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International Studies Research Guide

International Studies


Wittenberg International Student Party by Matt Cline, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   by  Matt Cline 

Welcome to the International Studies LibGuide - designed for IS majors, but please share with anyone interested in international issues.

This front page has links to global media so you can keep up on international issues (as well as practice your language skills) while the following pages are intended to help you find the resources most relevant to your degree.

You can see we have pages dedicated to the databases, book call numbers, Journals and portals  - as well as library research guides - that we hope you will find useful whatever your Concentration area.

We have also developed an International Studies Career page with guides and links to help you organize your thoughts about life after college. It's never too early to start planning ahead.

If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to contact library staff who are all here to help the students in our Program with their library questions - or the International Studies Program Leader, Dr Alison Holmes who regularly updates and maintains this Guide.

We are here to help.

Happy researching!

Course Specific Links

Starting your search - Keywords and Synonyms

International Studies is interdisciplinary which means that, to ensure you find a good range of sources for your topics, you may need to search for information in databases that are classified by the different disciplines such as anthropology, or sociology - or other interdisciplinary fields such as women's studies, or ethnic studies etc. Think about the different discilplines that would be interested in your topic area and search those specialist data bases. Once you have chosen a database to search, you will need to break your topic or question into keywords. Keywords are words and phrases (including names, dates, and subjects) that describe your topic. Say you are doing a research project about how women in Africa who are seeking education so we have the following keywords:

women   Africa  education

These are words are your search string. A search string is one or more keywords, linked together with AND or OR, that you will use as you search.  However, there is more than one way to express your topic. Each keyword has synonyms. It is important to make a list of as many synonyms as you can think of for each of your original keywords, so that you can make your search string as comprehensive as possible. For example, your original search string might be: women AND Africa AND education that will result in a vast amount of material, but there are a number of other words you could add that will start to limit and direct your search. These might include:

females   gender   development    opportunity   literacy   Third World 

At this point, you might also realize that you are really interested in a specific region or country - Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, Kenya, Somalia or a specific type of education - basic literacy, health education, professional training. These should be added to your list of keywords. As you create more specific words (and locate/read some sources/read the reference list of other articles) you will be able to conduct more efficient and effective searches.
The example below gives you a way to think about and break down a topic (in this case Facebook and public policy in China) into levels so you can see how it works.

Search Terms Example

How has Facebook impacted public policy in China?







public policy




social media




freedom of speech

mass media





public policy


social media

freedom of speech







Note: polic* could return results for "police" and not just the concept of policies, so this is actually a poor use of the asterisk for truncation.

Citation Searching

Citation searching is another strategy for collecting relevant sources on your topic.

Say you have found an important, scholarly article on your topic. Before she wrote the article, the author went through a research process that was likely very similar to the one you are going through right now. She found a number of good articles on her topic, and then she created a Bibligraophy or References list so it is now like a trail of breadcrumbs that you can follow back to more important, scholarly articles on your topic. Always look at the sources in the the citations and the reference list  at the end of each article you find, to see if any of the listed sources might be useful!

Also check out the LibGuide 'Citing your Sources' for the correct way to use full source/footnote Chicago style: - the preferred system for International Studies.

Online Tutorials and Videos

Research Help

Katia Karadjova
Library Office L3

Office Hours
Research Help Desk:
Tuesday: 10 am - 1 pm,
Wednesday: 10 am - 1 pm
L3: by appointment
(707) 826-5617

Related Guides

Many topics in your area of study are interdisciplinary. In order to create a comprehensive literature review, you may want to search for information in other HSU Research Guides: