POLS 315 Research Methods in Political Science Research Guide

Librarian: Laura Baker


Library Catalog (ALCON)

Find books for general overview, literature reviews, topic suggestions

Tip:  Books are broad, so keep the subject search very general.


Government Documents

Search engine specifically for official government reports.

Government Documents Finding Aids
For more extensive searches


Core Journal Indexes

Academic Search Complete
Articles in all disciplines; large portion of full-text

Legal Collection
Scholarly law journals, studies with a legal context

Military and Government Collection
Articles on military studies, international relations, conflict analyses, government policy

World History Collection
Global coverage of history and political events

Tip: All the above databases can be searched simultaneously via the Academic Databases.

Back issues of many core political science journals

Digital Dissertations
Theses and dissertations with much full-text; good source for literature reviews, hypothesis statements, examples of research methodologies

Additional Journal Indexes

CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)
Theory, research, conference papers, white papers on international affairs

Homeland Security Digital Library
Policy papers, analytic papers on terrorism, national security, defense, and international involvement

Newspapers and court cases; especially useful for geographic studies (try local newspapers) and for global news (newspapers from other countries)


Literature Reviews

Literature reviews save you time by presenting a survey of the literature in one article. A good literature review will identify seminal articles, summarize key research and authors, and suggest areas for future study.

  • For EBSCO Core Journals, add (literature n5 review*) to your search terms.
    Ex. political participation and (literature n5 review*)
  • See also books from library catalog and Digital Dissertations.


Finding Full-text

Useful or when the database does not provide the full-text of the article your want, or when you are tracking down a citation from the bibliography in a book or journal article.

The steps to follow are always the same, although the method of checking might vary.

  1. Is it available electronically full-text? 
    1. Go to ACU Library -- Journal Finder to see if any of ACU's journal databases has the full-text of the journal. Shortcut: If you are already in a a library database, use the links provided to check for full-text, print holdings, or ILL.
  2. Is it at ACU or in the consortium?
    1. For a book, check the library catalog for the book title. Books not at ACU but at one of the other libraries in the consortium may be requested via courier (use the HOLD button).
    2. For an article, check the library catalog for the title of the journal (not the title of the article). If it is at one of the other libraries, you will have to go there yourself.
  3. Request it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
    1. For books, look it up in WorldCat and request via the ILL button.
    2. For articles found in a database, request it via the ILL link.
    3. If you can't find the article in a database, fill out an ILL form (ACU Library Home Page -- Get Articles and Books -- Interlibrary Loan)
      WARNING: Make sure you include the complete citation details. Failure to do so will seriously delay your request.

Last Update: Oct 19, 2011  9:11 AM

Need Help: Contact Laura Baker

Thanks to a donation from an alumnus, the Special Collections at ACU's Center for Restoration Studies now houses two Ethiopian religious texts dating back to the turn of the 19th century.

Read More

West Texas Digital Archive
Connect Online