You are here
- Choosing a topic
- Finding books
- Finding articles
- Searching the Web
- Data and statistics
- Citing your sources
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Encyclopedia of Research Design
- International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports (GV 709 I58 2001 Ref. 1 - 3)
- Statistical encyclopedia of North American professional sports: all major league teams and major non-team events year by year, 1876 through 2006 (GV 581 G37 2008 V.1 - V.4 Ref.)
- Who's Who in Canadian Sport, 4th edition (GV 697 F47 2005 Ref.)
The research process
When you have to write a research essay or a case study analysis, you must first determine the extent of information needed to complete your assignment. No matter your topic or subject, before you undertake any research you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I know?
- What do I need to know?
- How will I find out?*
Answering these questions will give you the opportunity to gauge your own knowledge base on the subject, and to consequently develop an appropriate search strategy.
Depending on what you already know, you may need to gather some background information on your topic before you can begin your research. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are two sources that can help you with this process. For additional background information, you may also want to consult alternative sources of information: experts in the field, family and friends, media sources (if appropriate), etc.
*Burkhardt, J. M., MacDonald, M. C., & Rathemacher, A. J. (2010). Teaching information literacy: 50 standards-based exercises for college students. Chicago: American Library Association.(page 21)
There are two different options when searching for e-books:
- Search the library catalogue, and limit the item format to "Electronic". Please note that not all e-books are catalogued, and that by limiting the document type to electronic, you may also retrieve other items such as journals, government documents, etc.
- Search the library's e-book collections. Searching e-book collections is similar to searching in the catalogue. I recommend searching either by subject or keyword.
Tips for using e-books
- Some e-books can only be consulted by one searcher at a time.
- The number of pages that can be printed or downloaded from an e-book is set by the publisher.
- Some e-book collections will allow you to export your references to Zotero, a powerful, free citation manager.
You can search the library's catalogue by:
- Journal Title
Tips and tricks:
- By default, the results screen displays 10 documents per page
- Results can be sorted by: Title, Author, Date, Relevance
- The record summary is where you’ll find the information necessary to retrieve your document:
- Name of the library
- Copy location
- Call number
- For electronic resources, a direct link to the document is provided in the record summary.
- You can export your references to RefWorks
Recommended E-book Collections
A multidisciplinary collection with a subject filter.
This collection is primarily focused on commerce and economics. Limit your search to e-books by selecting "books" from the drop down menu beneath the search box.
A multidisciplinary collection with the option to browse books by subject, see "Business and Management".
Content in this collection is primarily focused on commerce and economics. When searching, limit to "only subscribed titles".
A multidisciplinary collection with the ability to browse books by subject. If you're only interested in finding e-books, limit to "search within books".
A multidisciplinary collection with some sport and business content. When searching, remember to select “full text only”.
Library of Congress Classification
All print books and periodicals are organized according to the Library of Congress System.
- GV 557 - 1198.995 Sports
- GV 201 - 555 Physical education and training
- HF 1 - 6182 Commerce
- RC 1200 - 1245 Sports medicine
- RM 695 - 893 Physical medicine. Physical therapy
Finding Full Text
Each database displays full text options differently. To locate full text, here are some of the things to look for:
- A direct link to the html version or a PDF document.
- This enables you to find full text when available.
- If full text is not available, you can search the library catalogue for the print-journal.
- When you're unable to find full text online or in print, you can request the item through interlibrary loan (Racer).
- Use AND to limit your search
- Example: marketing AND "Olympic games"
- Use OR to expand your search
- Example NFL OR CFL
- Need to address multiple spellings of a term or name, use truncation
- Example: Niet*che
- Looking for a specific type of content? Limit your search by document type.
- Is currency important for your topic? Limit your search by providing a date range.
Five criteria for evaluating web pages
When you undertake research on the Web, it's important to critically evaluate everything you read. These five criteria will help you determine if the information is reliable and appropriate to use for your research.
1 - Accuracy
Is the author citing their sources of information, including statistical data? With the information provided, will you be able to verify the contents with another source? If the author provides links to other websites, would you consider these reliable sources of information?
As with any other source you would consult, the information provided needs to be verifiable. If you can't verify something that is stated as fact on a website, you can safely assume that some of the information may not reliable and that you should look elsewhere.
2 - Authority
When consulting a website, is it clear who authored the content? Can you locate contact information? What are the author(s) credentials? If it's a website run by an organization or professional association, what's its mission?
