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FLEET LIBRARY | Research Guides

Rhode Island School of Design

Seminar: Refugees, Migrants, & Displaced People: Getting Started

A guide to sources for topic exploration on migration, immigration, refugees and displaced persons

Information Sources

newspaperWhat kind of sources do you gravitate to when writing a paper? What kind of sources do you expect to use for this one? What kind of information is your professor explicitly asking you to find?

An awareness of the different formats in which we seek and receive information will help you. Do you get your news from a print newspaper? Radio? Television? Twitter? Youtube? Which of these will you use to inform your research? How will you cite them? How will you know they're trustworthy?

Will you back up your claims with information from a book? An encyclopedia? How about peer reviewed articles? This may depend on the timing of the issues you're exploring. There aren't a lot of books on the Rohingya or Uighur crises, but we can find books on religious violence, ethnic cleansing, state control, and much more.

Why use reference books?

Choosing your topic involves a crucial period of exploration. Especially when you know very little about the subject you're planning to research, it's a good idea to read basic texts to familiarize yourself with key themes and vocabulary. If what you read changes your mind or your topic idea, you're doing something all good researchers do: learning as you go! Many students use Wikipedia for this purpose, but you can also explore encyclopedias and other reference books for a similar effect (Bonus: you can cite them, unlike Wikipedia!).

Try Credo Reference's Immigration topic page to begin exploring online encyclopedias, or use one of the print encyclopedias listed here. Remember that your narrow topic may not be as easy to find as a broader one. Start broad and then gather more specifics from other sources, such as newspapers.


CIA-World Factbook  (The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly)

Select country/location > transnational issues > Refugees and internally displaced persons

U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services

Print Reference Books

Reference Books are located near the Research Help Desk. The collection includes many encyclopedias, dictionaries, guidebooks, and other titles useful for preliminary research. They may be scanned or photocopied but do not circulate.

American immigrant cultures: builders of a nation

Encyclopedia of cultural anthropology

Encyclopedia of cultures and daily life

Encyclopedia of world cultures