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Guide to Sources in Political Science

Guide to Sources in Political Science

Location of Materials | Call Numbers | Guides to Political Science Resources | Article & Journal Databases | Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & Handbooks | Almanacs & Yearbooks | Research Methods & Writing Guides | Directories | Statistical Sources & Datasets



Location of Materials

All titles listed in this guide are located in the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library Reference Collection unless otherwise noted. The location SSHEL RCC indicates the item is held in the SSHEL Reference Circulating Collection.



Call Numbers

Call numbers are groups of numbers and/or letters that classify library items by subject. Items are arranged on bookshelves by call number. The Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) uses both the Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems.


Poli Sci Call Numbers



Guides to Political Science Resources

Lists of information sources such as books, journals, websites, and databases about a specific subject, with corresponding brief descriptions.

327 K121i
International Relations, International Security, and Comparative Politics: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources.  2008.
Contains 900 annotated entries on more than 1,300 English-language reference sources on the fields of international relations, comparative politics and international security published from 1996 to 2006. Includes author, title and subject indexes.



Articles & Journal Databases

Databases are structured sets of information, stored in print or online. Often, databases are online collections of journal article citations and full-text. Find articles about a specific topic by using keywords, subject headings, authors, and more.

PAIS International (formerly Public Affairs Information Service) . 1914-. (online)
This index covers topics related to public affairs, policy, and politics. Includes publications from over 120 countries including articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, and conference papers.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. 1975-. (online)
Citations, abstracts, and indexing of international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public policy.

International Political Science Abstracts. 1952-. (online)
Provides non-evaluative abstracts from political science journals from around the world. Abstracts are grouped according to broad topic and are accessible through a subject index. Most abstracts are in English though some are in French.

ProQuest Congressional (Congressional Universe). 1998-. (online)
Full text of pending legislation, U.S. laws, testimony before Congress and other Congressional documents.



Background Information: Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, & Handbooks

Background information can be found in reference sources, online or in print, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks. Dictionaries contain brief definitions, usually only a sentence or two in length. Encyclopedias provide a more in-depth description, usually a few paragraphs in length. Handbooks contain descriptions that can be multiple pages and describe the development and future of a subject.

*NOTE: There are several political encyclopedias and dictionaries which focus on specific nations and geographic regions. They are generally located in the 320.9 Dewey Call Number range as well as the 900s. Items with LC call numbers are generally located in the JZ1464-2060 range.


320.03 C748 2009
Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. 3rd ed. 2009.
Covers “political institutions, concepts, leaders, and thinkers” in 1700 entries. A single appendix lists principal office holders by country. This new edition adds over 200 new entries, including ethnic cleansing, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), direct action, and expanded coverage of the Middle East.

The Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations. 4th ed. 2012. (online)
This searchable volume contains quotations from almost 1500 politicians and other public figures, arranged alphabetically by first name or first initial of the quoted individual. In cases where more than one quotation is cited for a person, the quotations are displayed in chronological order. Basic biographical information is provided. Entries are cross-listed where individuals are mentioned by other quoted individuals.   

The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Diplomacy. 3rd ed. 2012. (online)
Gives brief explanations of words, phrases, events, titles, names of people and places, and organizations pertinent to, and in the context of, diplomacy. Includes the articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), and a bibliography.


The Concise Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History. 2011. (online)
This work examines the history of politics and political issues of the United States. The encyclopedia is organized alphabetically, and consists of 150 accessible essays from leading scholars. Topics covered fall in such categories as: War and Foreign Policy, Major Political Parties, Regions, and Ideas and Philosophies. A list of further reading is included at the end of each chapter, as well as cross-reference listings. An index is also included. 

Congress and the Nation. (online)
Contains details about events, trends, and controversies in the U.S. Congress and the presidency. Also has reviews and analyses of legislation and policy during each Congressional session and presidential term.

Congress A to Z . 6th ed. 2014. (online)
Provides basic contextual information needed to understand Congress today as well as historically. Includes biographies, committee explanations, and political terminology. Arranged alphabetically with a reference section that includes lists of members and leaders, the constitution of the United States, and a selected bibliography. A subject index is included.

