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POL 318: The American Presidency

Fall 2010
Doing Research for Your American Presidency Class

Use this guide to orient you to the vast array of sources available in our library (and beyond) to help you with your research. If you encounter any questions or problems, or simply want to chat about your research and get ideas for additional sources, don't hesitate to get in contact with me. My contact information is listed at the bottom of the page. Good luck with your work!

Professor: Kate Knutson
Librarian: Anna Hulseberg

Table of Contents:

Reference Books
Reference books are a great resource to consult at various points during your research. Use them to gain background information, glean ideas for search terms, clarify topics, and provide additional sources (books and articles) for you to consult.
  • Almanac of American Politics
    National Journal
    Summarizes the state of politics at both national and state levels, giving vote results on key issues and state-by-state analysis of important issues. Updated biennially.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 1012 .A44
  • America Votes
    Congressional Quarterly
    Summarizes state and national election returns. Useful for historical as well as recent information.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 1967 .A8
  • Encyclopedia of the American Presidency
    Simon and Schuster 1994
    A topical survey of the institution of the presidency, offering lengthy essays and extensive bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 511 .E53 1994
    4 vols.
  • Guide to the Presidency
    Washington, DC: CQ Press 2008 4th edition
    Entries are divided into 8 sections: origins and development of the presidency; selection and removal of the president; powers of the presidency; the president, the public, and the parties; the presidency and the executive branch; chief executive and federal government; presidents, their families, and life in the White House and beyond; biographies. Includes references and index.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 516 .G83 2008
    2 vols.
  • Presidency A to Z
    Provides over 300 entries, including biographies, explanations of concepts and powers related to the presidency, discussions of presidential relations with Congress, the media, and others, and discussions of presidential policies and their impact on history.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 511 .P775 2003
  • Presidential Elections 1789-2008
    Washington, DC: CQ Press 2010
    Provides an overview of the presidential election system, a chronology of elections from Washington to Obama, and vote totals and percentages. Includes references and an index.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 528 .P75 2010
  • Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
    Office of the Federal Register
    A repository of proclamations, speeches, statements, etc. of presidents, kept up to date by the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Volumes from 1992 on are available online.
    • Location(s): shelved with the general collection at J80 .A283
  • The Routledge Historical Atlas of Presidential Elections
    Contains a brief overview of elections and includes election results by states.
    • Location(s): Ref G1201 .S1 M5 2001
  • Vital Statistics on the Presidency : From George Washington to George W. Bush3rd edition
    Covers Presidential selection, Presidential elections, Public appearances, Public opinions, Presidential organization and the executive branch, Presidents in war and diplomacy, Presidential policymaking, Congressional relations, and The presidency and the judiciary.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 518 .R34 2009
Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. Choose "All Libraries" in the search options to search other MnPALS libraries (such as Minnesota State schools) and request books through Interlibrary Loan. View our MnPALS Plus tutorial.
  • WorldCat
    Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Materials date back to the 11th century. Owning libraries can be identified for books, journals, archival resources and electronic resources. Access to WorldCat is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM); the database can also be searched through its free web interface, at
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
Finding Articles
If you have an article citation and can't find the full text in a database, use the Journal Locator to see if Gustavus owns a print copy of the article OR if it is available through another database. Be sure to search the Journal Locator with the title of the journal, not the article title. Use the yellow FindIt! button in a database to see if an article is available full text in another database or in our print holdings. The FindIt! button will also help you order items from interlibrary loan.
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.
    1975-present; updated daily
  • America: History and Life
    Indexes literature related to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistorical times to the present. This extensive database covers over 2,000 journals published worldwide including all key English-language historical journals, selected historical journals from major countries, and state and local history journals, as well as books, dissertations and book reviews.
  • Expanded Academic ASAP
    This multi-disciplinary database covers subjects from the arts and the humanities to social sciences, science and technology. It includes scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers, many with full text and images. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
    1831-recent years
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Search current news, business information (including business news and corporate financials), and legal news and information. International news sources are also included.
