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This guide is intended to support your research for your senior seminar projects. Use the resources on the tabs above to explore various places to search.
- Don't hesitate to ask if you've got questions! Send me an email - I enjoy helping you solve any research problems you have. We can work via email or set up a virtual or in person time to chat.
- You can also find library and research help at the library's Information Desk or via Reference Services.
If you need a refresher on using the library, consult our Library FAQs and an overview of the Library. We also have a guide on how to do research well - use it to brush up and expand your research skills! You will also find the library guide for POL 200: Analyzing Politics to be helpful, as well as the overall guide for doing research in Political Science.
Finding Interest Groups
One great way to find interest groups is to read newspaper articles about your topic. (Tip: use Proquest US Newsstream database - linked on the Articles page of this guide!) More than likely, someone representing a particular interest group will be quoted. Pay attention to those organizations and then find them online. You can also try a basic google search to see if there are interest groups on your topic. Also try the resources below:
As per their website, OpenSecrets is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The link lets you search or browse for interest groups that have given money to political organizations or politicians. While this may or may not be of interest, searching OpenSecrets helps you identify possible interest groups.
Lobbying Disclosures, US House of Representatives
Another somewhat roundabout way to identify groups is to browse or search the database from the US House of Representatives. Try a keyword search related to your topic. Again, your goal is to identify if groups exist about your topic.
Vote Smart provides an easy-to-use menu of interest groups organized by topic.
Political Advocacy Groups
Professor Paul Frank at Sacramento City College maintains a link of interest groups organized by subject (note that the site does not say when it was last updated).
Library Guide Overview
Welcome to your library guide for POL 399: US Interest Groups. Refer to it often, as it covers necessary information at different stages of research.
I can't emphasize this enough - please contact me with any questions you have and/or if you simply want to bat around some ideas about your topic and how you'd research it. Email is the easiest way to get in touch with me.
Here's a quick overview of what information you'll find on this guide:
- Books: how to search and find books in our library (in case you've forgotten), as well as ways to search for and access books beyond our library.
- Articles: recommended article databases. Please search these in addition to searching Google Scholar. :)
- Thinking About Sources: contains tips on evaluating and working with sources.
- Search Tips: various ways to search, including idea mapping and common mistakes to avoid.
- Research as Conversation: outlines a more sophisticated way to think about research
- Bibliographic Trace: a key technique for exploring the research conversation on your topic
- Tracking Down Materials: info on ILL and other ways to find hard copies of materials.
Library Class Slides
These are the slides from our first library session, in case you need a refresher.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License