JK 1118 .D64 2014
Dirty Deals?: An Encyclopedia of Lobbying, Political Influence, and Corruption. 3 vols. 2014.
This work is intended for use by scholars, students, and anyone interested in the topics of lobbying, political influence, and corruption. The first volume is composed of essays by lawyers and scholar examining the lobbying, citizen advocacy, sources of political influence, and the roots of government corruption. Volume 2 has an A-to-Z listing of over 200 entries on subjects and individuals related to lobbying, government, corruption, etc. Also included in the second volume is a timeline of events beginning in 1817. The third volume is a collection of original resources from federal laws, to Supreme Court decisions, documents, and data. A bibliography and index conclude volume three.

Elections A to Z. 4th ed. 2012. (online)
Provides comprehensive coverage of campaigns and elections in the United States; the fourth edition has been updated with information on the most current elections. Succinctly defines important terms in the election process, and delves more deeply into issues within the voting process, such as the right to vote, turnout trends, and the history of elections at all levels of U.S. government. Content is searchable and articles are organized alphabetically by title. 

Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. 3 vols. 2005. (online)
Global perspectives on events defined as genocide and crimes against humanity. Looks at events and consequences both for individual countries and the world at large. Examines laws that attempt to end genocide and profiles both the perpetrators and intercessors in each situation. Includes many depictions, manifestations, and explanations for genocide, such as propaganda, sociological and philosophical explanations, literature, and film. Content is searchable and articles are organized alphabetically by title. Includes table of contents, book index, and list of illustrations.

Encyclopedia of Human Rights . 5 vols. 2009. (online)
This work covers major areas of human rights history, theory, law, and practice. Includes country profiles, cases of human rights abuses, an overview of the development of the human rights movement, and influential organizations and people, both historical and contemporary.  Also covers aspects of economics, religion, government, and journalism as they relate to human rights issues. 

GN496.E56 2016
Encyclopedia of Modern Ethnic Conflicts. 2nd ed. 2016
Case studies of ethnic conflict are covered in each section of these volumes.  Sections are arranged alphabetically by country and include a timeline, historical background, and an overview of the conflict.  Each chapter contains a bibliography, suggested readings, and appendices of important documents from the country.  An index is included at the end of the second volume.

Encyclopedia of Political Theory. 3 vols. 2010. (online)
This encyclopedia provides an introduction to important topics in political theory – including significant figures, concepts, and theoretical constructs – with an emphasis on current scholarship. Each of the 475 entries is signed, cross-referenced, and contains a list of further readings, as well as a brief definition of the term, in addition to a more detailed discussion of its history and importance. Entries are arranged alphabetically and cover topics such as Karl Marx, life, and absolutism, in categories such as ancient thought, liberal theory, and self and community. Contains a list of entries, reader’s guide, and index.

Encyclopedia of Politics : The Left and the Right. 2 vols. 2005. (online)
Over 450 entries about individuals, movements, political parties, and ideological principles are divided into Volume I: The Left and Volume 2: The Right. While emphasizing the current era, there are many entries for significant thinkers and issues of the 19th and 20th centuries. Also covered are the topics of education, healthcare, and the media. There is a timeline of politics and a reader’s guide which lists people, countries, laws, parties, issues, and movements.

Q.320.97303 En196 2008
Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy. 3 vols. 2008.
Contains entries on the major theories, issues, and concepts within the fields of public administration and public policy. Each article provides an introduction to the subject matter, as well as a list of references. Includes a full index.

341.2303 Os5e 2003
Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. 3rd ed. 4 vols.  2003.
The focus “is on how the United Nations and its institutions work, and on the results of their work,” rather than on detailed historical background of disputes and bargaining declarations and treaties. Volume 1 contains a comprehensive list of articles, and volume 4 contains a comprehensive index.

From Suffrage to the Senate: America’s Political Women: An Encyclopedia of Leaders, Causes, and Issues. 2006. (online)
Chronicles the American woman’s quest for political power and social equality. Includes biographies of the American women that have served in the U. S. House and Senate, the judiciary, and the U. S. cabinet. The second volume contains a special documents section of texts and speeches, statistics on women government officials at both the state and national level, and a detailed chronology of women’s political progress over the past 150 years. Includes biographical references and a comprehensive index.

JC 359 .P335 2016
The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. 2 vols. 2016.
This encyclopedia is divided into seven sections and split between two volumes: Biographies, Country Analysis, Culture and the Arts, and History are all covered in volume 1. History is continued in volume 2, followed by Movements and Ideologies, Political Economy, and Themes and Concepts. Each subject is briefly over-viewed; essays cover many of the most significant aspects of imperialism. An index is also included at the end of volume 2.

