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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:"Economic inequality in Brazil."
- Next, think of words that relate to your topic. You may consider similar terms, such as "social class" and "poverty."
- 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 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:
- Income distribution--China
- Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Latin America
- Issues in Sustainable Development
- Environmental Regulation
- Women -- Developing countries -- Economic conditions
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 international development, economic and environmental issues:
- International development : ideas, experience, and prospects (print and online available. Online is single use only) -- A reference to theories and concepts of development. Uses different countries as examples.
- The Wiley-Blackwell encyclopedia of globalization
- Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (limited to five simultaneous users)
- Encyclopedia of International Development
- The Princeton Encyclopedia of the World Economy -- Use as a reference for current economic issues including economic development. Suggestions for further readings are given in entries.
- Sage Encyclopedia of Economics and Society -- Emphasizes the contemporary world, contemporary issues, and society.
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:
Open access to research journals published in developing countries. Journal topics include biodiversity, environment, and international development.
Current research and policy documents on international development issues.
Collection of bibliographies of books, articles, monographs, reports and theses including topics on ecology and development studies. Dating back to 1980.
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.
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: