Landscape Architecture

LARC 7040 Research Strategies and Resources

Today we will look at:

  • Starting research

  • Places to find resources in the library collection (books, ebooks, theses, conference papers, scholarly journals/articles, and images/video)

  • Search tips

  • Library Services during the pandemic

  • Resources for evaluating and Citation and annotated bibiliographies in Chicago Style

Research: Where to Start?

  • Research is non-linear and iterative, get curious and inspired by exploring your topic broadly!

    You may want to learn more about:

    • a specific project, its surrounding area
    • the designer(s), their theories, ideas, goals
    • how other people live with & interact with the landscape in question
    • the broader cultural, historical context
    • research frameworks and methodologies
  • Brainstorm keywords based on what you know & what Qs you have

    • What do you know about the subject so far?
      • designer or project name
      • style, approach, theory, methods
    • Add new keywords and search strategies as you find information

UM Library Search

  • Very broad search engine - you may receive results from all subject areas (more results if you're signed in)
  • Where you can search all physical resources (books)
  • Content from some, not all, of the library's databases including resources like:
    •  ebooks
    • peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers
    • images (more results if you're signed into your account)
  • Can apply filters to narrow results

For more sources in library search check:

Virtual Browse (books)

Related Reading (articles)

Subject Headings (all content)

  • The bibliography/citations of a work you're looking at can lead you to additional related resources, authors to investigate, or inspiration for more keywords.






For more sources in library search check:

"Citing this" and "cited in this" tool

Subject Guides

Reference Resources


(encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, etc.)

  • Overview of a person, movement, sometimes a specific building

Journal Articles

  • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to articles and peer-reviewed
  • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to journals
    • ​when you select a journal, you can conduct a search within that specific journal
  • Navigate to the Landscape Architecture Subject Guide> articles tab> for a listing or electronic and print journals, and indexes and databases that host journal articles
  • Browzine: browse and download journal articles, set notifications for new articles
  • Database: The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals



Conference papers/proceedings

  • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to conference proceedings

Theses /Dissertations

  • UM Library Search > limit Resource Type to dissertation
  • Navigate to the Landscape Architecture Subject Guide > Thesis tab for a listing of theses resources (mspace, databases)

Searching Images/video

  • Library Search - apply filters to limit resource type to images, video
    • If you're signed in this pulls images from databases including Artstor
    • All these results are copyrighted to use for educational purposes
  • Databases 
  • Images in books, journals, and articles
    • The publication should have at least 9 other images to fall within fair dealing guidelines for copying an image
    • The library and/or UM Copyright Office can answer questions.

Searching Beyond

UM Libraries

Search Tips


Phrase your topic as a research question



  • Break down your topic into keywords and brainstorm synonyms
  • Try to articulate different ways of expressing a concept that you are searching



  • searching with more keywords = more specific and fewer results
  • searching with fewer keywords = more broad and more results

Search Tips: More Results

Broadening Your Results

  • You can give the search more options by placing similar words in brackets, separated by OR:  (design OR architecture)   (green OR sustainable OR eco) (design OR horticulture OR architecture) ( Indigenize OR decolonize)

    • These will cause results to all have at least one of those words in the title, description, and/or the text
  • Wildcard: Add an asterisk (*) to the end of a word to get results that include the root word as well as any possible endings:

Architect* finds: Architect, Architects, Architecture, Architectural...

Christian* finds: Christian, Christians, Christianity...

Note: be careful where you place the *, for example Christ* would also find: Christmas, Christo (an artist)

Learn at the Libraries: Advanced Search

Search Tips: More Specific  

Narrowing Your Results

  • Place a phrase "in quotation marks" to search that exact phrase or order of words
    • ex. "therapeutic landscape architecture", "social justice", "Julia Watson"
  • Use NOT to exclude unrelated content
    • union NOT soviet - for content about unions but not the Soviet Union




Learn at the Libraries: Advanced Search


Brainstorm some keywords you could use to start a search for this research question

Brainstorm some advanced search possibilities using:

"blank", (blank OR blank), AND, NOT, *

(decolonial OR decolonization) AND ("landscape architect*" OR "landscape design*") 


"landscape architecture" AND (decolonize OR Indigenize)


"Indigenous worldview" AND "landscape architect*" 


Indigenous AND (perspective OR worldview) AND "landscape architect*"


"landscape architect*"  AND canad* AND Indigenous 


"landscape plan*" AND Indigenous

Pandemic Library Services

Libraries COVID-19 Updates

  • Online/digital services are always available
  • Print Books 
    • request to pick up books from a locker
    • request a scan of a book 



  • Ebooks and Digitized books
    • HathiTrust: temporary electronic versions of some print books.

Evaluating External Sources

Learn at the Libraries: Evaluating



Currency - Is there a date the page was published or updated? How current are the cited sources? Are there broken links?

Relevancy - who is the intended audience?

Authority - is the author a recognized expert in this field?

Accuracy - supported with evidence (citations)? Peer-reviewed?

Purpose - to inform? teach? entertain? persuade? sell? Check the domain (eg: .com = commercial, .org = non-profit, .edu = educational...


General Library Help

  • Check the Covid-19 Library Updates page for access current information
  • Use the Ask Us chat
    • This is the quickest way to chat with someone. If you place your question when we're not online live, we will get back to you the following morning.
  • Reach out to Ashley (may take 1-2 days)


Writing, Citing, and Research Support

Faculty of Graduate Studies workshops

Academic Learning Centre writing/citing workshops


Research Support

  • Subject Guides
  • Learn at the Libraries
    • For tips and resources on searching the library, evaluating resources, and citations
  • Contact Ashley for help with search strategies for your topic or assignment, advice on which databases to use, and citation questions

Thank You

Invitation to share feedback on this workshop


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