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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!



For information about Laurentian's Department of Philosophy and the courses it offers, please visit the Department of Philosophy.

More Help

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

By chat: With our "Ask the Library" service. For more information, see About Ask a Librarian.

For Distance Education students: Telephone: 1-800-661-1058, ext. 2 or email:

Librarian for Philosophy

Desmond Maley
Desmond Maley, M.L.S.
Tel: 705-675-1151 ext. 3323
Office Location: 30-246, J.-N. Desmarais Library

Get Started

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.


Philosophy dictionaries

General dictionaries


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.

Get Books and Theses

Search the Catalogue

The  catalogue is your primary tool for finding books, journals and audio-visual materials at Laurentian University libraries.

For tips on using the catalogue effectively, visit our How to Research Like a Librarian guide.


Most e-books are accessible through the catalogue. However, there may be a delay as new titles are added to our collection.

You can browse our list of e-book collections to access specific collections directly.


There are several options for searching and accessing Masters and Ph.D dissertations:


With nearly 200 million records representing titles held by nearly 75,000 libraries you will find almost any book ever published in the English language in WorldCat.
Search Tips:  Once you log-in, click on the Help Button: Help button
After your search, when you see a title that interests you, click on it and within the record you will see an image for "Get it @ Laurentian" :
   Get it @ Laurentian
When you click on that, you will be led to a menu which allows you to check for availability in Laurentian’s catalogue or order the item through ILL - Interlibrary Loan.
Note: While a free version of WorldCat is available online, we recommend that you use the university's subscription version of WorldCat because it offers the "Get it @ Laurentian" feature and more powerful search functionality.

Get Articles

Quick Tips

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.

Subject Databases

  • Philosopher's Index ?

    Description: The Philosopher's Index is a comprehensive, bibliographic database covering worldwide research in all areas of philosophy. It features: the inclusion of documents from philosophy and interdisciplinary publications, extensive indexing, and author-written abstracts. Philosophers prescreen potential source documents for relevance to the field of philosophy; this enables the inclusion of articles from interdisciplinary journals and contributions from interdisciplinary anthologies that pertain to philosophy. The database provides global coverage, with source publications from more than 135 countries, and has records from 1940 to present, with additional records dating back to 1902. It includes more than 530,000 records in 37 languages. Sources includes: journals (print and e-journal articles from more than 1600 philosophy and interdisciplinary journals); books/monographs, including encyclopedias, dictionaries and book series; anthologies; contributions to anthologies from philosophy and interdisciplinary anthologies; and book reviews.

  • 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.

Some Related Databases

  • Année philologique ?

    Description: This is a specialized bibliographic database of scholarly works relating to all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. L’Année philologique covers a wide array of subjects, including Greek and Latin literature and linguistics—which includes early Christian texts and patristics—Greek and Roman history, art, archaeology, philosophy, religion, mythology, music, science, and scholarly subspecialties such as numismatics, papyrology and epigraphy. Abstracts of journal articles are in English, German, Spanish, French or Italian. Books entries often include tables of contents and book review information. Access is limited to 5 concurrent users.

  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index ?

    Description: Fully indexes over 1,700 arts and humanities journals, as well as selected items over 250 scientific and social sciences journals — from 1975 to present. Covering subjects that include archaeology, art, architecture, asian studies, classics, dance, folklore, history, language, linguistics, literary reviews, literature, music, philosophy, poetry, radio, television, & film, religion and theatre.


    Description: Multilingual social sciences and humanities database. English and French searching options available.

  • Google Scholar ?

    Description: "Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature... across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites."

  • Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984 ?

    Description: Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective™: 1907-1984 offers a broad range of subject coverage in the humanities and social sciences with high-quality indexing of more than 1,300,000 articles in nearly 1,100 periodicals, dating as far back as 1907, as well as citations of over 240,000 book reviews.

  • JSTOR ?

    Description: JSTOR includes the archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable, offers search term highlighting, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references. Note: Normally the journals in JSTOR are five years from current; further, all JSTOR journals are available through the "Get it @ Laurentian" link from other databases. JSTOR should NOT be used as at the first resort.

  • MLA International Bibliography ?

    Description: Covers literature from all over the world--Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. Folklore is represented by folk literature, music, art, rituals, and belief systems. Linguistics and language materials range from history and theory of linguistics, comparative linguistics, semantics, stylistics, and syntax to translation. Other topics include literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts (film, radio, television, theater), and history of printing and publishing. Since 1926.

  • Project MUSE ?

    Description: Project MUSE offers full-text current and archival articles from 600+ scholarly journals from major university presses covering literature and criticism, history, performing arts, cultural studies, education, philosophy, political science, and gender studies.

  • Scholars Portal - Ejournals ?

    Description: Scholars Portal is a digital repository of over 20 million scholarly articles drawn from journals covering every academic discipline.


  • Paideia Archive. Site for the 20th World Congress of Philosophy, offering over 600 full text papers from the Paideia archive and links to significant philosophy resources
  • Philosophy
    Gateway to philosophy sites. Covers Chinese philosophy, a wide range of philosophic topics, philosophers and the history of philosophy.
    (produced by the Chinese University of Hong Kong)

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":

Get it at 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

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.

Citing Sources and Zotero

Why Cite?

We cite sources to acknowledge the work of others, as well as to avoid academic dishonesty or plagiarism.

Laurentian's Psychology Department has made available a comprehensive set of guidelines on How NOT to Plagiarize that is based on one prepared in 1988 by Margaret Procter, Coordinator of Writing Support, for distribution at the University of Toronto. It deserves to be read by every student since at Laurentian academic dishonesty is a very serious offence.
Plagarism and How to Avoid It

The Process of Citation

The intent of the citation process is to list a resource that you utilized, such as a book, article or website, in an open and transparent way that makes it easy to locate.
Thus the citation for a book normally gives such key attributes as:
  • title,  author, place of publication, publisher, date, and page number.
For journals, you would give:
  • 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.
For government publications, you would list the document in terms of the agency that created it, e.g.:
  • the country, state or province, the ministry, department and/or committee, and so on.
In general, with these kinds of publications, the more bibliographic detail you can provide, the better. The same is true of local or "alternative" publications as well as archival materials, all of which are frequently hard to locate in library collections.

MLA Style

In Philosophy, the standard citation format is MLA (Modern Language Association).  See:

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a terrific website for learning how to cite using the MLA manual.


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: