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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
While many of our databases provide international coverage, these databases in particular will help you explore scholarship on international topics.
CIAO (International affairs) This link opens in a new window
Contains full text documents on international politics and related fields. Includes content from government research organizations, independent think tanks, university analysis centers, and scholarly journals. Also includes country surveys with political data, economic data, and maps from The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Public Affairs Index This link opens in a new window
Covers global contemporary public policy issues, ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights, to international conflict and natural disasters. Draws on scholarly publications, conference papers, government documents and reference works.
CIA World Factbook
Each entry contains a succinct overview of your country's history, geography, government, economy and transnational issues.
Countries and Economies
The World Bank provides overviews of individual countries and their economies, including measures of climate change, education, and health.
Country Information (IMF)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers information about each of its 190 member countries, including economic outlooks, as well as numerous reports.
Library of Congress Country Studies
Primarily intended for historical research, this collection contains electronic versions of eighty books originally sponsored by the U.S. Army.
Political Handbook of the World - Ref JF 37 .P76
Covers countries of the world, giving basic background information, discussion of political parties and structures, and analysis of current trends.
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.
Access World News (Newsbank) This link opens in a new window
Provides the full text of global, regional and local news sources. Coverage ranges from over 40 Minnesota sources to international sources from over 200 countries.
US Newsstream This link opens in a new window
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).
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.
Comparative Agendas: Comparing Policies Worldwide
Collects and analyzes data to track policy outcomes in the US and other countries from World War II to the present. Includes downloadable datasets.
Published by the United Nations, the Demographic Yearbook offers demographic and social statistics on a wide range of topics.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Data
The IMF provides economic and other types of data for member countries.
OECD Stat Extracts
OECD.stat includes data and metadata for 34 member countries and selected non-member economies. This data covers a wide range of topics, including the economy, health, the environment, and information technology.
Statistical Abstract of the World - Ref HA 154 .S83
Presents data on over 180 countries, covering geography, demographics, education, science and technology, government and law, and economics. Sources for all data are noted, and an appendix lists and describes sources, offering important leads to additional data.
United Nations Statistics
The Statistics Division of the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs contains a wealth of data about countries and global trends.
US Census Bureau International Programs Center
The U.S. Census Bureau provides demographic, economic, and geographic studies of other countries.
World Bank Data Catalog
This resource from the World Bank provides multiple tools and data sets for comparing development indicators across countries, including the World Development Indicators.
World Public Opinion
Results of studies from polls conducted around the world.
World Values Survey
Tables and graphs from World Values Survey conducted 1981-2004.
These two statistical guides may also help you in your research.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License