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HUMA 1745: Thinking About Contemporary Canada  

Last Updated: May 27, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Recommended Resources | Keyword Searching | Finding Books | Finding Articles
Scholarly vs. Popular Publications | Citing Sources | Getting Help


The following resources will help you with your research for HUMA 1745. Search the indexes and databases to locate scholarly journal articles on your topic. Examine the encyclopedias and dictionaries if you need further background information.


CBCA Complete

This database, which includes academic journals, newspapers, and magazines, is very useful for researching topics related to Canadian current affairs and public policy.

Canadian Periodical Index

Includes Canadian and international academic journals, magazines, and newspapers. All subjects are represented, with an emphasis on Canadian content.

America: History and Life

This database is the major source for scholarly materials on the history of Canada from prehistory to the present.

Bibliography of Native North Americans

Covers all aspects of native North American history, culture, and society. This specialized database is a good place to start your research on North America's indigenous peoples. 


Canadian Encyclopedia

This online version of a classic Canadian reference work is useful for finding basic information on people, themes and events relating to Canadian history, politics, and culture.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

This biographical source presents the lives of notable individuals who lived between the years 1000 and 1930. The dictionary also includes a few entries for more recent Canadians.

Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples

This resource provides an overview of people within the geographical and social framework of Canada. It provides entries arranged thematically or by group with bibliographies for further reading.


Before you begin searching for books and articles on your topic, it is helpful to know how to compose an effective keyword search. Keyword searching is a flexible method that can be used in both our Library Catalogue and our many indexes and databases. Follow these 5 steps to create your keyword search:

1. QUESTION: Write down your research topic or question.

example: What is the effect of violence in the media on children?

2. CONCEPTS: Note the main concepts. Avoid using abstract concepts such as "effects," "impact," or "themes" in your searches.

example: What is the effect of violence in the media on children ?

3. SYNONYMS: Think of synonyms for each of your concepts.

example: television, video games, films, or movies, could be synonyms for the concept of media

4. SYNTAX: Prepare your searches using AND to link different concepts together and OR to link synonyms. Always use capital letters for AND and OR . Use brackets ( ) to keep OR terms together.

example 1: violence AND media AND children

example 2: violence AND ( media OR television ) AND ( children OR child OR youth )

5. SEARCH & RE-SEARCH: Run the search and examine your results carefully. Look for terms marked as subjects, descriptors, or topics that could be used in a modified search.


Follow these 3 steps to find books, encyclopedias, and other materials in the Library Catalogue.

1. Follow the Keyword Searching steps (above) to build your search. Type your search terms in the box found on the Library Homepage.


2. You can sort your search results by either Date or Relevance. Using Relevance often brings useful items to the top of the list. If you find an item that looks useful, click on its title to view the complete record.


3. The complete record for each item will identify its Location, Availability, and Call Number. The complete record will also list the Subject Headings for the item. These can provide you with other useful search terms for the same topic.



There are hundreds of specialized Indexes and Databases to help you find Articles. These are usually categorized by subject or discipline and you can access them from our Subject Research Guides.

Some of these indexes and databases look different, but they all share the following attributes:

  • each index focuses on a core group of journals/magazines ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand

  • each index allows you to search by keywords; use the Advanced Search mode for best results

  • each index will provide a complete reference (citation) to the article identifying the author, article title, journal/magazine name, volume, issue, year, and page numbers

  • each citation will have either a direct link to the full text of the article OR a button that will help you to find the article at York. The button looks like this: . When you click this button, you will be taken to a page that looks like the image below. If the library subscribes to the journal in electronic format, you will see links that allow you to "Get Full Text Online." If there are no links to the online version, click on the "for print copies" link to see if the library has a print copy of the journal on the shelves. Be sure to note the call number.


When conducting your research, you will encounter both scholarly sources (e.g. academic journals, research reports) and popular sources (e.g. magazines, newspapers). The following table provides clues on how to distinguish between these two types of sources. For more information on the difference between scholarly and popular sources, including peer-reviewed sources, consult Distinguishing Between Scholarly and Popular Articles.





may contain selective advertising

will contain extensive advertising

Authors & Audience

written by and for academics and researchers

written by staff or freelance writers for a

Format & Graphics

may include graphs and charts; seldom contains glossy pages or pictures

often slick and glossy; will contain
photographs, illustrations, and/or


often contain jargon and language specific
the discipline discussed

use plain language to speak to a
broad audience


generally published by a professional organization

published for profit


to inform, report, or make available original research to the scholarly world

to entertain, inform, or persuade


footnotes and/or bibliographies

rarely cite any sources


When writing any university essay, you must indicate where you obtained your ideas and information. You do this by citing your sources. For details on how to cite your sources using APA, MLA, and other formats, refer to our Footnotes & Bibliographies page.

Using proper citation methods is essential in academic work. If you are unsure of how to do this or have questions about academic plagiarism, see Academic Integrity and Plagiarism.


This course guide has been designed to help you get started with your research. Should you require further assistance, don't hesitate to get help:

  • In-Person at the Research Questions Desk (2nd floor of Scott Library)
  • Online using our AskON live chat reference service
  • By Telephone: 416-736-5150, option 3
  • By E-mail
There are also many helpful Tutorials & Guides available on the library website.

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