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Resources for Political Science

At the Voting Booth Protest at the Washington Monument United Nations Meeting in Geneva

Political science examines the relationship between people and governments by exploring political institutions and systems, political theory, and human behavior. Students of political science will need to be able to find facts, statistics, and news of current events as well as analysis of issues in political science. This guide to information sources for political science research includes many reference books, indexes, and Internet-accessible information sources. It is by no means complete, however; please don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help if you aren't finding what you need. Never underestimate the power of browsing either; books in our library are grouped by topic, so skim nearby shelves to find related information. You may also be interested in our guides to statistical sources and legal information.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
  • 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
  • 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
  • Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
    an online version of the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Documents, covering publications from 1994 to May 2005. Note, many of these documents are not in our collection. The documents we receive currently are in the library catalog. To find documents published before 1994, consult the print version of the Monthly Catalog (Ref Gov Docs Z 1223 .A18; you may do well to consult a reference librarian since this catalog is quite difficult to use.)
  • Congressional (LexisNexis)
    Index to congressional publications from 1970 to the present, legislative histories for public laws, testimony at congressional hearings, and biographical and committee information. Also allows searching of the Congressional Record and Federal Register.
    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
  • PapersFirst
    Index of papers presented at conferences worldwide. Covers every published congress, symposium, conference, exposition, workshop and meeting received by The British Library Document Supply Centre. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
  • ProceedingsFirst
    Index of worldwide conference proceedings. It covers every published congress, symposium, conference, exposition, workshop, and meeting received by The British Library Document Supply Centre, and contains in each record a list of the papers presented at each conference. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
  • 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 Science Research Network
    A repository for research primarily in the social sciences, but with some coverage of fields in the humanities. Most of the papers found in this database are freely available, but some (marked with a $ icon in search results) are only available for purchase. The repository includes peer-reviewed articles published in journals as well as conference papers, white papers, and reports not otherwise formally published but still scholarly in nature.
  • 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.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge)
    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
Reference Works
  • Information related to Political Theory
    • The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory
      Contains detailed information on a variety of contemporary and historical topics related to political theory; chapters also include lengthy bibliographies
      • Location(s): Ref. JA 71 .O95 2008
    • Social Science Encyclopedia
      London: Routledge 2004 3rd ed. edition
      Covers controversies and common assumptions in the fields of social science, including anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, political theory, and gender studies. Contributors are drawn from many disciplines and represent perspectives from the US, the UK and beyond.
      • Location(s): Ref H 41 .S63 2004
  • Information related to International Relations
    • Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia
      Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio 2003
      3 vols. An interdisciplinary approach to "cultural concepts and intellectual ideas crucial to an understanding of colonialism in the modern world." Covers key geographical and cultural concepts, as well as significant individuals, movements, and events. A number of primary source documents are included in the third volume.
      • Location(s): Ref JV 22 .C65 2003
    • Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations
      Oxford University 1997
      Published under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations, this work includes over 1,000 articles covering historical events, relations with countries, biographical sketches of leaders associated with foreign policy, treaties, doctrines, and key concepts. Includes chronology and comparative country data.
      • Location(s): Ref E 183.7 .E53 1997
      4 vols.
    • Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia
      New York: Garland 2001
      Though its focus is primarily on political developments, this set also covers cultural, economic, and social trends since World War II. Short, well-documented articles on prominent people, places, events, and institutions.
      • Location(s): Ref D 1051 .E97 2001
    • Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations
      Greenwood 2002
      Offers brief articles on countries, regions, events, crises, diplomacy, international political economy, international organizations, and concepts of international law.
      • Location(s): Ref JZ 1160 .N65 2002
      4 vols.
    • Human Rights Watch World Report
      Human Rights Watch
      An annual publication that surveys the world's human rights record. Each volume offers regional and country surveys summarizing the events of the previous year.
    • International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration
      Boulder: Westview 1998
