Contemporary Canadian Government & Politics:
A Practical Research Guide

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4. Finding and Evaluating Substantive Information
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Finding Information: Other Academic Works

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Three more major types of academic works: theses, conference papers, and essays are valuable sources of information for research in government and politics. Many bibliographies and library catalogues include some of these. There are also specialized databases and indexes for finding more.


Back to the Top Conference Papers Essays
Theses:
Theses, or dissertations, are long, detailed research papers completed to earn a master’s or doctoral degree from a university. The latest ideas and research areas are often developed first in theses. If you are about to start your own thesis work you should check these out to make sure you are aware of the latest research in the field.

Each university library should have a copy of the theses written at their university, but the Library and Archives Canada receives a copy from each Canadian university so has the most complete collection. They can be borrowed through interlibrary loan from your library. The collection also includes foreign theses on topics of Canadian interest or written by Canadians. From 1998 on theses are available in full text online through the Theses Canada Portal:
Theses Canada Portal. Library and Archives Canada. http://www.collectionscanada.ca/thesescanada/index-e.html
This web site provides free access to the full text of over 45,000 Canadian theses and dissertations submitted from 1998 to Aug. 31, 2002. In 2005, another two years will be available. Searchable, but not available in full text, are over 200,000 others held by the Library and Archives Canada, approximately 10,000 records are added per year.
Canadian Theses. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1947 - 1996 .
Print: 1947-1980 annual volumes and multi-year cumulations.
Microfiche: 1980/81 – , with 5-year cumulations.
This is a bibliography of all theses in the National Library of Canada collection. After 1996 see Theses Canada Portal.
Dissertation Abstracts International. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1952 - . Available in print, on microfiche, on CD-ROM and online.
This is the largest index of theses, covering all subjects including political science. It indexes all North American doctoral theses and some master's theses from 1861 on. European theses are included from 1969 on. Abstracts are available for doctoral theses from 1980 and for master's theses from 1988 on. Online subsets available by subscription only: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses and Dissertations & Theses @.
Doctoral Research on Canada and Canadians, 1884-1983. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1986. 559 p.
Organized by subject, with an author index, this book covers all doctoral theses about Canada and Canadians written between 1884 and 1983 at universities in Canada, U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia. Title, author, university and date are given. Not annotated.
Back to the Top Theses Essays
Conference Papers:
Conference papers are where some of the most recent research can be found. Sometimes the papers are trial balloons, or the first stage of future research.

Check the web sites of associations, institutes, think tanks, and other research organizations. Papers presented at conferences and annual meetings of political science associations are often listed, and sometimes made available in full text, on the web sites of the body that sponsored or organized the conference.

In library catalogues there may be an entry for all papers from a conference or their annual meetings. Search for these by the sponsoring body as author.

Common subject sub-headings:

--congresses (e.g. political participation--Canada--congresses)
--addresses, essays, lectures (e.g. Canada--politics and government--addresses, essays and lectures)
Or search by keyword for the topic plus "paper" or "essay".

Some journal indexes (e.g. PAIS) index proceedings and some specialized indexes exist just for locating the proceedings of conferences, symposia, expositions and the like.
Sample Collected Papers:
Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA). http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/template_e.cfm?folder=conference
Has conference papers from 2003 online.

Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting. (Or CPSA Papers; title varies.) Ottawa: CPSA. 1970 - present. (1935-1969 these were published in the Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science)
Print and microfiche.

Includes cumulative alphabetic and subject indexes.
Atlantic Provinces Political Science Assocation (APPSA). http://ace.acadiau.ca/polisci/appsa
Has 1996 and 1997 conference papers online.
British Columbia Political Science Association (BCPSA). http://www.sfu.ca/igs/BCPSA.html
Has papers from 1995 in full text. Titles only for other years.
For links to other organizations see: Research from policy institutes, think tanks, and other organizations
Specialized Indexes:
G.K. Hall Bibliographic Guide to Conference Publications. (Formerly Bibliographic Guide to Conference Publications.) Boston: G.K. Hall. Annual. 1974 - .
Index to Social Sciences and Humanities Proceedings (ISSHP). Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Scientific Information (ISI).
Print: 1977 - 1994. CD-ROM: 1990 - . Quarterly with annual cumulations. Online updated weekly. Rolling file of 5 years.
Indexes papers from the most important international conference proceedings published in books, reports, series, preprints, or journal articles. Index sections include: Category Index (general subjects), Sponsor Index (agencies, societies, associations that sponsor meetings), Corporate Index (the authors' organizational affiliations), Permuterm Subject Index (keywords from book titles, subtitles, conference titles, and the titles of the individual papers), Author and Editor Index, Meeting Locator Index (by country and city).
Papers First. OCLC, FirstSearch. 1993 - present. Monthly.
This is an online index to citations of papers presented at meetings, conferences, workshops, symposia and expositions around the world.
Back to the Top Theses Conference Papers
Essays:
Essays may be published separately in a journal or book, as a presentation at a meeting, conference or other event. Several essays may also be published together in an edited volume. In each case, they may not be identified as essays.
Common subject sub-headings: -- addresses, essays, lectures (e.g. Canada--politics and government--20th century--addresses, essays, lectures).
Library catalogues don't usually provide access to individual chapters or essays within books. Use indexes or bibliographies for this.

A specialized index for finding essays:
Essay and General Literature Index. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1900 –.
Print and CD-ROM: Semi-annual with annual and 5-year cumulations. Online 1985 - . Updated daily
This index has author and subject access using Library of Congress subject headings. It is similar to journal indexes but the "articles" it covers are found in book anthologies and essay collections instead of periodicals. Indexes over 5,300 anthologies and essay collections published in the US, UK and Canada, covering many subjects, including politics. For essays on Canadian government and politics look under "Canada", and any appropriate sub-headings (e.g. -- "foreign relations", or --"politics and government")
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Last Updated: July 30, 2007
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