Research Seminar

Course #: RE407OC

background information

find books (and e-books, videos, music...)

note about ebooks

  • Laurier's ebooks are just as scholarly as our print books; included within Omni
  • some of our ebooks can be downloaded and read on mobile devices (but not on the Kindle)
    • if a book is downloadable, it will have a download link.

find articles

  • a good place to start is Omni
    • on the left-hand side, filter for "Articles"
    • this search can sometimes cast the net TOO wide, similar to Google Scholar

what is a library database?

navigating Library 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
    • e.g, religious belief = belief*, religi*, christian*, muslim*, hindu* faith, etc.
  3. Limit or expand terms
    • "quotation marks" = exact
    • truncat* = truncate, truncates, truncated, truncation, etc.
  4. 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
  5. Employ search limiters (available limiters depend on the database)
      • peer reviewed, article type, date
    • Identify key publications and authors
      • note citations, and cited references, repeated author names
    • Document and track everything you do in the steps above

    choosing a Library database

    • what is Proquest and what is EBSCO?
      • possible to create accounts in either/both to save results and searches
      • why can't I search them all at one time?
    • ATLA Religion Database
      • contains bibliographic records of academic articles in the area of religion
    • Sociology @ Proquest
      • religion in society

    too many search results?

    • if you get too many search results, use narrower search terms
      • e.g. “christianity” instead of “religion” (or other faith traditions)
    • try adding more concepts to your search
      • e.g., “canada” (or another specific country) AND “religion” AND immigration)
      • adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results
      • Better Searching Using AND, OR, NOT (video)

    too few search results?

    • think in terms of broader categories (“religion” rather than “hinduism”)
    • add alternate terms for each concept (“immigration" OR “emigration”)
    • adding more terms that are linked by “OR” will increase your number of search results
      • Look at book and article bibliographies. One author can lead you to others in the field

    other types of resources

    click on Research Materials at the top of this page to see the other types of sources you might want to use, including videos, theses, and statistics.

    create the bibliography