- Formulate a research question in order to focus your ideas about the topic. Please see our video tutorial on developing an effective research question
- Write down the different concepts used in this question (“Plato” AND “ethics”)
- For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“ethics” OR “ethical” OR “moral principles”)
- TIP: Find additional clues for terms in the titles and abstracts of books and articles
- Search Laurier’s Omni library catalogue for books on your topic.
- You can start with broad keywords and then narrow down your results by clicking on one of the links on the left-hand side of the screen
- You can also limit your results to the Brantford campus and/or books published within a specific time frame
- TIP: For additional books on a topic, click on the title of a book that looks pertinent, and then click on the subject link(s) for that book (under “details”)
- There are databases for every subject area; they contain articles on topics within these areas
- The interdisciplinary database, ProQuest (All), is well-suited to this course.
- The following databases are also useful for Humanities topics
- L'Annee Philologique (for articles on Classics topics)
- Philosopher's Index (for articles on Philosophy topics)
- America: History and Life (for articles on North American History topics)
- Historical Abstracts (for articles on History topics outside of North America)
- MLA International Bibliography (for articles on Literature topics)
- ATLA (for articles on Religion topics)
- To find scholarly articles, look for the “peer-reviewed” option in the databases. (What is a peer-reviewed article?)
Find primary sources
- Click on the advanced search link. Type in keywords that represent different aspects of your topic (each term in a different box). In a separate box, type the term that is most appropriate: “sources,” “documents,” “manuscripts,” “correspondence,” “diaries,” “interviews,” or “speeches.” Change the drop-down option from “any” to “in the subject”
- Visit News Archives Online for links to our historical newspapers
- The library also owns digitized resources via online databases. See the tab to primary sources in the History subject guide
Too many search results?
- If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “Plato” AND “irony” instead of “Plato”)
- Try adding more concepts to your search. Adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results
Too few search results?
- Think in terms of broader categories (“Plato” rather than “Apology”)
- Add alternate terms for each concept. Adding more terms that are linked by “OR” will increase your number of search results
- TIP: Look at the bibliographies of the most pertinent books and articles on your topic. One author can often lead you to others in the field
Create the bibliography
Need help with research?
- Don’t hesitate to contact one of the Laurier Librarians: Pauline Dewan or Irene Tencinger or Michelle Goodridge
Please note: The Library is committed to providing programs, events and services that are accessible to all. Please contact us if you require accommodation due to a disability