Library Skills & Resources

Fundamentals for graduate students

Our Graduate Students guide tries to bring together all the library-related resources and services you will need for your studies at Concordia. It can help you pinpoint the best spots on the library web site for graduate students and discover the services, resources and perks reserved for grad students only. 

Our Library Guide for New Students has general information and videos that introduce the Concordia Library

  • Use an ASK A LIBRARIAN service such as our live chat feature, for quick and direct questions about library resources and services.

  • Contact the Subject Guide for your Discipline to ask more in-depth questions about your research or to make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation. 

The Sofia Discovery tool that appears on our homepage is a general purpose tool, NOT a subject-specific resource. 


  1. Start with the Subject Guide for your Discipline to discover and access databases and other resources considered essential for your discipline and recommended by your Subject Librarian

  2. Use our Databases by Subject listing to quickly access your favourite databases, or browse by Database Type, such as primary sources or those all-important theses & dissertations.

*Save time by learning effective search techniques in our search skills tutorial.

To manage what you found in the databases and create instant bibliographies:

ZOTERO is a free and popular citation tool

To begin:

  1. Register for a free account
  2. DOWNLOAD the appropriate Zotero program for your computer and Connector for your browser
  3. Learn more via our:

Virtually all of the resources listed on this page can be helpful when you are preparing your literature review.

Some tools, however, can be especially useful in this area. Here are a few:

  • Annual Review Journals
    • One of the main tasks of the articles in these journals is to review the literature related to a particular research topic. Finding a ready-made review on a topic similar to yours can get you an important head start. Concordia subscribes to Annual Reviews in multiple subject areas, particularly natural sciences and social sciences.
  • Systematic reviews
  • Encyclopedias
    • Find background information and lists of keys sources. The Library has encyclopedias in most subject areas. Visit the subject guides to find them.
  • Oxford Bibliographies
    • These can provide brief introductions to branches or areas or research, and include extensive lists of important sources in many subjects in the humanities and social sciences. 
  • Theses & Dissertations at Concordia and beyond
    • As you may know, dissertations and theses include literature reviews and long bibliographies, and they cover topics that are new or emerging. In addition to using the tools listed via our theses & dissertations guide, note that Google Scholar can also be a great tool to find recent theses.
  • Writing and help guides for YOUR thesis and literature review
  • Synthesizing your literature: here are some examples of templates that you can use to summarize your sources

Virtually all of the resources listed on this page can help you find material about research methods and writing techniques.

But here are two resources that we recommend:

  • Sage Research Methods Online
    • This tool contains encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, journal articles and videos dealing with research methods in both theoretical and practical terms. It also includes Methods Map, a visualization tool that tries to map relationships between methods. 
  • The American Chemical Society Guide to Scholarly Communication
    • An online guide that's relevant for all disciplines, covering topics such as how to select a journal, the peer review process, and conventions for scholarly writing.

Staying up-to-date

Many databases and online journals will allow you to receive email or RSS feed notifications when new content is added. Look in the help files within the resource for more information or ask your subject librarian. Also:

  • Concordia Library RSS guide: A guide to setting up alert feeds for article databases and more
  • JournalTOCs: Sign up for a free account to receive an email with the table of contents when new issues of the journals you've selected are published.

  • Use our Sofia Discovery tool to find:
    • articles, books, videos
    • Concordia theses — Also use our Institutional Repository, Spectrum.
    • journals — Also try our E-journals search page and BrowZine for browsing online journals.
  • NOTE: The Findit@Concordia button in most of our Databases can often help you directly access Concordia material, but IT DOESN'T ALWAYS WORK! Try the alternatives described on this page or Ask a Librarian for help.
  • Citations to BOOKS always include the place of publication and the name of publisher, while journal articles never do.
  • Citations to BOOK CHAPTERS always start with the author and title of the chapter, followed by the editors (eds) and title of the book.
  • JOURNAL ARTICLES usually include volume and issue numbers, though these are NOT necessarily preceded by abbreviations such as vol
  • Use our Sofia Discovery tool to find material available: 
    • at Concordia 
    • at Quebec University Libraries (Bibliothèques universitaires du Québec) 
    • at Libraries Worldwide.

  • You can also use our Interlibrary Loans form to request - for free - books, journal articles and conference papers from anywhere in the world. You can make requests through your Sofia account.

  • You can use your Concordia ID to borrow material from other Quebec university libraries. Please contact the institution you'll be visiting to check their access policies. 

  • Obtain a BCI card to borrow material from libraries across Canada (outside Quebec).  Please contact the institution you'll be visiting to check their access policies. 

  • TIP:  Google Books searches within the pages of millions of books. 

*4 tips for better ILL
  1. ONE request per item. ILL staff will check with ALL possible lenders for you, whether or not you have specified a particular location to borrow from.
  2. If you cannot find an item with the search, use the "Create Requests" link and then fill out the appropriate form.
  3. When searching for journal articles make sure to search for the journal title not the article title and place it in quotes.
  4. Once you make a request, contact the ILL Office (ext: 7716 or email: to make changes, for updates or for any questions (ex: why did my request disappear?). 

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