Following up on my “Locating Great History Resources” post from the spring, here is a list of wonderful resources for researching political science and the other social sciences. Like I mentioned in that post, I originally created the list for a job presentation and have one more post on locating statistical resources to follow.
General Reference Works:
- American Decades: Each volume provides decade-specific information on news headlines; arts and entertainment; business and the economy; education; government; politics and law; lifestyles and social trends (including fashion); medicine and health; science and technology; and sports. This is offered in both print and e-book formats.
- Statistical Abstracts of the United States: Offers a variety of 1900-2012 US statistical data. 2013 and after is instead offered within a subscription database provided by ProQuest. Print copies were also created and most academic libraries offer both versions.
- Britannica Concise Online: A great place to start when narrowing down a research topic. Growing up, the print copy at my school library was invaluable. Another reputable encyclopedia, like Encyclopedia Americana, will also suffice.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library/Wiley Online Library/RefWorks: Each offers at least a selection of e-books and reference works that are all full-text searchable from one interface.
- Other sources to check once a topic is determined:
- Specialized Dictionaries
All of the above are subscription databases, except the1900-2012 Stats Abstract. That means I cannot link directly to them so please check to see which of these you local or university library offers.
And, yes, this is the same list from my “Locating Great History Resources” post. They are equally applicable for political science and the other social sciences.
Political Science Databases:
- Academic Search Complete: Offers mostly full-text access to journals in all subjects.
- CQ Almanac and CQ Weekly: Covers Government, politics, public policy. CQ Weekly offers weekly in-depth reports on issues and are still updated as needed. CQ Almanac is a reference source for studying US Congress via offering accounts of all major pieces of legislation each congressional session from 1945 to present.
- JSTOR: Offers scholarly journal back-issues in all subjects. These are all full-text.
- Project Muse: Provides full text access to journals in all subject areas.
- International Bibliography of the Social Sciences, Social Explorer, and Scopus are three other databases that feature social science articles, including political science.
All of the above are subscription databases. That means I cannot link directly to them so please check to see which of these you local or university library offers.
Also, Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and Project Muse are great starting points for all subject areas.
Political Science Web Resources:
- American Memory: Offers scanned documents and photographic material from multiple American cultural institutions. Some of the offerings include papers from prominent American politicians.
- Avalon Project: Offers historical and modern law, history, and diplomacy documents. It is curated by Yale University.
- Europeana: Offers scanned documents, artwork, and photographic material from European nations.
- In the First Person: Free index for published personal narratives, including letters and diaries. Some of the offerings include papers from American politicians. This resource is offered by Alexander Street Press and will point to the company’s other databases that hold the items. However, keep in mind the other databases many not be offered by your library. Academic libraries are the most likely to offer these highly specialized databases.
- Oxford Index: Free index of titles produced by The University of Oxford Press and its affiliates. After finding a title of interest, check your local or university library catalog for the books and available databases for articles.
- Statutes at Large: Lists of all laws passed by Congress. There is a three-year embargo and the resource is organized by Congressional session (example: Year 2011, 112th Congress, 1st Session).
- USA.Gov: Offers current information on United States Federal Government. Includes topics such as official documents, mandates, statistical data, archival material, etc.
- UN Data: This is the new search interface for United Nations data and documents. It replaces the list mentioned below to make finding information easier. This database has documents and data on topics including, but not limited to, education; crime; environment; health; industry; finance, population; trade; tourism; and many more.
- United Nations Documents: Archives United Nations documents, resolutions, and minutes.
- United Nations Database List: This is the master List of all UN database interfaces. It is good when one wishes to locate information on one specific category only.
- UK Legislation Database: Includes all surviving documents on the United Kingdom and former British Empire from 1285 to present.
Do you have any other great resources for political and other social sciences? If so, please share to make this list a better resource! Also, do you want to share any experiences using these resources? I know as a grad assistant, I frequent helped students to use the two CQ resources and Stats abstracts quite frequently. As an undergrad political science minor, JSTOR, the Avalon Project, and Project Muse were to resources we frequently used.