Philosophy of Human Rights

Course #: HR401-BR

Choosing keywords

  • 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 (“universal declaration of human rights” AND “gender”)
  • For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“gender” OR “feminism”)
  • TIP: Find additional clues for terms in the titles and abstracts of 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

Finding articles

Using Google Scholar to find Laurier Library articles

To make the most effective use of Google Scholar:

  • Click on the wheel icon (settings); scroll down to “Library Links.” Type the word “Laurier”; check the link to Wilfrid Laurier University and save preferences
  • Look for the “Get it @ Laurier” link beside articles that the library owns
  • Use the advanced search option for more targeted searching
  • If you find too many irrelevant resources, change the dropdown option from search “anywhere in the article” to search “in the title of the article”
  • If the article is not free, click on the link to other versions of it (just below the description of the article). One of the versions may be freely available
  • To find key authors on your topic check the “cited by” link
  • If the article is dated, click on the “cited by” link for more recent articles on the same topic

Too many search results?

  • If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “treatment of prisoners” instead of “geneva conventions”)
  • Try adding more concepts to your search (“treatment of prisoners” AND “iraq”). 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 (“geneva conventions” rather than “treatment of prisoners”)
  • Add alternate terms for each concept (“indigenous peoples” OR “aboriginals”). 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

Laurier doesn't own the article or book?

  • Get it through interlibrary loans free of charge
  • How do you request it?
  • From the library homepage, click on "Services" > "Request from other libraries" > "RACER (Interlibrary loans)"
  • Your login is your OneCard barcode number
  • Your password is your last name (lower case)
  • Choose "blank request form" (from the left side of the page), fill out the form, and submit it
  • Books will be sent to the Brantford Public Library and you will be notified when they arrive. Articles will be emailed to you as PDFs.

Creating a bibliography

Getting help with writing the paper

Need help?

  • Don’t hesitate to contact me (Pauline Dewan); I am here to help you. For additional information, see my contact page.
  • Email me at
  • Call me at 519 756-8228 ext. 5529
  • Drop in for help or make an appointment. My office is on the main floor of the building beside the library (Grand River Hall, Room 217). It is left of the elevators in the Residence Life area)
  • Instant message a Laurier librarian for help 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.