Search strategies

Code of Ethics

  • OCAP - First Nations control data collection processes (ownership, control, access, and possession) in their communities as well as how their information is used. Visit the web page of the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC)  to learn more.  The University of British Columbia has an excellent guide to Indigenous Research Methodology: Research Ethics.      
  • TCPS 2 - Chapter 9 - guide to research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada from the Panel on Research Ethics.
  • USAI Research Framework - developed by the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) - a guide to all Aboriginal research projects conducted by the OFIFC and the urban Aboriginal communities, in which the OFIFC is involved. 

Reference Resources

Use reference materials for background information, or to find good keywords for your search strategy. These are dictionaries, encyclopedias, guides, bibliographies, indexes and abstracts.

To find reference materials in the library, in the search box on the library's front page, try searching: public administration and dictionaries

Search strategies

Most databases, whether they are a library catalogue or a specialized database, allow you to search for books, journal articles, and more, with a single search.  You can then narrow your results with filters, or more advanced search options.

  • Some suggested subject headings or keyword search terms:
    • Indigeneous (or Aboriginal, or Indian or Native or First Nations or Inuit or Metis) 
    • assimilation
    • dispossession
    • Residential School System
    • activism
    • treaty rights
    • policy / policies
  • Once you've decided which terms are the most useful for your search, combine them in a boolean search. For example:
    • activism AND canad* AND "indian act"
      • the * will look for alternate endings
      • the quotes will keep the words together
      • AND/OR will modify a component to narrow or expand your results
  • Some filters to consider applying are:  books, or Journals, or Scholarly and/or Peer Review
    • You can then narrow your search further by:  Publication Date or Discipline, or Subject, etc.
  • watch for any other words that are being used in your results, for example, the time frame may dictate whether Indigenous or Aboriginal or Indian is being used - search all of them


  • the library's Map collection on the first floor has a collection of Indigenous maps, both paper and electronic
  • you may choose to develop some skill with GIS and create your own map using your research data, or other data that may be available online
  • Map Room - INAC
  • National Atlas of Canada - Aboriginal Peoples circa 1630, 1740 and 1823 - Ethnohistorical societies are classified into major linguistic families and mapped using graduated circles (to represent their estimated population).
Content last reviewed: June 12, 2019