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Research Guides

International Studies: Get Started


Welcome to the University of Idaho Library's guide for conducting research in international studies.

This guide will direct you to reference works, books, articles, country information, statistical data, and organizations related to international studies.

Research Strategies

  • Identify your audience
  • Conduct preliminary research on a topic of interest
    • Use the library catalog, databases, and websites to explore resources and use them to help frame your question
  • Us what you found to brainstorm open-ended questions related to your topic of interest
  • Evaluate potential questions for feasibility, clarity, focus, complexity, and resource availability

Before searching for information related to our research question, we first need to identify our topic's basic concepts and their synonyms or other keywords.

Sample Topic: What strategies can the United States use to improve the legal residency process for immigrants?

Step 1: Identify the basic concepts Step 2: List alternative keywords
strategies solutions, policies
United States America, USA, United States of America
legal residency citizenship, naturalization, green card, immigration law
immigrants lawful permanent resident, immigration

Below are some of the most common search tricks used in Library databases and Google Scholar.

Narrow your search

Use the word AND (in capital letters) to ensure that each result contains all search terms.

Example: citizenship AND policies

*You don't have to use AND in Google Scholar, just put the search terms next to each other

Example: elderly immigrants

Search for a phrase

Use "quotation marks" to ensure that each result contains that exact phrase.

Example: "United States"

Expand your search

Use the word OR (in capital letters) to ensure that each result contains at least one of the specified search terms.

Example: immigrants OR "lawful permanent residents"

Search for alternate word endings

Add an asterisk* to the end of the root of a word to search for alternative word endings. 

Example: citizen* searches for citizen, citizenship, etc.

Exclude search terms

Use the word NOT (in capital letters) to exclude terms from the search results.

Example: elderly NOT children 

Combine search tricks

Use (parentheses) to create more complex searches by mixing and matching your search tricks

Example: (immigrants OR "lawful permanent residents") AND "United States" AND "immigration law"

When searching in the Library catalog, a Library database, or Google Scholar, type your search (like citizenship AND policies) into the search box to find resources related to your topic.

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Need Help?

Jylisa Doney's picture

Jylisa Doney
Social Sciences Librarian

Email me to schedule a meeting or contact the Reference Desk for additional assistance!

Library 416V
(208) 885-0959