Graduate Seminar in Geography

Course #: GG691

To book a research consultation

Use my Appointment booking calendar

Who to contact at University of Waterloo

The Library System

Library System: Unique things

  • Use Primo primarily for books
  • Primo IS case sensitive = AND, OR, NOT
  • You can “virtually browse” the shelves

How to tell if a journal is scholarly/peer-reviewed/refereed?

  • Use Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory - do a title search and look for the "referee" symbol
  • Visit the web site of the journal, check their "About" section to determine if it is peer-reviewed, and what the process is

Citation Metrics/Impact of Research

Create a "controlled vocabulary"

  • AKA: Index, Thesaurus, list of Keywords, Subject Headings
  • You need to identify centrally important concepts in your research area and create fixed definitions for them (Abbott, 2014)
  • Assists you in searching, categorizing, analysis and write up
  • Especially important when doing systematic reviews or being careful in replicating research

The "Four Ways" of Expert Research

  1. Expert Consultation

  • Using expert(s) to find specific literature
  • Good way of leading into key authors
  • Good to identify key journals
  • Usually advisable to start with some initial research yourself
  • Database example: Web of Science
  1. Review Articles

  • Articles written by experts that are a review of literature in a certain area
  • Could also supplement with chapters in a scholarly Handbook or Companion, e.g
  • Should be peer-reviewed, not "white papers"
  • Search on the following terms: "critical review" OR "critical review of the literature" OR "critical literature review" OR "integrated review" OR "review article" OR "review of the literature" OR "systematic review" OR "synthesis review" OR "thematic review"
  1. Dissertations & Theses

  • Database of Doctoral and Masters" dissertations
  • See Laurier's Theses and Dissertations page - look for the 1st link to the ProQuest database
  • Every dissertation should have a literature review section
  • Often a more comprehensive "review" of the literature
  1. Metasearch

  • Comprehensive search across multiple databases
  • Most databases:

Open Access

  • Open Access (OA) is a concept in which scholarly information is available to the widest possible readership.

Open Access (OA) items have these qualities:

  • Free to the user
  • Available immediately (i.e. No publisher restrictions)
  • Permanent location or URL
  • Online format
  • OA allows scholarly research to be distributed as broadly as possible.
  • OA enables researchers to increase the impact of their work in areas or circumstances they may not have originally considered

How can you make your scholarship OA?

  • By depositing your data or work in an institutional repository
  • By choosing to publish your research in an OA journal
  • By including a clause in your publishing contract that permits OA

Types of Open Access

  • Gratis OA: items have some permission barriers, often related to copyright or licensing.
  • Libre OA: items that have removed most or all of the permission barriers.
  • Gold OA: OA journals that contain peer-reviewed research which publishers make immediately and completely available at no cost.
  • Hybrid journals: require that authors who contribute content pay an "OA" fee to have their research made available at the gold OA level.
  • Green OA: allows researchers and authors to make their scholarly articles open access in an institutional repository, such as Laurier’s Scholars Commons.
    • A large number of journals provide this type of open access, allowing authors to self-archive their work in pre-print or post-print format.
    • Some publishers might require the author to wait a certain period of time after publication in the journal, an "embargo period", before making their material available.
    • Pre-print: the name given the version of the item prior to peer-review and publication
    • Post-print: name given after that item has been peer-reviewed.
    • Items which have not yet been copy-edited, after the peer-review process, might still be eligible to be deposited in an open access repository, however, each publisher has its own unique author permissions
  • How open is your preprint? Link to Creative Commons (CC) license descriptions

Further information on Open Access

  • About Open Access Peter Suber (Harvard University) has written an overview of the development of the open access movement.
  • How Open Is It? An excellent guide that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”
  • SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) " international alliance of academic and research libraries working to correct imbalances in the scholarly publishing system."
  • SHERPA/JULIET JULIET provides a summary of funder policies related to grant awards. It provides information related to requirements for open access archiving, open access publishing and data archiving.
  • SHERPA/RoMEO Searchable by publisher or journal title, this site provides information on publisher permissions related to the self-archiving of journal articles.
  • SPARC Canadian Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher's agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles, and a brochure on how to use it

Services for Graduate Students

  • Click above for more information on additional Research Workshops, information on the Joint Programme, Graduate Commons Study Space, and more!
  • List of Ontario University Libraries
    • Note: University of Toronto has limits on who may use materials; External researchers (Grad Students, Faculty, or staff from other Canadian Universities) must purchase a Direct Borrower card

Further Reading

General Library Research Manuals

Abbott, A. 2014. Digital paper : a manual for research and writing with library and internet materials. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Abbott is an expert Sociologist and provides a great narrative (Ch. 2, A Library Ethnography) of what detailed library work consists of.

Mann, T. 2015. The Oxford guide to library research. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • A comprehensive look into the entire gamut of library research; covers database searching at the intermediate to expert level.
Geography/Environmental Studies Research Manuals
  • These deal more with non-library related components of the research process.

Clifford, N.J. et al. (eds.). 2015. Key methods in geography. London: SAGE Publications. (multiple editions available)

  • Healey, M. and R. L. Healey. 2015. "How to conduct a literature review," in Clifford, N.J. et al. (eds). 2015. Key methods in geography. London: SAGE Publications. (chapter available in Google Books)

Gomez, B. and J. P. Jones. (eds.). 2010. Research methods in geography : a critical introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Hay, I. 2016. Qualitative research methods in human geography (Fourth ed.). Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press.

Kanazawa, M. 2018. Research methods for environmental studies : A social science approach. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge.

Montello, D. R. and P. C. Sutton (eds.). 2013. An introduction to scientific research methods in geography and environmental studies. 2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications.