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POL 200: Analyzing Politics: Start


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POL 200: Analyzing Politics

Welcome to the library lab page for POL 200: Analzying Politics!  Materials in the guide will help you complete research for your POL 200 work; we will use the guide often to help us explore the library & scholarly research during lab sessions.

The lab component will give you deep grounding in the information resources and research techniques used by students in political science.  This semester we will investigate how information in political science is produced, disseminated, found and used. Although you may have had library sessions in other classes, the lab component differs in that we will focus not just on learning how to search a particular database or catalog but on how political scientists communicate through scholarly work. 

The lab will help you not only with the research tasks in this class but in other political sciences classes you will take.  You will find yourself using many lab skills while conducting research for other courses outside of political science as well.

Throughout the semester, we will explore the idea of research as conversation.  Research is not a matter of finding a certain number of sources to plug into a paper.  Research is about identifying, accessing, and exploring the conversation occurring around any given topic. Conversations are happening everywhere – in town hall forums, at conferences, on blogs, in newspapers and magazines, in government agencies, through primary sources and government documents, public opinion data, and in academic journals and books.  You will learn how to explore as many facets of a conversation as possible in order for you to contribute meaningfully to the conversation.  That’s the goal of research.   

Information is meant to be used and the more you know about how it is produced, found and used, the more efficient and effective you will be as a researcher, whether in this class or others.

At the end of the semester, you will be able to:

  1. Identify ways in which conversations occur within political science research
  2. Effectively locate and utilize a range of information sources in political science in order to access conversations
  3. Thoroughly explore a research conversation on a given topic in a sophisticated manner
  4. Articulate what it means to contribute meaningfully to a research conversation



Julie Gilbert's picture
Julie Gilbert
I love meeting with students and faculty to talk about your research, including any issues you have - or even if you just want to brainstorm. There are lots of ways to reach me. Email me with questions or use the old fashioned phone number below to contact me. Or stop by during my reference/office hours: Wednesdays from 2:30 - 4:30 and Thursdays from 1:00 - 2:30. I'll either be in my office (Library 108B on the lower level) or the reference desk on the main floor.
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