This guide is designed for graduate students in the School of Public Policy and Administration, though anyone doing research on philanthropy or nonprofits may find help here. If you need further assistance, please use the links in the Contact box. I am available by email as well as for virtual meetings.
Video: Search strategies and Omni
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 discover may mean you need to restart your search process
- Some suggested subject headings or keyword search terms:
- social surveys
- qualitative research
- Once you've decided which terms are the most useful for your search, combine them in a boolean search. For example:
- (philanthropy OR nonprofit) AND canad*
- the brackets keep together a variation in phrasing
- the * will look for alternate endings
- 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)
- if you had a multi-word phrase, putting quotes around it will search specifically for those words, in that sequence, side by side
- (philanthropy OR nonprofit) AND canad*
- 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 available 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 any other words that are being used in your results, for example, 'charity' may be more common in some contexts than 'philanthropy', search both
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 to get 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.
- Citing your sources
- Citation management tools
- Tours and workshops on citation management tools.
- Citing Data & Statistics
Other aids for writing
You can also search for Academic writing or Dissertation writing in the Library's search box.
Video: Database searching
A sample of relevant databases:
- Business Source Complete
- Canadian Business and Current Affairs Database
- Canadian Public Documents Collection
- CPI.Q (Canadian Periodical Index)
- EconLit with Full Text
- PAIS Index
- Policy File Index
- PRO: Philanthropy Resources Online
- Sociological Abstracts
Databases for theses and dissertations:
- Theses Canada / Thèses Canada
- Dissertations and Theses Global
- Dissertations and Theses@Carleton
- EThOS The UK’s national thesis service
- Foreign Doctoral Dissertations
Good to know:
- Use RSS Feeds or Create Alerts to have citations sent to you as a database is updated.
- 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, Canadian Studies, Business, Sociology etc.
Find missing citations, track references and find related articles
- Excellent step-by-step guide for tracking citations
Why is this important?
- Cited Reference Searching guide
- keeping track of how many times and where a publication is being cited can help you gauge the impact that article has in your discipline
- if the article has been cited, you may find a link to the citing article/author
- to locate current research based on earlier research
- to find out how a particular research topic is being used to support other research
- to track the history of a research idea
- to track the research history of a researcher
- to determine how well your own published research is cited for promotion/tenure considerations
don't forget to keep track of your searches! Literature Reviews: Keep Track (UBC)
- Select Cited Reference Search from just above search box.
- You have the article
- "Street Credentials and Management Backgrounds: Careers of Nonprofit Executives in an Evolving Sector" by Suarez, DF (Suarez, David F.) Nonprofit and voluntary sector quarterly Volume: 39 Issue: 4 Pages: 696-716 AUG 2010
- Enter the author in cited author box
- Suarez, D* (use surname, first initial and truncation symbol)
- Retrieve abbreviation of journal name from list provided, and enter year of publication. NONPROF VOLUNT SEC Q 2010
- From the list, select the article and click on Finish Search - top right.
- Results show the article has been cited 30 times - the most recent in 2018.
- You have the article
- Note the option Create Alert to be notified of any future citing of this article.
- Choose Author Search from top tool bar.
- Enter author's name and affiliation if known
- Waters, R.D.
- North Carolina State University
- Select displayed result. All published articles by the author will be listed. Click on article for citing references. "What do Stakeholders Like on Facebook? Examining Public Reactions to Nonprofit Organizations' Informational, Promotional, and Community-Building Messages" by Saxton, G.D., and Waters, R.D.. Journal of Public Relations Research Volume 26, Issue 3, May 2914, Pages 280-299
- Look to the right hand side of the screen - this article has been cited 87 times. Click to 'view all citing documents'.
- Note #2: "Do CSR Messages Resonate? Examining Public Reactions to Firms' CSR Efforts on Social Media" Journal of Business Ethics Volume 155, Issue 2, June 2019, Pages 359-377 has been cited 3 times.
- Enter author's name and affiliation if known
- Remember to see if a citing article has itself been cited!
Journal Citation Reports - Provides citation-based metrics to rank journal within a given discipline. Choose Select Categories and limit by subject areas.
Tips for effective searching
If you find one relevant article for your research it can lead to other relevant papers by the following:
- using the databases, including Omni, look to find all papers & books published by the author or co-authors
- explore the bibliography in the paper for sources
- using Web of Science or Scopus, look for articles that cite the article you found. Remember, some databases will also list citing articles but those lists are limited to the current database. The Web of Science and Scopus are more comprehensive, with coverage from multiple databases.
- Remember to see if an citing article has itself been cited.