    Coverage varies by title; mostly 1980s-present
  • ProQuest Statistical Insight
    Includes summaries of statistical publications and searches and displays tables of statistical data. Statistical Insight includes links to the full-text of selected publications and government web sites, including the information contained in the Statistical Abstract of the United States.
  • New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago)
    The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 4 years ago -- covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. The newspaper text is fully indexed and searchable and the database also contains full-page images, including graphics. Available on the Web through ProQuest.
    1851-4 years ago
  • ProQuest Newsstand
    Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Archival coverage begins in 1985 for some titles. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
    1986-present (most from 1995 on)
  • Public Affairs Index
    Covers global contemporary public policy issues, ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights, to international conflict and natural disasters. Draws on scholarly publications, conference papers, government documents and reference works.
    1972-present; updated weekly
  • SAGE Premier
    Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click on the "Browse" tab, then click on the "Articles by Discipline" tab.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)
    A multidisciplinary index with searchable author abstracts covering the journal literature of the social sciences, including anthropology, history, law, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry, political science, public health, social work, sociology, urban studies, and women's studies. SSCI indexes more than 1,725 journals spanning 50 disciplines. In addition, it is possible to retrieve a list of works that have cited a specific author or specific work. May be searched simultaneously with Arts & Humanities Citation Index and/or Science Citation Index Expanded through the Web of Science interface.
    1997-present; updated weekly
There are countless websites available to you on the Internet. When doing Internet research, it's best to look for professional organizations and other associations that provide information about your topic. Use the websites listed here to explore some of the available information.
  • The American Presidency Project
    Created by John Woolley and Gerhard Peters at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Contains thousands of documents related to the study of the Presidency. Includes historical and primary source material.
  • American President: An Online Reference Resource
    From the Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. Provides essays about each President's life before, during, and after the presidency. Also provides information about the First Lady and cabinet officials of each administration. Includes a speech archive and gallery of photographs. Also provides 7 essays on domestic policy, foreign policy, legislative affairs, national security, presidential politics, administration of the government, and administration of the White House.
  • GPO Access
    From the Government Printing Office, this site is a portal for federal publications of all types. A similar official portal to government information, more oriented to a popular audience, is FDsys will replace GPO Access as the GPO's official system of record in 2011.
  • Political Research Online
    Search this resource for papers presented at political science conferences. A collaborative project led by the American Political Science Association and related associations.
  • The Presidency Research Group
    An organized section of the American Political Science Association. Includes links to presidential research-related organizations and websites, presidential data sites, and course syllabi related to the presidency.
  • Presidential Libraries
    From the National Archives. The best way to find online documents is to link to the site of a specific Presidential Library.
    The U.S. government's official web portal. Includes links to online government information by topic.
  • The White House
    The official homepage for the current administration. Includes information on the Administration, and online documents such as weekly addresses, speeches, and Presidential actions. Also provides an overview of various issues (from civil rights to women's rights) from the perspective of the White House. Includes a photo and video gallery.
Useful Library Resources
Need an article that Gustavus doesn't own? Wondering how to cite your sources? Need a refresher on evaluating websites? Check out these resources!
  • Assignment Calculator
    The Assignment Calculator can help you stay on track as you research and write an assignment. Just enter your start date and due date, and the Assignment Calculator will suggest tips and deadlines for completing the steps of the research and writing process. Based on the original Assignment Calculator from the University of Minnesota.
  • Citing Your Sources
    Start here to find information on citing your sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style.
  • Interlibrary Loan
    For information on requesting books and articles from other libraries, visit our Interlibrary Loan page.
  • Reference Desk
    Hours for fall semester at the Reference Desk are: Monday - Thursday 10:00 - 5:00 & 6:00 - 10:00, Friday 10:00 - 5:00, and Sunday 12:00 - 8:00
Contacting Anna
I'm happy to meet with you at any time to chat about your research. I can suggest additional sources, advanced search techniques, and troubleshoot problems you may encounter. Email me at or call x7566.

Page Coordinator: Anna Hulseberg
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