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POL 200: Analyzing Politics: Start


Welcome to the library lab page for POL 200: Analyzing Politics! Materials in the guide will help you complete research for your POL 200 work; we will use the guide often to help us explore the library & scholarly research during lab sessions. The guide also contains additional materials that we might not cover in class, but which will help you conduct all of your research in POL 200.

You can always get help with your research through the library. Here are online and in person options:

  • Don't hesitate to ask if you've got questions! Send me (Julie) 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 are new to the library or need a refresher, consult our Library FAQs and 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! And since everyone can use a refresher on how to find books in the library, we have a guide for that, too.

Contacting Julie

Think of me as your librarian for the entire semester, not just the hours we spend together in the library. I am familiar with your assignments & with research strategies for political science. Please contact me with any question. And don't feel like you need a well-thought out question, either. Sometimes it can be incredibly helpful just to talk through your topic with an information professional like me. I can help you clarify your thoughts and research approach. 

  • Email me with questions or to set up a virtual or in person time to talk
  • My reference hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 - 2:30; ask at the front desk or stop by my office (Library 108B)
  • You can always get help from any librarian at the reference desk; you can also email us or set up an appointment. We have a whole range of options available through reference services.
  • Browse our online research guides for help researching any topic in any discipline.

Library Lab Overview

The lab component will give you deep grounding in the information resources and research techniques used by students in political science. 

  • This semester we will investigate how information in political science is produced, disseminated, found and used. Although you may have had library sessions in other classes, the lab component differs in that we will focus not just on learning how to search a particular database or catalog but on how political scientists communicate through scholarly work. 

The lab will help you not only with the research tasks in this class but in other political sciences classes you will take.  You will find yourself using many lab skills while conducting research for other courses outside of political science as well.

Throughout the semester, we will explore the idea of research as conversation.  Research is not a matter of finding a certain number of sources to plug into a paper.  Research is about identifying, accessing, and exploring the conversation occurring around any given topic.

  • Conversations are happening everywhere – in town hall forums, at conferences, on blogs, in newspapers and magazines, in government agencies, through primary sources and government documents, public opinion data, and in academic journals and books.  You will learn how to explore as many facets of a conversation as possible in order for you to contribute meaningfully to the conversation.  That’s the goal of research.   

Information is meant to be used and the more you know about how it is produced, found and used, the more efficient and effective you will be as a researcher, whether in this class or others.

At the end of the semester, you will be able to:

  1. Identify ways in which conversations occur within political science research
  2. Effectively locate and utilize a range of information sources in political science in order to access conversations
  3. Thoroughly explore a research conversation on a given topic in a sophisticated manner
  4. Articulate what it means to contribute meaningfully to a research conversation



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Julie Gilbert
Hello! I look forward to working with you. If you have any questions about research, an assignment, or the library in general, please contact me via email or make an appointment. You can reach any of the reference librarians at folke @ or via the Ask Us! button on the library's homepage.
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