The Presidency A to Z. 5th ed. 2013. (online)
Provides both historical and modern information about the role of the presidency in the United States. Covers the origins, powers, and limitations of the office as well as analyses of policies made by each president and their historical impact. Includes biographical information for each president and other individuals important to the office. Appendices include a listing of presidents and vice presidents, election summaries, presidential cabinets, the Constitution, and a selected bibliography.

Sage Encyclopedia of Terrorism.  2nd ed. 2011. (online)
Offers brief descriptions and analyses of the most serious and influential terrorist personalities and organizations as well as the most significant motivations and victims of terrorism. While focused on modern terrorism, occasional historical examples are used. Includes a timeline of major acts of terrorism from 1946 to 2011, a day-by-day record of the U.S. and international reaction to September 11, 2001, bibliography, and index.

The Supreme Court A to Z. 5th ed. 2012. (online)
Provides basic information, historical and modern, needed to understand the role of the Supreme Court and justices in shaping American society. Includes biographical information for each justice (past and present), exploration of the issues surrounding landmark cases, and explanations of constitutional principles and legal concepts which guide the Supreme Court’s decision-making processes. Appendices include a listing of historical milestones, Supreme Court nominations, seating chart of the justices, how to read a court citation guide, the Constitution, and a selected bibliography.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations. 13th ed. 5 vols. 2012.
This set focuses respectively on the United Nations, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania, and Europe. The encyclopedia presents easy-to-understand information on countries and dependencies from around the world. Entries discuss a variety of topics in detail, from banking and securities to climate, from government data to demographic statistics. Also includes biographical essays on national leaders.


21st Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook. 2 vols. 2011. (online)
This handbook for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students presents a two-volume set of ninety-nine political science articles and chapters organized by topic. The topics in the first volume include: general approaches in political science, comparative politics, and international relations. The second volume covers works in political science methodology, political thought, and American politics. The articles and chapters were chosen by prominent political science scholars from a variety of sub-disciplines in the field, and explore topics, issues, and debates relevant to political science students in the twenty-first century.

Handbook of European Union Politics. 2006. (online).
Collection of essays intended for students and scholars that explores the development of EU politics from a variety of viewpoints. Essays are organized into broad categories covering the theorization of European integration, the EU as polity, politics and policy making in the EU, and the EU constitution in the global political economy. An extensive list of references accompanies each essay. A name and subject index are included.

Q. 329.023 Sch3h 2012
History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008 . 4th ed. 3 vols. 2012.
This set provides extensive information on all U.S. presidential elections from 1789 to 2008. Provides an overview of each election, including dates, results, vote counts, voter turnout, methods of campaigning, and the trajectory of the campaign. Lists of leading candidates, ballots/nominees, primary results, and party platforms are included. The impact of elections, key issues and events, resulting election changes, defining quotations, and the lasting legacy of the campaign are also addressed. Includes an extensive essay on the election, a chronology, quotations from historical writings, a selected bibliography, and reproductions of relevant images and documents.

Illinois Handbook of Government.
 2015-2016. (online)
Lists current office holders with a description of the structure and functions of Illinois state government. Also includes some historical information.

The Oxford Handbook of Governance. 2012.
Presents an accessible state-of-the-art analysis of the literature on governance. Discusses core concepts and knowledge in the study of governance in different levels and arenas of politics and policymaking. An essential point of reference for all those studying politics, society, and economics from a governance perspective. Chapters are organized in nine sections dealing with topics that include governance as the reform of the state, democratic governance, European governance, and global governance.

The Oxford Handbook of Historical Institutionalism. 2016. (online)
Historical institutionalism is the study of how temporal processed and events influence the origin and transformation of institutions that govern political and economic relations.  This volume includes 38 chapters that analyze the historical institutionalism research tradition and detail an expanding array of topics in the study of comparative, American, European and  international politics.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy. 2006. (online)
The handbook is divided into 14 sections on subjects including voting, legislative bodies, constitutional theory, social choice, public economics, macroeconomics, democracy and capitalism, non-democratic regimes, international relations and conflict, and methodology. Many of the essays provide comparative analysis of an issue. Includes a subject index, name index, and references for each.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions. 2006.  (online)
Following an introductory essay, three additional sections cover the characterizations of institutionalism, a study of various political institutions, and reflections on the state of institutionalism in the world. A list of references is included with each essay. The volume contains both name and subject indexes and a list of contributing authors.

The Oxford Handbook of Political Networks. 2016. (online)
This volume is “a foundational resource on the study of networks in politics”. It revolves around three questions: What is political network analysis? How does it provide insight into important political phenomena?  Why is it crucial for all political analysts to in engage in network analysis?

The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations. 2007.  (online)
The handbook offers a comprehensive analysis on the structure and activities of the United Nations. It presents varying perspectives on the UN’s work and the historical, legal, political, and administrative details of the organization’s multiple roles. Appendices list suggested readings, a map of the UN system, the United Nations charter, the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also included are subject and personal names indexes.

The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health. 2016. (online)
Explores challenges and opportunities that exist in efforts aimed at addressing inequities in mental health provision across the globe.  The three sections draw on various disciplines across the humanities, psychology, and social sciences in order to chart the emergence of Global Mental Health as a field of study and critically engage with the current discourse. The 3rd section consists of case studies of innovative mental health policy and practice, which are presented from a variety of different perspectives.

Political Handbook of the World. (online)
Discussion of governments, regional issues, and the intergovernmental organizations of the world. Indexed by geographic location, organizational name, and personal name. A chronology of major international events is also included.

JA80.R68 2017
Routledge Handbook of Biopolitics. 2017
This volume offers a comprehensive overview of the key issues in the field of biopolitics today.  The handbook is divided into five sections: the history of biopolitics, contemporary theoretical controversies, biopolitics and economy, biopolitics and security, and biopolitics and technology.  Each chapter concludes with an extensive bibliography. An index is also included.

Sage Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. 2006.  (online)
Organized in three broad sections that examine various concepts and theories of nationhood and nationalism. Talks about broad themes and topics from race, religion, and ethnicity, to migration, globalization, and sport. Also looks in detail at nationhood and nationalism in all the major countries and regions of the world. Each chapter includes references. An index is provided.

United States Government Manual. (online)
Provides complete information on agencies in all three branches of the U.S. government as well as semi-official agencies and international organizations in which the U.S. participates.

World at Risk: A Global Issues Sourcebook. 2nd ed. 2010. (online)
The second edition of World at Risk examines global crises that the people of the world face. The work is organized based on six subject categories: demographics and settlement, economics, environment, education, health and welfare, politics and governance, and security. Chapters within the larger subject categories include: immigration, international finance, transnational governance, human trafficking, and drug trafficking. Each chapter begins with a general analysis of a topic that leads into a more detailed assessment. Maps, data sets, case studies, and list of references are also included within each chapter. Index included.



Almanacs & Yearbooks

Almanacs are a compilation of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, and subjects. Yearbooks are an annual compilation of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.

The Almanac of American Politics. (online)
Excellent, concise coverage of current elected US officials. Covers the presidency, senators, representatives, and governors. Cites election results, individuals’ records, and committee memberships. Organized by state, indexed by topic and personal name.

323.1168073 AL62 2010
The Almanac of Latino Politics. 6th ed. 2010.
This almanac contains profiles of Latino participation in United States politics from individual voters to elected officials. The first eight chapters provide statistics on nationwide voting habits and election trends; the following fifty chapters provide state profiles. Brightly-colored charts and maps accompany detailed data on the voting habits of Latino/as, as well as African and Asian Americans. Contains a bibliography organized by state.

CQ Voting and Elections Collection: Expert Analysis, Demographics, and Data. (online)
Contains analyses and historical material on the American voter, major and minor political parties, campaigns and elections, and historical and modern races for Congress, the presidency, and governorships. Updated continuously.

CQ’s Politics in America.
Published every two years to coincide with the new Congress. Provides commentary and data about members of Congress, organized by state. Each state listing includes statistical data about the population, charts with recent census data, and information about the state voting system. It also provides a brief biography of each state governor. A map of each state’s voting districts is included. For each congressperson, there is a detailed biography, contact information, and previous election statistics. Also provides data on campaign financing, as well as a variety of tables with general statistics about the Congress in question. Includes an in-depth index. Electronic version can be searched by keyword, edition (back to 2000), state, political party, or chamber. It allows browsing by state, name, and political party. State maps are also browsable.

