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Literature Review

This portion of the research guide supports the Junior Qualifying Examination research design portion. You are responsible for writing a research design over the course of a semester with a professor in the department. The research design portion is typically based on the subject matter in a concurrent or previously-taken 300- or 400-level course, and consists of three parts: An initial short written proposal; a draft research design based on that review; and the final product, a revised research design. See the Junior Qual Handbook for more details. 

Political Science Databases and Indexes

Use these databases and indexes to locate journal articles, books, and/or books reviews. Dates of coverage and printed index equivalents are included.

Other Databases and Indexes

News & Current Events

Legal Information & Government Publications

Specialized Source Materials based on Subject Matter

Specialized sources will vary from field to field. As usual, you might want to discuss this in advance with your professor.

Political Theory. Students might wish to consult The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Encyclopedia of Classical Literature or The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Specific entries always have bibliographies that point to the most current literature on a topic. In addition, thematic bibliographies could be useful such as Dictionary of Political Thought or Women Philosophers: A Bio-Critical Anthology. Students might also wish to consult specific dictionaries, for example, it might make sense to learn how to use Liddel and Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon if you are writing on Plato.

Comparative Politics. Students might wish to consult bibliographies on specific regions, for example, Latin American Politics: An Historical BibliographyAfrica Since 1914: A Historical Bibliography, Bibliography of Asian Studies, and The Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History. Encyclopedias, annual compendia of current events and technical dictionaries are good reference sources, i.e., The Historical Dictionary of Cuba, Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara, the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Institutions and the Annual Register: A Record of World Events. Thematic bibliographies should not be overlooked such as The Handbook of Revolutions, Women's Studies: A Recommended Bibliography or The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Students requiring statistics might consult the American Statistics Index, the Statistical Reference Index or the Index to International Statistics, all published by the Congressional Informational Service.

Public Policy. One of the specialized indices in the Reed Library is the Index to Legal Periodicals which indexes all materials published in law reviews, i.e.,Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, the only two that Reed has. The Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College has a good law library including almost all of the law reviews and other specialized legal research tools. Save time by using the Index here at Reed, and THEN go to Lewis & Clark to do the reading.

The Reed Library has the U. S. Supreme Court Reports, which is the official reporting system for U. S. Supreme Court decisions. Regional reporters, as well as state reporter systems, are in law libraries such as Lewis & Clark's.

In many areas of public policy, research circulates differently in that one must pay attention to indices and published journals such as those listed in the core section, below, and also at government systems. Much of the research in criminal justice is available through the U. S. Department of Justice, and only through them. Other departments of the federal government operate literature search services and dissemination offices. Reed's Library is also a partial depository for U. S. Government documents, we automatically receive some (but not all) of the research and reports the federal government turns out every year, some of which is worthless, but much of which is not. PSU is a regional depositor and get more than we do.

There are a large number of specialized journals that Reed does not get, but other libraries (such as PSU) do. These are usually institutions that have professional degree programs in various substantive fields. A school that offers an MSW (Master of Social Work) is likely to have specialized journals that deal with children's issues, human services, etc. PSU has an excellent special education program so their collection of both books and journals on disabilities, etc., will be much more extensive than Reed's.