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International Development, Economic and Environmental Issues

If you need help, please contact Baharak Yousefi, Librarian for History, International Studies, Liberal Studies, & Political Science at 778.782.5033 or byousefi@sfu.ca or Ask a librarian.

 Ways to look for academic sources

Take a look at the pages below to help you get started with your search process:

Generating search terms

  1. 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:"Economic inequality in Brazil."
     
  2.  Next, think of words that relate to your topic. You may consider similar terms, such as "social class" and "poverty." 
     
  3.  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.

Background sources (listed below) and on the general background information page for IS are good places to start to become familiar with your topic.

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  inequality AND Brazil will connect these different ideas and show results that contain both terms anywhere in the text.
  • Searching for  poverty OR wealth will connect these related words and show results that contain either term anywhere in the text.
  • Searching for econom* will search economy, economies, economic, etc.
  • Searching for "social class" 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 international development, economic and environmental issues:

Places to look for information

Background sources

Background sources help you become familiar with your topic by providing facts and information.

Examples of background sources focusing on international development, economic and environmental issues:

    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 

    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:             

    • Bioline International
      Open access to research journals published in developing countries. Journal topics include biodiversity, environment, and international development. 
    • ELDIS
      Current research and policy documents on international development issues.
    • GEOBASE​​​​​​
      Collection of bibliographies of books, articles, monographs, reports and theses including topics on ecology and development studies. Dating back to 1980.
    • Environment Complete
      Provides hundreds of top environment journals and monographs covering topics such as ecosystem ecology, energy, public policy, and sustainability. 

    Please also take a look at the general International Studies suggested databases.

    As International Studies crosses other disciplines, you might find it helpful to take a look at research guides of other fields, such as: