African Studies

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.

Additional resources

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

Explore your topic

Introducing the library's search engine - 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: 

  • Thomson-Nelson Guide to Research and Writing in Political Science  JA86 .C43 2006
  • Political science research methods JA73 .J64 2012
  • The Political Science Student Writer's Manual   JA86 .S39 2006
  • Politics on the Internet: A Student Guide  JA86.B83 2005 (online)
  • A Student's guide for Writing in Political Science  JA86.M37
  • Writing in Political Science: A Practical Guide JA86.S36 2005
  • How to map arguments in political science JA71.P37 2007
  • Information skills: finding and using the right resources
  • The postgraduate research handbook : succeed with your MA, MPhil, EdD and PhD LB 2371.W576 2008
  • Student guide to research in the digital age : how to locate and evaluate information sources ZA3075.S74 2006
  • Your research project: how to manage it (online)
  • The essential guide : research writing across the disciplines LB2369.L399 2005

Citing Government Information

Citing Print and Electronic Resources

How to write a literature review

  •     How to write a literature review (Concordia University Libraries)
  •     The literature review: a few tips on conducting it (U. of Toronto)
  •     Literature reviews (University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  •     Sample APA papers: Literature review (Midwestern State University reposting of document from Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  •     Conducting research literature reviews : from the Internet to paper RSV Q180.55.M4 F56 2010
  •     Doing your literature review : traditional and systematic techniques  H62 .J44 2011
  •     How to research Q180.55.M4 B59 2010 [chapter 4]
  •     Information skills : finding and using the right resources  ZA3075 .G75 2010 [chapter 2]
  •     The literature review : a step-by-step guide for students LB2369 .R525 2008
  •     Social research methods : qualitative and quantitative approaches HM571 .N48 2011 [chapter 5]
  •     Social work research and evaluation : foundations of evidence-based practice HV11 .S589 2011 [extensively covered in Part III]
  •     Student guide to research in the digital age : how to locate and evaluate information sources ZA3075 .S74 2006
  •     Systematic approaches to a successful literature review LB1047.3 .B6 2012
  •     Telling a research story: writing a literature review LB2389.F43 2009
  •     Writing literature reviews : a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences RSV  H61.8 .G34 2006
Content last updated: January 23, 2020