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 and Current Affairs and Web of Science
- Business Source Complete (select publication type "Grey literature")
- Think Tanks guide
- Canadian federal government documents
- Government Information subject guide to help organize and define your search process
- Taxation subject guide
- Canadian Research Index - indexes publications from all levels of government in Canada
- Government and Legislative Libraries Online Publications Portal (Gallop)
- Think Tank Search (Harvard University custom search) - think tanks can give an appreciation of government action or inaction in an area
- detailed subject guide from the Business School at the University of Alberta
- Consult the News Guide for details of news sources. Tips for searching.
- For current Canadian newspapers/news:
For historical Canadian & other newspapers:
For international sources:
- Continuum Economics (formerly Roubini Global Economics) news monitoring service
- World News Connection
- Journalist's resource: research on today's news topics
- Brookings Institute
- 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.
- Social Research and Demonstration Corporation - develops, field tests, and rigorously evaluates new programs
- Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci)
- Charity Village - provides listing of Canadian and international professional associations
- Imagine Canada
- Social Enterprise Council of Canada
- Canadian Social Enterpreneurship Foundation
- GreyNet International directory of organizations in grey literature
- Grey Matters
- Alternative Press Index
- Economics Search Engine (American Economic Association)
What is a Literature Review?
A literature review is both a summary and an explanation of the complete and current state of knowledge on a narrowed topic as found in academic books and journal articles.
What are the Purposes of a Literature Review?
- situate your work in its discipline/area/subfield
- develop an understanding of how knowledge in your discipline/field/area has changed over time
- develop mastery of what's known in your area, and part of the larger discipline that contains it
- compare different conceptual or sub-disciplinary approaches to your topic
- compare and contrast different theoretical schools or leading researchers in your area
- identify methodologies that you might use in your work
Types of Literature Reviews
Keep Track of your searches
Search for pre-existing literature reviews
Some databases include "literature review" as one of the limit options you can set before or after doing your search: your search will retrieve only literature reviews. PsycInfo allows for this under Advanced Search.
However in most databases, you will have to add a term for "literature review" to your search. Other search terms that may be helpful:
- review article
- systematic review
- critical review
- meta-analysis, meta analysis
- re-analysis of data
Guides to literature reviews
- The Literature Review: A Few Tips on Conducting It - University of Toronto
- Conducting a Literature Review - Georgetown University Medical Centre
- Literature Review - Deakin University Library
- Learn to Write a Review of Literature - University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Guidelines for Writing a Literature Review - University of Minnesota, Duluth
- Get Lit: The Literature Review - Texas A&M University Writing Center
- Literature Reviews: Common Errors Made When Conducting a Literature Review - Walden's Center for Research Quality
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
- CANSIM II (via University of Toronto) - different possibilities for manipulation than the free version of CANSIM at the Statistics Canada website . Video tutorials on CANSIM II.
- Scholar's Portal <odesi>. Video tutorials
- Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (2004, 2007, 2010)
- National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (1997, 2000)
- Highlights of the ... Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating - 1997, 2000, 2004 and 2007 were published as Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians
- Satellite Account of Nonprofit Institutions and Volunteering (discontinued in 2010)
- National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations 2003 - data is unavailable, but see:
- Cornerstones of Community: Highlights of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations
- Summary of the Findings of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations
- Capacity to Serve: a Qualitative Study of the Challenges Facing Canada's Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations
- Labour Inputs to Nonprofit Organizations
- Statistics Canada
- CANSIM II (Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System)
- Imagine Canada - Search by charity name, directors or keyword; Research and Impact
- Canada Revenue Agency
- Taxation data – shows use of charitable deduction
- List of charities - Official financial information of charities
- Income Statistics and GST/HST Statistics to access T1 Final Statistics:
- Item 86: Allowable charitable donations and government gifts
- Item 87: Eligible cultural, ecological gifts
- Item 88: Total tax credit on donations and gifts
- Passport search Canada: Country Pulse then using find command, search for charities
- Vividata go to Personal Characteristics --> Personal and Social Views --> Willing to Volunteer
United States - National Center for Charitable Statistics
International - World Giving Index
Qualitative and quantitative analysis
NVivo is qualitative data analysis software intended to help researchers organize and analyze data, identify trends, and cross examine information in a variety of ways. Consult the NVIVO service web page for more information about this tool and training workshops.
Sage Research Methods supports researchers throughout a research project, from writing a research question, choosing a method, gathering and analyzing data, to writing up and publishing the findings.
SPSS and Stata
The library offers a statistical consulting service to help students, faculty and other researchers in the Carleton University community with their questions regarding quantitative data.