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Young Diplomats Program

Guide for participants in Global Ties' Young Diplomats Program, June 2023

Honing Your Research Skills

Iterative process.  Researching countries, cultures, and regions is an iterative process. This means that you plan a series of steps, which are repeated with updates and adjustments as you go along. Click for research cycle diagram

Research question. It all starts with a question or problem statement. Think about who, what, when, where, and why to help you focus. "economic prosperity in the MENA region" is not really a research question, but rather a topic.  "Which economies are doing well in MENA, and why?" is a question that you can research.

Sources. Choose your sources based on the question at hand. Scholarly articles may be perfect in some cases, but research from governments, trade groups, NGOs, and others may be more appropriate.  Consider biases, and avoid disinformation. Verify information from multiple sources rather than relying on a single source where possible.

Broad to narrow. Start with more general, broad questions. Narrowing down too far in advance may prematurely cut off promising avenues. Think of choosing from a menu at a restaurant. You can get more specific as you progress on your topic.

Stay organized. Keep track of your research. Librarians at ASU recommend using free apps such as Zotero to easily keep track of, and cite, your sources. This is not necessary for your research this week, but useful to keep in mind as you go forward.



The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.