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This is a very selective guide to the resources that you will find useful as you do research in the field of political science. For more resources, consult the general Subject and Course Guides page for Public and International Affairs or contact the Public and International Affairs liaison librarian (on the right side of this page).

Course number: 
PLS 201

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Literature Review Tutorial

Even though this tutorial is geared towards graduate students, you might find some useful information in this video about writing literature reviews. 

Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students

Recomended Databases

Below are some databases that you could use when searching for scholarly articles for your literature reviews. Some are also useful when you are gathering background information about your topic.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts

Provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, law, public administration / policy, and public and international affairs.

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Public Affairs Information Services (PAIS)

The Public Affairs Information Services database provides information on business, public and international affairs, public and social policies and international relations. PAIS includes publications from over 120 countries throughout the world.

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CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)

Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is the most comprehensive source for theory and research in public and international affairs. It publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs. 

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ProQuest Political Science

This database provides access to hundreds of leading political science and international relations journals, providing full-text of many core titles indexed in Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. In addition, over a thousand recent full-text doctoral dissertations on political science topics are included, together with working papers, conference proceedings, country profiles, political news and other sources. Part of ProQuest Central.

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Project MUSE

Project MUSE is a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers providing 100% full-text, to high quality humanities, arts, art history, creative writing, education, English, film studies, foreign languages and literatures, history, religion, theatre, and social sciences journals from scholarly publishers.

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Scholarly journals in anthropology, art, art history, communication studies, criminology, ecology, economics, education, English, film studies, foreign languages and literatures, geography, geology, history, mathematics, music, philosophy, political science, public and international affairs, religion, social work, sociology, statistics, theatre, and other humanities and social sciences. 

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CQ Political Reference Suite

An essential database for public and international affairs, CQ Press Political Reference Suite of Online Editions integrates many of CQ Press's acclaimed reference titles on government and politics into a user-friendly, electronic format

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While these websites might be less useful for locating scholarly articles for your literature reviews, they still provide useful general information about politics and political science research.

Pew Research Center

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.  It does not take positions on policy issues.  Its work is carried out by these seven projects:  The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Project for Excellence in Journalism, Pew Internet & American Life Project, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Pew Hispanic Center, Pew Global Attitudes Project, Social & Demographic Trends.

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The Annenberg Public Policy Center provides this service to fact check the claims made in articles, speeches, debates, etc.

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The Oyez Project at the University of Chicago-Kent is a multimedia archive devoted to the Supreme Court of the United States and its work.

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American Rhetoric

Database of and index to 5000+ full text, audio and video versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, other recorded media events.

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Popular Names of Acts in the U.S. Code

Laws acquire popular names as they make their way through Congress. This website provides the popular name and the actual name as it appears in the US Code.

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Guide to House and Senate Members

This online guide to the House and Senate members of the current Congress is intended to be a single point of access for member information coming from several different official sources.

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North Carolina State Board of Elections

This website allows you to obtain information on NC voting, voter registration, checking your voter registration status, and more.

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Government Resources

In addition to the databases and websites below, you can search the library catalog to find government resources. 


Contains more than 1,200 law and law-related periodicals. Coverage is from the first issue published for all periodicals and goes through the most-currently published issues allowed based on contracts with publishers. Retrieve articles by citation, browse, or search across nearly 50 million pages of content. HeinOnline also contains many useful resources for criminology, and public and international affairs, such as the Congressional Record Bound volumes in entirety, complete coverage of the U.S.

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A variety of statutes, Congressional, and Supreme Court documents.

An essential database for criminology, and public and international affairs, Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information, such as bills, committee reports & hearings.

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Bills introduced in Congress.
LexisNexis Academic

News, business, communication studies, criminology, foreign languages and literatures, legal and reference information.

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Court opinions.
Catalog of Government Publications (CGP)

The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general key word. The catalog offers you the option to find a nearby Federal depository library that has a particular publication or that can provide expert assistance in finding and using related U.S. government information.

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GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) is an advanced digital system that will enable GPO to manage Government information from all three branches of the U.S. Government.

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U.S. Department of State

The department's mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.

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Current and some historical information, including Background Notes (basic country information) and Treaties in Force.

Statistics, Data, and Maps

ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States

The ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States.

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Historical Statistics of the United States

This five-volume reference work reflects thirty years of new data and scholarship. Topics ranging from migration and health to crime and the Confederate States of America are each placed in historical context by a recognized expert in the field.

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Statistics from more than 100 agencies available to citizens everywhere.  

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American FactFinder

American FactFinder is a search engine that provides access to the population, housing and economic data collected by the Census Bureau. American FactFinder can be used to retrieve data from the 1990 and 2000 Census, Population Estimates, Economic Census and Surveys and American Community Survey (ACS). Some of the data from these programs will not be available for rural communities.

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NationMaster is a massive central data source and provides a way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster compiles data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD. This web site allows the user to generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics. Note the countries tab but main page is also interesting.

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Over 1300 data items from state and federal agencies.  Historical data and projections, 1960s to 2030.  State, county, municipality, township, tract, block group, and block coverage.  Statistics in these areas:  Population and Housing, Vital Statistics and Health, Social and Human Services, Law Enforcement, Courts, and Corrections, Environment, Recreation, and Resources, Energy and Utilities, Government, Employment and Income, Business and Industry, Agriculture, Transportation.

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Easy Stats

Easy Stats gives you quick and easy access to selected statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau through the American Community Survey. With the American Community Survey, detailed demographic and economic statistics are available every year for the nation's communities and people.

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Bureau of Justice Statistics

The United States' primary source for criminal justice statistics.

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ICPSR (Inter University Consortium for Political and Social Research)

ICPSR maintains and provides access to a vast archive of social science data for research and instruction, including a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminology, criminal justice, social work, sociology, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

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The official U.S. government website that provides increased public access to federal government datasets.

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Odum Institute Dataverse Network

An application to publish, share, reference, extract, and analyze research data. From the Odum Institute at UNC Chapel Hill.

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Simply Map

Web-based mapping application that lets you create professional-quality maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data.

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Polling the Nations

Public opinion polls.

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