African Studies

During COVID-19 I am available by email as well as for virtual meetings. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need assistance, or have any questions.  Margaret.

Pick a research topic

  • Read your syllabus (assignment instructions).
  • Pick a topic that interests you and meets the assignment instructions.
  • Narrow or broaden the scope of your topic so that it is "doable."
    • What's scope? Scope refers to the "people, places and things" or "who, what, when and where" that you are studying. For example, Canada or another country? Children or adults? Education or child protection services?

Use these to get an overview of your topic or to find definitions of key terms and concepts. 

Subject specific dictionaries and encyclopedias are useful for helping you figure out the jargon of a discipline and can give quick overviews of a topic to get you started. You can often pick up keywords to use in your search strategies from these sources: 

Additional resources

Use this worksheet to write out your research topic and identify key ideas.

Explore your topic

Introducing the library's search engine (OMNI) - which makes it possible to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.

However,  it doesn't search everything that the library owns or subscribes to so you will still need to search other resources to find everything that you need.

When to use the library's search engine:

  • When starting research on a topic
  • If you are not sure which databases to use

Fulltext eBook Collections:

Cambridge University Press eBooks
Columbia International Affairs Online
Oxford University Press eBooks
eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
Canadian Publishers Collection
Wiley Online Journals


Key Databases

Additional Databases: 

Government Information


More than 1,000 digitized historic maps of Africa

Library and Archives Collections

Additional resources

Historica maps of Africa.

Freely accessible online scholarly resource focusing on the socio-political history of South Africa, particularly the struggle for freedom from 1950 to 1994.

Documents dealing primarily with the British Empire including Africa.

The Library of Congress's largest single collection is the NAACP papers. This exhibition shows documents from this collection which have been digitized.


Consult the News Guide for details of news sources.

Tips for searching newspaper databases.
For current Canadian newspapers/news:

For historical Canadian & other newspapers:

For international sources:


When doing your research, It is important to find information that is reliable, accurate, and appropriate for your assignment.

Knowing how to evaluate information can help you with research assignments.

Knowing how to find relevant and accurate information can help you make informed decisions.

Writing & Citing Guides:

Citation Management (workshops offered at the Library)

More Writing & Citing Resources: 

Citing Government Information

Citing Print and Electronic Resources

How to write a literature review

Content last updated: April 1, 2020