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POL 220: US Public Policy: Start

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.

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. 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.

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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