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The purpose of this guide is to recommend print and electronic resources for conducting research in philosophy in the Library. Click on the links on the left for suggestions about starting your research, getting books and articles, and finding other useful tools for research in philosophy.
Check out our new resource for philosophical investigations: PhilPapers!
Description: PhilPapers is a comprehensive index and bibliography of philosophy maintained by the community of philosophers. We monitor all sources of research content in philosophy, including journals, books, open access archives, and personal pages maintained by academics. We also host the largest open access archive in philosophy.
We also have this valuable resource: Intelex Past Masters: Full-Text Humanities.
Description: Encompasses the largest collection of primary source full-text electronic editions in philosophy in the world. Includes significant collections in the history of political thought and theory, religious studies, education, German studies, sociology, the history and philosophy of science, economics, and classics.
And check out what new books the library is receiving!
In the library: The Library User Assistance Desk to your immediate left as you enter the library is a good place to start.
By email: Email the librarian responsible for your faculty for a reply during regular working hours.
By telephone: 705-675-4803, or toll free at 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2
For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Tips on Preparing For Research
Here is a title you might find useful: Graybosch, A.J., et al. The Philosophy Student Writer's Manual (2nd ed. Prentice-Hall 2003)
Before you start your research in the library:
- understand the key terms you may be using as well as the general area that interests you;
- think about ways to narrow your topic, making it as specific as possible (unless you have been given a specific topic to research!);
- create a thesis statement;
- list the main concepts (key words) included in your thesis statement (research question), then based on your readings;
- find as many synonyms as you can for each main concept. You are now ready to start searching in the library's catalogue and databases.
When you are looking for definitions or if you don’t know much about a specific subject, reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias become invaluable because they contain relatively short—and understandable—articles. These articles often lay out the parameters of a subject and can assist you in trying to narrow your topic. Often such articles are accompanied by lists of readings (bibliographies) which allow you to explore your topic further.
- Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers (hardcopy). 1996.
- Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (hardcopy). 1995.
- Dictionary of World Philosophy (online). 2001.
- The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy - online (1996) and hardcopy (2005).
- The Routledge Dictionary of Philosophy (hardcopy). 2010.
- Vocabulaire technique et critique de la philosophie (hardcopy). 2010.
- Dictionary of the History of Ideas (online). 1973.
- The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (hardcopy). 2005
- International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (online).
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
- Oxford Companion to Philosophy (online). 1995
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online).
In addition, Oxford University Press has published a slew of handbooks on various specialized areas of philosophy. See Oxford Handbooks for full-text online access to the collection.
There are several options for searching and accessing Masters and Ph.D dissertations:
To find articles on a topic from multiple sources, search in one of the Databases listed on this page. Subject-specific databases will have more detailed subject headings, but general databases will search a wider range of publications.
To browse content from a specific journal, use our e-journals list to access individual titles.
If you are looking for a specific article, search for the title in a subject-specific or general database. If you are searching from Laurentian campus, you can also try a web search for the article title; major publishers' websites will often recognize the IP address and give direct access to the full-text article (note: depending on the journal or publisher, this will not always work).
Quick Tips for Searching the Databases
- Start off with keyword searches expressing your topic. Keyword searching crosses all fields (title, author, publisher, abstract, etc.)
- Use search operators ("and," "or," wildcards) to expand or reduce your results. Different databases use different operators, so see the database's Help page for details.
- When you find a relevant search result, look at the author(s) and subject headings - you may be able to refine your search with these.
- You can also look at an article's citations or the works which have cited it to find additional, relevant articles.
Getting Articles @ Laurentian
In any database, when you see an article that interests you, click on it and, unless the article is available within the database itself, within the record you will see an image that says "Get it @ Laurentian":
When you click on that, you will arrive at a menu which will lead to an electronic copy of the article you want, or, if not available electronically, to Laurentian's catalogue which will allow you to check if the article is available in print in the library, and if not, to a final link which allows you to order the item through Interlibrary loan.
Peer Review is the evaluation of creative work by scholars in the same field in order to maintain or enhance the quality of the work in that field.
In the case of peer reviewed journals, which are usually academic, peer review generally refers to the evaluation of the articles in them prior to publication. For more, check out this definition of peer review.
- To ascertain whether a journal is peer reviewed, consult Ulrichsweb.
We cite sources to acknowledge the work of others, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty or plagiarism.
The Process of Citation
- title, author, place of publication, publisher, date, and page number.
- journal title, article title, author, volume number, issue number, date, and page numbers. Note that you do not have to list the place of publication.
- the country, state or province, the ministry, department and/or committee, and so on.
Zotero is a free, web-based citation manager that allows you to:
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
Getting started with Zotero:
- Sign up for library workshops when available.
- View Quick Start Guide (video) or Tutorials (videos)
- Consult one of Zotero's own User Guides or McMaster University's Quick Start Guide or the Zotero Guide by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology