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POL 344: U.S.Interest Groups

Spring 2011
Library Sources

The library has many tools to help you conduct research for your thesis. Use this guide to explore the sources that are available to you. If you have questions, encounter problems, or simply want to talk about your thesis, stop by the Reference Desk to chat with any of our librarians. You are also more than welcome to contact me directly at or x7552.

The Research Process

With so many information sources available online and in print, simply finding information usually isn't the issue. The true research problem lies in finding quality information sources that are appropriate for your topic. Take time to think critically about your research during this entire semester. Have you utilized the best sources for your topic? Do you have a grasp of the literature in your field? Have you thoroughly explored the nuances of your topic and supporting sources? This approach will not only be useful in this class, it will be invaluable as you head into the workforce or further graduate study. As always, give yourself enough time to do your research and have fun with your topics and the places they're taking you!

Julie Gilbert
Kate Knutson

Table of Contents:

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.
  • MnLink
    A shared catalog of Minnesota libraries, including the University of Minnesota. To search a large number of libraries at once, choose "Libraries - Academic" from the "Current Profile" list. Use the "Get it!" button to place Interlibrary Loan requests.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Annual Review of Political Science
    The Annual Review of Political Science contains critical reviews of the most significant primary research literature in the field of political science. The volume provides a useful and intelligent synthesis of the primary research literature in the discipline every year. Online access allows all volumes to be searched simultaneously.
  • CIAO
    Columbia International Affairs Online contains references to working papers, conference proceedings, journals, books, policy briefs, economic indicators, and more, from 1991 to the present. The database focuses on theory and research in international affairs.
    1991-present; updated monthly
    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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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
Reference Books
Reference books are helpful at a number of steps during your research. They define unfamiliar terms, give an overview of a topic, and often provide recommendations for further reading. The reference books listed below are all found on the main floor of the library.
  • The Almanac of American Politics REF JK1012 .A44 2008
    Provides detailed descriptions of legislative districts, elected representatives, and election results for each state.
  • Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress REF JK1021 .C565 2000
    This 2 volume encyclopedia provides excellent and detailed coverage about various activities and issues related to Congress.
  • CQ Researcher REF H35. E352
    Includes bulletins published weekly on current topics of interest. The bulletins give historical overviews, an analysis of the issue, and suggestions for further research. An index is included in the most recent binder.
  • The Encyclopedia of Democracy REF JC423 .E53 1995
    This 4 volume set defines terms and issues related to democracy. The essay on interest groups has a useful bibliography.
  • Regional Surveys of the World
    This multi-volume set provides excellent and informative information on countries of the world, including geographical, historical, political, economic, and statistical information. Each entry also contains a directory of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Older volumes are shelved in the General and/or Oversize collection; recent volumes are shelved in Reference. Consult the following list to identify volume(s) useful to your research.
    • Africa South of the Sahara
      Location: Ref DT 351 .A37
    • Central and South-Eastern Europe
      Location: Ref HC 244 .A1 C46
    • Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia
      Location: Ref HC 244 .A1 E29
    • The Far East and Australasia
      Location: Ref DS1 .F3
    • The Middle East and North Africa
      Location: Ref DS 49 .M62
    • South America, Central American, and the Caribbean
      Location: Ref F1401 .S28
    • Western Europe
      Location: Ref HC 240 .A1 W47
  • Social Science Encyclopedia REF H41. S63 2004
    Provides coverage of concepts and terms used in the social sciences.
Statistical Sources
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office 1879-present
    This is perhaps the single most useful small package of statistical information available. It includes hundreds of tables of figures on population, economics, social factors, etc., with references to the original sources. An index to the tables provide essay access. A web version can be found at
    • Location(s): Ready Reference HA 202 .A2
  • Statistical Resources on the Web
    Sponsored and maintained by the University of Michigan Library Documents Center, this website categorizes statistical sources into 24 major topical areas. It includes comprehensive coverage of government sites and is also fully searchable.
  • 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.
  • Advocacy and Public Policymaking
    This scholarly website contains random samples of issues on which lobbyists were active during the 106th and 107th Congresses. Click on any of the listed issues to find a wide range of resources, including bill information, TV and print news stories, and committee hearings.
  • Policy Agendas Project
    From the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Washington, the Policy Agendas Project traces policy changes in the United States since World War II. The website provides a wealth of research tools, including data sets for congressional hearings, New York Times articles, Gallup Polls, Executive Orders, and Supreme Court cases. The data can be downloaded in a variety of formats.
Other Library Resources
  • Evaluating Web Sites
    Use our guide to help determine if a web site would be an appropriate and reliable source for your research.
  • Interlibrary Loan
    For information on ordering books and articles that Gustavus does not own, visit our Interlibrary Loan page or talk with a reference librarian.

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