UCB Libraries

Resources for Introduction to Comparative PoliticsPSCI2012

Starting Your Research

Search Tips

When starting your research, brainstorm the terms that can be used to describe this type of research. Some example keywords:

Location: name of country, name of cities, names of international organizations
Persons: name of person or political group
General: Politics and government, political parties, elections, immigration, migrants

Many of the databases youll be searching will also use descriptors or specific words or phrases that they have assigned to a particular topic (much like subject headings in the library catalog). Using these descriptors can help you find similar articles and get ideas for additional search terms. Use the Search Worksheet to record this information.

Research and Subject Guides Database


This database provides a complete listing of guides in the library, it ranges from guides to finding primary sources and economic information to how to use particular databases and how to create a citation.

Searching for Books

To find books that the CU Libraries have, you want to search Chinook, the library catalog. Youll want to do keyword searches similar to the ones you used to look for articles. Instead of descriptors from article databases, you can use the subject headings provided in Chinook to try and find other materials. Some of these subject headings are listed below, this is NOT a complete list, but rather a starting point.

Book Chapters

Book chapters titles often reveal hidden treasures in a book. For an example, take a look at The logics and politics of post-WWII migration to Western Europe. To search these book chapter titles you need to use the keyword search. If you want more chapter titles, check out WorldCat or Google Books.
Searching for Articles

Articles, especially peer-reviewed or scholarly ones, can form a good start for your research. If you are trying to figure out where to start use Find Articles and More.

  • Find Articles and More The databases are arranged alphabetically by name, or you can find databases in a particular subject area by choosing a subject from the drop down menu on that page. Here are a few databases to try first:
    • Click on the + next to Political Science and choose the link for Scholarly Sources.
    • Click on + next to History and choose one of the entries for Secondary Sources.
      • Choose Historical Abstracts CU, which indexes and abstracts articles on the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States).  Use your keywords.
    • Click on the + next to Economics and choose the link for Scholarly Sources.
      • Choose Business Source Complete CU, which indexes and abstracts the most important scholarly business journals back as far as 1886 and contains full-text journals in all disciplines of business, accounting, finance
  • Not having luck? Here are a few other more general resources (not focused on political science):
    • Choose one of other databases in each category.
    • Academic Search Premier CU Index of nearly 4,000 academic journals, with full text available for many.
    • Google Scholar Uses Google search technology to search a wide variety of sources for academic material.

Primary Sources for Country Information

Country Pages

These pages link to information from individual countries, including links to government bodies.
  • On the general page, under Country Profiles by Governments, select the links for Background Notes for profiles from the U.S. State Dept and for World Factbook for profiles from the CIA.   These sources provide facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of all countries
  • For more detail, select the link to a particular country from the alphabetical list.
Citing your work
  • RefWorks
    RefWorks is a database that lets you save your citations and then format them in the style of your choice. Check out this quick guide for help using this resource.
  • Citing Sources
    This guide goes over the various formats you can use to cite material as well as providing links to quick citation sheets.
Need more help?

We are always happy to answer questions or set up appointments to have a more in-depth discussion of your research.

Jennie Gerke Leanne Walther GovPubs Reference Desk
jennifer.gerke@colorado.edu leanne.walther@colorado.edu govpubs@colorado.edu
303-735-6804 303-735-3750 303-492-8834