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Ways to look for academic sources
Take a look at the pages below to help you get started with your search process:
- Starting the research process -- for an overview of the research process and tips for finding sources.
- Library Catalogue search guide -- for basic and advanced tips for finding books, articles, and more in the Library Catalogue.
Generating search terms
- Think about words or terms to use to begin searching for your topic. This may be the the key words from your project title or a research question. Example topic: "Voting behaviour in Catalonia"
- Next, think of words that relate to your topic. In this example, it might be useful to include types of behaviours you may already know of, such as "civil resistance." Or if you want to research different types of behaviors relating to voting in Catalonia, you can be more specific and include "political behaviours" as a keyword.
- When you find a resource you like, you can get ideas for more keywords through the content itself or the description on the catalogue page.
Note: Depending on the combination of terms you use, your results may look quite different. Also, be mindful that as language evolves, words we use today to describe something may not have been used in the past.
Focusing your search
To ensure your search is focused and relevant to your topic, try using the filters, which are usually located on the left side of the search results page. You can do this both when searching the Library Catalogue and most databases,
Using AND, OR, asterisks (*), and quotation marks ("x and y") with your search terms can also help you focus your search and get different combinations of results.
- Searching for voting AND Catalonia will connect these different ideas and show results that contain both terms anywhere in the text.
- Searching for Catalonia OR Barcelona will connect these related words and show results that contain either term anywhere in the text.
- Searching for vot* will search voting, voter, voters, etc.
- Searching for "civil resistance" will only show results where these two words appear together.
Using subject headings
Subject headings are standardized words or phrases used to find library material in a particular area. Using subject headings will increase your chance of finding materials that are specific to your topic. After you have located a resource that is of interest to you, you can sometimes use the subject heading which is assigned to that item to find similar items. On the resource details, this is labeled as "subject."
Examples of subject headings relating to comparative world politics, culture, and society:
Places to look for information
Background sources help you become familiar with your topic by providing facts and information.
Examples of background sources focusing on comparative world politics, culture, and society:
- The Stateman's Yearbok 2018- Use as a guide to learn about the political, economic and social accounts of every country in the world.
- The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics
- Encyclopedia of World Cultures
- Countries and Their Cultures
To find more background sources, use keywords in the library catalogue and under the filter "Resource Type," select "Reference Entries." Visit the general International Studies background information page for more sources
Article databases are collections of information and are an excellent tool for academic research. They may include academic, newspaper articles, images, and primary sources. The benefit of using article databases is that as they are often topic or format-based, they limit your results to a particular subject area or field of study. Here are some examples of databases in this area:
- Political Science Complete
Covers political theory, comparative politics, law and legislation and non-governmental organizations.
- Anthropology Plus
Journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries covering topics such as social and cultural studies.
- Sociological Abstracts
Abstracts of journal articles, books, chapters, association papers, dissertations, and book, film, and software reviews related to theoretical and applied social sciences.
Please also take a look at the general International Studies suggested databases.
Related research guides
As International Studies crosses other disciplines, you might find it helpful to take a look at research guides of other fields, such as: