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Research for International Students

The ways research is conceived, approved, conducted, and reported in the U.S. may differ from how it is done in other countries. This guide describes those processes and some of the context for them.

Values and Assumptions

The research process in the U.S. is based on common values and assumptions.These generalizations affect the way that research is conducted and shared. Different individuals will value each of them to a different extent.

  • Evidence - How do you know? What can you use to support your claims?
  • Innovation - What new information can you add? What new perspective can you provide? Can you demonstrate an outcome or causation that no one else has? (Granqvist, 2015 and Hernon & Schwartz, 2007).
  • Explanation - Be explicit and specific. Assume that your audience does not know.
  • Choice and Participant Rights - Everyone involved in your research project must agree to the project. You have some control over what you study, but will need to follow guidelines and procedures. Participants should consent to being part of your research. The information you gather may be considered sensitive.
  • Information is both a commodity and a public good - People who do research should get credit for their work. In addition, you or your institution may need to pay to access some research information. (For example, your institution will subscribe to some journals. You can buy a personal subscription to other journals.) Other research is available for free. (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2015)

The research community in the U.S. balances tradition (the existing scholarship on your topic) with innovation (new ideas). The emphasis is synthesizing idea from previous research and then performing new research to fill in any gaps in that knowledge. 


References Used on This Page

Association of College and Research Libraries. (2015). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from

Granqvist, E. (2015, March 2). Why science needs to publish negative results. [web log comment] Elsevier Connect. Retrieved from

Hernon, P., & Scwhartz, C. (2007). What is a problem statement? Library and Information Science Research, 29(3), 307-309. Retrieved from

Malmfors, B., Garnsworthy, P., & Grossman, M. (2003). Writing and presenting science papers. Nottingham, UK: Nottingham University Press.

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