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PSCI 361 - Political Research (Garrett)

Databases & Articles

Choosing a place to start researching is an important part of finding sources for your literature review. These databases should help you get started.

Search Strategies

Try some of these strategies with your research question:

Example Research Question: How did the global financial crisis affect the outcome of the 2008 U.S. presidential election?

  • Take important keywords and concepts from your research question and search for them in your chosen databases.
    • global financial crisis
    • election
    • United States
  • Use an asterisk (*) to truncate a word (election* searches for election and elections)
  • Use quotes ("") to keep a phrase together ("global financial crisis")

  • If your search terms don't get the results you need, trying narrowing them (e.g. presidential election instead of election) or broadening them (e.g. econom* instead of "global financial crisis")
  • When you find a helpful article, look for the subject terms the database uses to describe it, then try a search using those subject terms.

Conversation between CamelsTo integrate your research project into existing political science literature, think of your project as a conversation between you and other scholars. You want to learn what other scholars have said about your topic so you can add to the conversation without repeating what others have said.

Tips for Conversation Tracking

Google Scholar

Once you've found a helpful article, search for it in Google Scholar, then click the Cited by link to see the conversation your article has generated.


Database Tools

Some databases will link to references cited in a particular article, which will help you find previous research.


Citation Searching

Look for the works cited at the end of a book or article, then...

  • If you find an article citation and want to see how you can access the article, enter as much information as you can into the library's Citation Search form
  • If you find a book or book chapter citation and want to see how you can access the book, search for it in the library catalog.

Reference Books

Handbooks