      Covers topics in public administration such as regional development, emergency management, budget reform, cost of living adjustments, and more. This work, with its global scope and interdisciplinary coverage, provides broad perspectives. It also includes coverage of principles, theories, legal concepts, and management topics as well as definitions of terms-such as groupthink and muddling through-used in the field of public policy.
      • Location(s): Ref H97 .I574 1998
    • Political Handbook of the World
      CSA 1927-
      Covers countries of the world, giving basic background information, discussion of political parties and structures, and analysis of current trends.
      • Location(s): Ref JF 37 .P76
    • World Encyclopedia of Parliaments and Legislatures
      Congressional Quarterly 1998
      Covers parliamentary forms of government in over 190 countries in lengthy profiles that cover the nations' history, structure and procedure of parliamentary governance, relationship to the executive branch, parliamentary ethics and culture, and relevant constitutional issues.
      • Location(s): Ref JF 511 .W67 1998
      2 vols.
  • Information about American politics
    • 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
    • CQ Researcher
      Washington, D.C. : Congressional Quarterly Inc.
      In-depth, analytical reporting on the most current and controversial issues of the day. Published by Congressional Quarterly, with its tradition of nonpartisan reporting and analysis, each CQ Researcher presents a balanced account of an issue on the public agenda. The objective, forward-looking reporting that characterizes these articles is designed to encourage discussion, to help readers think critically and to facilitate further research.
      • Location(s): Ref H 35 .E352 [year]
    • CQ's Politics in America
      Gives biographical sketches and political analysis of legislators, discussion of regional and state politics, and thumbnail sketches of legislative districts. Updated biennially
      • Location(s): Ref JK 1010 .P64
    • Congressional Quarterly Almanac
      A summation of US politics that analyzes the issues, important legislation, voting records of congressmen, and major Supreme Court decisions.
      • Location(s): Ref JK 1 .C66
    • Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report
      A weekly magazine that covers events in Washington in detail. Includes a yellow index section that appears every six months.
      • Location(s): Periodicals
    • Congressional Quarterly's Guide to Congress
      CQ 2000 5th edition
      Gives detailed histories and discussions of Congressional processes and issues. There are similar guides put out by the same publisher covering the presidency (Ref JK 516 .G83 2008), the Supreme Court (Ref KF 8742 .W567 2004), and US elections (Ref JK1967 .G85 2005).
      • Location(s): Ref JK 1021 .C565 2000
    • Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties
      Routledge 2006
      Articles in this set offer a particular view of American politics and law. Its nearly 1,500 entries cover important legal cases as well as issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, line-ups, and flag burning, as well as historically significant topics from Zenger to Abu Graib.
      • Location(s): Ref KF 4747.5 .E53 2006
      3 vols.
    • Encyclopedia of the American Legislative System
      Scribner's 1994
      Lengthy essays on the history, legislative structures and processes, personnel, elections, policy, and politics of the legislative system. Arranged topically, rather than alphabetically. Each essay is written by a specialist and is followed by a substantial bibliography
      • Location(s): Ref JF 501 .E53 1994
    • 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.
    • Encyclopedia of the United States Congress
      Simon and Schuster 1995
      Contains over 1,000 articles on the character and history of Congress, including surveys of issues and how they have been dealt with, people, concepts, and the ways Congress works.
      • Location(s): Ref JK 1067 .E63 1995
      4 vols.
    • United States Government Manual
      Government Printing Office
      Outlines the organization of federal government agencies, providing organizational charts, contact names and addresses, and descriptions of the missions of the many agencies of the government. Also located in ready reference.
      • Location(s): Also at Ready Reference (behind the reference desk) - JK421 .A3
  • Important Public Documents Series
    • Congressional Record
      Government Printing Office
      Appearing daily during Congressional sessions, this publication is the official record of Congress. It includes the texts of speeches, debates, and votes. Indexes appear regularly. For the 101st congress to the present, the Record is available on the web in a searchable version through Thomas.
      • Location(s): Periodicals and online
    • Foreign Relations of the United States
      Government Printing Office
      Collected correspondence, memoranda, treaties, presidential messages, etc., relating to relating to U. S. foreign policy, arranged chronologically and by region. This is a rich depository of primary source material on foreign relations and international issues.
      • Location(s): JX233 .A3
      1861-present (print) and 1945-present (online)
    • Treaties and Other International Agreements
      Government Printing Office
      The text of treaties in chronological arrangement. For a listing of existing bilateral and multilateral treaties, consult the most current volume of Treaties in Force (Ref JX 236 1929c and online.)
      • Location(s): Ref JZ 1160 .N65 2002
    • 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
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of political science.
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • HA Statistics
  • J Political Science
    • J 1-981 Official Documents
    • JC Political Theory
    • JF 201-723 Organs and Functions of Government
    • JF 800-1191 Political Rights and Guaranties
    • JF 1321-2112 Government--Administration
    • JF 2011-2112 Political Parties
    • JK United States
    • JL British America, Latin America
    • JN Europe
    • JQ Asia. Africa. Australia. Oceania
    • JS Local Government
    • JX International relations
  • K Law


