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Political Science

Junior Seminar

This portion of the research guide supports how to do research design for PS 300, which focuses on preparing students for political science research, particularly for thesis.  Here you will get tips on constructing a literature review and concept formation.

Reflection: How am I engaged in scholarly conversations? 

Use this question to reflect on what is important to you right now and how you might develop it going forward. 

Of these information habits, one that strikes me as important  is________. It strikes me as important now because _____________. I am going to develop this as a strength by ________________.  

"Information Literacy Reflection Tool," available at is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 and is intended to be used according to the User Guide available at 

Graphic depiction of various answers to "What is the purpose of a literature review?"

What is the purpose of a literature review?

  • Find out what information already exists in your field of research
  • Identify gaps in literature
  • Find other people working in your field
  • Identify major seminal works
  • Identify main methodologies and research techniques
  • Identify main ideas, conclusions, and theories and establish similarities and differences
  • Provide a context for your own research
  • Show relationships between previous studies or theories


Tips for citation management

Start at

Items to install:

  • Zotero
  • Browser extensions (for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari)

Create a free account with your Reed email address at to take advantage of features like syncing your library to and working in groups.

NEW: With a Reed email address, you have unlimited file storage for free.

What is LibKey?

Libkey Nomad Browser