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USP 193: San Diego Community Research: Home


This guide includes the basics you'll need for doing library research for your San Diego community study.

Don't hesitate to contact me directly for research assistance. For help with basic questions, you can also review the information & contact options at the library's Get Help page.


General Research Tips

Start by looking at the Community Profiles/Plans pages from the City of San Diego. You should find the current plan for each community there, and may find earlier editions in the library's San Diego government documents collection.

About your topic:

  • Consider more specific words (to narrow your focus) or more general terms (to expand your search). For the Community name, try also: official community name, neighborhoods within the larger community, major streets, major businesses/buildings/geographic features, major people (council members, developers, philanthropists, etc.). For the variables, try: housing, population demographics, average income, access to transportation, access to development funds, etc.

About your resources and how to find them:

  • For each type of resource, see the associated tab on this guide for suggested avenues of research
  • Books: an online library catalog like UC Library Search or Circuit
  • Government information: online library catalogs, agency websites
    • Tip - include [that's site colon dot gov] in Google searches to limit results to government websites. You can also use a more precise domain limiter, like to limit to the City of San Diego's website.
  • Scholarly articles: discipline specific databases such as Urban Studies Abstracts, interdisciplinary databases such as Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar
  • Data: specialized databases (e.g. Social Explorer), websites, or direct from the researchers

About your search strategy:

  • In most databases, you can combine terms with and (both terms must appear in the hit) or or (one term must appear in the hit—good for synonyms/related terms), e.g. San Diego and Linda Vista | Uptown or University Heights
  • In many databases, you can use a symbol such as * or ! to take the place of letters to get hits with multiple endings of a word, e.g. communit* will find "community" and "communities"
  • Experiment with various combinations of keywords. When you find a hit that looks especially relevant, look at the subject headings/descriptors used to classify that item; then run a new search using one or more of those terms to find similar items.

About your bibliography:

  • Be sure to get citation information for all your sources; maybe email records to yourself as a backup
  • Some databases can export the citation in a specific format (e.g. APA, Chicago, MLA)

Research Help

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Kelly L. Smith
UC San Diego Library
9500 Gilman Dr. 0175R
La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
858-534-6712 (email strongly preferred)
pronouns: she/her

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