Approaches to the Study of Religion in North America

Course #: RE710
Library instruction student survey
  1. The Research Process Powerpoint presentation (.pptx)
  2. Campbell, A., Taylor, B. & McGlade, A. (2017). Reviewing the literature. In Transforming Social Work Practice Series: Research design in social work (pp. 9-26). 55 City Road, London: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi:10.4135/9781473909618.n2

Searching Databases

Well developed research questions can only be developed with a comprehensive understanding of prior research and theory. This understanding is informed by research literature. The challenge is to use the appropriate tools and methods to ensure your search for this literature is both methodical and complete. Here are some steps to fine-tune your searches.

  1. Formulate specific research questions
    • identify the key elements of your questions
  2. Consider word variations and synonyms
    • widen the scope of your results; think about how others might refer to your ideas
  3. Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)
    • AND = results will contain all the terms
    • OR = results will contain at least one of the terms
    • NOT = results will exclude the term
    • Parentheses and Boolean operators can be used to set apart search groups
    • NEAR/# = search terms within a specified number of words apart, e.g., nursing NEAR/3 education
  4. Limit or expand terms
    • "quotation marks" = exact
    • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
    • peer reviewed, article type, date
  6. Identify key publications and authors
    • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
  7. Document and track everything you do in the steps above

Choosing a Library Database

  • What is Proquest and what is EBSCO?
    • create accounts in either/both to save results and searches

Research Methodologies

The Laurier Library also many resources devoted to research methodologies. Search Omni (and filter for books) for some of these terms: Action research; Case study; Field research; Grounded theory; Qualitative research; Quantitative research; Survey research; Textual Analysis. Also look at the online titles contained in our Sage Knowledge resource.

Google Scholar

Managing Citations