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POL 110: US Government and Politics: Start

Starting Your Research

This guide was designed with your POL 110 Research Paper in mind. I've included some of the best resources & search strategies for conducting research in Political Science. The guide isn't comprehensive - so if you find the resources don't meet your needs or even if you simply want to chat about your topic and possible search strategies, just ask.  Please email me or stop by the reference desk to talk with any library about any issue you encounter with your research. Another great tool is the Getting Started Tutorial - this in-depth guide gives you all kinds of help & ideas for conducting research today, especially if you are new to college-level research.

Depending on your topic, you may also want to explore resources on the Political Science library research guide. Also consult the Reference Books listed on the tab (above). These are great resources for helping you think about your topic in new ways.

Finding Articles

Depending on your topic, you may need newspaper articles, magazine articles, or articles written by scholars in the field. (Or a combination!) Search for articles in our databases. Be sure to read the database description to make sure you're searching the best database for your topic. Search several databases to find a wide range of sources.

Finding Books in Our Library

You will find that many books are still published in the field of Political Science. Don't overlook these important resources, even if you have a "current events" topic. To find books in our library, search the Library Catalog - you can also search directly via  the search box on the library's homepage.

Books in Political Science are generally located in the J section - top floor of the library, but you'll want to search the catalog to narrow your options to a more specific area. Since books are shelved by subject, be sure to browse the shelves nearby for related books.

You can check books out at the Circulation Desk (front desk).

Books Beyond Gustavus

Here are options for finding books beyond what we have in house. I recommend searching at Gustavus first before expanding your search to other libraries; these are great options to use after you've determined whether or not we have materials useful for your topic here.

Gah! I need help!

Research is difficult and nobody expects you to know how to do it all on your own. Check with your teacher if you aren't sure how to approach your assignment or want a second opinion on sources and strategies.

Stop by the Writing Center at any point during the process for expert advice from your talented peers. The Advising Center can help with issues such as time management and organization.

In the library, visit the reference desk and let us know how it's going. We're sitting there for a reason. Unless we're helping someone else, whatever we're doing is just killing time waiting for your questions. Don't be embarrassed - even seniors writing their theses ask us questions!

You can even chat with us using the box on the right side of this guide.


Julie Gilbert's picture
Julie Gilbert
Hello! I'm on sabbatical during the 2020-2021 academic year. If you have a question about research, an assignment, or the library, please contact any of the reference librarians at or via the Ask Us! button on the library's homepage.

Ask Us!

Spring 2021 reference (research) help:

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