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GPHY 403 Honours Seminar in Human Geography

Steps in Research Process

  1. Select your research topic
  2. If you're not sure where to start, consult the dictionaries and the encyclopedias listed under Reference Materials
  3. Reflect on various aspects of your research topic
  4. Determine which questions you're attempting to answer
  5. Think of synonyms and related terms that apply to your topic
  6. Consider using thesauri (e.g. Oxford) if you need help identifying good keywords
  7. Start your research in the library cataloguekey databases or other relevant resources
  8. Depending on your search results, narrow or broaden your searches by adding/removing keywords, using search operators etc.
  9. Evaluate the documents that you find as well as the sources of information
  10. Keep a record of keywords that you used and information that you located
→ Please do not hesitate to contact me at any stage of your research! ←

Search Operators

Boolean logic

 e.g. If you type Canada AND election, you will find documents that contain both keywords.

Quotation marks

 e.g. If you type "human rights" in quotation marks, you will find documents that contain this phrase.


e.g.   If you type Canad*, you will find documents that contain the words Canada, Canadian, canadienne...


e.g. If you type wom?n, you will find documents that contain the words woman and/or women.

Operators may vary from database to database: consult specific database help pages for more information.
Most databases ignore certain common words -- articles, conjunctions and prepositions -- such as the, a, of, for, but...