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International Studies 101: Library Research Guide

Getting started

For an overview of the research process: Start Your Research Here.
If you need background information or help defining and understanding concepts, try one of these resources:

Tip: These resources may also contain references within them that can direct you to further readings related to your topic.

Structuring your search

Once you have selected a topic and are ready to begin your research, select keywords or concepts from your topic sentence.

Here's a topic example from a previous year:
Globalization has made the Global south poorer and the Global north richer.

Your keywords/concepts would be:
Globalization, Global south, poorer, Global north, richer

Next identify alternative spellings, synonyms or related terms for your concepts.

Globalization, globalisation, multinational
Global south, developing countries. You might also want to focus on one area such as Africa.
Global north, developed countries. You might also try an area such as the European Union or Canada.
Richer/poorer, economic conditions, income, wealth, social conditions, spending.

After brainstorming, you might decide to work with the following terms:
globalization and global south and global north and conditions

Use these keywords/concepts as the search terms in your library search and for finding books and articles. A search might look something like this:
Globalization OR globalisation "global north" "global south" conditions

Search tips

Using "quotation marks" around a phrase keeps the phrase intact when doing a search.
Example: "global south"

Truncation, using the * symbol, can search the root of the word and any endings.
Example: develop* will search develop, developed, developing, development, etc.

Finding books

The Library Catalogue is the tool you use to find books, journals, newspapers, government documents, videos, slides and sheet maps in the Library's collection. For tips and tricks on how to use the Catalogue, see the SFU Library Catalogue Search Guide.

Finding articles

Begin with the Journal articles and databases and browse by subject area to find a complete list of databases selected for International Studies.

Recommended databases for your assignment include:

You can also try a search in Google Scholar.

Evaluating your sources

See the steps on Finding and evaluating resources on the web for tips on selecting authoritative web materials and articles.

Writing assistance

The Student Learning Commons provides one-on-one assistance with essay writing. You can drop by or book an appointment.

Citing your sources

Citation & style guides provides quick access to help with citing in many popular citation styles such as APA and MLA.

Once you have chosen a particular book or article save the citation information. This is an important step as you will need to cite all of your sources used for your assignment.

Using citations is important because:

  • your professor or another researcher can use your citations to find the original sources you read for your paper
  • you are acknowledging that your ideas were borrowed from someone else.

Getting help

If you need help, please contact Ean Henninger, Liaison Librarian at 778.782.5043 or or Ask a librarian.