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INTL 407/407H: Global Migration: Home

Guide to INTL 407/407H: Global Migration


This guide will assist you in gathering resources for your INTL 407 (Winter 2020) assignments, which requires you to identify and use a number of sources. The guide includes sections on:

-Finding background information on your general topic and countries of interest.
-Identifying scholarly sources.
-Finding academic articles.
-Finding policy reports.
-Database search techniques.
-Guidelines on citation.
-Finding statistics
-Finding books & chapters.

Types of Sources

There are many types of sources, each with a specific purpose. Articles are not simply short books, nor are encyclopedia articles the same as journal articles. Below are just some of the many types of sources:

General overviews (often called Reference works) provide a big picture summary of your topic. They are a great starting point because it gives you the "Big Ideas" on your topic. As an example, works like Guide to Countries of the World will provide general overview information about the country 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 Canada entry in Guides to Countries of the World or 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 Global migration: patterns, processes, and politics or Climate change and displacement : multidisciplinary perspectives​

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. As an example, the question "how will Climate Change impact global migration into Canada" would be too specific for an entire book, but it is exactly the type of focused question an article will ask.

Chapters in academic books are similar to articles in length and scope. The book People on the move in a changing climate : the regional impact of environmental change on migration, for example, has a chapter entitled "Migration and environmental change in North America (USA and Canada)" that also answers our question "how will Climate Change impact global migration into Canada." The key different between articles and chapters is that articles are stand-alone works, while chapters are written to contribute to a larger argument.

Reports are similar in scope to articles, as they focus on a specific topic like immigration policy and multiculturalism in Canada. 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 Documents and Social Sciences Librarian

Rick Mikulski's picture
Rick Mikulski
Portland State University Library
(503) 725-9939