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Research Help

The following steps outline an effective research strategy needed to complete an essay, class presentation, or a term paper in most courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Start your research

VIDEO: Library Resources for Students (4:20). A quick introduction to KPU Library resources including: Summon search, the library catalogue, research databases, journal title search, subject guides, the Research Help guide, and citation guides. Also highlights how to find library hours and get help from a Librarian.

Research Process flow chart - shows a diagram going from reference material to newspapers to books and then to academic articles

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MLA Citation:
Brinkerhoff, Celia. "Activity: Which Topic is Narrower?" Doing Research: A Student's Guide to Finding and Using the Best Sources, KPU Library, 2019, . Used with permission.

Tutorial:  Finding Keywords from Research questions 

  • Analyze your topic for key concepts to use as search terms (keywords).
  • Identify synonyms for your terms, related terms and spelling variations (e.g. marihuana, marijuana, cannabis )
  • Use the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT to combine your keywords and to retrieve more relevant results.
  • Focus on key concepts. Don't do a search using a question or a phrase. 

Example: The impact of sea level rise due to climate change on human rights of people living in coastal areas in Asia

Your turn:  Labeling policy for genetically modified foods in Canada should be mandatory.  Which terms are key concepts, and which one should not be used when searching in databases?


MLA citation:
Brinkerhoff, Celia. "Activity: Focus on the Keywords of a Research Question." Doing Research: A Student's Guide to Finding and Using the Best Sources, KPU Library, 2019,
(Used under CC-BY 4.0 International licence.)

Article: Why is lo-fi hip-hop so conducive to concentration?

LIVE RADIO - Lofi hip hop mix to study/relax to