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Michael Schwartz Library

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Michael Schwartz Library

International Students' Guide to Research

A guide for international students considering studying at CSU or already here, especially those doing research or using the library.

Ways to Get Research Help

You can ask for help with your research in a number of ways:

  • Approach a librarian at the reference desk, which is on the west end of the 1st floor of Rhodes Tower.
  • Call the reference desk at 216-687-5300.
  • Find your personal librarian and contact him/her directly.
  • Use the library's chat service, which appears as an "Ask Us" tab on the right on the library's website.

Research: First Steps

Have you been assigned a research project or paper in one of your classes? It can be overwhelming to get started with research, especially with the added barriers that come from being an international student. Here are some suggestions for beginning the process.

  1. Consider the assignment. Are there requirements for the number of sources or the type of evidence you need? How long should the paper be? Can you choose a research topic, or has one been assigned to you? Write all of these requirements down so you can consult them throughout the research process.
  2. Create a concept map. Map out the words, concepts, or ideas that encompass your research topic or question. Use a dictionary or thesaurus if necessary to get as many relevant keywords as possible. These will be useful when you begin searching.
  3. Choose a resource. The library has many excellent resources for conducting research, but each one offers different kinds of sources. 
    • Scholar and OhioLINK: These resources mostly give you access to print and ebooks, DVDs, CDs, print periodicals (journals and magazines), and dissertations.
    • Subject Databases: These will give you access to magazine, newspaper, and journal articles from your discipline, as well as specialized sources in some cases (i.e. streaming music, streaming video, datasets, primary source documents, etc.).
    • OneSearch: This resource is on the library's homepage and will allow you to search a combination of the sources listed above. This is a good option for very broad research or when you don't know your topic very well.
  4. Integrate your sources. As you write, be sure to use the sources you find to support your argument, and change the argument if necessary based on what you find. Keep careful track of your sources and cite them according to the style of your discipline (see the Citing Sources tab above).
  5. Ask a librarian for help. If you get stuck or have trouble, you can always has a librarian for help. We love to help students! See the panel to the left for ways to ask a librarian for research help.