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Global Studies Senior Capstone Project

This guide provides support for students completing the Global Studies Senior Capstone Project

Contextualizing Your Research Project

Producing research involves engaging in a conversation. When presenting your research, it will be important to demonstrate in your exposition, as well as in your bibliography or footnotes, the pieces of scholarly literature that you aim to respond to, synthesize, borrow from, or build upon.

The following are some strategies for finding literature that can give your project some scholarly context.

1. Use People Sources

Ask your advisor or another professor who is familiar with the area in which you're working to recommend an article, book, or book chapter that would be helpful in developing your work. Share your interests with the person you ask to provide some context.

2. Use Published Bibliographies

Published bibliographies, such as Oxford Bibliographies (requires login with Purdue Career Account) are great starting points when trying to immerse yourself in a particular body of scholarly literature. Oxford Bibliographies provides annotated bibliographies of the most recent and authoritative scholarship in several subject areas. Purdue has access to six areas: Anthropology, Cinema and Media Studies, Education, Linguistics, Management, and Political Science.

If you find a journal article, book, or book chapter that you find especially interesting or helpful, look at its bibliography and footnotes for promising leads.

3. Strategically Browse Journal Issues

Browse scholarly journals strategically. Many journals have specific focuses, either with regards to the research area or methodological approach. A journal's website will provide helpful information about that particular journal. Look at the journal's "Aims and Scope" or "Author Guidelines." Ask your advisor for advice about the journals that could be relevant to your research area(s).

For a list of Global Studies journals, visit the Global Studies Journals page on this guide.

4. Use Reference Works--such as Encyclopedias or Handbooks--and their Bibliographies

Specialized reference works dedicated to basic concepts and themes in Global Studies, such as The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization, contain brief articles that give an overview or introduction to a topic. These articles are usually written by scholars working in the relevant area. The author will often use sources that are commonly cited or referenced. These sources are provided in the bibliography of the article. Bibliographies can thus lead to articles you can use to shape your own research. Articles are also accompanied by a list of suggestions for further reading.

5. Use Citation Searching

Using bibliographies for promising leads is a form of citation searching. But if you find a journal article, book, or book chapter that is especially relevant, you can also find more recent articles or other works that have cited it. The following tools can easily be used for figuring out who else has cited a particular work.

  • Scopus - The largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed research literature. With over 19,000 titles from more than 5,000 international publishers, Scopus supports research needs in the scientific, technical, medical, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. Search your article, book, or book chapter and view its record to find the "Cited By" feature.