Additional journals may be available in full text through various subscription databases.
Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.

  • Comparative Politics
  • Congressional Digest
    You can also access full content of Congressional Digest from the two computers in the Gustavus Library Associates Reading Room. Go to Look for the login prompt. The username is congressional and the password is digest.
  • Current History
    This news and opinion magazine contains articles about world events as well as book reviews, political cartoons, timelines, and maps.
  • Dissent
  • Family Law Quarterly
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Foreign Policy
  • Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
  • Harvard Law Review
  • International Organization
  • Journal of Church and State
  • Journal of International Affairs
  • Middle East Policy
  • Minnesota Law Review
  • Monthly Review
  • Orbis: Journal of World Affairs
  • Political Science Quarterly
  • Public Opinion Quarterly
  • UN Chronicle
  • U.S. News and World Report
    This news and opinion magazine contains news articles, photographs, and full-page advertisements.
    [Resource no longer available]
  • Washington Monthly
  • Access to Government and Political Websites
    • 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.
    • University of Michigan Documents Center
      Offers a well-organized and current list of links to local, state, federal, foreign, and international Web sites with official information, as well as links to statistical information sources and a guide to political science material on the Web.
  • Federal Legislation and Congressional Information
    • C-SPAN Video Library
      This online archive contains the contents of three C-SPAN cable channels focusing on public affairs, including Congressional affairs. Programs, from 1987 to present are indexed by speaker names, committees, categories, topics, policy groups, and more. Of particular interest are congressional sessions and committee hearings, indexed by full text words and by personal name. Videos also have an "embed" button that can be used to include a video in a website or blog. Originally created by Purdue University, the archive is now hosted and indexed by C-SPAN.
    • Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet
      From the Library of Congress. Provides the text of bills introduced in Congress along with committee action from the 104th Congress (1995) to present. Users can search the site by bill number or keyword to learn about the legislative process, find a state's members of Congress, and access a comprehensive database on current and past legislation. The site also provides a full-text search of the Congressional Record, a daily record of activity in Congress, and committee information. Most official state Web sites provide similar bill-tracking information for state legislatures.
    • U.S. Congress Votes Database
      From the Washington Post, this site provides information on votes in Congress since 1991. It provides detail and summary information about each vote as well as some aggregated information, from the useful (voting patterns by region) to the absurd (votes by astrological sign). A few types of votes are also highlighted, such as for treaties, impeachments, and vice-presidential tie-breakers. To keep up with current voting, there is an RSS feed as well as a list of recent votes.
  • International Relations
    • Country Studies
      Prepared by the Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, these online editions of book-length country profiles are produced for U.S. diplomats. This site includes substantial information on each nation's culture, history, economy, and political system. It is searchable by topic and country. Be sure to note publication dates; some volumes are more than ten years old and may include outdated materials.
    • Foreign Affairs Online
      Maintained by Robert J. Beck, this is a meta-index to sites related to international law, international relations, human rights, NGOs and IGOs, and U.S. foreign policy. Well organized and thoroughly annotated.
    • Political Database of the Americas
      A digital project from Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies and the Secretariat for Political Affairs of the Organization of American States. This database includes a wide range of documents from countries located in the Americas, such as national constitutions, judicial documents, and information on civil society. Materials are available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
    • United Nations
      Offers news releases, virtual tours, documents, and basic information about the United Nations and its bodies. Three different search engines explore a large database and list of links. The site includes a wealth of reports, statistical data, and other information on human rights, international law, peacekeeping missions, and other topics. In addition, there is a separate database of official UN documents available on the Web, covering primarily parliamentary documents from 1993 to present.
    • Countries and Regions
      Information on US relations abroad as well as background information from the US State Department.
  • Public Opinon Data
    • Gallup Poll
      Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources 1972-present
      An annual compilation of opinion poll statistics gathered by the Gallup Organization, covering from 1935 to the present. Indexes make it easy to find figures from different years. This organization also maintains a website which contains selected data at
      • Location(s): Ref HN 90 .P8 G35
  • Public Policy
    • 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.
  • Special Topics
    • Global Terrorism Database
      Funded by the Department of Homeland Security and based at the University of Maryland. Data available from 1970 through 2004.
    • National Security Archive
      From George Washington University, this is the Website of a project that has collected the world's largest non-governmental archive of declassified documents, many of them covering controversial issues and obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Though many documents are not accessible through the Web site, there are large collections of papers called briefing books on a variety of foreign affairs topics. This site is a rich set of primary source documents on key international issues.
    • Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive
      From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, this site is building a collection of digital versions of secret recordings of conversations in the Oval Office from 1940 through 1973. Currently there are selected conversations from Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Johnson available. Presidential speeches and oral histories are also available. An affiliated site, American President, offers biographical information on all U.S. presidents and background on the workings of the White House.
    • World Public Opinion
      A clearinghouse based at the University of Maryland for the results of opinion polls covering worldwide attitudes about international affairs. Organized by region and topic.
Photo Credits (L to R)

At the Voting Booth -
Protesters at the Washington Monument -
UN Geneva -

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