Your assignments at university are an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring topics in depth, weighing the evidence, and drawing your own conclusions.  A good research topic is one that sparks your interest and allows you to ask new questions. This guide is intended to help you get started.

Pick a research topic

  • Read your assignment instructions carefully
  • Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the assignment
  • Identify key concepts of your research topic
  • Do some background reading on your topic using Wikipedia

Use dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks to find definitions, introductions and overviews of your topic

Consult writing guides for help

 Finding primary sources in the library collection

   1. Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Research Collections (ARC) website.
   2. Reproductions can be found by checking the library catalogue.

Use specific words to locate primary sourcees in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:

  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:diaries
  • [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
  • [KEYWORD] and s:sources

General Sources

News and Newspapers


South Africa


Government Information

The library houses important retrospective goverment documents for the study of Africa which has been actively developed since 1970. Extensive coverage is available on countries which were former British colonies, ie: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Ask at the Research Help desk for assistance.

Government offices and agencies with an interest in Africa include:

See also Foreign Government Information: Africa guide

Other Media



Kanopy - provides streaming for educational video products from the arts, humanities, health, business, education and more.

Selected sources and videos:

Content last updated: November 23, 2018