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Finding information on International Security and Conflict

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 what 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. For example:"What impact has the Arab Spring had on Arab/Israeli relations?"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  2.  Next, think of words that relate to your topic. You may consider similar terms, such as "protest movements." It is useful to include specific regions that you want to focus on. "Tunisia" might be a possibility in this case.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  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  uprising AND Tunisia will connect these different ideas and show results that contain both terms anywhere in the text.
  • Searching for  uprising OR protest will connect these related words and show results that contain either term anywhere in the text.
  • Searching for protest* will search protest, protests, protesters, etc.
  • Searching for "Arab spring" 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 security and conflict:

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 security and conflict:

    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:

    • Alternative Press Index 
      Alternative, radical, and Left publications which report and analyze the practices and theories of cultural, economic, political, and social change.         
    • Canadian Human Rights Reporter
      Includes decisions from all jurisdictions (1980 to present) in addition to appeals.
    • Women's Studies International 
      Citations, abstracts, and scholarly articles in women's studies and feminist research. 

    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: