PS 199: Congressional Internships

 

When applying for an internship in a congressional office, it is important to express enthusiasm for the work of the senator or representative.  It is impossible to do so without knowledge of the legislator's interests and achievements, as well as familiarity with his or her district.  The following collection of resources is designed to facilitate the process of gathering and evaluating information on any member of Congress.  By drawing on these sources, you not only show interest in the legislator--you demonstrate your ability to conduct research.

 

 

Researching Legislators

Databases

ProQuest Congressional  UIUC

The ProQuest Congressional interface is the key to a wide variety of information related to congressmen and women.  Click on Members & Committees in the left menu bar.  Begin by entering the legislator's name and then indicate the type of records you need.  You may choose information on bill sponsorship, campaign contributions and contributors, financial disclosure, and votes.  Floor statements and personal profiles are also available.  Indicate the period you want to consider, beginning with the most recent and working backwards.  WARNING:  How you enter the person's name may affect the search results dramatically.

Opensecrets.org

Click on the Who Gets menu to identify contributors to each of a legislator's campaigns.

Thomas

The Government Resources link leads the user to congressional committee sites, House election statistics, biographies, and detailed district maps.  You can also use Thomas to gain access to the full text of almost any recent congressional document.  (LexisNexis is not the only source of congressional publications.)

Newspapers often print opinion pieces by lawmakers who represent their subscribers.  Search for these first using Access World News, a full-text source providing access to articles at the local, state, national, and international levels.   The UIUC Newspaper Database and the Illinois Newspaper Project Database can help you identify and access newspapers not indexed in Access World News. 

Web Sites

 

Researching Congressional Districts

Almanac of American Politics  328.73 AL62  SSHEL RL Main Stacks

Organized by state, this authoritative source describes districts, their voting histories, and their congressional representatives.  Information on senators and their states is also available.  If you cannot access this resource through the Library's Online Journals & Databases page, click on the I to the left of the title and then click on the URL that appears.

American FactFinder

Use this database to find demographic, social, and economic data on the population of any district. 

 

Researching an Issue

CQ Electronic Library  Illinois Library subscription access  
Includes the searchable text of several public affairs sources.

Periodicals

CQ Weekly  Illinois Library subscription access only.

CQ Weekly is a widely respected source of news and analysis among U.S. public policy researchers.  Prominent legislators are mentioned frequently and sometimes quoted.  

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Mary Mallory, Coordinator, Government Information Services, Access and Collections, University Library

Karen Hogenboom, Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian, Scholarly Commons