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SOC 111 (Xiaoping Li): Getting Started

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Research Paper Assignment

Save time and frustration, make a plan BEFORE you search

Identify KEYWORDS for your topic

Topic: Describe the level of poverty in BC and construct an argument on how government policy can contribute to the increase in or reduction of poverty. 

Keywords: Poverty, Government Policy, British Columbia

WHERE are you going to search & WHAT are you going to search for?
Search STRATEGIES Are you going to use limiters? How will you join your search terms together (AND, OR, NOT)? Are you going to conduct a keyword search or subject search?
  • Use " " to search a SPECIFIC PHRASE (i.e. "British Columbia government")
  • * at the end of a word will search ALTERNATE FORMS of the word (i.e. povert* searches poverties and poverty)
  • Start with a BROAD search, review the results, then use search terms from applicable results to NARROW or refocus your search

poverty AND "british columbia" AND "government polic*" = 29 results in OCtopus

poverty AND "british columbia" AND "government policy" (select SU Subject Terms from drop-down menu) = 16 results in OCtopus

poverty AND "british columbia" AND (government policy OR government regulation) = 102 results in OCtopus

  1. Income inequality: Is income inequality a serious issue in BC?  Describe the problem of income inequality in BC within the national context. Identify the causes and solutions proposed by researchers and organizations.
  1. Aboriginal youth suicide: The Canadian government acknowledges that youth suicide is an urgent issue for First Nations and Inuit youth in Canada. Describe the problem of aboriginal youth suicide.  Identify social and historical factors that contribute to the problem and solutions proposed by researchers and organizations.
  1. Drug addiction: Is addiction to drugs such as heroin and cocaine a private trouble or a public issue?  Use C.W. Mills’ definitions of private troubles and public issues to analyze this problem. Identify some of the social factors that contribute to the problem and solutions proposed by researchers and organizations.
  1. Student debt: Is student debt a private trouble or a public issue? How serious is this issue in Canada? Describe AND use C.W. Mills’ definitions of private troubles and public issues to analyze the problem.  Identify proposed solutions.
  1. Child poverty: Is it a serious problem in BC?  What are the major causes of this problem?  What policy changes have been proposed by researchers and anti-poverty organizations in order to reduce child poverty?
  1. Working Poverty: What is “working poverty”? Who are the “working poor” in Canada (focus on adults)?  What can be done to help these people get out of their situation? (A useful website for this topic.)
  1. Health:  What are some of the key social determinants of health in Canada? Which social groups in Canada are disadvantaged in terms of health?  What government policies can help improve the health of those groups?
  1. Socialization and inequality: Socialization shapes how we view ourselves and the social worlds.  Can socialization contribute to inequality in terms of gender, race, class, or sexuality (choose one among these four categories)? How?  Can socialization contribute to the reduction of inequality in terms of gender, race, class, or sexuality?  How?
  1. Multiculturalism: What does it mean in Canada? Have Canadian attitudes towards multiculturalism changed over the years? Is multiculturalism tearing Canadians apart?  Does it prevent newcomers to integrate into Canadian society?  Does it conceal social inequality? Has it been successful in reducing prejudice and racism? Your research can focus on some of these questions.
  1. Power relations, social roles, social interaction, or organizational practice: Society is constituted by many different social groups (e.g. men/women, rich/poor people, “whites”/”black” people, straight people/gays and lesbians, etc.)  Relationships among these groups are not equal in that some groups have more power than others. Unequal power relations can be maintained, reinforced and reproduced by social roles (e.g. gender roles), social interaction, or organizational/institutional practices (choose one among these three). Do the ways in which people interact with each other help maintain reinforce and reproduce existing the unequal relation between heterosexual people and members of LGBT communities?  Do the practices of certain organizations or institutions help maintain reinforce and reproduce existing the unequal relation between “whites” and what is named as “visible minorities”?  You can choose another focus, of course. Please talk to me.
  1.  Discrimination: Identify and describe various forms of discrimination based on “race” and/or ethnicity.  Why do such discriminations exist?  
  1.  Gender inequality at workplace: Does it still exist at Canadian workplace? In which ways?  Why does it persist?
  1.  Heteronormativity (beliefs and practices based on the assumption that heterosexuality is normal):  How do structural and interpersonal processes contribute to heteronormativity? Talk to me if you have some questions about this topic.
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Library Jargon

