Reference books are an excellent place to begin your research. They provide overviews of topics, help you narrow your research focus, and give you ideas for search terms. Reference books are shelved on the west side of the library's main floor.
- Almanac of American Politics
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
- American Immigrant Cultures: Builders of a Nation
Covers culture groups from Acadians to Zoroastrians, covering each group's defining features, patterns of cultural variation, immigration history, demographics, cultural characteristics, and relevant published literature.
Location(s): Ref E184.A1 A63448 1997
- Encyclopedia of American Immigration
Covers historical and contemporary issues in immigration policy, provides coverage of social and cultural issues and background on specific immigrant groups. The final section reproduces key legal documents from the US Constitution to late twentieth-century immigration legislation and executive orders. (Note: Gustavus is missing volume 2 of this set.)
Location(s): Ref JV 6465 .E53 2010
- Human Rights Watch World Report
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.
- Europa 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 Ref DT 351 .A37
Central and South-Eastern Europe Ref HC 244 .A1 C46
Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia Ref HC 244 .A1 E29
The Far East and Australasia Ref DS1 .F3
The Middle East and North Africa Ref DS 49 .M62
South America, Central American, and the Caribbean Ref F1401 .S28
Western Europe Ref HC 240 .A1 W47
- Working Americans 1880-1999
A compilation of social history, providing profiles of average families and primary sources organized chronologically. The first three volumes of this series cover the working class, middle class, and upper class. Further volumes focus on children, women at work, social movements, immigration, and more.
Location(s): Ref HD 8066 .D47 2000
If you need data related to your topic, check out these resources.
- Google Public Data Explorer
Contains data sets and metrics from a wide variety of publicly available data sources.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
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 Census.gov.
Location(s): Ready Reference HA 202 .A2
The following is a very small sample of websites dealing with immigration issues. Evaluate websites the same way you do any source - who wrote it, is the content current, is the content accurate (as best as you can tell), is the content appropriate for your topic, etc.
- ACLU: Immigrants' Rights
This section of the American Civil Liberties Union focuses on immigration and civil liberties, including breaking news and position papers.
- Applied Research Center - Immigration
The Applied Research Center (ARC), a racial justice think tank with a decidedly pro-immigration stance, provides research & news reports on immigration.
- Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
This scholarly center for research based at the University of California, San Diego, has a "research agenda focuses on Mexican migration to California and comparative, cross-national and cross-regional research on international migratory movements, immigration policy, and citizenship policy." The Publications tab leads to many online working papers.
- Center for Immigration Studies
This center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization. They tend to favor reducing immigration as a policy measure.
- The Immigration Debate
This NPR website offers news and features from 2006-2007 on immigration.
- National Immigration Law Center
This center has as its mission "to defend and advance the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members." It includes news and fact sheets supporting its positions.
- Pew Hispanic Center
Based at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. Includes the text of several reports, as well as information on demographics, economics, labor, immigration, education, health, and Latinos in the military.
- 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.
- Google Books
Google is in the midst of an ambitious project to digitize books from publishers and in libraries. Those that were published before 1923 are in full text; those still potentially under copyright can be searched, but not viewed in full. It offers an interesting way to locate very specific words, phrases, and citations, particularly in older books. Using the advanced search you can limit a search to books that are full text or published within a range of years.
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 worldcat.org.
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.
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.
- Google Scholar
This search engine points toward scholarly research rather than all Web-based sources. It is stronger in the sciences than in the humanities, with social sciences somewhere in between. One interesting feature of Google Scholar is that in includes a link to sources that cite a particular item. If you are using Google Scholar on campus, you will find articles available through the library's subscription databases linked. To view these links when searching off campus, use our Google Scholar Off Campus Link. Not all of the articles in Google Scholar are free; the library can obtain many of them for you through interlibrary loan.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
Documenting Your Sources
- 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.
Check out this guide to learn about citing sources in MLA, APA, and Chicago Style.
Evaluating Web Sites
Use our guide to help determine if a web site would be an appropriate and reliable source for your research.
Visit our Interlibrary Loan page for information on obtaining items from other libraries.
Visit with librarians at the desk, by phone, email or chat for help with any library or research question. Click on the link for more information about this service.
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