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Geography 322: World Resources

This guide was prepared to assist students doing research on topics in Geog 322: World Resources. 

If you need help, please contact Sarah (Tong) Zhang, GIS&Map Librarian | Librarian for Geography | Librarian, Data Services Team at 778-782-9704 or tza68@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

Market report

The first part of your assignment involves finding information about the market for your resource: supply, demand, prices and trends. Sources are available in the library, in library databases, and on the web.

Start with the Top Ten Tips for Commodities Research for advice on how to approach your topic.

Next, check out the SFU Library Doing Research on Commodities guide to help you find information on your commodity.

Databases and websites:

  • CANSIM: Canadian Socioeconomic Information Management database
  • UNCTADstat: UN Conference on Trade and Development Handbook of Statistics
  • FAOSTAT: UN Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics
  • Globefish: fishing industry statistics
  • InfoMine: mining intelligence and technology news

Other useful library guides for this part of the assignment are:

Institutional profile

You've been asked to create a profile of a Vancouver-based institution and its role in the global resource economy, addressing the institution's history, structure, mandate, resources, and stakeholders, among other things.

The company website, agency, NGO, etc. is a good starting place for information. Look for an Annual Report. Be aware that you'll need to look much further to find a variety of perspectives on the institution - be they critical, supportive, or neutral.

Start with a search in the Library Catalogue for your institution's name.

Company information: (basics, financials, histories, annual reports, etc.)

  • Company websites
  • Book of Lists: The Essential Collection of Lists From Business in Vancouver [print] -- Annual publication listing top BC companies.
  • Canadian Company Capabilities -- Industry Canada's database of companies - includes contacts, products, services, trade experience, and technology.
  • Hoover's Company and Industry Reports -- Profiles of companies with info on competitors, financials, etc.
  • The Blue Book of Canadian Business [print] | [online]
  • Canadian Company Histories [print]
  • Factiva -- Includes detailed company snapshots with peer comparisons, financials and more: under the Companies/Markets menu, select Company and enter the name of your company in Smart Lookup.

Newspapers/magazine/journal articles (current issues, context, developments, criticism)

Reports and more

Employment/internship prospects and information

Other SFU Library guide pages that may be of assistance

Proposal

For this assignment, you will be creating a proposal to undertake a larger project. You will need to seek information that applies to three areas of your proposal:

  • Content - What are you proposing to research? Is there a knowledge gap in the research?
  • Form - How will you research your topic? What methodology will you use?
  • Format - What will your report look like?

Literature review

Before you begin searching, spend some time analyzing your topic. Have a look at this online guide for information on preparing your search. Essentially, you need to identify a research question (eg What are the the environmental and economic impacts of the cod fishery depletion on Newfoundland?), highlight the concepts you're interested in ( (environment* or econom*) and cod and Newfoundland ) and list synonyms (groundfish), broader terms (North Atlantic, fisheries) and narrower terms (Labrador, Grand Banks) and alternate spellings.

Next, you'll want to deploy your terms in a number of databases and other search tools. Make sure to try:

  • SFU Library Catalogue. Follow the SFU Library Catalogue search guide for hints, tips, and suggestions.
  • Databases:
    • Useful for most projects:
      • GEOBASE (The most important index for all Geography topics)
      • Business Source Complete (another valuable business source)
      • Econlit (all aspects of Economics)
    • Canadian topics:
  • Government Information: Use the federal, provincial and municipal websites to find the departments that are relevant to your topic. Check out international agencies like the EU, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund for research reports. See Finding government resources & information for links and more ideas.
  • Maps and Atlases: there may be maps and atlases in the Map Room on the 7th floor of the Bennett Library. Find them with a keyword search in the SFU Library catalogue. The guide, Finding maps and atlases at SFU Library has detailed instructions. The guide, Map collections will help you locate your map or atlas within the Map Room.

Methodology

Your proposal will include a section on methods. The resources with the following Subject Headings can help you explore and understand various methodologies and select the appropriate one(s) for your proposed research:

Proposal writing

You will be provided with a detailed outline of what should be included in your proposal. Check out these proposal guides and samples for additional ideas:

Putting Together Your Project

Writing Resources

  • Required text for your class: The Elements of Style [print]
  • Discipline-specific writing guides:
    • Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing: Geography & Environmental Sciences [print]
    • Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project [print]
  • Student Learning Commons (SLC) at the SFU Library provides assistance with a wide range of academic writing, learning, and study strategies through one-on-one consultations, workshops, handouts, and online guides.

Citing Resources