INTL 471 Understanding the International Experience: Academic Studies - Where to Start

Guide to Understanding the International Experience

Books and Articles - Where to start

When looking for academic works, the first question should be: "Is my topic specific enough to be a journal article, or is it so broad it would require a whole book?"  
Suppose you are interested in "British Culture" and you look for articles:

You get nearly 5,000 articles.
Let's try the book catalog, same search.

We get about 300 books.  Many are reference books (for more information on reference books, see here)
Clearly, British Culture is a broad topic. Let's be more specific. How about "British Culture" and Music.

Still gives us 1,400 articles. How about books?

45 books and ebooks. Note that some of these books don't have "music" in the title. These likely contains chapters on British culture and music. What if we want to be more specific, and want to know about punk music and British culture? 

Only three books. If we look for articles, though, we get 38.

In sum: before you begin searching, you need to decide if your question is a book-length topic or an article-length topic. In this example, British culture and music is "book length," while the influence of Punk music is "article length."