Abstract: A summary of an article, generally a sentence to a paragraph in length. Find abstracts in databases to get an overview of an article or study.
Anthology: A collection of pieces by more than one author brought together as one work.
APA: American Psychological Association. APA citation style is used to reference sources in a variety of subjects, including psychology, human kinetics, health, and others.
Article: A document within a journal, magazine, or newspaper issue. Usually written by one or more named authors.
Bibliography: A list of books and/or documents used to write an assignment.
Boolean Operators/Logic: A word—such as AND, OR, or NOT—that commands a computer to combine search terms. Helps to narrow (AND, NOT) or broaden (OR) searches.
Call Number: A system of arranging books so that they are shelved together by topic. Each book has a call number (a combination of letters and numbers).
For example, most books about Africa will have call numbers which begin with the letters DT. OC Library uses the Library of Congress call number system..
Circulation Desk: The counter in the library where books are borrowed for use outside the library.
Citation: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.
Databases Database: A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer. A library database contains articles from journals, magazines, and in some cases, books. The database records for articles may include abstracts or full text access.
Edited Book:A book which has an editor or editors rather than author(s), usually because each chapter has been contributed by a different person. Textbooks are often considered edited books.
Embargo: A full text delay to access an article from a database or journal. The length of time varies by publisher.
E-Journal: Full text or abstracts of journal articles from a specific journal title, available electronically.
Full-text: The entire content of an item, such as an article or book, available in electronic format. Some databases contain the full text of journal articles or book chapters.
Hold: A request by a user to a library that a book checked out to another person be saved for that user when it is returned. Holds can generally be placed on any regularly circulating library materials.
Index: Printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms, OR a list of names or topics usually found at the end of a publication, that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the publication.
Inter-Library Loan (ILL): A free library service allowing you to request books and journal articles not owned by OC Library. Look for the "Where Can I Get This?" link that appears in databases, OCtopus, and Google Scholar.
Journal: A print or electronic information source that is published at regular intervals under the same title. Each individual issue (or part) of a journal will consist of a collection of articles written by different authors on very specific topics. May also be known as serials/ periodicals/ magazines. Journals in the Library often contain scholarly information and research. Some journals are peer reviewed, but not all. Example: Journal of Applied Psychology
Keyword: A single term or short phrase that best define the main points of your research topic. Keywords are used for searching catalogues and databases for material on your topic.
Library Catalogue: A web-based searchable catalogue of OC Library's books, audio-visual materials, and journals. The Library Catalogue may be searched anywhere on or off-campus.
Magazine: A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public. Articles tend to be brief with no references listed or credentials of the author given. Example: Fortune
Peer-Reviewed:This refers to the process by which a journal or article has been checked by an editorial board of experts to ensure that it contains genuine scholarly research. Sometimes peer reviewed articles are referred to as 'academic' or 'scholarly' articles.
Periodical or Serial: A publication which is issued periodically, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.
Primary Source: Original manuscripts. contemporary records or documents used by a researcher in writing a book or article which would then form the secondary literature. Letters, photographs, interviews, government documents, historical records, and personal papers are some examples.
Record: A description of each individual item contained in a database or Library Catalogue. In a database, a record may often be referred to as a result or hit.
Reference: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.
Reference Source: Used frequently for general information regarding a process or a definition of a term, or background information on a subject. Types of reference materials may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, almanacs, handbooks, statistical directories, biographical handbooks and other related materials.
Reserve: A collection of books and articles needed for specific class assignments kept at the Circulation/Reserve Desk. These materials have short check-out periods and some must be used in the library.
Scholarly or Authoritative: The more authoritative a resource is, the more trustworthy the information is. Things that make a source more authoritative include: listing of the author's name; author's credentials; listing of the sources the author used; and peer review.
Secondary Source: Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.
Volume: Issues of a periodical are combined to form a single volume over a period of time, usually a year.

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