Research Case Study: Sustainability and Urban Agriculture Policy

Daphne Page is a PhD  student in the Department of Sociology  at City,  University of  London.


Her PhD topic is: Exploring the Perceived Link between Urban Agriculture and Sustainability in Municipal Urban Food Strategies within the United Kingdom’s Sustainable Food Cities Network.

City, University of London Library

CityLibrary Search is a resource discovery tool which searches across a wide range of resources such as print and electronic books, databases, electronic journals and much more. Daphne’s topic is cross-disciplinary.

Library Services subscribes to a wide range of databases. You can find a list of  databases and electronic journals on the Library Guides page, there are some useful for food policy here. Daphne has used resources such as: JSTOR, Ebscohost and ScienceDirect.

There are Library Guides for different subjects including Food Policy which are a good introduction to different subjects and a comprehensive researcher guide.

Workshops and 121 appointments offered by City Library Services staff have been useful to Daphne.

There are a variety of journals for food policy including: The International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Environment and Urbanization, Local Environment, The Geographical Journal, Journal of Planning Education and Research

Other libraries

The British Library

Research staff and students should definitely  join the British Library  which is the national library and has very extensive collections. Register for a British Library Reader Pass which allows access to reading rooms and some electronic collections.

See our guide for information about using other libraries and joining the SCONUL Access scheme.

Daphne has also used the Ryerson University Library

Research tools

 There are a number of tools which assist researchers. Some free tools can be found on the City University London Library Social media guide.

Daphne has used the following:

There is a City University London Library guide for Mendeley.  Mendeley is a free tool enabling you to capture, organise, annotate, store and share your references.

Evernote is helpful for keeping notes, storing PDFs and capturing images.

The Livescribe  note-taking app. “It’s a smart pen that records, takes visual copies of notes (images from microdot paper), and syncs with programs on my computer (including Evernote). It has links to a professional transcription service called ‘Transcribeme’ which I will be using for my interview transcription (and has been approved by the Research Ethics Council)”.

Social media resources and blogs

 Blogs are interesting to keep up to date and hear the experiences of research students and academics.

Daphne reads the James Hayton PhD blog.

Advice to new researchers

“Find balance – the social to balance the isolation, physical activity to balance the sedentary computer time. Keep a PhD journal to note your progress and feelings about the process so that you can look back on hard days and see your development and feel positive. Read A LOT around your subject. Sometimes, just get away from it and take a mental day off. Take time to think about your subject. Take time to not think about your subject. Take time to strategize and plan timelines. Make to do lists. Put in the hours and the results will appear.”




Research Case Study: Food Policy and Journalism

Rebecca Wells is a former BBC producer and a visiting lecturer at City,  University of London  where she has been studying for a PhD in Food Policy and Journalism for the past 4 years. Her research is examining at whether UK print media influences food policy.


City, University of London Library

CityLibrary Search is a resource discovery tool which searches across a wide range of resources such as print and electronic books, databases, electronic journals and much more. Rebecca’s topic is cross-disciplinary. There are Library Guides for Food Policy and Journalism and a comprehensive researcher guide.

Rebecca has used the Nexis newspaper database very frequently for research and for teaching Masters students. There is a guide to Newspaper and news resources. Other useful news resources include Factiva and PressDisplay. The off-air recording and media archive streaming service Box of Broadcasts is also useful. See the City Library guide to finding audio and film.

The British Library

The British Library at St Pancras has news and media collections and also has a Newsroom. The newsroom has a  blog

All research staff and students should register for a British Library Reader Pass which allows access to facilities such as the Newsroom.

Useful research tools

City subscribes to the reference management software package Refworks. Staff and students can register for an account at and there is a RefWorks Library Guide. Rebecca has used Refworks while writing her thesis.

Rebecca recommends that a good way of keeping up to date with new research  is  to set up  email alerts from Sage Journals  and Ebscohost to find new research in her field which might be relevant to her subject area.

Another useful and visual tool is the journal browsing website and app BrowZine

Article & blog posts

Wells, R. &  Caraher, M. (2014). ‘UK print media coverage of the food bank phenomenon: From food welfare to food charity?’. British Food Journal, 116(9), pp. 1426-1445. Available from:

Rebecca has written some posts on the BBC College of Journalism blog:

Social media resources

Rebecca is an active Twitter user.

Her account is @wellsrebecca and she also tweets from the Centre for Food Policy Twitter account.

Advice to new researchers

“The library can provide rich resources to support your research from beginning to end. Take advantage of it from the beginning and spend time with your subject specialist – they can really help you and support your research. You can get access to almost any book or journal and if the library do not have it they will consider buying a copy for you and future researchers. As you progress through your research the library is an important resource that can underpin your work, whether it’s helping with a copyright query or giving tips on the best reference management tool to use, from help finding the right journeys to target to publish your research or advice on the best way to share your research the library can help!”