Resources for Political Science Research

Map of 2012 United States Presidential Election Results from the collections at the Library of Congress.

About this Guide

This guide provides students with recommended resources for conducting research on topics related to Political Science. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

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Online Reference Sources

The library subscribes to many online reference sources, including the following database of general reference books and subject-specific books. When accessing this resource from off campus, you’ll be prompted to enter your pipeline username and password:

  • Credo Reference: Contains the full text of nearly 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and other reference books covering all major subject areas. Thousands of Topics Pages provide articles from different reference sources, arranged by subject.

Print Reference Sources

Reference books are also a good place to begin your research. These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section. Ask a librarian for additional help finding reference books related to your topic.

  • The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory – R 320 D811o 2008
  • Encyclopedia of Political Science – R 320.03 K96e 2011
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations – R 910.3 G162w 2012
    Also available as an ebook.
  • Encyclopedia of Politics: The Left and the Right – R 320.03 C283e
  • Polling America: An Encyclopedia of Public Opinion – R 303.38 B561p
  • The Europa World Year Book — R 341.184 E89ew


Search the library catalog (books+) for books on your topic. The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Search for books on your topic by keyword.

Suggested Keywords

  • Political Science
  • Statecraft AND Democracy
  • Iraq War AND Terrorism
  • Vietnam War OR Second Indochina War


Articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) often provide current information on a topic. To find articles on your topic, search through the library’s databases listed below. When accessing these resources from off campus, you’ll be prompted to enter your pipeline username and password:

Library Databases:

  • Academic Search Complete: A great starting point for research on any topic.
  • JSTOR: Provides access to the full text of hundreds of scholarly journals from the first volume up until five years ago. Our library subscribes to the Arts and Sciences II and II and Life Sciences collections.
  • CQ Researcher Online: An excellent source of pro/con information, containing single-themed reports on issues in the news. Provides in-depth, unbiased coverage of both sides of controversial issues related to health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Each 12,000-word report includes: an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources. Offers access to CQ Researcher reports dating back to 1991, and access to CQ Global Researcher articles, which provide in-depth coverage of global affairs from a number of international viewpoints.
  • Military & Government Collection: Contains reports, published monthly, covering pressing political, social, environmental, and regional issues from around the globe, written by journalists with years of international experience. Each report includes sections such as “Issue Questions” and “Pro-Con,” along with chronologies of major events, excerpts from primary source materials, visual aides such as maps, charts, and graphs, and a glossary and bibliography.
  • US Newsstream (ProQuest): Provides full-text access to current U.S. news content from newspapers, newswires, blogs, and news sites. Archives dating back to the 1980s are also included. Specific titles include: New York Times; Los Angeles Times; Wall Street Journal; Christian Science Monitor; Washington Post; and USA Today, as well as hundreds of local and regional newspapers.
  • Religion & Philosophy Collection: Provides full text articles from more than 300 magazines and journals, covering topics such as world religions, major denominations, biblical studies, religious history, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of language, moral philosophy and the history of philosophy.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

Below are recommendations for exploring political science topics on the web:

How to Cite

Always check with your professor about which citation style is required for your assignments.


Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style is most typically used when writing papers in the liberal arts or humanities. The following resources will help you construct MLA citations:


American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is most typically used when writing papers in the social sciences. The following resources will help you construct APA citations: