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Political Science Subject Guide: Start Researching

Guide to researching political science topics.

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Topics & Background Information

Need to select a topic or find background information on your topic?  Search for your topic in Credo Reference:



Or try one of these online reference resources: 

There are more than 70 political science online reference books in Credo. 

Using Sources

When integrating sources into your own work, you want to:

  1.  Accurately represent those sources
  2.  Use them to support your own ideas and arguments

"In most cases, your best bet is to know your material well enough that you can set a source aside and write about its ideas in your own words. Otherwise, you run the risk of simply compiling a data dump or creating a patchwork of quotations. When you can sum up the gist of a source - its main point - instead of quoting from it excessively, that will save your reader time and will demonstrate that you really know the material. It will also leave more room for you to put your own stamp on the ideas you are writing about." From Getting Started - a Guide to How the Library Works: Using Sources.

Best Bets

Start your research in Castleton OneSearch or one of these databases:

Selecting Sources

Selecting and evaluating sources is about credibility - the credibility of the authors of the sources and your own credibility.  Consider the quality of the source, whether the author is trustworthy on that topic, and what the source offers (does it offer facts? an opinion? a new idea?).  

Not sure which sources are best? View this Evaluating Sources for Credibility video.

Citing Sources

Free Citation Managers

Citation managers make it easy to organize and cite references in class papers. You can set the citation manager to any citation format (APA 7th, MLA, Chicago, etc.). ZoteroBib is the best choice for a single paper with less than 20 references. Zotero and Mendeley are better for organizing scores of references on a subject in order to cite them in multiple papers or in a large paper.