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Starting Your Research
This guide was designed to help you consider different sources that you can use to craft public policy arguments for various audiences. This is a great webpage to reference as you work on your course assignments. I've included some of the best resources and 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 librarian 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.
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.
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.
ProQuest US Newsstream
Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Archival coverage begins in 1985 for some titles. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)
Multidisciplinary citation index covering the journal literature of the social sciences, including anthropology, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, political science, public health, social work, sociology, urban studies, and women's studies. Indexes 2,697 journals across social science disciplines, as well as selected items from 3,500 of the world's leading scientific and technical journals.
Indexes over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Includes current full text for over 30 journals and back issues for hundreds of journals. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click "Browse" > "Journals by discipline."
Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
Academic Search Premier
A good place to start research on most any subject. This multi-disciplinary database indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,900 peer-reviewed journals. Access is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Gun Regulation and Legislation in America
This collection brings together journals, compiled legislative histories, congressional hearings and reports, Supreme Court briefs, and more related to gun regulation.
CQ Researcher Online
Provides reporting and analysis on issues in the news, with coverage of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology and the economy. Each report includes an introductory overview, a background and chronology, an assessment of the current situation, a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions, and bibliographies of key 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. 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).
Some books that you might consider, include:
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress
Congressional Quarterly's Politics in America
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.
Gustavus Library Search
The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Includes millions of records of resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Gustavus users may be able to borrow items they find in WorldCat searches via Interlibrary Loan (click the "Find It!" button). The database can also be searched through its free web interface, at worldcat.org. Access to WorldCat is provided by eLibraryMN (ELM).
Gah! I need help!
Research is difficult and nobody expects you to know how to do it all on your own. Check with your instructor 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.
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