Academic Literacy: Humanities

Course #: BF299-BR

Find definitions for your essay

Starting your research? Begin with effective search words

  • Formulate a preliminary research question in order to focus your ideas about the topic. Our video tutorial on developing an effective research question will help you do this
  • Isolate the different concepts in this question (“Plato” AND “ethics”)
  • For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“ethics” OR “ethical” OR “moral principles”

Find articles in Omni

Find articles in ProQuest (All)

  • 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
  • To find scholarly articles, check off the “peer-reviewed” option

Find books

  • Search Laurier’s Omni library catalogue for books on your topic
  • Type in the essential words of your topic and narrow down your results by clicking on links on the left side of the page
  • Limit your results to "books & ebooks"
  • For ebooks only, also limit your results to "available online"
  • 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”)

Too many search results?

  • If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms ("tragic irony" rather than "tragedy")
  • Try adding more concepts to your search. Adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results ("tragic irony AND Aristotle" rather than just "tragic irony")

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 ("irony OR ironic")
  • 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

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