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Social Sciences 1SS3 - Inquiry in the Social Sciences: Poverty, Wealth and the Welfare State

Introduction

One of the hardest parts of doing research is knowing where to start. These lessons will help you understand what is a scholarly resource, the difference between searching and researching, deciding on an essay topic and choosing keywords to use in your search.

Starting Your Research

Before getting started on your research you need to understand the different types of resources at your disposal. Popular sources can be a source inspiration and provide useful context and background information on your research topic.  However, in this class you will primarily be asked to consult scholarly sources.   Watch this short video to learn about the difference between scholarly and popular sources:

Before you get started on your research it is important to understand how university research differs from searching for the answer to a question online. This short video will help you understand the difference between searching and researching:

The research process starts with a topic that interests you and ends with a researchable question. Watch this video to learn how to choose your research topic:

The keywords you use in your search directly influence your results so it is important to come up with terms that are most relevant to your topic. To learn more about search strategies watch this video:

Brief Treatments

Resource 

Description

Oxford World Encyclopedia 

This encyclopedia features concise entries providing essential information on a range of subjects, including world affairs, science and technology, the arts, modern and ancient history, religion, sports, and popular culture.

Oxford Reference Online

Multi-part database of the online versions of seminal Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published titles. Online texts are updated after new editions of are published.

Cambridge History Series

 

(Print & ebook) 

Cambridge Histories is a series of ~300 volumes spanning fifteen subject areas across the humanities and social sciences, with a concentration on political and cultural history, literature, philosophy, religious studies, music and the arts.  Cambridge Histories offer a big picture perspective in each subject area, making them essential reading for anyone researching or studying a subject that has an historical element. These volumes can be found through a catalogue search (linked at left). 

Gale Virtual Reference Library

Most titles published between 1999-2008. A database of almost 80 encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research. This is the one cited in the video and remains a reliable, widely used portal to good reference resources.  

New Pauly Online 

 

This encyclopedia of the ancient world is intended as an aid to the study of Greek and Roman culture and its multifaceted influence on European and world history.

Canadian Encyclopedia Online

The Encyclopedia contains more than 30,000 multimedia items including images, maps, games, audio and video. Multimedia is augmented through acquisition and partnerships with Maclean’s magazine and The Canadian Press.

American National Biography  (Online)

Biographical dictionary of about 18,000 notable American men and women from all eras of American history who are no longer alive. Includes illustrations and hypertext links to other web resources. 

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (DNB)

A collection of 55,000 specially written biographies, which describe the lives of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond. The Oxford DNB replaces and extends the original Victorian DNB, and includes: re-written biographies of all subjects included in the Victorian DNB, reflecting new research, and providing an up-to-date assessment of their lives 16,500 biographies of new subjects from all periods. For checking facts, learning about people involved in a historical event or associated with a place, or undertaking new research into any aspect of the British past. Entries offer detailed and extensive biographical information drawn from primary and secondary sources and range from a few dozen to 35,000 words in length. Also includes National Portrait Gallery content.  

Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

Open Access Source.  Presents persons who died between the years 1000 and 1930 or whose last known date of activity falls within these years

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