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ENGL 204

Developing a Search Strategy

Before you start your research, it's important to come up with a search strategy.

Start by looking at the topic you've been assigned and create a list of information that you need to find. Look for any questions or considerations in the topic, and then identify any sources that it asks you to consult; I've highlighted these below as an example for topic 1.

topic 1 on food trucks with all questions highlighted

Based on my own reading of the above, I believe it would be worthwhile to consult the following:

  1. The current food truck policy in Nanaimo
  2. Older visions of the food truck policy in Nanaimo for comparison
  3. The food truck policies of other nearby cities for comparison
  4. Any information on why Nanaimo has such a policy in the first place
  5. Any information that supports changing or revising the policy

Your next step is to think about where this information would be located. The information you’d need for items 1,2, and 3 are all policies or bylaws, which are created by municipal or regional governments, so you would most likely see these on City or Regional District webpages.

Items 4 and 5 are less specific. You would need to consult a range of sources to gather this information. For number 4, you might consult older news articles or city counsel minutes. For number 5, you might look for scholarly research on food trucks, or consult industry or consumer research to make a case for changing or revising the policy.

Where do I find...?

The table below shows the information you may wish to find, depending on your topic, and matches it to a specific information source you would consult. Use the navigation menu on the left of this page for specific instructions on how to find these various formats.

Information needed: What you are actually searching for:
Specific companies, competitors, or suppliers Company Websites, Company Reports, Annual Reports, Google Maps (for finding nearby competitors)
[Note: It's hard to find company information for privately owned companies as they do not have a legal obligation to share information. Public companies are traded on the stock exchange and therefore have formal reporting requirements.]
Consumers Demographics, Psychographics, Census Data
Country, City, Town, Regional District Community Profile, Census Data, Country Reports
Regulations, Restrictions, Laws, Bylaws Government Websites, Legislation, Standards, Policies, Authorities (such as the Vancouver Island Health Authority)
Industries, Products, or Services Industry Information, Market Information, Company Websites, Industry Association Reports
Research & Analysis Scholarly sources
Context, Commentary, Specific Events News sources


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