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CITB03: Social Planning and Community Development

This guide will help students in CITB03 with finding information on neighbourhoods, demographics, newspaper articles, journal articles, and policy documents for their course assignments.

In-class Activity: Shout-out Keywords for Assignment #1

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Example Topic: Liberty Village for Assignment #1


Concept 1 (Neighbourhood Name) Concept 2 Concept 3 Concept 4
Niagara Parks Condo-dwellers Community


  Concept 1 Concept 2 Concept 3 Concept 4
Main concepts Niagara Parks Condo dwellers Community
  • Trinity - Spadina (ward)
  • Liberty Village
  • City Place
  • Fort York
  • Toronto
  • recreation
  • park spaces
  • green space
  • community parks
  • city parks
  • urban parks
  • residents
  • population
  • condo development
  • urban development
  • neighbourhood 


Boolean operators...a funny name for a great tool!

Creating effective searches

When searching databases for articles, you should have more than one word entered in your search boxes!

Example: 'earthquakes' is much too broad. Add additional keywords or descriptors using the boolean operator 'AND' to better define your topic.

Choose ‘hard terms’ for your keyword search over ‘soft terms’.  

Example: “effects” is a soft term.  It’s not a concrete thing which means it has a lot of synonyms and is likely to get bad search results.  Let’s pretend you were researching the effects of floods. Instead of searching "effects", you might do a little reading on floods and find relevant hard terms such as "runoff", "hydrograph", "urbanization", and "infrastructure." These are concrete things and thus likely to get better search results.

Keyword searches: what are they and their potential problems?

Keyword searching is essentially taking your best guess at the terms which will appear in articles that are about your topic.  This can be a very effective way of searching.  However, you may get a number of irrelevant results because the keywords you chose may appear in irrelevant articles.  You also never know if you've found all the article on your topic. 

Tip: The next time you're using a library catalogue/database or looking at a book or article, take note of the author defined keywords or keywords and subject headings used then try using those terms in your next search.