Develop a search statement to search databases (including news databases), the catalogue, and other academic sources
A search statement includes a list of keywords, combined using Boolean Operators (AND; OR; NOT)
- AND - this will combine concepts, all of which must be found in your list of results
- media AND children
- OR - either this concept or that concept (or both). This is helpful for generating a list of synonyms. Use synonyms to anticipate the different ways different authors may refer to the same idea. A thesaurus can be helpful for this
- internet OR web OR online
- NOT - do not include this concept
- migration NOT bird
- Quote marks - find a specific phrase
- "human rights"
- Truncation - any other combination of letters to follow
- Canad* - will find Canada, Canadian, Canadian's, etc.
- journalis* - will find journalism, journalist, journalistic, etc.
- Combine one or more of these operators
- Put a list of synonyms in brackets
(smartphone OR "mobile phone" OR "cell phone") AND (societ* OR cultur*)
Consider these questions to generate more search terms
- WHO: Who is involved? Whom does it effect? Is there a specific population you will focus on?
- WHERE: Where did it begin? Do you want to focus on a specific geographic region?
- WHEN: When did it begin? Do you want to focus on a specific timeframe?
- WHY: Why does it matter? Why do you think we should investigate?
Try different search combinations and strategies! The process is iterative.
Pick a research topic:
- Read your syllabus (assignment instructions).
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the assignment instructions.
- Narrow or broaden the scope of your topic so that it is "doable."
What's scope? Scope refers to the "people, places and things" or "who, what, when and where" that you are studying.
Identify key concepts:
Define and get an overview of your topic or find definitions of key terms and concepts:
- Oxford Reference - Use dictionaries to help with terminology. Encyclopedias provide background information, an overview of topics and issues and often lead you to further readings
- Encyclopedia of Government and Politics (online)
- The Longman handbook of twentieth century Europe
- Handbook of the economics and political economy of transition
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations
- Putin's Russia
- Perspectives on EU-Russia relations
- Nation Building : Why Some Countries Come Together While Others Fall Apart
- Europe's role in nation-building from the Balkans to the Congo
- Encyclopedia of International Relations and Global Politics (online)
- EIU.com (country information)
- Europe since 1945: an Encyclopedia (online)
Think Tanks - can give an appreciation of government action or inaction in an area, they are research institutes which perform research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture.
OMNI Search engine located on the library home page
use filters on the left hand site and narrow down results to "Books"
Why use journal articles?
- They are more up-to-date than most books.
- They are “peer reviewed” by other scholars in the field who check for academic integrity.
- Every article will contain cited references that appear as footnotes and/or bibliographies.
OMNI Search engine located on the library home page, allows you to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.
See our list of recommended databases on the European, Russian, and Eurasian studies subject guide, which includes:
Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement . . .
Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
Is generally located near the end of the introduction; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
- Determine what kind of paper you are writing:
An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.
An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.
If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.
- Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.
- The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper.
- Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.
A good thesis will generally have the following characteristics:
- A good thesis sentence will make a claim
- A good thesis sentences will control the entire argument.Your thesis sentence determines what you are required to say in a paper.
- A good thesis will provide a structure for your argument.A good thesis not only signals to the reader whatyour argument is, but how your argument will bepresented.
- Research and Writing in International Relations
- A Student's Guide for Writing in Political Science
- The craft of research
- Conducting your literature review
- Mining social media : finding stories in internet data
This guide provides basic information on how to cite sources and examples for formatting citations in common citation styles.
You do not need to cite common knowledge (widely-known, generally-accepted information that is not attributable to one source).
Why is Citing Sources Important?
- To give credit to ideas that are not your own
- To provide support for your argument
- To enable your reader to find and read the sources you used
- To avoid infractions
What Needs to be Cited?
- Exact wording taken from any source, including freely available websites
- Paraphrases of passages
- Summaries of another person's work
- Use of another student's work
- Use of your own previous work