Refresh your search skills - developing a good search strategy is important
- what is your assignment?
- what is the main topic?
- what aspect of the topic is of interest to you?
- who has an interest in that topic?
- what other language might they be using to talk about that topic? do they spell it differently?
- when was it relevant? is it a new idea, or a long standing issue?
- what other factors play into your issue? climate, population, government, geography, etc.
- and each new discovery may mean you need to restart your search process
Sample search terms:
Once you've decided which terms are the most useful for your search, combine them in a boolean search. For example:
- "wind energy" AND canad* AND policy
- 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
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.
Refresh Your Database searching skills:
- Database searching video
A sample of relevant databases:
- Business Source Complete
- Canadian Business & Current Affairs
- EI Engineering Village includes GeoBase and Inspec
- Environment Index
- Plunkett's Alternative and Renewable Energy Almanac
- Sage Research Methods
- Scopus - abstract and citation database
- Web of Science Core Collection
Good to know:
- Use RSS Feeds or Create Alerts to have citations sent to you as a database is updated. Search Alerts can be set once you're logged into Omni's My Library Account as well as in most databases. They can help researchers stay current with automatic e-mail alerts
- 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.
- For additional relevant databases, look at the Subject Guides that best relate to your topic, such as Public Policy and Administration, Business, Health, etc.
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
- Canadian federal government documents
- Canadian Newsstream
- Nexis Uni
- Environment News Service - international daily wire service
- Renewable Energy World
Public Policy Collections and Working Papers
- Canadian Public Documents Collection (1996-2019) - publications in the area of 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 with content from think tanks, university research programs, research organizations, etc.
- 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 from the University of Calgary Library
- Look for an industry association by doing a Google search such as solar energy association or sustainable energy association. (eg. Ontario Sustainable Energy Association)
- Look for Municipal websites or groups of municipalities that have formed organizations for a common interest. (eg. Federation of Canadian Municipalities - look at their Focus Areas and Resources)
Other agencies and resource centres
- Canadian Energy & Emissions Data Centre (CEEDC)
- Canadian Energy Research Institute (Canadian industry-based energy information centre)
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) (federal and local incentives)
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)
- World Resources Institute's Energy searchable website
- World Energy Council
Further Grey literature resources
- GreyNet International directory of organizations in grey literature
- Grey Matters
- Grey Literature Database - Canadian Evaluation Society
- Finding the Hard to Finds: Searching for Grey Literature (University of British Columbia)
What is the Difference Between Data and Statistics?
Data are the raw materials out of which statistics are produced, usually available as digital files for manipulation in statistical software. Statistics are facts or figures that tend to be aggregate counts, totals, sums, or averages.
- use the Data Services searches to find data holdings for energy related data
- Statistics Canada
- CANSIM II (Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System)
- Open Data Repositories: Canada, International
- Plunkett's Alternative and Renewable Energy Almanac