Collections and Working Papers
- 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
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Theses Canada/Thèses Canada
- Dissertations and Theses@Carleton
- Foreign Doctoral Dissertations
Further Grey Literature resources
- Sage Research Methods is designed to support researchers with writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to and writing up & publishing the findings.
- Data at Carleton
- NVivo is qualitative data analysis software intended to help researchers organize and analyze data, identify trends, and cross examine information in a variety of ways.
- SPSS and Stata - the library offers a statistical consulting service to help students, faculty and other researchers in the Carleton University community with their questions regarding quantitative data.