Social Science Research Methods II

Course #: OL334-BR

Choosing effective 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 (“organization” AND “technology” AND “innovation”)
  • For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“innovation” OR “change” OR “creativity”)
  • 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

Using library databases to find articles

Using Google Scholar to find Laurier Library articles

To make the most effective use of Google Scholar:

  • Click on the wheel (settings); click on “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 drop-down 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

Identifying if a resource is scholarly


  • In a library database, look for the option: "peer reviewed"
  • In our Primo catalogue, look for the link "peer reviewed" (on the left side of the page)
  • If you find an article using Google Scholar, check in the database, Ulrichsweb, to see if it is peer reviewed ("refereed" is another term for peer reviewed)


Most (but not all) books in a university library are scholarly. To determine if a work is scholarly, ask the following questions:

  • Does the author have the academic credentials to write about the topic? Most scholarly works are written by academics and researchers
  • Is evidence cited according to the rules of an academic style guide (such as Chicago, MLA, APA)?
  • Does the publisher produce academic works (for example, a university press)? Check the publisher's website to determine if it is commercial or academic

Need help with research?

  • Don’t hesitate to contact me (Pauline Dewan); I am here to help you. For additional information, see my contact page
  • Drop in or make an appointment. My office is in the Digital Library and Learning Commons, on the lower level of Grand River Hall, room 108B
  • Email
  • Call 519 756-8228 ext 5529. (If you are on campus, just dial 5529)
  • 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.