Authority is important since anyone can create content on the web. If there is no authoring and contact information for a given website, I would recommend that you continue your search.
3 - Objectivity
Is the information on the website fact or opinion? Can you tell if the information is biased? If it's a controversial topic, does the website take a neutral stance or is it slanted to a particular point of view? Are the authors trying to present opinion as fact? Is the website sponsored? Do ads appear on the website? What other sites does the website link to?
Remember that just because something looks reliable on the web, it may be slanted towards a group's or company's own interests. If the website is sponsored or has ads, look at the content to determine if the site was created as a means of promoting a particular product, service or ideology. If links to other websites are provided, take the time to examine these other sites. For example, if a website about abortion is mainly linking to anti-abortion groups, it's safe to assume that the information on the site may not be neutral.
4 - Currency
When was the website last updated? Are there dead links? Can you find information telling you when the website was created?
If you can't find a date anywhere, it may be difficult determine the website's currency. A website with no dates and broken links may indicate that the site is out-of-date and / or poorly maintained.
5 - Purpose and intended audience
Who are the author(s) trying to reach with the website (children, adults, professionals)? Why do you think the author(s) created the website? Are the author(s) trying to sell you something, collect your personal information, etc.?
When you approach content on the web, the first thing you should consider is the target audience. A website constructed for children, in most cases, is not appropriate when you're doing research at a university level. If you're doing research on the internet, preferably, you should be consulting sites geared towards specialists in a given field. Another point to consider is the website's purpose. Websites whose aim is to sell you something or gather your personal information may not be reliable sources to consult. Furthermore, if a website is looking to promote a particular group or ideology, it may not be the most objective source of information.
This search engine alllows you to locate scholarly resources with an interface you already know. Through Google scholar, you can locate a wide range of documents including: articles, books, abstracts, etc.
To get the best results, you should search Google scholar the same way as you would any other database, by making use of its search operators. For more information, please consult Google's Advanced Scholar Search Tips.
Wikipedia is useful when gathering background information, and locating other sources of information. Always look at the reference list and the "further reading" section. These references may help you find other sources that could be of use. You should also compare what you're reading on Wikipedia with another encyclopedia, or reliable source of information to detect any errors, discrepancies, or bias.
Remember that not all articles have a neutral point of view. When researching controversial topics (abortion, religion, politics, etc.), you should consult both the article's history and the discussion page. This may help you determine any bias or recent acts of vandalism on an article. Furthermore it allows to read discussions regarding content that is added to the article.
Statistics for Canada
International data and statistics
The Statistical Office of the European Communities. The website is updated daily and provides direct access to the latest and most complete statistical information available on the European Union, the EU Member States, the euro-zone and other countries.
Provides a single online platform where users can discover and access statistical databases from the OECD. You will be able to build tables and extract data from across databases as well as work within individual databases. Includes data and metadata for OECD countries and selected non-member economies.
A portal to United Nations databases. Currently, there are 24 databases and 6 glossaries containing approximately 60 million data points and covering a whole range of statistics including Population, Industry, Energy, Trade and National Accounts. Useful features like Country Profiles, Advanced Search and Glossaries are also provided to aid research.
Canadian Business Patterns (ODESI download)
- The Canadian Business Patterns contains data that reflects counts of business locations by geographic areas, including province/territory, census division, census metropolitan area and census agglomeration; and by industry using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
Business performance and ownership (Statistics Canada)
- Grouping of business and economics resources. Types of documents include: articles, publications, reference materials, external links and data.
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
- Always ask your professor which citation style you should use.
- Keep accurate notes on each source you consult. These notes will ensure that you have all the necessary information needed to create a complete bibliography. Using an application such as RefWorks will facilitate this process.
- When citing information from the internet, be certain to jot down the exact date the item was consulted and bookmark the website.
- When taking notes from a source, put quotation marks around anything you haven't paraphrased or summarized. This will ensure that you don't accidentally plagiarize later on when you begin writing your assignment. For more information, consult the guide titled “How not to plagiarize” (Source: Writing Centre - U of T)
- Information that falls under common knowledge does not need to be cited. An example of common knowledge would be that the earth revolves around the sun.
- To properly paraphrase and summarize, it requires that you thoroughly understand the passage or article you’re reading. When you don’t fully grasp the concepts presented, it’s best to try and locate another source with similar content presented and/or explained differently. For more information concerning paraphrase and summary, please consult the guide titled “Paraphrase and summary” (Source: Writing Centre - U of T)