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A Guide to Political Science: Researching Countries

Overview

Political Science involves the study of politics, governments, and systems of power. You may find you need to research countries outside of the United States, whether for a course in comparative politics, international relations, or because your topic - no matter which course you're taking - is leading you in that direction. This page will help you explore various resources that will deepen and guide your exploration. Feel free to reach out to a librarian at any point for more help.

Here's one big tip:

  • Most countries have official government websites, which you can find via a google search. Start your search here. Spend some time browsing your country's government website and see what you can find. Are you gaining an understanding of how the government is organized? Are there any departments or ministries that provide information about your specific topic? Many governments collect and publish statistics about themselves and their populations; can you find statistics that help inform your inquiry?

Europa World Regional Surveys

This set of reference books in the library is a gold mine in providing information about specific countries. It's a highly recommended place to start. Each country has a separate entry within its corresponding volume, containing geographical, historical, political, economic, and statistical information. Each entry also contains a directory of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

New volumes are shelved in the Reference section (main floor; Beck Hall side). We keep older volumes as well, in case you need historical data; these are shelved in the General and/or Oversize collection (use the same call numbers from the list below). Find information about your country by locating the volume corresponding to your country's geographical region. Countries are then listed alphabetically:
 

  • Africa South of the Sahara - Reference DT 351 .A37
  • Central and South-Eastern - Europe Reference HC 244 .A1 C46
  • Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia - Reference HC 244 .A1 E29
  • The Far East and Australasia -  Reference DS1 .F3
  • The Middle East and North Africa - Reference DS 49 .M62
  • South America, Central American, and the Caribbean - Reference F 1401 .S28
  • Western Europe - Reference HC 240 .A1 W47

Academic Articles

While many of our databases provide international coverage, these databases in particular will help you explore scholarship on international topics.

Country Information

Newspaper Articles

Both of these databases contain international news coverage, so browse them and see what you can find. You can also look at their publication list to see which papers are included. Searching via these databases gets you around paywalls you might encounter otherwise. Contact a librarian if you need more help finding international news sources.

Human Rights

If you're investigating the status of human rights in a given geographical area, explore these resources. 

Statistics and Data

There are many sources available to help you find statistical information on your country, although keep in mind that access and availability will vary by country, due to a variety of factors.

These two statistical guides may also help you in your research.

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