Skip to Main Content

Research Guides

International Studies Papers: Get Started

Research Tip

When searching in Google or another search engine, using a country's specific government domain extension can help you restrict your results to sources from a particular country's government websites.

For example: "climate change" would show you results from U.S. government websites that mentioned "climate change".

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 key concepts and their related keywords or synonyms.

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

Step 1: Identify the key concepts Step 2: List related 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

The final step is to select a library database and search for the topic using a few different search tricks.

Type your search terms into the search box in a library database or Google Scholar to find articles related to the topic.

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 or a database, type your search (like citizenship AND policies) into the search box to find resources related to your topic.

Need Help?

Jylisa Kenyon's picture

Jylisa Kenyon
Social Sciences Librarian

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