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Research Tips: Finding Information

Basic tips for getting started with research: refining a topic, finding information, additional help.

Where to find what


Books strike a balance between being broad and specific. They are long enough to contain detailed information about a topic, but often cover a subject from a variety of angles.

Find books in the Catalogue Quick Search on the BCIT Library homepage.

If you can't find a book about your specific topic, try looking for books in a broader subject that contains your topic.

For example: There might not be any books about a particular architect working in British Columbia, but you might find a book about architects of British Columbia that contains a chapter on the person you're interested in.
Journal articles

Journal articles provide detailed information to support the arguments you want to make. Find them through:

  • Catalogue quick search on the BCIT Library homepage, click the ARTICLES tab at the top of your search results

  • Databases contain articles usually grouped by subject area. See BCIT's list of databases, or use a research guide to find recommended databases for your subject area.

  • Google Scholar will do a Google search of available journal articles on the web. Subscription required for many of them.

Other Information Sources

There are many other specialized sources of information like datasets, industry reports, etc. that contain detailed information. Many of these can be found in databases (see above). Use a research guide or talk to a librarian to find out where to look for your topic.

Google Scholar

You can access BCIT Library's online articles via Google Scholar :

From the Google Scholar homepage, select the 'hamburger' menu in the top left. Select Settings.

From Settings, click on Library links.

From the Search Box, search for 'BCIT' and select 'BCIT - Find full text @ BCIT' and click save.

When you search Google Scholar, you will see a 'FIND full-test @BCIT' link next to various articles which indicates that they are available via BCIT subscribed e-content.

Note that to retain these settings, you will need to enable your browser's cookies.



Choosing Keywords


Keywords are crucial to finding good information on your topic. Start a list and keep adding to it as your research progresses.

When choosing keywords, look for the words that are most concrete and most essential to your topic.

For example: with the topic "Causes of childhood obesity", childhood and obesity make good keywords, but causes will not be as good because it is more abstract.

Try to think of synonyms and related words to use as well. For the above topic we may also want to think about using children, youth, infant, overweight, BMI. You may also brainstorm some specific causes such as exercise, diet, poverty and try searching with those. Make sure to think of synonyms for those words too!

As you do your searches and conduct your background reading, keep an eye out for additional keywords to add to your list.

Google Power Searching