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Political Science (101): Articles

A guide to selected resources for political science research.

Select article databases

Where should you look for articles?

If you're unsure where to start, ask your professor for help choosing databases appropriate for your topic, or try these options:

Recommended Research Databases

Recommended for most political science research topics:

See all of the databases tagged for Political Science.

Useful depending on the research topic:

Historical topics

See databases tagged for History, and the library guide on Historical Newspaper Research.

Legal topics (law review articles)

See databases tagged for Law.

Search Tips

Translate your topic into search terms, which can be words or phrases.

Choose search words carefully, after brainstorming synonyms, etc. You may start with only a broader topic, and then you can add or substitute search words after reading some articles that will help you focus more narrowly. Pay attention to how many results you get and whether they are relevant. Adjust your search, using words you find in relevant articles' titles, abstracts, and subject headings. Be thorough by using synonyms and truncation when there are multiple ways to refer to a concept. Use commands to define relationships between search terms:

  • Use OR between synonyms (you don't care which appear in your results).
  • Use AND between required concepts (words to the left as well as words to the right MUST appear in results
  • Use ( ) to group synonyms for one concept if your search also uses AND to require another concept
  • Use * (in most databases) to truncate if variant endings on a word stem are acceptable

Apply limits either on the search page or on the search results display, such as date or type of publication.

Do not limit results to items that are full-text in the databases you are searching, because the full text may be in other databases ("Find It" will help you determine that later).

Using AND, OR, * in searches

Venn diagram showing what using AND command between search words does: require the presence of ALL search words in each item found

 Venn diagram showing what using OR command between search words does: requires at least one of the words to appear in each item found. OR is often used for synonyms for an idea or concept.

 Truncation is putting an asterisk on a word stem to look for all possible endings. Child* would find words like children or childhood or childbirth or childish.

PS: Political Science & Politics

Research@UWW: Limiting to Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

From search results, see available filters or limits on the left. Select as needed by clicking boxes to the left, e.g., date. To limit results to scholarly journal articles, select Articles under Resource Type as well as Peer-reviewed Journals under Show Only. When done selecting filters, click the green Apply Filters button at the bottom.

screenshot of limit options that appear down the left side of search results

Find the Full Text

If an article's full text is not available in a database, click Find It button to see if it is available in other databases or in the libraries' print or microform collections. Or, use Journal Search for a journal, magazine or newspaper title to learn whether and where you may find its full text articles. See also the "How to Use Find It and the Journals Search" guide.

Google Scholar Off Campus

If you use Google Scholar to find articles when you are off campus, then configure the settings to link to UW-Whitewater libraries' full text access.