This guide will help you find materials for your INTL 375U assignments, which requires you to utilize a number of scholarly sources.
The guide includes sections on:
-Finding background Information.
-Identifying scholarly sources.
-Finding academic articles.
-Database search techniques.
-Finding streaming Documentaries.
-Guidelines on Citation.
-Finding copyright-free Images.
-Contacting the library for additional assistance.
The guide will place a special emphasis on remote and distance learning resources. Fortunately, PSU Library has an outstanding collection of e-books, e-journals, and online databases, all of which will allow you to complete your research from home.
There are many types of sources, each with a specific purpose. Articles are not "short books," nor are encyclopedia articles the same as journal articles. Each type of publication has a unique function, and the scope of your research topic will dictate which types of sources you need. Below are some examples of the types of sources you will encounter.
Reference Works (general overviews). There provide a "big picture" summary of your topic and are great starting points when you have a broad topic and don't know where to begin. As an example, works like Guide to Countries of the World will provide general overview information about the country or countries you are studying. Though scholarly and written by experts, these works are not necessary "peer reviewed." These works should only convey facts, not arguments. An example of a general overview would be the Country Insights summary of Saudi Arabia.
Books & E-books (also called scholarly monographs) are more detailed, and will focus on a large topic. Once you have a topic, and want to learn more about that specific idea, this may be your next stop. These books will have a broad thesis statement, and each chapter will support this larger argument. An example of a book-length topic would be "Forced Migration in the Middle East".
Articles tend to be very detailed, but narrow in scope. Articles will have a very specific argument, which should be articulated within the first paragraph. Typically you will move on to articles after you have a very specific question. If "Forced Migration in the Middle East" is a book-length topic, an article length topic may be "forced migration policy in Saudi Arabia."
Chapters in academic books are similar to articles in length and scope. The key different between articles and chapters is that articles are stand-alone works, while chapters are written to contribute to a larger argument. As an example, the book India's Low-Skilled Migration to the Middle East Policies, Politics and Challenges (2019) does not appear immediately relevant to our question about forced migration in Saudi Arabia, but the chapter "Migration in Saudi Arabia: Present and Prospects" may indeed be extremely useful.
Documentaries vary widely in scope and quality. Some documentaries, like PBS's Saudi Arabia Uncovered, are broad in scope while Women of the Holy Kingdom: Struggling for Equality in Saudi Arabia is more specific. When using documentaries as sources, be mindful of the creator and publisher, and consider whether it is a scholarly source. To find trustworthy documentaries, you can use the PSU Library's databases and catalog.
NGO Reports are similar in scope to articles, as they focus on a specific topic like immigration policy in Saudi Arabia. They are also similar to articles in that their authors are frequently experts in the field. An important difference, however, is that they are not published in academic journals, and may not necessary be considered "peer reviewed" materials. They are still excellent resources, but it important to recognize the difference; they are "scholarly" but not "peer reviewed."
Government Reports are created by state and federal agencies. Like NGO reports, they are written by experts and deal with a specific topic like immigration policy in Saudi Arabia. It is important to note that these documents, while often created by experts, are not peer reviewed materials.