341.67 St6  
SIPRI Yearbook: World Armaments and Disarmament.
A comprehensive list regarding international security and armed conflict. Covers global peace and conflict, military spending and arms production, along with chemical and biological materials. A list of abbreviations and conventions is also included. The most recent publication is located in SSHEL.

Supreme Court Yearbook(online)  
Provides coverage and analysis of every decision from the nation’s highest court since the 1989-1990 term.



Research Methods & Writing Guides

Research guides provide suggestions for finding and using information. Writing guides can help manage and create citations, develop a research plan, and write specific types of articles or papers. 

808.06632 Am35s 2006
APSA Style Manual for Political Science. 2006.
Produced by the American Political Science Association, this manual is geared specifically to writing in the field of political science. Illustrative examples and sample entries are included throughout the manual. Covers writing style, formats, and guidelines for citing references. Includes suggestions for submitting works for publication.

320.18 Sh66c 2011
The Craft of Political Research. 8th ed. 2011. (SSHEL RCC)
Provides an introduction to political science research methods for undergraduate students with information on how to conceptualize and conduct research. Chapters cover topics such as political theories and research topics, problems of measurement, and an introduction to statistics. Selected bibliography, index.

ZA5055.U6 F67 2016
Fundamentals of Government Information: Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources. 2nd ed. 2016.
This book, intended to be used by both library science students and professionals, discusses techniques to assist with the discovery and navigation of various government information and data sources.  The work primarily focuses on the U.S. federal government, covering both government processes and various specific publications.  It is divided into two parts: Part 1 provides an overview of key government information resources, while Part 2, called “Government Information in Focus,” covers specific kinds of government information and how to find them.  Exercises are included to reinforce the concepts discussed and for use in a classroom setting.  Updates from the previous edition include a restructuring of Part 1, which divides the discussion on law-related materials into several different chapters, as well as a new chapter in Part 2 focusing on patents, trademarks and intellectual properties.

808.06632 B146w 2012
Writing a Research Paper in Political Science: A Practical Guide to Inquiry, Structure, and Methods. 2nd ed. 2012.
This book aims to fill the void in the literature on research and writing in the field of political science in the context of a research paper. Chapters are organized in the order of steps that should be taken to write a research paper. Chapters include topics such as definition of a research paper, proper citations, literature review, effective arguments, revisions, and protecting yourself from criticism. Each chapter features a suggested calendar, exercises, and checklist.




Directories are a list of organizations, groups, people, places, or other data systematically arranged often alphabetically or by location.

Official Congressional Directory. (online)
Biographies of US senators and representatives. Includes addresses and committee memberships. Also contains maps of congressional districts, profiles of diplomatic agencies, and personal name and subject indexes.

Washington Information Directory.  (online)
Provides verified and updated mailing addresses, phone and fax numbers, e-mail and websites, contact names, and descriptions for more than 10,000 federal government offices, regulatory agencies, congressional committees, judicial offices, public interest groups, nongovernmental organizations, and international organizations.



Statistical Sources & Datasets

Statistical sources contain numerical facts or data. A dataset is a collection of data.

CQ Vital Statistics On American Politics. (online)
Offers more than 230 tables and charts covering the full spectrum of American politics dating back to 1788. Includes introductory material to help readers understand and interpret statistical material and an annotated reference guide.

Data-Planet Statistical Datasets (online)
Includes all statistical publications issued by the U.S. government back to 1973 through American Statistics Index, and 1,000 statistical publications of private and state government sources from 1980 forward through Statistical Reference Index. It also provides database access to the American Statistics Index, the Statistics Reference Index, and the International Index of Statistics. Also, be sure to look at “Data-Planet’s Statistical Ready Reference,” which can be found searching Online Journals & Databases.

FactFinder (American FactFinder) (online)
The go-to source for demographic information about the United States. Browse or search for statistics by topic, geography, race and ethnic groups, or industry codes. Covers data from the 21st Century with an emphasis on the 2010 census.

JC571.F74 2013
Freedom in the World 2013: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. 2013.
This book features statistics on 195 countries and 14 related territories, including an overview. The political rights and civil liberties are based on a numerical rating, and provides a 10-year ratings timeline. The survey methodology, tables, and ratings are included.