- 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 (“frankenstein” AND “film”)
- For each concept, think of similar terms that you might also use (“film” OR “movies”)
- TIP: Find additional clues for terms in the titles and abstracts of books and articles
- Search Laurier’s Primo library catalogue for books on your topic. The default search is both books and articles so choose the “books” tab if you want to eliminate articles
- You can start with broad keywords (e.g. “frankenstein”) and then narrow down your results by clicking on one of the “refine your results” links on the left-hand side of the screen
- For example, you can click on the term “monsters in literature”
- You can also limit your results to the Waterloo campus and/or books published within a specific time frame (e.g. works published after 1999)
- 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”)
- One way to start is to use the library catalogue. Choose the “articles” tab. For academic articles, click on the "peer review" link (in the left column)
- There are also databases for every subject area; they contain articles on topics within these areas
- The following databases are useful for your essay topics:
- Many of our interdisciplinary databases are well-suited to this course. See for example:
- To find scholarly articles, look for the “peer-reviewed” option in the databases. (What is a peer-reviewed article?)
- Do you already know the title of the article you want? Watch a video tutorial on how to find an article when you know the title
Find primary sources
- Click on the advanced search link. Type in keywords that represent different aspects of your topic (each term in a different box). In a separate box, type the term that is most appropriate: “sources,” “correspondence,” “documents,” “diaries,” “interviews,” or “speeches.” Change the drop-down option from “any” to “in the subject”
- Visit News Archives Online for links to our historical newspapers. You can find news articles about European culture from:
- The library also owns digitized resources via online databases. See the tab to primary sources in the History subject guide
- Type the name of a historical figure (e.g. Hitler) into our library catalogue, and change the drop-down option from “full record” to “author” in order to find anything written by this person
Too many search results?
- If you get too many search results, use narrower search terms (e.g. “silent films” instead of “films”)
- Try adding more concepts to your search. Adding more terms that are linked by “AND” will decrease your number of search results
Too few search results?
- Think in terms of broader categories (“films” rather than “silent films”)
- Add alternate terms for each concept (“films” OR “movies”). Adding more terms that are linked by “OR” will increase your number of search results
- TIP: Look at the bibliographies of the most pertinent books and articles on your topic. One author can lead you to others in the field
Need assistance with writing the paper?
- Book an appointment with Laurier Brantford's Centre for Student Success
Create the bibliography
- Visit our help page on citing sources for links to APA, MLA, and other style guides
- See our short video tutorials on when to cite and how to cite
Need help with research?
- Don’t hesitate to contact me (Pauline Dewan); I am here to help you.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can email or call you back
- Call 519 756-8228 ext 5529. (If you are on campus, just dial 5529)
- Visit the information desk at the Waterloo library (just inside the front door)
- 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.