- 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 (“frankenstein” AND “film”)
- For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“film” OR “movies”)
- TIP: Find additional clues for terms in the titles and abstracts of books and articles
- Locating the right combination of keywords takes time. You will need to go back and forth, revising the terms as you examine your search results
- View our video tutorial on using keywords effectively
- Search Laurier’s Primo library catalogue for books on your topic. The default search is both books and articles so choose the “books” tab if you want to eliminate articles
- You can start with broad keywords (e.g. “frankenstein”) and then narrow down your results by clicking on one of the “refine your results” links on the left-hand side of the screen
- For example, you can click on the term “monsters in literature”
- You can also limit your results to the Waterloo campus and/or books published within a specific time frame (e.g. works published after 1999)
- 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”)
- TIP: You can also order a book or a photocopy of an article from another library. You can learn more in our video tutorial on requesting materials from other libraries. It will be sent to the Waterloo campus library at no cost and you will be notified by email when it arrives
- Laurier's eBooks are just as scholarly as our print books
- They are available 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection
- Some of our ebooks can be downloaded and read on mobile devices (but not on the Kindle). If a book is downloadable, it will have a download link
- View a video tutorial on finding eBooks
- A good place to start is the library catalogue. Choose the “articles” tab
- There are also databases for every subject area; they list articles on topics within these areas
- The following databases are useful for your essay topics:
- Many of our interdisciplinary databases are well-suited to this course. See for example:
- To find scholarly articles, look for the “peer-reviewed” option in the databases. (What is a peer-reviewed article?)
- Do you already know the title of the article you want? Watch a video tutorial on how to find an article when you know the title
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,” “correspondence,” “documents,” “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. You can find news articles about European culture from:
- The library also owns digitized resources via online databases. See the tab to primary sources in the History subject guide
- Type the name of a historical figure (e.g. Hitler) into our library catalogue, and change the drop-down option from “full record” to “author” in order to find anything written by this person
Too many search results?
- If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “silent films” instead of “films”)
- 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 (“films” rather than “silent films”)
- Add alternate terms for each concept (“films” OR “movies”). 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 lead you to others in the field
Need assistance with writing the paper?
- Book an appointment with the Writing Centre at Laurier's Centre for Student Success
- Visit the Centre for Student Success website for handouts on such topics as writing a strong thesis statement, constructing an argument, or writing an effective conclusion
Create the bibliography
- Visit our help page on citing sources for links to APA, MLA, and other style guides
- See our short video tutorials on when to cite and how to cite
Need help with research?
- Don’t hesitate to contact me (Fiona Inglis); I am here to help you.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can email or call you back
- Call 519 756-8228 ext 5529. (If you are on campus, just dial 5529)
- Visit the information desk at the library (just inside the front door)
- Instant message us by clicking on “Ask Us” (from the homepage of the Laurier Library)
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.