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.

Paper Writing Assistance:

Consult these campus resources for help with writing and editing:
About SBCC’s Writing Center
The SBCC Learning Resource Center online writing tools

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Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help.Contact Us

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 for 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
  • Encyclopedia of China today – 951.0503 E56e
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations – Available electronically within database. Access Online
  • 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 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.

Library Databases:

  • Academic Search Premier: 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.
  • Country Watch: Contains information about countries, including news and briefings on the latest political, economic, corporate, and environmental events as they occur.
  • 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
  • National Newspapers Expanded: Provides the full text of five of the most read and widely-respected newspapers in the U.S: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Washington Post.
  • 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.


Figuring out whether the information you find on the internet is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
  • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
  • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
  • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

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: